Lulu: 'You have to keep it real - that's a big part of being Scottish'

The singer recalled being in a Dennistoun chip shop when she discovered she'd won The Beatles' seal of approval.

Champagne for Lulu: a line delivered brilliantly by Eddie in Absolutely Fabulous and subsequently, the title of Lulu’s farewell tour.

But she’s not quite ready to say goodbye to the stage just yet.

The tour that has just now been extended due to public demand which will see the pint-sized legendary performer hit the road again, this time performing in Edinburgh when she heads north of the border.

Following on from a dream Glasgow show, she said: “The audiences were unbelievable. I have to admit I had a tear every single night because you think it’s the end of something that has been a big part of your life.

“But then again, now I get to have another go.”

And on returning home to the Scottish crowds, she said: “I can’t say I get nervous but I’m keen for it to go well. And it’s great.

Scottish singer Lulu, circa 1965.  (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Then of course, I go into my accent and they go that phony old women, she doesn’t know who she is. And it’s true I don’t!”

Lulu first shot to fame as a teenager with her debut single Shout in 1964.

She went on to release a host of albums and represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969, where she was crowned joint winner.

The singer recalled having her first taste of stardom as a five-year-old when she sang at a street party for the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

Lulu joked that growing up in Glasgow has helped her “keep it real” from a young age.

“Everyone was kind of like, ‘oh, that was alright hen. A right wee chanter, your lassie,'” she said. “I became a little bit of a local star in my street.

Friends say to me ‘you don’t get impressed easily. It’s a Glaswegian trait.

“You can’t get full of yourself. That’s maybe a part of me.”

She added: “I love all of my idiosyncrasies – keeping it real when I can. I’m proud to be Scottish.”

When you sit opposite Lulu, you can’t help but marvel at both her career and her age.

She is incredible at 75 and is showing no signs of slowing down, despite getting ready to step back from touring.

The singer is, as she puts it, simply getting ready to embrace a new chapter in her life. A new beginning.

Lulu has been taking serious acting lessons for the past seven years and is keen to pursue more film opportunities, as well as working on a new book and, from the sounds of it, a revealing documentary about her life.

“I am talking to an incredible company about doing the documentary.

“I would be absolutely different to the way I’ve spoken before. I’m quite private.

“I seem like I’m ‘happy clappy chatty Cathy’, which I can be, but I keep a lot to myself. So, there are things that I would actually speak about and be more vulnerable and maybe talk about stuff that was painful.

“There were ups and downs and many challenges.”

There have also been some monumental moments, as Lulu explained: “I feel like I got a big chance when John Lennon and Paul McCartney said on Ready Steady Go that their favourite record of the week was from a girl called Lulu.”

A pinch me moment – but one which Lulu actually heard when she was in the chippy in Dennistoun, getting a Friday night fish supper.

British pop singer David Bowie poses with Lulu in the Daily Mirror studio, 27th December 1973. (Photo by Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

She added: “Then working with David Bowie was another leg up. Being in a film with Sidney Poitier – people looked at me differently and then Take That introduced me to a new audience.

“I have had a lot of rebirths. Deaths and rebirths.”

When you do these interviews you have a limited time and it was nigh on impossible to condense Lulu’s incredible life and career into just 30 minutes of chat. I wanted to know so much more.

What it was like growing up in Dennistoun as Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, the wee lassie with the big voice? Who was her favourite person to interview on one of her many TV shows and, quite simply how she still finds the energy and zest for life that she has in abundance?

But that’s for another time – and I very much hope I do get a chance to chat to her again as she was quite simply, great fun with a wicked laugh and so many great tales to tell.

We rounded off our conversation with her teaching me to sing the opening of Shout, which quite frankly is a moment I’ll treasure forever. Local karaoke nights, beware.

But my take from all of this is that Lulu and her career and life in general is simply something to Shout about.

STV News

Watch the interview in full on ‘What’s On Scotland’ on the STV Player.

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