Softly spoken Dean Bourne has been performing as Roy Orbison for the past 14 years. Dubbed the ‘World’s Number 1’, he takes the accolades humbly, citing it is just a pleasure to make the sell out crowds happy. Dean tells us more about the show.
There are a number of tribute shows touring the region and Australia at the moment. Why does Roy’s legacy, among other stars, continue to influence these shows?
Particularly with Roy, I think it was his voice and the emotional ballads that he sung – and it also brings back memories for people.
I don’t think it matters which tribute you do; people tend to reflect on how they grew up and what they listened to, and it takes people back to a time that brings back good memories for them.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Dean, as an entertainer – and where your passion for singing began.
I have been singing for a long time; I’m 39 years of age now. My dad was a singer, and my mum went to the Conservatorium of Music and played piano. I grew up in a household where we had these parties and we would put on all the old records, and Dad would get up and sing and I would get up and make a fool of myself by dressing up like Shakin’ Stevens and those sort of characters.
So, it started for me at a very young age. I also did all the talent quest circuits and was in bands. I guess in terms of the Roy Orbison Tribute, that happened for me back in 1997 when I entered a show called Follow that Dream, which was based loosely on a show in the UK called Stars in their Eyes. It was for people like me – who was Dean Bourne, a postman by day, and tonight he is Roy Orbison. I went on to win, and the producers of that show had me working in another show called Idols in Concert, which is how the Roy Orbison thing started for me.
For the past 14 years I have been having a blast with the Roy tributes, and it is an honour and not something I take for granted. I am honoured to be able to do it and tour right around the country and perform. If me singing makes people happy and they get some enjoyment out of it, then that’s fantastic.
They say you are ‘the World’s Number One tribute to the Big O’. Do you think you live up to that label?
I have never been comfortable rating myself as an ‘the Orbison tribute’ or the ‘Number One’. I just do what I do and if people want to place that label on me, then that is fantastic. I am just blessed to be able to do what I do – that’s it for me.
Tell us about the Roy Orbison re Bourne show?
The show that we are bringing to the Mid North Coast (Port Macquarie and Forster) is one that we have only sold nationally in 5 towns; 3 on the coast and 2 in Tasmania. So it is the 75th Anniversary show, to celebrate what would have been Roy’s 75th birthday this year. The show is going to take audiences through a journey of Roy’s life, mainly in song, but there are some speaking parts – not a lot of talking parts, but I do address poignant times in his life and what songs meant to Roy.
The show is done in two parts; I perform the younger Roy in the first part, and then I do the contemporary Orbison which most people can remember or relate to – where the hair is brushed out and I have the black leather costume. We cover pretty much all of his songs; 34 in total, I think, for this show package, and I don’t have a support act. I am on stage for the entire time.