Eighties pop star Deniece Pearson has recalled her early life in Romford as she celebrates 40 years since her band Five Star's debut and the release of her latest album.

A lead singer for the pop/R&B group, Deniece and her siblings grew up in the town.

They rose to fame between 1985 and 1988 with the release of single All Fall Down, their first track to make it to the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

The band was also nominated for a Grammy and won a Brit Award in 1987 for Best British Group.

Reflecting on her past, Deniece told The Recorder that she “loved” Romford and was brought up to think that “anything you wanted in your life, you can have”.

She said: “We were very happy and free in our minds.” She went to school in Rush Green, and remembers making stained glass windows out of coloured paper in the school.

Romford Recorder: The 'Five Star' band pictured outside their Romford homeThe 'Five Star' band pictured outside their Romford home (Image: Deniece Pearson)She added: “We were always picking cherry blossoms and bringing them to mummy at home.

“I had so many best friends there (in Romford), we used to go and buy the tree penny buns from the bakery every afternoon. The school days were just amazing.”

On her journey as an artist, she said it was “incredible” being in a musical household. Her father, Buster Pearson, was a popular guitarist himself and had worked on the Wilson Pickett Midnight Hour tour among other acts.

She said: “He then distributed records, so we had lots of vinyls to pick from. He also started recording his own music and he used to wake us up out of bed and play what he had written and recorded."

Her mother, she said, was a big fan of Elvis, so they watched his movies every Sunday and heard his songs.

The group soon became the “youngest ever British act to have a number one album”, with songs such as System Addict, The Slightest Touch, and Rain or Shine all top-five hits in the UK.

Romford Recorder: Deniece's father, Buster Pearson, had drawn inspiration from the Jackson 5 in putting together the band of siblingsDeniece's father, Buster Pearson, had drawn inspiration from the Jackson 5 in putting together the band of siblings (Image: Deniece Pearson)Deniece got a chance to meet the Queen, and other prominent members of the Royal Family following their achievements.

Her family moved to America at the peak of their success, and they continued to release more music.

She went on the Voice UK as a contestant years later after the band split up and toured with the likes of Billy Ocean and The Jacksons.

Now, 40 years since Five Star’s debut single, Deniece is back with a new track Forever Young that is part of her upcoming album.

She said: “Forever Young is a very feelgood, take it easy kind of vibe.

“I was dating this Jamaican guy before and he was always saying “you got to be in touch with your roots”, and after I broke up I started writing my album.”

Romford Recorder: Deniece Pearson at the photoshoot for her latest albumDeniece Pearson at the photoshoot for her latest album (Image: Deniece Pearson)The album, she added, thus “taps into her Jamaican heritage” and has influences from Bob Marley.

Deniece is set to perform at a 5 Star 40-year anniversary show on Saturday (September 30) in London. There are no plans for the band to reunite yet but Deniece said she is releasing a new Christmas special this year that she believes will be “a top Christmas chartbuster”.

Her time in Romford with her friends and siblings, she said, will however be etched in her memories forever no matter the ups and downs in her life.

She added: “There was no place like Romford in the summers. We always used to go over to the fields with our cousins, collect berries from trees, wash them and put them in the blender with lots of milk.

“Romford rocks.”

All the dates for Deniece’s upcoming shows can be found on her website: Home | Deniece Pearson (deniecepearsonofficial.com)