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Interviews

Lulu Interview



Glaswegian singer Lulu is one of the UK’s most successful female artists. As a teenager, she was at the forefront of British pop music in the 1960s and has continued to enjoy success through the decades as a solo artist and through collaborations with Take That and Boyzone’s Ronan Keating.

Lulu is set to open this year’s Llangollen Eisteddfod with a concert featuring some of her biggest hits from the past decades and a few surprise collaborations as well – she tells me she cannot say anymore than that for now, but Welsh singer Aled Jones has been helping her with the pronunciation of ‘Llangollen’.

Do you remember the first time you performed in front of an audience?

I don’t because it was such a long time ago (laughs).

What was it like moving from Glasgow to London at just 15-years-old?

It was such an exciting time in my life working with some incredible artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I did miss home though and used to cry myself to sleep most nights – but I had the drive to keep going because I knew it was what I wanted to do.

You grew up in a golden age for British pop. Which musicians inspired you?

Again, The Beatles played the music I loved and there were so many great artists from that era – singers like Ray Charles and Brenda Lee. I love so much music from today though like Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele and Cee Lo Green – those artists are great songwriters and there are definitely comparisons to be made with the Motown era.

Later on Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin came along. I was fortunate enough to work with both (Led Zeppelin members) Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones – they’re both incredible musicians from a great era for RnB and Pop.

What can we expect from your set at Llangollen – is it difficult to compile a set list when you’ve had so many hits?

I love planning a set list because it’s all about the music. You obviously take into consideration costumes and production but it’s the songs that get me excited about a show. There’s no way I’m going to leave out songs like Shout but I still give the set list great attention. There will be some special guests at my show in Llangollen but I’m not allowed to tell you who they are apparently! I know the Welsh are great singers so I probably won’t have to sing that much myself (laughs).

You played PR client Edina Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous – what are your memories of the sitcom?

It was so much fun – Jennifer Saunders is incredibly funny and a great writer. It was an opportunity to have a laugh and just send myself up a little bit.

You also danced to the Soulja Boy track Crank That on this year’s Let’s Dance For Comic Relief.

I know and I still have the injuries! I saw an osteopath about my neck a few times during the competition. The moves were so ridiculous at times in the routine – I don’t know how professional dancers do it every day.

You’ve been a mentor on American Idol – how do the contestants differ from the UK series?

There’s a much bigger pond of talent to choose from in the States than there is in the UK so it was all the more difficult to single out the best contestants. I wish it didn’t focus so much on the sob stories of each contestant, which I still cry to admittedly, but just honed in on the music. I know it’s a great vehicle for up-and-coming musicians to build their career but they’re under the microscope all of the time. It’s pretty difficult to return to any sense of normality after being thrust into the limelight so soon.

How do you think a 15-year-old Lulu would get on in an auction for The X Factor?

That’s a really good question. (Thinks for a few seconds) I think a 15-year-old Lulu would’ve done pretty well – there was a raw talent inside me at that age that would’ve shone through.

You’ve consistently changed your image over the decades – are you a control freak?

(Laughs) Never! I’m extremely analytical about everything I do and I’m never prepared to settle. I think I’ve slowed down in recent years but I’m always looking to challenge myself. I don’t know, maybe I am a control freak.

What do you think has been the secret to your career’s longevity?

I don’t there’s a simple answer to that question. Again, maybe because I’m so analytical about everything I do. I know I would’ve been a singer with or without the hit records. Singing is all it’s ever been about – I know I’ll be singing until I drop.

Michael Took