Lulu's name is synonymous with rock and a whole lot of soul. She first burst onto the scene in the sixties at the tender age of 15, with the enduring mega-hit "Shout." Since then she has topped the charts in every decade (working with everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and The Beatles to Elton John, Sting, David Bowie and Paul McCartney) and also become an accomplished actress, in such notable works as the cult classic "To Sir With Love" and legendary guest appearances on the BBC comedy, Absolutely Fabulous.
From a young age, Lulu found inspiration in the R&B and soul records made by American artists. She was showcased in the 2003 Mike Figgis/Martin Scorsese documentary Red, White and Blues along with other British artists (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck) who were influenced by the genre. When she turned her hand to writing, her song "I Don't Wanna Fight" became a world-wide number one for Tina Turner and was nominated for both Grammy and Ivor Novello Awards. And who can forget the high-energy duet with Take That, lifting "Relight My Fire" to new heights and taking it to number 1 in the UK? While mentoring the hopefuls on American Idol, Lulu stopped the show with a powerhouse version of "To Sir With Love" - arranged by Barry Manilow - to a stunned audience of over 70 million. Never one to slow down, Lulu still regularly performs with her band throughout Europe. She enjoyed two successful sold-out tours of her "Here Come The Girls" show, which paired her with Anastacia and Chaka Kahn. Now she looks forward to bringing her unique brand of rock n' soul to the United States.
On February 16, 2013 at 8pm, LuLu, Britian's iconic singer, will make her NYC debut with a performance at B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill (237 West 47th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenue) backed by an All-Star Band, featuring Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino and Rich Pagano from The Fab Faux, plus Paul Shaffer. Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My father inspired me to sing. He had such a good voice and where I come from (Glasgow), everybody could sing. We'd gather with family and friends and neighbors and everyone would share a drink and a song. My father walked around the house singing all of the time. When I was a baby, he would rock me to sleep and always with a song. His singing resonated so deeply in me, that practically before I could talk, I was singing in tune. And my parents encouraged me.
In terms of influences, my mother was very pro-American when it came to music. So, I grew up listening to American music. As a young girl, it was The Andy Williams Show, The Rosemary Clooney Show and singers like Theresa Brewer, Connie Francis and Brenda Lee. In my teen years, I discovered the blues and gospel music. I loved Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Without a doubt, American artists definitely made the biggest impression on me.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I've been so blessed in my career to work with so many amazing artists, but of course there are a few that I'd love to collaborate with now. I really like and would love to work with Cee-Lo Green and Bruno Mars. They are both the real-deal when it comes to innate, natural-born talent, as both song-writers and singers. I also would love to work with B.B. King and Steven Tyler.
3. You have been performing for four decades as a singer, writer, actress, and radio host. What have you learned about yourself from your varied career? That I will never stop learning. That I am a novice, even though I've been around for forty odd years. And that's kind of exciting. It pleases me that there's more, more to learn, ways to improve...it's not over.
4. What do you get from your acting career that you do not get from your singing career? I haven't acted much recently although I would love to do more because there is so much about it that I love. Acting terrifies me because it is quite challenging, but also very rewarding. For me as a singer, even though I perform quite often with other people, I am still "Lulu", an individual. But, acting lets me be part of an ensemble. I love the interaction and everything that goes into the process.
5. On February 16, 2013, you will be making your NYC debut at BB Kings. What excites you about this moment? Why do you think it took you so long to make your NYC debut? I'm excited for the opportunity to take a step back and return to what I love, which is singing and the blues. Since I was very young and first came into the music business, I've learned to be "an entertainer." But I am undoing some of the things that I've learned and I intend to be more inward, more focused and make it about the songs. I am looking forward to stripping it down a bit and having a very personal moment.
As for why it took me so long, I guess I've been finding my way to NYC all these years...it's a journey after all. Or maybe I'm just slow (haha).
6. What can fans expect at this engagement? Well you'll just have to come and see. They can expect to see me singing some of the songs that I love most and honoring some of my favourite artists.
7. What are you looking forward to about performing at BB Kings? It's always a thrill to share the stage with such talented musicians, The Fab Faux and Paul Shaffer. And I am excited about changing speeds a bit. Change is good!
8. You have worked with some of the biggest legends in music including David Bowie, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. What did you learn from working with them? I learned that when you work with great people, you up your game - you have to rise to the occasion and if you study with a great master, you will learn.
9. One of the first songs you wrote, "I Don't Wanna Fight" (one of my personal favorites) was recorded by Tina Turner and used as the theme song for the film "What's Love Got To Do With It." What did it feel like to have one of your songs recorded by such a legend? That really blew my mind - especially when it become such a big hit for her...It was surreal. Wynonna Judd also recorded another song I wrote called "My Angel Is Here."
10. You started songwriting in the 1990s. What made you want to start writing your own music? What made then the right time to start doing this? What is your favorite part of the creative process in writing music and in recording an album? I started writing songs because my brother told me I had to! I had been out of the business for some time, about eight years, and he said to me, "if you want to get back in you've got to write" and so I did...we did, together. It was the right time because as with most things, necessity is the mother of invention. I really enjoy collaborating and to me that's the best part of the creative process; sharing ideas, really getting into it, finding inspiration.
11. In addition to your recording work and television ventures, you have also starred in several theatrical productions in Europe. What do you enjoy about performing in theatre? Do you have plans of making your Broadway debut? I have done quite a bit of theatre. I played "Ms. Adelaide" in Guys & Dolls, a National Theatre production directed by Richard Eyre, in the West End. It was absolutely thrilling to work with him. I've played "Peter Pan" in both the musical and the play. And there have been some others...Theatre is instant gratification. You go on, you perform and you get the reaction. You know if you were good or bad, if people liked you or didn't. Plus, I love being part of an ensemble. I have no immediate plans for Broadway, but I am certainly open to it.
12. Favorite way to spend your day off? I love spending time with my grandchildren.
13. Favorite skin care product? I can't live without Time Bomb. Since I was in my early twenties I have tried to take very good care of my skin and I've put a lot of effort into it. When I hit my fifties, and the products I was using just weren't 'cutting it' I had to find something that worked. Time Bomb products are designed with ingredients that make a difference for my skin and they were created by an award-winning team. It's thrilling for me to have people tell me that it's made a difference for their skin too. It's a whole new string to my bow that I would never imagined.
A Look Back at LuLu's Career: