Lorraine Bowen

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Lorraine Bowen
LB Live Show1.jpg
Bowen in concert at The Vauxhall Tavern, London
Background information
Birth nameLorraine Bowen
Born (1961-10-31) 31 October 1961 (age 57)
Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK
OriginChelmsford, Essex
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, comedian, musician
InstrumentsVoice, keyboard
Years active1980's - present
WebsiteOfficial website

Lorraine Bowen (born 31 October 1961 in Brighton, East Sussex) is an English singer, songwriter, comedian and musician.[1] Bowen has released seven studio and compilation albums, and multiple singles as both a solo and contributing artist.

Music career[edit]

Early career[edit]

She studied music at the University of Surrey,[1] and then busked around London. She was a member of two bands in the 1980s: See You in Vegas and The Dinner Ladies,[2] as well as performing regularly with Billy Bragg on stage and on record. She has also made many appearances on BBC Radio 4 including John Shuttleworth's show Radio Shuttleworth and the 1999 all-female sketch show Heated Rollers, starring Lynda Bellingham, Gwyneth Strong and Joanna Monro. She has also written for BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends.[1]

1990–present: Solo career[edit]

In 1990, Billy Bragg encouraged Bowen to start a solo career. She started to perform solo shows under name of The Lorraine Bowen Experience; her act featured three songs, a Casio keyboard and an ironing board. This has led to shows all over the world, including festivals in Winnipeg, Toronto, San Francisco, and in the UK, Glastonbury, Edinburgh, Glasgay, Bestival, The Big Chill, and Secret Garden Party, and many shows in Italy and Spain. Her songs are seen as "quirky", contain humour and are often with a sense of kitsch.[3] Themes often include food, film stars (one of her most popular songs is about Julie Christie), mobile phones, fish fingers and launderettes. Bowen is known for her catchy choruses in songs and encouraging audience participation.[3]

2005–2009: Vital Organs[edit]

Vital Organs was the name of Bowen's first solo musical comedy tour celebrating her collection of portable Casio electronic organs, omnichord and other eccentric portable organs. First performed at London's Drill Hall, the show toured extensively between 2005 and 2009.

2011–2014: Lorraine Bowen meets Barbara Moore[edit]

In 2011, Bowen discovered that composer Barbara Moore was alive and living in Bognor Regis while recording an episode of Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular radio programme. Moore was active in the British music scene for over twenty-five years. After starting as a member of The Ladybirds, went on to work with Elton John, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Jones amongst others, but she is not widely known today. Bowen created 'Lorraine Bowen meets Barbara Moore' to provide a platform to show others how prolific Barbara had been in the 1960s and 1970s. This show presented Barbara Moore and her work to a new audience and featured in the Brighton Fringe festival in 2014.

2011–2015: Lorraine Bowen's Comfort Zone and Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta![edit]

Lorraine Bowen Comfort Zone show was a 'durational project' of three connected concerts exploring hibernation in connection with Brighton's Pink Fringe and the Nightingale Theatre. Supported by Arts Council of Great Britain, the show ran through the winters of 2011 and 2012, drawing upon a series of experiences provided by Charlotte Glasson, Mick Jackson and others.[4]

Image from Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta

Lorraine Bowen's Polyester Fiesta show celebrates polyester and has 4 models, a scientist and a wardrobe mistress. Bowen acts as hostess, model and sings down the catwalk. Bowen has been a collector of vintage polyester outfits since visiting jumble sales as a girl and the collection has been featured on BBC1's The One Show[5] and BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.[6]

Polyester Fiesta! toured during 2015, been performed at Glasgay,[7] The South Bank Vintage Festival, Brighton Fringe,[8] Colchester Arts Centre [9] and Royal Vauxhall Tavern among others.

2015: Britain's Got Talent debut[edit]

Bowen also entered Britain's Got Talent in May 2015 and was sent through to the live semi-finals by David Walliams' golden buzzer after she sang her own song "The Crumble Song",[10] which was about her love of apple crumble.[11] On 25 May, Bowen was voted out of Britain's Got Talent by the public in the first semi-final after singing a song about space.[12] She came fourth in the votes, which was not enough to get into the final.

2019: Much Ado About Bingo[edit]

This musical cabaret features Bowen with Derek Daniels Boogaloo Stu and the musical accompaniment of Ronnie HazelnutJason Peg on piano. Offering the spectacle of a mash-up of a Shakespearean game of musical bingo, classic 1970s tunes and largely fictional showbiz anecdotes [13].

Teaching career[edit]

Image of Lorraine Bowen conducting a Choir Workshop at The Dome, Brighton.

