She might have been afraid to show her vulnerable side for years but Lulu says it has made for some of the best reviews in her career.
The singer and songwriter, speaking ahead of her concert at Royal & Derngate in Northampton, can not believe the reaction that her latest album Making Life Rhyme has had.
The singer said: “The new album has been having some of the most fantastic reviews I have ever had in my career. I am amazed, gobsmacked by some of the reviews.
“I am so grateful that I can still go out there and do something like this after all these years.”
The Grammy-nominated singer will be performing hits from her 50-year career, such as To Sir With Love, The Man Who Sold The World,Relight My Fire and, of course, Shout.
As well as performing songs by some of her musical heroes, such as soul legends Ray Charles and Otis Redding, she will also be taking us on a musical journey,songwriting experiences and other entertaining stories.
She puts down a lot of her success to looking at herself and coming to term with her success and personal circumstances.
Lulu said: “I have gone away and done a lot of work on myself like the Americans had done. I didn’t have an easy childhood. I was the eldest and very quickly had a lot of success and became the breadwinner.
“I think it was hard for me because I think I was the first Scottish female artist to make it out. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.”
During the early days of her success, she felt that she had to be seen as perfect and was not allowed to show any flaws.
Lulu added: “When the initial wave of success came along, I was very afraid to be vulnerable. I was very afraid to show any anxiety.
“It’s why people probably do go off the rails. They feel they have to maintain the image so I can totally understand why some singers have breakdowns. People like Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, I totally understand it.
“I do like Justin’s new album, I think it is very good. In fact, I am a Belieber. I think he has an excellent manager. And I was lucky when I started out because I had a very good manager.
“It was difficult when I was starting out but I am now in the position where I can not worry so much about showing the vulnerability, I think people like me for that.
“I think now showing vulnerability is something that people can relate to in an artist a lot more.”
She cites one artist among her contemporaries along with many of today’s artists as an inspiration.
Lulu said: “I really like Dusty Springfield, I liked the music she produced, it was something. However there are a lot more male artists than I was inspired. The Motown sound with Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Bruno Mars.
“I think there are a lot of talented artists out there. I really like Ed Sheeran, Rihanna, Beyonce and Paloma Faith. But I think it is amazing there are all these great kids and I can still be going along and competing with them at my age.”
Making Life Rhyme has garnered some fantastic reviews but there is one particular song that she has highlighted for special attention.
Lulu added: “The new album, the song Cry has had a lot of attention. I was thinking that with a choir and we are going to have a choir with me.
“I was inspired about a man I was in relationship who had trouble in letting it go.
“Although I was listening back to it with my brother who I had written the song with and realised that it was really all about me and all of the trauma that I have suffered in my life.”
It’s safe to say that the singer’s childhood and her early career in the 60s had some troublesome side effects on the singer’s life.
She wrote in her autobiography of the graphic physical and verbal abuse that she grew up with, her father’s alcoholism and her mother’s black eyes and bruises.
Lulu added: “I don’t think I would have dared say anything at the time, but I was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder which is what soldiers are diagnosed with. I was stunned to be diagnosed with something that soldiers in war zones get but that it what the home life was like. But then I look back at what I was dealing with it and did make it very anxious.
“We are going to sell the album on the tour and some of the money is going to a military charity because they are going through a condition that I totally understand and get.”
While you get the impression that Lulu would prefer to look forward than back on her career (it is probably why she has lasted so long in the industry) but I asked her about the time she was picked to sing the Bond theme song for The Man with The Golden Gun.
“I think I was asked to do The Man with The Golden Gun because I was hot at the time, and I suspect that is why Adele and Sam Smith were asked recently.
“I loved John Barry and I was very excited to do it.”
And with the return of the celebrity edition of The Great British Bake Off this week, I can’t resist about her experiences battling those ovens and trying to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry.
Lulu laughs hysterically throughout the chat about her time in the tent and it is clear she had a great time.
She added: “It was lovely to see Jennifer and Joanna again. I’ve just done some filming for the Ab Fab movie. I did love doing the Bake Off. Being in the tent with the three of them was hysterical. Barry Humphries was just something else in that tent.
“I was tempted to go and sabotage Jennifer Saunders cake but was too busy doing damage to my own to go and do it.
“But to have a compliment from Mary Berry about my shortbread was just a delight.”
I finish up the interview that has already overrun by asking her what she would say to get people along and will the evening make them want to shout.
“Absolutely, I hope they will shout,” she said.
I followed up by saying that she has never heard that joke before.
“No, never,” almost straight laced but enough for this intrepid reporter to know she’s heard it several times before. I end by promising to go and work on myself and she laughs again.
She might have been afraid to show a vulnerable side, but it makes her all the more endearing.
An Evening with Lulu comes to Royal & Derngate on Wednesday March 9 starting at 7.30pm.
Tickets for the show cost £36 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.