In our family Kiki Dee is a total legend, not only does she have a voice that is enchanting to listen to, she sang with Elton John rather successfully and today her collaboration with guitarist, Carmelo Luggeri has created songs of serious beauty, melody and lyrical poignancy. So when I spoke to her about her life and travel, there was excitement all round!
We went right back to childhood, where she told me of her east coast holidays in places like Bridlington and Scarborough, with donkey rides on the beach and ice creams. Born in Bradford, the youngest of three children, Kiki talked of a happy, secure childhood. By the time she was eleven, she was regularly winning talent competitions and on a trip to Blackpool, sang in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom with band leader, Bill Gregson one evening.
This decade brought exciting travel times, with Kiki spending twelve weeks in Detroit recording for Tamla Motown. The States, she felt, was, at the time, a land of opportunity, where anything was possible. On a ten week tour with Elton John, flying aboard their plane, Starship, they ended up in Hawaii for Christmas, picnicking on the beach! Not everyone’s choice but she loved it.
As she’s got older, Kiki loves airports: give her a glass of champagne and a seafood salad to ease the chore of flying. These days she enjoys returning to her best friend’s farmhouse in Gascony, for chilling out, reading and the simple life. Although there is a musical component, with a superb jazz festival at Marciac to be enjoyed.
Bravely in her mid-50s, Kiki tried skiing at Solden in Austria for the first time. Whilst initially she wasn’t keen, now the art of stopping has been mastered, she’s returned to the mountains several times, finding them beautiful, spiritual even.
She visited Cuba six years ago and was fascinated as music was absolutely everywhere, in bars, on the street, in homes. Havana was faded, which added to its mystery somewhat. She really would like to visit again to explore further.
So what would be Kiki’s ultimate holiday, no holds barred and no expense spared? She thought a two part trip, first skiing in Solden, then a whizz to the airport and a trip to India. It’s a place she hasn’t been to and is intrigued to discover, although she’s cautious about the poverty. We both agreed that perhaps an experience at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, with Maggie Smith in charge might be the answer!
To listen to this interview in full, visit the Silver Travel Advisor website, enter ‘radio’ in the search box and scroll down to find the audio file.
To find out more about Kiki’s work, visit www.kikiandcarmelo.com