Don’t Go Breaking My Heart star Kiki Dee to perform intimate gig in Hornchurch
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:49 06 November 2017
Kiki Dee, who sang on the Number 1 hit Don’t Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John, will be performing a special show in Hornchurch this month.
The 70s star, who also released the classic I’ve Got the Music in Me, will play a “semi-acoustic set”, with her musical partner Carmelo Luggeri at Fairkytes Arts Centre, Billet Lane, Hornchuch, on November 24.
Kiki will be drawing on songs from across her distinguished 50 year career, as well artists that inspired her, such as Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush.
“We call it a semi-acoustic set, as Carmelo plays guitar and I dabble a bit on keyboards,” she told the Recorder.
“The music is a real mix of my old history and music we have written more recently.”
Kiki, 70, explained that the show would be a very intimate affair, and she will be singing a stripped back version of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.
“I’ve got to an age where I wanted to have a bit more control over my music,” she said.
“I was more product orientated earlier in my career.
“Elton was great to work with, but we always had to come up with a hit. The fact that I can now do this show is great.”
Kiki, whose real name is Pauline Matthews, started singing from the age of 12 or 13, growing up in Bradford, Yorkshire.
“I was the youngest of three children, post war babies, and I wanted to get a bit of attention.
“And by singing I got attention, and I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Kiki was working at Boots when she was 16, “Carmelo always says I’ve only had one proper job”, and singing in Leeds in the evening when she got signed by Fontana Records.
She released several Northern Soul albums – including I’m Kiki Dee which now sells for £50 a pop at vintage record stores – and became the first white British artist to sign with iconic American soul label Motown.
“Someone in America heard one of my records and they invited me over to tour for 12 weeks,” Kiki explained.
“I got to meet Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder!”
Kiki was introduced to Elton through the label manager of EMI John Reid, who went on to become Elton’s manager.
John called up Kiki to tell her about him shortly after he’d signed the singer.
“He [John] said: ‘He’s going to be really big, would you like to meet him?’
“If I ever write the book, if I remember everything, I’m going to name it phone calls, as I can’t think how many times making phone calls has helped me get gigs.”
This collaboration led to Kiki’s most famous hit, her duet with Elton on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.
Dusty Springfield, who Kiki had started her career singing backing vocals for, was originally slated to sing, however pulled out due to illness.
Kiki stepped in, and the rest is history.
The song, styled on classic Motown duets, stayed at Number 1 for six weeks, and has sold more than one million copies in the UK.
And while Kiki, who now lives in Hertforshire, doesn’t see Elton as much any more she says when they bump into each other “it’s like seeing an old friend”.
“He’s always been hilarious and brings the best out of you.”
For the last 23 years Kiki has been performing with Carmelo, who has worked with Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and Chris Rea.
The pair were forced to cancel a show in October at Brookside Theatre, after Carmelo fell ill, so even more reason to catch the double act at Fairkytes.
However after more than 50 years in the spotlight, Kiki shows no signs of letting up: “I will carry on as I can still do it, that’s my ambition.”
Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri are playing on November 24 at the Fairkytes Arts Centre, doors open at 7pm. Tickets are from £27.50, call the box office on 01708 456308 or visit seetickets.com.