British pop icon Lulu was just 15 when she recorded her first UK hit Shout. Then a year later in 1967, the theme to the film To Sir With Love took her to the top of charts all over the world.
Despite a 50-year career in the music business, Lulu has only just released a record of entirely self-written songs - Making Life Rhyme.
Lynn Freeman: What’s the secret to your longevity and songwriting?
Lulu: What happened was, I’d been out of the recording business for many years. My brother said in the ‘90s “you’ve got to write your own songs”, and I was horrified.
The first song we did, we wrote about what was going on for me right then and there. I was getting divorced and I was heartbroken.
Wow. Heartbreak has worked for songwriters for a very, very long time.
It’s a purple experience. Certainly, that’s what I feel when I’m on stage.
I used to look for songs on the outside, now they all come from the inside. Because that’s what happens when you write your own songs, you’re not looking for them.
So, that first song was a huge hit all over the world for Tina Turner, called I Don’t Wanna Fight.
Writing for yourself, for your own voice, because people have written some fabulous songs for you over the years, has that also been a big step?
A big step was to start writing; that was the first hurdle.
You don’t think about your future boyfriend, you just sing it.
And it immediately suited a Tina Turner voice, so there you go.