PEARLY IN PINK 1500 1000 The Flyer Magazine



Pearly McGrath just loves to sing…and it shows.

After a professional singing career spanning more than a decade, much of it in the Queenstown area, Pearly is a powerhouse of perfection and projection.

The sweetness of her sound has graced many a restaurant, bar, wedding and corporate event locally and Pearly regularly brings the house down with the remarkable versatility of her vocal range, leaving audiences aghast.

The petite brown-eyed brunette has carved a niche for herself in the local music scene, along with her band mates in Mojo — well known musos Ned Webster, Mark Wilson, Shay Muddle, and more recently Connor Williams.

Now pretty in pink as the darling face of Elle Woods, deep in rehearsals for Queenstown Showbiz’s long-awaited production of Legally Blonde this month (May), Pearly is juggling her professional singing career with her lead role. She’s well accustomed to singing five nights, 40 hours a week in her job with gigs like weddings often requiring 12 hours of singing. “You build up to that much singing,” she says. “Your voice is not something you want to lose.”

Pearly as Elle Woods.

She’s no stranger to hard work having done the grind overseas for two years singing in Indonesian hotels and resorts in Bali and Jakarta. Prior to that, as a 22-year-old locally-raised Pearly joined her first band, The Beat Girls, in Wellington, a popular girl band in which she was a singer and dancer.

“After Bali I quit singing for a while and moved back to Queenstown to be with family,” she says. It was Queenstown singing legend Margaret O’Hanlon who got her back into the music scene, inviting Pearly to take her place in a party band with husband, Nigel.

“As a kid I was too shy to sing,” says Pearly. “I hated being in the public eye. It was tortuous and painful for me getting through it, but I realised that confidence came the more I did it,” she says. “Working in Jakarta really helped me with that. I didn’t know anyone there. It was character building.”

Gracing the stage on a number of Margaret O’Hanlon’s productions, Pearly says she’s always wanted to be part of a Showbiz show but it’s been too challenging financially to give up her ‘night’ job. “Rehearsals are normally right in the middle of the busy wedding season with the band, but the difference this time (last year during casting) was that it was Legally Blonde,”she says. “I thought, I just have to do it. I didn’t even think about it. Elle Woods is such a fun character and I’m just loving being part of the Showbiz community.”

Pearly with her beloved dogs, Moggy and Muffin.

Pearly says she was a bit burnt out when last year’s lockdown hit and while it’s been a horrible time for the world, and so disappointing having to postpone Legally Blonde last year, it’s all ended up being a blessing for her. Her work week has been drastically reduced and while it’s been hard not having her usual income she says it’s given her more time to focus on Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde runs from May 20 to 29 at the Queenstown Memorial Centre.