London based but Barbados born Janice Hoyte had made a big entrance into the show business world when she headlined her own show at the London Room Charity Show on 28 November 1974. The export clerk with Marks and Spencer, managed by M&S Social Chief Charles Cassell, performed a number of new songs, one with lyrics written by Cassell, at the charity dinner event in aid of mentally handicapped children.
Billed in the newspapers as ‘a second Shirley Bassey’ the young and talented singer was soon making her television debut on New Faces, where she got some great comments from the panel. Show host Derek Hobson introduced her by saying “Listen to the lovely voice and watch the lovely face” and judge Ted Ray said “Ten for content, wow!” during his marking of her performance.
Janice released her first album, I’m A Winner, in 1974 when she was still working at the Head Office of Marks and Spencers. A member of the company’s Social Society she made a great impact on her colleagues by her excellent performances at the Social Society’s Annual at Home productions.
The company decided to fund and release the record, featuring songs Janice had performed at their last three shows and at the same time to raise funds from sales for their Miss Sparks 73/74 adopted charity, The British Association for the Retarded. The record helped raise over £10,000 for mentally handicapped children.
In 1979 Janice released the single When I Fall In Love on the United Artists Records label and in 1990 she recorded the track Never Can Say Goodbye for the album Gazza and Friends, which also featured Paul Gascoigne’s recording of Fog on the Tyne (Revisited), with Lindisfarne.
Other Television Appearances
In 1978 Janice joined HTV’s Mr & Mrs TV game show, hosted by Alan Taylor. As well as being the shows hostess, each week she performed songs from her second album, I’m A Do Right Girl, which was released in July the previous year.
In 1980 she was selected from over 2,000 auditioning acts as one of the 56 contestants to appear in the second series of the BBC show Rising Stars , the talent competition for professional acts. Series one had been hosted by Lennie Bennett for for series two the BBC selected former New Faces judge Arthur Askey and co-host Jenny Lee Wright to present the show. The prize for the winner was an appearance on a major BBC light entertainment programme and all those qualifying for the were offered a prize to help them progress their careers.
Running over seven heats each show featured one act in each of the eight categories which were song and dance, male singer, speciality, musical, comedy, instrumental, band and female singer, with the highest scoring act from each category progressing to the final. After appearing in heat three Janice took the lead in the female singer category but this only for one week when Helen Jayne, the teenager from St Annes, beat her score and filled the female singer category slot in the final.
Worldwide Success and Recording Career
Janice went on to make appearances around the world including shows in Portugal, Switzerland, Bangkok, India, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Seychelles and Zambia.
She also has had a successful career as a vocalist and has appeared on recorded works by Pete Townshend, Heaven 17, Mica Paris, Errol Brown, Feargal Sharkey and Maxi Priest. She also toured and recorded with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and sang backing vocals on Paul Hardcastle’s 1985 hit single 19. which spent five weeks at number one on the UK singles chart.