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Interview: Lisa Stansfield on strange fans and on-stage gaffes

By Attitude Magazine

Lancashire lass Lisa Stansfield has been around the world but she brings it home for her new live album and DVD. The singer, 49, talks to Attitude’s Simon Button about strange fans, on-stage gaffes and why the gays love her.

Just how live is the Live In Manchester album and DVD?

It’s completely live. Honest to god. We’re really a good band and we do our job. We play, we sing and we do everything live. There’s no need to tweak anything. Other people miming? I don’t mind it. You know what? I don’t dance around the stage for two hours, but if people do you can allow them some compensation for that. But then when you look at performers in the 1930s and 1940s it’s fucking unbelievable what they used to do. Look at Gene Kelly and Singin’ In The Rain.

Lisa Stansfield performs at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England, 7th September 2014. Photograph by Mike Gray

Who’d be your dream duet partner if you could get absolutely anyone up on stage with you, alive or dead?

Someone like Sarah Vaughan but I wouldn’t be able to stand up to her, would I? My god! I’d just sit at her feet, like a dog.

What’s been your strangest fan encounter?

There was this guy in America. We’d fly to every venue and he’d be there before us, every time, for every single gig. He’d be standing outside every hotel and our security man had to say to him ‘You know, it’s not really healthy’. Did we see him after that? No. But he was really weird. He reminded me of that guy who shot John Lennon.

And what’s been your biggest on-stage gaffe?

I can’t remember where it was, maybe Japan, but we had monitors on the stage and Winston, the bass player, had moved the wedge that went underneath his monitor to one side. There was a bit where in a black-out I had to walk to the centre of the stage but he’d left his fucking wedge in my way. I’ve still got a massive dent in my leg and every time I look at it I go ‘Winston, you fucking bastard!’

To quote All Woman, have you ever performed looking a mess and dowdy in a dress?

[Laughs] Oh, I probably have.


You certainly looked dowdy in Northern Soul… Any more acting roles in the pipeline?

No, I’ve not actually. I’m looking at a few things but I’m not gonna say any more than that because I don’t want to jinx anything.

Is it true you turned down the role of Stella on Corrie?

I did turn down Corrie because I’d have had to do it for three years and you’re not allowed to do anything else when you do Corrie. The only reason I’d want to do it is because I’d love to go into the Rover’s Return, so maybe I could be a friend of someone for two weeks. I’ve always wanted to sit in the Rover’s Return drinking half a lager or summat, then go play a game of darts, and just be in the background.

What do you think is your biggest gay anthem?

I think now it’s So Be It because it’s saying ‘This is what I am’. What do you think is my biggest gay anthem? [When told I think it’s Let’s Just Call It Love] Oh, right! But I think So Be It is gonna overtake that. It’s all about being yourself.

Why do you think the gays ‘get’ you?

I think it’s just cos I’m honest. I’ve been around gay guys for so long and I don’t really give a shit about the way that I talk. I just fucking say it as it is and if a gay guy says to me ‘You fucking dirty bitch’ or summat like that I don’t take offence. I also think gay guys love me, and lesbians too, because my songs are all about being yourself and being honest and free and lovely.

Has anyone, at a record company maybe, tried to rein you in?

Yeah, they wanted me to go for elocution lessons. I went along and this woman put newspaper down on the floor, like I was dirty. I got up and said ‘I’m going’. I was 18 years old and they wanted me to do Crackerjack and they said ‘If you want to do that if you have to have elocution lessons’. I refused, I didn’t do Crackerjack and this is why I’m still here now. I could have ended up doing fucking This Morning with Richard and Judy.


What’s the campest thing you’ve ever done?

Oh god, when I was really young I had this stylist who tried to put me in a feather bowler and a bowler hat, like Sally Bowles, and I was like ‘No, you can’t do that to me’. Was it for a photoshoot? No, just for a party, but I didn’t do it. Sally Bowles is too sacred.

Have you ever seen a drag queen Lisa Stansfield?

I have, yes, and it was fucking hilarious. Imagine seeing someone doing an impression of you. It’s really weird. I went ‘Oh my god, it’s more like me than I am, and it’s a guy and he’s got a cock somewhere down there’. How do I know? I could tell by his stubble.

How do you account for the current glut of female pop stars at the moment?

Good for them, but I think there’s loads of different stuff out there. There’s loads of good stuff hanging around below the surface and it’s gonna come up. I always say that if you’ve got a pint of milk the cream always comes to the top.

Maybe you shouldn’t say ‘cream’ on a gay website…

[Laughs] Oh yeah. It’s a bit like a wank really, isn’t it?

Who are you listening to at the moment?

I’m not listening to anything because when I’m writing songs I get influenced by other people. But I do think pop music is great at the moment, although I don’t like the X Factor shit – not because of the artists but because of how they’re being manipulated. It’s vile.

So are you working on a new album?

Yeah, yeah. Definitely, yeah. And I imagine we’ll be touring again next summer. We’re gonna try and give everyone some beauty.

Lisa Stansfield: Live In Manchester is out now on CD, DVD and Blu-ray.