BILLIE Holiday would have lived a long and happier life if Patti Boulaye had her way.

They would have sat down together and had a 'woman to woman' talk according to Patti who is bringing her one-woman jazz show 'Billie & Me' to Otley Courthouse on Friday April 27.

Patti recalls it was while writing her autobiography 'Faith of a Child,' published in March last year, that her husband, businessman Stephen Komlosy, suggested a few similarities between Patti and the performer whose music she loved.

Predominantly the pair were brought up by strong women. "We had a pretty similar childhood, her mother married very young and so did mine but my mother had nine children, I was the seventh of her nine children," says Patti.

Of course, Billie led a completely different life to Patti who was never seduced by the darker side of showbusiness.

Patti adamantly steered away from drugs and, through lecturing and public speaking, she is eager to pass the message on to young ones in the hope they will stay on the straight and narrow.

Researching the singer, Patti also became frustrated how such a strong woman, as she believed Billie to be, allowed herself to be treated the way she was.

"Her life can be quite dark which is such a shame.

"We have very dark sides as humans but there is always light, it is what we call hope," says Patti, who believes her mum prepared her and her siblings to cope with life through their faith.

"May be that upbringing prepared me. I am always analysing my life because I don't want to die without passing this experience on through that, and that is what I am doing with 'Billie & Me.'"

The greatest testimony to Patti's performance was receiving praise from a Billie Holiday fan. "Somebody from her own fan club came to the show and wrote to me saying she would have been proud," says Patti.

While the show briefly touches on the darker sides of Billie's life, it is wonderfully upbeat. Featuring some of Billie's well-known songs including 'Nice Work if You can get it' the show is peppered with fun and humour.

"I want people to leave the show feeling really happy," says Patti.

'Billie & Me' also gives Patti the opportunity to talk about her beloved mum, Dorothy.

Says Patti: "She was such a spiritual woman. I wouldn't be her daughter if I didn't maintain that."

She recalls her mum coming to see her perform for the first time - she couldn't believe her once shy daughter was entertaining audiences.

Patti's showbusiness journey is well documented - how the queue she joined for what she thought was the London attraction, Madame Tussaud's, turned out to be for an audition. She recalls singing 'The Sound of Music' and the rest, they say, is history. "I sang, I hit the high note and that is how I started in showbusiness so there must have been a reason for it," she says.

Patti's illustrious career includes starring roles in theatre; films and TV - she has also released nine albums - and 15 singles to date and she continues to perform in many countries.

Her charitable work in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa earned her an OBE and Patti also built five healthcare clinics in West Africa and a school in Lesotho.

She is a visiting teaching fellow at Middlesex University, where she lectures to final year students on life skills and her public speaking engagements include The Conference of World Scientists, The Royal Society of Art, Women's Federation for World Peace and the House of Lords.

'Billie & Me' is touring the UK with the performance at Otley Courthouse, Courthouse Street, on Friday April 27. For more information call Otley Courthouse on 01943 467466 or visit or