Kiki Dee and the wrong colour dungarees!

Kiki Dee & Carmelo Luggeri combine for a gig at the Rec Rooms in Horsham, a combination that goes back two decades and more.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 7:34 am

They will be at the venue on November 22, and their audience will quickly appreciate just how much they love playing together.

“We got together through a gentleman called Steve Brown who was a big part of Elton John’s career,” Kiki says.

“He was Elton’s personal manager for many years. Sadly, he died last year. But he was really important to Elton. He got Elton to turn left when he was writing very poppy tunes in the late 60s, and we met through him.

“And he had this great attitude of ‘Go out and do something that you want to do’ which is unusual in the record industry.

“I got a record deal when I was 16 and straight away it was the name change, the whole music business, the whole package… but I think both Carmelo and I had reached the point where we were ready to be a bit more real in our careers.

“I think the music we are doing now is much more us.

“And it is quite a journey we go on in a concert. We try to create an intimate atmosphere, and that’s the good thing about playing some of the smaller venues. With the big productions sometimes you feel like you can’t get anywhere near.

“And it is all very dynamic between us.”

It all adds up to a happy chapter in a career which started to blossom just as the 60s started to bite.

“I was 16 when I came to audition in London for a record deal. I was completely green, the equivalent to a 13 or 14-year-old now, I suppose. But they saw some potential in my voice. It was all very exciting.”

And so Pauline Matthews became Kiki Dee: “I suppose they felt Pauline Matthews was too boring as a name. They wanted something that felt 60s, I suppose. It came out of Kinky. Everything was Kinky, Kinky Boots, kookie and so on, and I suppose they thought it sounded cute.”

It was the start of something special: “I think when you are young, you are so open. You have not been brushed against the shore like a pebble for many, many years.

“You are just open, and it was exciting. I had wanderlust. I didn’t want to stay in Bradford. I wanted to see the world, and I wanted to do things.

“And it was just an incredible time to go to London with The Beatles and The Stones just coming in.

“But I didn’t make it as a household name for ten years, and I think that held me in good stead.

“There was just so much to learn. I am still learning every day about song-writing and about performing. You just never get to the end of it.

“I suppose I am a bit of a long-distance runner in that respect. Someone said I was ‘Kiki I Will Run Forever Dee’, and I suppose that was a compliment.

“And I just kept my feet on the ground. I had a very solid childhood and that helped a lot. I know it is a cliché, but it is true.

“Your childhood is important. I know a lot of people in the entertainment world had a difficult childhood, and it can take years to work through it.”

Elton John for instance, as depicted in the film Rocketman recently.

“Elton was working through a lot of stuff. I was around during that time, and we had some great times, but I guess he got a little bit into substances and alcohol at that time.

“But you think of all that, and it is easy to forget just how incredibly exciting it was to be around his creativity.”

The film inevitably included a recreation of Kiki’s and Elton’s huge success with Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. And yes, it was strange to see herself portrayed on screen.

“I did get a tweet from her, and she was such a sweet girl. But I guess not many people get played on the big screen!

“But they got the wrong colour dungarees!”