Celebrity interview - Lisa Stansfield
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 January 2014
2014 looks like being Rochdale diva Lisa Stansfield's year
Almost a decade after releasing her last studio album Lisa Stansfield is back with a new recording Seven, reminding us that she’s a true British soul diva with a voice that makes most X Factor hopefuls sound like they’ve been gargling with Brillo pads.
In both looks and voice she seems little changed from the sultry singer who topped the charts a quarter of a century ago with hits such as All Around the World, So Natural and All Woman and it is clear when I grab an interview with her over the phone that those intervening years haven’t affected her much.
For a start the Rochdale accent is still as strong as ever and so too a kind of blunt northern charm which must freak out her PRs a little bit. There’s an disquieting sense that she might blurt out something indiscreet. For example when asked about the band she’ll be touring Europe with in the new year she replies they are tight - “tight as a cat’s a***e”.
The album it turns out is called Seven simply because it was her seventh studio album - a fact that’s a little bit of a shock considering she had been around for so long - and it has as its theme love and unrequited relationships.
‘It wasn’t (originally) called that but everyone got the wrong end of the stick and started calling it Seven,’ she says.
‘Although I didn’t really have an idea what it should be called - I never do so it was nice. It seemed destined to be called that in the end.’
In the hiatus since her last studio recording she’s never left the music scene and has been writing songs either jointly with her husband of more than 14 years, Ian Devaney or on her own, some of which have made it onto the new disc.
Clearly her own relationship has been a lot more successful than those she sings about but there’s nothing ersatz about the emotion she pours into her performance.
‘I think we all suffer the same pain, all feel the same happiness and we all have the same emotions within us. My life isn’t very racy or exciting so I make things up, tell stories. I like telling stories.’
I mention that she definitely seems to be “back” - was that planned?
‘Well I’m not doing all this for nothing,’ she replies referring to the rounds of interviews and tours that she embarked upon well before Christmas, proving that she gives amazingly soulful performances on programmes like the Paul O’Grady Show.
So it’s another surprise to discover that she never used to like touring.
‘I love it now. I really enjoy myself. I used to really want to go home when I toured before but then I thought, “You chose to bl***y well do it and enjoy it” and
I am really having a very good time at the moment.
Over the years Lisa has also had a parallel acting career after debuting in Swing in 1999 and starring in a variety of roles including, on stage in the Vagina Monologues and on TV shows like Monkey Trousers and Goldplated and on film The Edge of Love with Kiera Knightly and Sienna Miller.
This year she will also be seen in Elaine Constantine’s independent movie Northern Soul which focuses on the music phenomenon which swept the north of England in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s.
I’ve not got a main part in the film by no means. It’s my friend’s film, Elaine. Elaine has waited all her life to make this film,’ she says.
‘It’s about Northern Soul music and the reason it was called Northern Soul was because the north of England embraced it but people used to think it was because it was from north America, or from the north of this or north of that. I never went to Wigan’s Casino or anything like that but I had relatives who did and I really like the music.’
These days she spends her time between Manchester and Hampstead in London where she lives with Ian and her two dogs. Mavis and Brendan. She’s never had children and admits that the pets could be a bit of substitute.
‘I suppose so. I really thought I wanted children but I’m actually quite relieved that I couldn’t have them in the end,’ she says.
‘I’d rather have dogs.’
Lisa Stansfield was talking to Janet Reeder.
Lisa Stansfield’s Seven is released on February 10th. Visit www.lisa-stansfield.com for more information.