04 July 2008
By Nadine Bateman
It's hard to believe it, but this year Lulu becomes a pensioner.
You just couldn't imagine the petite singer, best known for her
energetic 1964 song Shout, collecting her bus pass.
The bubbly Scot says she's busier than ever - touring, recording and
even launching her own skincare range called Time Bomb.
She might be 60 in November, but her girlish face and glowing,
wrinkle-free complexion are the envy of women half her age.
'People are always asking me how I manage to have such good skin. I
used to custom-blend things myself because I figured that if two
products were good, they'd be even better if I mixed them.
'So, I thought I might as well create my own products. The range is
called Time Bomb because it's your secret weapon in the war against
ageing,' she laughs, slightly embarrassed it sounds corny.
'I do also try to stay healthy, but you know, staying young really is
'When I left Elton John at two o'clock this morning he was jumping
and dancing - there's a man with endless energy and a love of life.
'I was at his ball last night. It was like nothing you could ever
imagine. Former President Clinton was there, so was Will Smith. It
was amazing. Elton raised £10million for his Aids charity. That's phenomenal.'
So is partying until 2am the key to staying young? It sounds much
more fun than salad and the gym.
'It was work!' she says with a loud, throaty laugh.
'His ball is not a party. It's a very serious situation. It's an Aids
foundation fund-raiser which also raises awareness. It gathers a lot
of people together and they watch a film about people who are HIV
positive, and they learn all about exactly what it is.
'They may get dressed up, but it's a very serious event. It takes so
long to put this sort of thing together.'
Lulu is adamant that she doesn't have time to party because she's
still too busy working.
She'll be appearing in concert in Chichester Cathedral as part of
Chichester Festivities next week.
'How divine. It's amazing,' she says. 'Of course I've visited
Chichester Cathedral a number of times but I've never sung there.
This will be the first time since I've been in the business - that's
over 40 years but I'm a bit vague about how many exactly,' she laughs.
A household name for most of those years, does she enjoy that part of
The question gets a curt response: 'It's part of my job', she snaps.
'It's not the reason why I sing. I just do it because I love to. I do
gigs and concerts because - to quote John Miles - "music is my first
love, and it will be my last".
What I'm building up to, of course, is asking the squeaky clean
singer if she's ever been tempted down the same road as Amy Winehouse
or Britney Spears.
'You're asking me why I didn't become a drug addict or a drunk - is
that what you mean?', she laughs.
'Why didn't I die like Janis Joplin...' she asks herself, pondering
'It's a good question,' she muses, '...let me think, let me think.
That's a serious question.
'I had a manager who was much, much older than me. That was
definitely something to do with it. I think if I'd had a young
manager and stayed out clubbing, maybe things would have been different.
'But I also have a certain kind of seriousness about me. This is a
serious job. It's not to be taken for granted. I always felt that
somebody up there was looking after me, to be absolutely honest with
you. So I always felt I owed it to myself and others to be the best I
could and not waste opportunities.'
As for young female singers who seem to be having trouble coping with
fame, Lulu says she has nothing but sympathy.
'It's not easy coping with fame. It's not real. If you start letting
yourself live in a way that's not real it's a dangerous, dark road.
'Today is so much about celebrity that it's OTT. I suppose it can get
in the way sometimes, but it's a part of the job and it's really nice
when people are sweet to you and say things like "Oh, I remember that
song/when I saw you on stage/TV and I thought you were great.'
'It's important to be selective as well. To last as long as I have
lasted I've had to learn to choose carefully. One makes mistakes but
the decisions I have made have all been conscious and thought through.'
Lulu was famously married to Bee Gee Robin Gibb, then to celebrity
hair stylist John Frieda with whom she had a son Jordan, now 29.
'I'm hoping he'll give me grandchildren soon,' she confides. 'While I
still have the energy.'
Somehow you can't imagine Lulu being anything other than a youthful livewire.
'I want to stay young, not because I want to be pretty or glamorous
but because I want to be fit and agile and I want to carry on
singing. I love music.
'I was there in the Sixties when music really changed and that does
something to you - it's a lasting legacy. I used to wonder why people
were so obsessed with the Sixties.
'But now I realise it was an incredible time to be around, especially
in entertainment. The floodgates opened and I was fortunate to have
'And the music just gets better and better.
My favourite record this past year was Down by Slow Rider. I love
Franz Ferdinand, The Feeling, Razorlight, Zutons, Amy Winehouse. . .
'Oh, and I'd love to record with Dallas Austin and Tricky.'
Lulu will be singing in Chichester Cathedral as part of Chichester
Festivities on Wednesday. For more information, go to
www.chifest.org.uk, or call 01243 785718.