During her early career, Bowen also worked as a part-time music teacher in schools across Hackney. Now based in Brighton, Bowen runs singing workshops at the Brighton Dome[14] and Bexhill's De La Warr Pavilion.[15]

Media career[edit]


Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular[16] is Bowen's radio show consisting of binaural field recordings, interviews and eclectic tracks. Award-winning[16] and featured on Brighton's Radio Reverb, the shows are now available as a podcast.[17]#


Bowen provided the soundtrack for No Deposit, No Return by Dallas Campbell.[18] Her original song "Julie Christie" appeared on the Canadian independent film, Better Than Chocolate soundtrack.[19] Bowen also provides vocals on "There Must Be An Angel"[20] in Sorrentino's 2013 film, The Great Beauty.[21]


Bowen is the author of The Crumble Lady, a collection of short stories for children published by Candy Jar Books in November 2017.

Work with other artists[edit]

Lorraine was discovered by Billy Bragg at the Hackney Empire performing with The Dinner Ladies.[22] After a successful audition to fill in for Cara Tivey's maternity leave, Bowen found herself performing her first show with Bragg at the Liverpool Opera House as part of the Workers Playtime Tour. She then toured East Germany just prior to reunification, performing in Army camps and stadia. Bowen made an appearance in two episodes of Radio Shuttleworth with John Shuttleworth (S01, E02 and S02, E03).



  • Greatest Hits Volume One (1995)[23]
  • Greatest Hits Volume Two (1998)[24]
  • Bossy Nova (2000)[25]
  • Songs from the Living Room (2002, Italian)
  • Vital Organs (2006)[26]
  • Suburban Exotica (2010)[27]
  • The Crumble Lady (2016)


  • Faffing Around on Facebook (2012)
  • Drinking Song (in German) (2012)
  • Valentine's Day (in a 21st Century Way) (2013)
  • Japanese Crumble Song (Sushi Song) (2013)
  • Bears (2015)
  • Give My Love to Hull (2015)
  • Christmas Crumble (2015)
  • Crumble de Noel (2015)
  • Reggaeton Crumble Song (2016)

As a contributing artist[edit]

Billy Bragg
  • The Internationale (1990)[28]
  • Don't Try This At Home (1991)[29]
Dope Smugglaz
Fantastic Plastic Machine
  • There Must Be An Angel (Playing with My Heart) (Mix for Mirror Ball) (1998)[31]
  • Bossa For Jackie (Dedicated to Mrs Kennedy) (1998)[31]
The Damned
  • So, Who's Paranoid? (2008)[32]


  1. ^ a b c Gregory, Andy (2002) International Who's Who in Popular Music, Europa, ISBN 1-85743-161-8, p. 56
  2. ^ "The Dinner Ladies". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b Maupin, Elizabeth (1993) "Bowen's Perkiness Won't Stop: Bubbly and Uninhibited Lorraine Bowen Even Gets the Audience Involved in Her Wackiness", Orlando Sentinel, 29 April 1993, p. E1
  4. ^ "Lorraine Bowen's Comfort Zone, The Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, February 11". The Argus. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ Polyester Fiesta on The One Show. YouTube. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, 14/03/2011". BBC. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Interview: Lorraine Bowen celebrates material world in Polyester Fiesta!". List.co.uk. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  8. ^ "The New Current". The New Current. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Martin Newell's Joy of Essex: Polyester Fiesta would bring crackle back to Saturday night". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  10. ^ Daly, Emma (16 May 2015). "Meet David Walliams's BGT Golden Buzzer choice Lorraine Bowen". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  11. ^ Bryant, Tom (19 May 2015). "Britain's Got Talent semi finalist toured with Billy Bragg and released FIVE CDs". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  12. ^ Denham, Jess (26 May 2015). "Britain's Got Talent 2015 semi-finals: Lorraine Bowen wins fans in Snoop Dogg and Nick Grimshaw as Twitter shows her some love". The Independent. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  13. ^ "The Review Hub". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  14. ^ Brighton Dome. "Brighton Dome / Brighton Dome". Brightondome.org. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Deck The Halls With Bexhill Voices!". Dlwp.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Modulate 2014 Stereo Spectacular – Photos from my live radio recording!". Commedia.org.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  17. ^ RSS - Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular by Lorraine Bowen
    "Lorraine Bowen's Stereo Spectacular by Lorraine Bowen". iTunes. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  18. ^ "BBC - Film Network - Films - No Deposit, No Return". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Various - Better Than Chocolate - The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  20. ^ OST "La Grande Bellezza" - Lorraine Bowen - There must be an angel (remix). YouTube. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  21. ^ "Lorraine Bowen". IMDb.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  22. ^ "The Dinner Ladies - These Knees Have Seen The World". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Greatest Hits Vol. 1". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Greatest Hits Volume 2". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Bossy Nova!". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Lorraine Bowen's Vital Organs by Lorraine Bowen: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Suburban Exotica by Lorraine Bowen: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Billy Bragg - The Internationale". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Billy Bragg - Don't Try This At Home". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Dope Smugglaz - The Word". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  31. ^ a b "Fantastic Plastic Machine - Luxury". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  32. ^ "The Damned - So, Who's Paranoid?". Discogs.com. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

External links[edit]