Lulu was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie in a less than salubrious neighbourhood of Glasgow.

Her singing career began over 50 years ago, when she was promoted as the typical girl next door and despite huge commercial success over the years, Lulu,now a youthful 65, still seems refreshingly down to earth.

“I love what I do and my latest tour has been great fun,” she enthused when I spoke to her shortly before an appearance at Oxfordshire's Cornbury Festival. “But I never did this music thing to be famous! Celebrity is unimportant to me. I've sung and performed since I could talk. It is all about the music for me and family apart, music is my first love.

"When I sing I am very disciplined and always give 150 per cent. I drink lots of tea - Masala Chai – which is soothing for the voice.”

The Cornbury Festival - known affectionately as 'Poshstock' - is famous for its unusual mix of artists with comedians and children's entertainers adding to the fun. David and Samantha Cameron are regular attendees along with Jeremy Clarkson, Alex James, Rebekah and Charlie Brooks plus Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc.

“I am not fazed by VIPs,” says Lulu. “If they like music we’ll be fine, for music transcends class, politics, colour or creed and these days the music I do is more about emotions, sadness, joy and poignancy.”

Lulu first hit the headlines in the Sixties with a hugely powerful version of the Isley Brothers' song ‘Shout’ but an even bigger hit for her was ‘To Sir, with Love’, the theme to the 1967 Sidney Poitier film of the same name. After this she had a succession of chart toppers with David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold The World', the title song for the James Bond film 'The Man With The Golden Gun' plus the Eurovision winner, ‘Boom Bang-a-Bang'.

“You know I never watch Eurovision,” Lulu confessed. “It was stressful being in it as I never wanted to do it but the BBC put lots of pressure on me saying it would get 20 million viewers if I sang in it – which it did. I don’t sing Boom Bang-a-Bang nowadays - it doesn't exactly move my soul! But I still do ‘Shout'.

"My shows are never just a series of my past hits. Some of them I'd struggle to perform now, such as 'I’m a Tiger’. The hits that work best with audiences are the biggest ones but it is actually for my albums that I've had the best reviews. I am proud I co-wrote most of the songs on my latest album, ‘Making Life Rhyme'.

'I am a rock and roll singer with a blues feel and I always loved black American music. My influences growing up were gospel and soul and I used to sing in church when I was young but I was a precocious teenager and liked to do what I wanted, often getting told off for improvising when I sang in church! As a grandmother now I do see the folly of some of what I did back then - but I can still be pretty feisty on occasions."

"Looking back, I have had a great time, really. I was lucky to work with The Beatles, Elton John, Bobby Womack, Ronan Keating, Sting and Take That as well as The Monkees" (Lulu had a romance with Davy Jones), "David Bowie," (who Lulu also dated)plus of course The Bee Gees" (Lulu married their singer Maurice Gibb).

"I have also enjoyed working with Jools Holland who maybe isn't always taken seriously enough here in England. He's had some brilliant female vocalists singing with his band - like Ruby Turner and Sam Brown - and it was good to be one of them."

"Most of all though, I am a very passionate person and I love having fun with my music on stage.”

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