Heidi’s £20,000 solo challenge

Heidi’s £20,000 solo challenge
Popular singer, who fills concert halls, is at her wit’s end with pub miming claims

Apopular north London singer who regularly packs out concert halls in Ireland and the Czech Republic is so outraged at a whispering campaign about her in Harrow pubs that she has offered £20,000 to anyone who can prove she is lip-syncing or miming.

Heidi McCaffrey, from Mill Hill, is one of the most tireless performers on London’s pub circuit when she is not performing with anything up to a five-piece band or giving concerts in Ireland, the Dorchester in London, Brazil, Germany, the Czech Republic…and the British Embassy in Azerbaijan, among others. She sings and DJs, does weddings, corporate events, hosts karaoke nights.

“Actually, that Irish World Award I won was really, really great, it was very helpful in getting me a lot of corporate work,” she said.

She has also had walkon or one-line parts in East Enders, The Bill, and Brendan O’Carroll’s recent Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie. The one thing that can be said with certainty about Heidi, a former greengrocer and onetime private detective, is that she is committed to hard work…and to singing. The rumours have only related to a pocket of north London and come from a couple of smaller pub venues there.

Infuriating

But it has become so intensely infuriating for her, and her veteran manager Marty Walsh, that each of them has staked £10,000 to a £20,000 reward for anyone who wants to prove that she lip syncs when she brings along her boom box with backing tracks.

“I think the reason some people, not many, are even giving this credence is because I often perform with a five-piece band and live musicians so when I go out with pre-recorded backing tracks and vocals people think I must be miming.

“Britney Spears might do, playing in front of tens of thousands of people, it but I certainly don’t,” she says.

“Actually, I did do it just once for a TV show, in Belfast, four years ago. It just didn’t have the set-up for live music,” she said.

“It’s all around this same little area, the same people complaining, someone is putting it about that I’m not singing and all they have to do is listen, and they’ll hear I certainly am.”

Surely if she comes out with backing tracks some people will see it as karaoke and even others confuse that with miming, so why not just do an acoustic, or unplugged, set for these smaller venues when you’re solo?

“Well, it’s not karaoke although I can see why some might say so, it is solo singing using back-up.

“People want the full production values for their favourite songs but aren’t prepared to pay for a band and they don’t want to hear an acoustic performance. Some of these backing tracks cost up to £50, mind you, some others cost just a few quid,” she said.

“I’ve spoken to Equity and they’ve told me there is something I can do about it and action I can take but I don’t want to do that.

“If anyone has a problem with my singing and thinks I am miming I challenge them to prove it…they will be one hundred per cent wrong.”

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