Pop legend Lulu will belt out the hits on a night that’s guaranteed to give you something to shout about next Monday at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. The Glasgow-born star will be performing songs from her 50-year career as well as tracks from her recent album Making Life Rhyme. Andy Howells recently put questions to the celebrated music star.
How did your current tour come about?
It was all inspired when I was in New York playing BB King’s, a highly reputable blues club in Manhattan. The show was a sell out and people were saying “When are you going on tour again?” I hadn’t done a solo tour for so long having performed with Chaka Khan, Anastasia and the tours with Jools (Holland). Then I started writing and recording songs for a possible album and started pouring out. I got fired up and re-energised and then last year we just decided to go for it.
Its interesting you mention re-energised. You always strike me as having so much energy. Back in the 1960s you achieved so much in such a short time including having several hit records, getting to Number one in the US, making the film To Sir With Love, representing Great Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest and marrying BeeGee Maurice Gibb.
I know! How the hell did I do all that? I have got a lot of energy you’re absolutely right. It wasn’t easy, I was very protected. I had a very good manager and she had a very close knit family and I lived with her mother and her father. When her father died, I bought a house and took her mother with me and she was very protective of me I think that’s how I survived so long. It was pretty daunting a lot of the time and scary and I missed my parents when I first came to London and I’d cry myself to sleep at night I had so much success that it carried me but lets face it I came into the music business at an incredible time that will never happen again.
What was it like for you when you cracked America?
It was unbelievable. My parents didn’t like British music or films, I was brought up on a diet of America! That’s why I sang with an American accent and I wanted to go to America. When To Sir with Love (the theme from the film of the same name) went to Number One in America and I got a telegram saying “America wants Lulu” I was like “Oh my goodness!” I went there and it was a little bit dreamlike but pretty fantastic, even today when I go to America there’s a very sweet attitude towards me, it’s because you couldn’t have made To Sir with Love in America. Black Americans have a real affinity towards me because I was in love with a black teacher (played by Sidney Poitier). It was a special thing, and it was only when I got older that I realised how much of a part of Sidney’s history I’d always be connected with.
You didn’t get a UK Number one until the 1990s when you topped the charts with Take That and Relight My Fire. What was that like for you?
I was never upset that I’d never had a (UK) number one but then to have a number one was a nice surprise!
Many people probably think Shout was a number one.
I think some people do. It was such a powerful song and I’ve never been able to find a song that was comparable that.
Do you have a particular favourite that you’ve recorded?
I don’t think there’s one personal favourite. I love doing The Man Who Sold the World and the fact that I was able to write a song (I Don’t Want To Fight) that Tina Turner had a hit with. That’s going to be a duet on the tour, that song was written about that situation and doing it as a duet was like kind of poignant.
Will you be performing your new album on the tour?
I won’t be doing all the album, only a few songs and some of the hits that I can do today and get my teeth into. There are certain lyrics I did when I was young that I don’t feel I can do today and songs that have influenced my roots from way back. I think of young people today who have been inspired by Motown. Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, Jessie J who do they love? It’s influenced by the music I love that’s kind of what the whole show will be about – all for rock n roll!
- A version of this interview by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on May 15, 2015.
- For more information on Lulu visit her official website.