Annabella Lwin to perform at Rewind North festival

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 July 2016

Annabella Lwin, of Bow Wow Wow fame

Annabella Lwin, of Bow Wow Wow fame

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Annabella Lwin, of Bow Wow Wow fame, plays at Rewind North this August, held for the third consecutive year at Capesthorne Hall.

Annabella LwinAnnabella Lwin

f you were awake in the 80’s, you’ll no doubt have had the refrain from Bow Wow Wow’s hit song rattling around in your head since you spotted this headline. Discovered by a friend of Malcolm McLaren while working in a dry cleaners at the age of 14, lead singer Annabella Lwin provided an 80’s fairy story for every wannabe pop star of the era, but was it everything we dreamed it should be?

It seems that, for a while, it was.

‘It was all down to my mum, really,’ says Annabella, from her home in California. ‘I was 14 and wanted to earn some pocket money. I found myself a job in a cake shop, but my mum wouldn’t let me take it because she thought I’d eat too many cakes, so she found me a job in a local dry cleaners.

‘Malcolm McLaren was scouting for a young girl singer for a pop group he was forming and for whom he had a very specific vision. A friend of his saw me in the dry cleaners and told Malcolm about me. It was a very unusual set of circumstances, but that’s how it happened!

‘I was invited to audition and the next thing I knew I was being asked to drop out of school and go off singing. They had a huge plan in operation – all I knew was that I loved singing and loved the launch song, C30-C60-C90 Go!’

The single was launched in 1980 by EMI as the first ever cassette single and as a 7” vinyl. It only made number 34 in the UK charts and it wasn’t until 1982, with new label RCA Records that they released their next record, the massive hit Go Wild In the Country, which led to their next, even bigger hit, I Want Candy, in the same year.

‘It had all started quite slowly. I missed some classes and was tired a lot from late night recording sessions, but then it quickly turned into a helter-skelter ride,’ Annabella says. ‘We did so much touring, almost non-stop. In 1983, when I was just 17, we finished one tour and had a planned break before the next one was due to start. I expected a few weeks rest before it all started again, but in fact I was kicked out of the band as the other three guys went off to form another group. I just got a phone call to tell me it was all over.

‘I’d bought a house, got a mortgage – so it was all a bit of a shock! It turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life.’

Annabella turned to her roots to gain some perspective and strength; back to the Buddhism practised by her Burmese father. ‘I found a stability in Buddhism I really needed and am still really grateful for it.’

Annabella spent the next two decades singing and song writing, living a more relaxed and centred life in California, but the massive upsurge in 80’s nostalgia in the UK has brought her back to a friendlier audience than she left.

‘I’m so thrilled to be back! I thought the UK hated me; I was given a very hard time by the press last time I was here, which is one reason I decided to leave. The whole 80’s revival thing in the UK doesn’t surprise me though, it’s not about people’s age and when the music was, it’s about the music itself and how great it is. It’s not about nostalgia, it’s a celebration of great music.

‘This is my first experience of Rewind and I’m so excited. Three years in a band is nothing, but what we accomplished in those three years was astounding. I can’t wait to be back on stage in the UK, doing it all again.’

Rewind North takes place from 5 -7 August, at Capesthorne Hall, rewindfestival.com/north

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