SO much for not intending to mention the E word, writes Trevor Baxter.
But as the lady herself raised the subject of Sir Elton John then let’s start with the partnership for which Kiki Dee is inextricably linked.
“I don’t mind talking about Elton at all,” says Kiki during our chat to discuss her forthcoming appearance at Playhouse 2, Shaw on Saturday, March 24 with Carmelo Luggeri, her musical partner of the last 24 years.
“Every day on my birthday Elton sends me an orchid, which is sweet.”
Bradford-born Kiki’s duet with Sir Elton, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, was a number one in the red-hot summer of 1976.
A few years earlier her solo tracks ‘Amoureuse’ and ‘I’ve Got the Music in Me’ also made the charts, albeit in the lower reaches.
“If I had been a one hit wonder it would have been a bigger problem,” adds Kiki.
“But because I had a couple of hits outside that it helped.
“Everyone thinks because you have worked with Elton John, you must be mega rich.
“Mind you, I am a working woman; I am not a super-rich pop star.”
So, was it milestone or millstone working with Sir Elton?
“In the bigger picture it has been good, it has kept my name in people’s minds,” Kiki told the Correspondent.
“The negative thing though is moving on.
“If you are an actor who does a very popular movie and you want to do more art films, how do you move away from it?
“However, I have been doing it for so long away from Elton, myself and Carmelo have managed to build up an audience of our own.
“But we do a slowed down version of ‘Don’t Go Breaking Your Heart’ in our show and the majority of people really like it. You hear the lyric in a different way.”
Guitarist Carmelo can also name drop. His previous collaborations include: US singer Andy Williams, Paul Rodgers, (Free, Bad Company), Kenney Jones, (The Faces, The Who), Chris Rea and singer songwriter Ralph McTell.
“We haven’t gigged for a bit and it will be one of our first shows of the year,” explained Kiki of her forthcoming visit to Oldham.
The pair live in the same village and have been a musical item for more than two decades.
“Carmelo came in to the studio to do a couple of tracks for a best of album that was coming out,” explained Kiki.
“My manager at the time was very creative and he just said you guys should go out and do an acoustic tour.
“I wanted something that was more grounded and real rather than trying to get a hit record.
“Carmelo had worked with a lot of well-known artists so we were thrown in at the deep end.
“We did some live dates, voice and guitar, started writing and it has just worked.
“I have enjoyed doing what I want to do for the last 20 years on my terms rather than trying to make it all the time.
“I got signed by a record label at 16 and was trying to make it from that age rather than going out trying to get a grounding and finding myself as an artist.
“Now I am more secure in myself in what I do.
“I enjoy the freedom creatively of what I am doing which is why it is lasting.”
Tickets for Kiki and Carmelo’s concert at Playhouse 2 in Shaw on Saturday, March 24 start from £16.
To book go online: www.ents24.com/shaw-nr-oldham-events/playhouse-2/kiki-dee-and-carmelo-luggeri/1073863277