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Debbie Wileman is a 38-year-old suburban mum living in North Essex, England with her husband and four-year-old daughter. She has also become a social media singing sensation during the global pandemic, capturing worldwide attention as a modern-day Judy Garland phenomenon.
Debbie recently completed a multi-city United States tour to rave reviews celebrating Judy Garland’s 100th Birthday. Debbie also debuted her new album, I’m Still Here, conducted and produced by Grammy Award Winner Steve Orich, to commemorate the legendary icon. Debbie received standing ovations before sold-out audiences in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Orlando, FL, New York City’s iconic Carnegie Hall, Provincetown, MA, and Los Angeles, CA.
Debbie was born and raised as a working-class Londoner. As the only child of a professional rock musician father and her school teacher mother, she excelled musically and artistically as a young girl. Debbie’s nana (her dad’s mother) a wonderful pianist, singer, and mentor, introduced her to musicals and her love for Judy’s music. At 12, she started performing Judy for her nana and an ever-growing world. Following her secondary education, Debbie attended The University of Salford in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, where she completed her performing arts degree. During her years at Salford, she acted and sang honing her exceptional natural talents.
Debbie initially performed professionally, for several years after graduating from the University. A lack of regular work and a need for a regular paycheck meant that Debbie had to get a full-time “proper” job (she had many ranging from alright to awful). At the dawn of the pandemic, she was happily married and a full-time stay-at-home mum in the suburbs with a beautiful 2-year-old daughter (now 4).
Ironically, this life transition would have a profound influence on Debbie and her artistic outlook and fortunes. While caring at home for her daughter, and watching the world she and others knew “get turned-up-side down” from the ravages of a worldwide plague, she decided to use her singing talents to initially help cheer-up friends and relatives and eventually a larger group of followers.
Initially, Debbie committed to singing and posting on Facebook a video of a new song for 100 consecutive days to help bring joy and inspire her friends. Days turned into weeks, then into months, and now it is two years+ later.
As she posted her daily musical selections on her social media accounts, ranging from singing as herself or as Judy Garland, Dusty Springfield, Patsy Cline, Liza Minnelli, Shirley Bassey, Karen Carpenter, and many other luminaries, her band of admiring followers began to grow, indeed explode. With more than one million views later, she became an internet phenomenon with a global fan base.
Debbie’s singing has also caught the attention of music professionals given her remarkable voice and uncanny ability to imitate the incomparable Judy Garland. She came to the United States to celebrate Judy’s 100th Birthday and on June 10th, Judy’s actual birthday, she released her debut album, I’m Still Here, and kicked off her widely acclaimed multi-city tour. Her new songbook features many of Judy’s classics as well as other contemporary hits that she believes Judy would be singing today.
Debbie’s story is far richer than her magnificent voice alone. She is the ultimate “down-to-earth” Londoner who values hard work and family. A talented woman who was blessed with a fabulous talent and a vision to bring happiness through her music to a wide spectrum of people.
Her growing recognition and acclaim are an accident of fate. She put her love of family in front of pursuing her musical career. The isolation and despair of the worldwide pandemic became an improbable catalyst to provide Debbie with a platform to inspire hope and joy across the globe. Sometimes unintended consequences have wonderful results.