Wales

Dame Shirley Bassey to release first new album in five years

Dame Shirley Bassey Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dame Shirley Bassey will release the album later this year

Dame Shirley Bassey is to release her first new album in more than five years to celebrate her 70-year career.

The 83-year-old superstar singer from Cardiff has released 70 albums and sold nearly 140 million records.

The album will be released later this year and is described as a "grand finale" dedicated to her fans.

Dame Shirley said: "The songs I have chosen all feel very personal and connected to my life. I hope they will do the same for my fans."

Decca Records said the release would include brand new material written especially for the singer, as well as tracks to reflect her life and career.

The recording is taking place in London, Prague, Monaco and the south of France, with the crew operating within coronavirus restrictions.

Biographer John Williams told BBC Radio Wales that it may not be Dame Shirley's last album, saying "with someone like Shirley, never say never, but it sounds like it would be a great way to go out".

"When you have been singing for as long as she has, which is about 70 years, I wonder if she will really give it up,"

Image caption One of Dame Shirley's biggest hits was Goldfinger, from the 1964 James Bond film

Dame Shirley's biggest hits include the theme songs to three James Bond films - Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker.

Her last studio album was Hello Like Before, released by RCA in 2014.

Born in Tiger Bay, Dame Shirley first started singing as a teenager in Cardiff, performing in pubs and clubs while also working in a factory.

In 1959, she became the first Welsh singer to score a number one single with As I Love You.

She was the winner of the first Brit Award for best British female solo artist in 1977, and was the first musician to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Cardiff.

She was made a dame for her services to performing arts in 2000.

Mr Williams said Dame Shirley had created an "extraordinary legacy" and it was time to "take stock" of what she had achieved.

"As a teenaged, mixed-race single mother from the Cardiff docks, she managed to make herself a star [in a largely] all-white Britain of the 1950s, through pure force of personality and talent," he said.

Mr Williams said Dame Shirley's career started in the early 50s, before rock and roll.

"She came out of a world of musical halls and variety shows," he said.

"She related to the great stars: people like Judy Garland would have been an inspiration, and she's kept that idea of glamour, and singers that are full of emotion and drama."

While Mr Williams said the powerful songs were incredible, he would love the album to include some "quieter numbers".

"We are so used to the full-throttle Shirley, occasionally it's nice to have a bit of light and shade as well, because she is actually surprisingly great on more sensitive numbers."

Co-managing director of Decca Records, Tom Lewis said: "Dame Shirley Bassey is a living legend and she is still at the peak of her powers."

He added: "Every note she sings tells its own story of the adventures she has had, the legends she has encountered or the lives she has enriched."

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