She has a glittering career spanning almost 60 years, an instantly recognisable raunchily rhythmic voice, has performed with the world’s biggest stars and counts the illustrious likes of Sirs Elton John, Tom Jones and Paul McCartney amongst her fans. Yet it seems Lulu’s beloved grandchildren Teddy, eight, and especially Bella, 10, aren’t too fussed when ‘Nana Lu’ starts belting out a tune.
Speaking on a Tea with Twiggy podcast, Lulu revealed: “‘I was in the car with them and starting singing along with a song that had come on the radio. Bella said, ‘Nana, stop! You’re spoiling it! I’m singing – listen to me!’ The thing is she’ll know all the words to a current song while, I, being a grandma, do get some of them wrong. Bella is extremely bossy, rather like me, and I absolutely adore her and her brother, Teddy.”
The singer has often revealed how being a grandmother is like a great gift and she feels so blessed that she has her son Jordan, the grandchildren and her dear daughter-in-law Alana. And she has said she gets to see and spend time with the children and often as she likes.
But maybe it’s not actually as often as she’d like at the moment but that’s because she’s preparing for several gigs with Boy George – who has described Lulu as “one helluva diva” - this summer.
“I’ve known George for a long time, and he’s always had a little bit of an obsession with me,’ she admits. “The dates were supposed to happen last year but were cancelled due to the pandemic. I cannot wait to perform in front of a live audience again. I simply love it. When I'm singing it's like I'm ‘home’. I wouldn’t like to do it for 12 months a year but music and performing is what I live for. It’s what I do. It makes me tick.”
The fact that Lulu’s been doing it for so long amazes her – almost as much as the fact that she can still do it. “It’s such a bonus that I can. I’m very aware of how lucky I am and I do have to be disciplined to ensure my voice is as good as it can be in order to perform,” she has said.
So, what does she do in preparation?
“I am very focused and disciplined,” she says. “When I have a gig in the evening, I never speak until after midday and even after that I ration the amount of time I speak on the phone. I warm up my voice intermittently throughout the afternoon, doing gentle exercises. I also cut right back on dairy products as they can cause congestion.”
It’s this dedication that has stood Lulu in good stead for a long career. She has always been an advocate of discipline. “For me, what comes from being disciplined is the freedom to be able to do the thing I love. I’ve got the same passion - maybe even more - because I’m so grateful for what I have,” she has said.
Lulu is a great believer in positive thinking and living in the moment.
Speaking recently she said: ‘I’m living more in the present and I’m more aware of what I’ve got. I’m not searching any more. My consciousness and perception have shifted because I’m getting older, I think. There is a prayer called The Serenity Prayer – ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ I try to follow that and what I’ve also learned is to try and live in the moment. Because in my whole life I’ve run, run, run. It’s been about what I do, not who I am. I’m constantly learning.”
She means in the formal sense, too. “On one occasion when I was in America, I did a university course for the day at one of the top “Ivy League” universities,’ she recalls. ‘It was fantastic and I’d love to do it again at some point. I never had a proper, formal education and that is a regret. I didn’t used to admit to having regrets because I like looking forward rather than back but, come on, everyone has a few. My other big one is that I never had another child. I would have loved a daughter. I kind of feel I have one, though. Alana – my daughter-in-law – is the daughter I never had.”
For more details on Lulu’s dates with Boy George, visit the official Lulu website, here.