You may have heard of The Beautiful South, an English pop rock band formed in 1988 by Paul Heaton and Dave Hemmingway.

After their first album, they were joined by various female vocalists over the years, but Alison Wheeler was with The Beautiful South for their final three albums.

“It was an opportunity not to be missed” Alison explained.

“It was very nerve-wracking and surreal for a while. I had been trying out for auditions and so on for eight years before, so I was very fortunate.”

After the band split in 2007, Alison admits that she felt a bit lost.

When realising that Dave felt the same, the pair contacted other members of the band.

“We hit the road as The New Beautiful South in 2009, but eventually changed our name to just The South.

“We didn’t want to be The Beautiful South again because we no longer had the same people” Alison added.

To celebrate their 10th anniversary and 30 years since The Beautiful South released Song for Whoever, The South are on tour throughout the UK and are coming to Somerset on March 21.

So, we decided to catch up with Alison Wheeler ahead of her tour to see how she was getting on…

“The first three gigs were completely sold out” Alison said.

“I feel like it’s another chapter for us – I am completely on a high.

“When you go on tour, you have to learn to live out of a small suitcase. But I have a good balance and get to balance my time between being on tour and my family.”

Despite performing for most of her life, Alison still loves the music scene.

She said: “If you enjoy what you are doing its wonderful. I have loved every single minute of it.”

When it comes to musical influences, Alison is a huge fan of big vocalists, such as Beyonce and Barbra Streisand, but she also loves Jazz and therefore artists such as Billie Holiday.

“I also admire anyone who is groundbreaking in their career” she said.

“I love Madonna and Lady Gaga – I respect artists who are able to move with the times, as well as any band who stays together.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Alison said she has experienced some incredible memories during her music career.

One of these was when she performed at Glastonbury.

Alison explained: “We only quickly popped into Glastonbury, performed and left again.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to experience the horrendous mud there was that year!”

She also loved being part of Top of the Pops.

Alison said: “That was amazing. At the time, Top of the Pops was the bread and butter of English music.”

Alison admits that touring America and opening a show for Robbie Williams are also memories that she treasures.

Although during the Robbie Williams gig, Alison had to cancel most of her songs because she had bronchitis – not exactly what you want during one of the highlights of your career!

However, this didn’t stop Alison’s passion for singing.

She said: “I love telling a story through the song and watching the audience become affected by the feelings created on stage.

“It is so important that the audience enjoys the music. I want everyone to go home with a smile on their face.

“Many people don’t realise how many songs they actually know of ours until they’ve been to see us.

“The music scene has changed so much with younger people joining Spotify and so on. So we do end up with two or three generations that come along to our gigs and it is great to have new ears.”

Alison admits that she has two songs that she loves to sing – one is Perfect 10 and the other is Don’t Marry Her.

What makes these songs so special to her, she explained, is the reaction of the audience and when they join in or go wild because they love the song.

Alison has had such an incredible musical career and believes this is because she worked hard for so many years.

“You can’t beat learning your trade. You have to build foundations and do as many gigs and take as many opportunities as possible.

“Indignation is the best skill you can carry with you. Everybody deserves a chance and you have to keep trying.

“The more you try, the more you will create opportunities. I will keep singing and nothing will stop me.”

The South are a nine-piece band with previous The Beautiful South members. In 2017, Dave Hemmingway announced his retirement from the live music scene, Damon Butcher now lives in Ireland and Tony Robinson has moved on.

Somerset County Gazette:

Today, The South members include Alison Wheeler (Vocals), Gaz Birtles (Vocals), Phil Barton (Guitars), Steve Nutter (Bass), Dave Anderson (Drums), Karl Brown (Percussion), Gareth John (Trumpet), Su Robinson (Sax) and Andy Price (Keys).

If you would like to see Alison perform alongside the rest of The South, then you can see their tour dates at

The South are playing at The Cheese and Grain in Frome on March 21.

If you would like to book tickets, then visit or call 01373 455420.