A year on from winning Pride’s Got Talent, the still wide eyed and wondrous Keith Ramsay now has a residency in the West End, at the Phoenix Artists Club, which showcases his immense talent and love for the Great Ladies of Song in a 1920s Berlin Cabaret style with a modern twist.
Coincidentally, our Jason Reid is just back from four days of trawling the Berlin bars (ahem), so as soon as he could start focusing on moving objects again, he caught up with Keith for a natter…
It’s almost a year since you won Pride’s Got Talent Cabaret; what did you want to achieve by entering the competition?
I wanted to fully establish myself as a live performer. I had been looking for a platform for a long time but kept procrastinating. I actually submitted my application ten minutes before the deadline!
How was the experience for you – from the early heat stages right through to being announced as the winner?
The competition was a whirlwind. Throughout the heats you have a short slot to showcase yourself, and then it was straight on to the next. I tried to stay focused and not worry too much; I guess it worked.
Are you competitive?
I never looked at it from a competitive point of view, more as an opportunity to perform and represent myself as an artist. I’m in competition with myself mostly. I’m my toughest critic and my own worst enemy. The further I progressed, the more confidence it gave me to think that I was doing something right.
What advice would you offer to artists taking part this year?
Don’t overthink it; listen to your impulses and don’t be afraid because the competition is a celebration of all the broad, rich variety of performers there are to see.
What would you say your genre is? I’ve only seen you perform once and I couldn’t categorise or pinpoint you as a particular type of artist, which is unusual but I think that adds to your appeal.
Thank you! A review recently described me as “Edith Piaf on speed”, which I particularly appreciated. The brilliant chaos of cabaret is that the spectrum is so wide. I like to call it “New-Wave Vaudeville” as I like to think it’s a twisted fusion of music, burlesque-clowning and camp hysteria.
The Phoenix is an incredible space, so I’m utilising every corner, staircase, booth and pillar. It’s a very immersive show and more than me just singing Judy Garland songs. We use the divas and their music as stepping stones to recreate iconic eras like Weimar Berlin and places like Studio 54 and the Crazy Horse.
Will there be camp old luvvie singalongs? The Phoenix is well known for those.
I do a music-hall cover of Kylie’s “I Should Be So Lucky” on a miniature accordion so I shall say no more than that…
Time to get serious now! Tell us your ultimate diva, diva song and diva moment?
My ultimate diva at the moment is Elizabeth Taylor (it changes constantly). Diva song would be anything from Judy’s Carnegie Hall album, and of course my ultimate diva moment would have to be ALL 122 glorious minutes of Madonna: Truth or Dare.
Let’s finish on a good old hypothetical. If you could only listen to one album, watch one film and talk to one person for the rest of your days, what and who would they be?
Film: Some Like It Hot – It’s the best ever.
Album: Elaine Stritch: At Liberty.
Person: “Little Edie” Beale from Grey Gardens.
The Keith Kat Club is at the Phoenix Artist Club every Tuesday, 9PM.