Sharleen Spiteri: ‘Why am I dating a toyboy? Isn’t it obvious?’
The 40-year-old Scottish singer talks about karaoke sessions with Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, her EastEnders’ obsession, and the benefits of going out with a younger man…
You’ve been off the scene for a couple of years, what have you been up to?
Sharleen Spiteri: Writing my first solo record, I took my time with it. A lot of things changed in my life. I split up with my daughter Misty’s father, so I had to get my head round that, then decide where I wanted to go in life – as well as make sure Misty is happy.
Has it been quite therapeutic?
SS: Making a record always is. Songwriters tend to make records instead of talking to people. Music has always been there for me and is what’s helped me through everything. It’s like my solace.
Is it strange going solo without your band Texas?
SS: No, because the reason I decided to do a solo record was because the songs I was writing weren’t the sound of Texas. It just wasn’t right. I still see the band all the time, though. Who knows if we’ll get back together…
You’re a big lesbian icon. How do you handle all that female attention?
SS: That’s the biggest compliment you could pay another woman, when they like what you do and respect you. Women are great bullsh*t detectors. They know when it’s not real.
Misty is five now. How do you balance being a working mum?
SS: At the moment I’m working, but there are times when I’m not, so I can have a whole year off. I’m really lucky because I’m my own boss, so I make the rules and get to choose when I take time off. If I want to take Misty to work with me then I can. Things have changed a bit because she’s at big school now, so I can’t just say I’m going on tour and take her with me. Those days have gone.
Is Misty likely to follow in your footsteps?
SS: She’s really musical. She loves music and movies – she’s a born actress, but I don’t know a five year old who isn’t. It doesn’t worry me at all if she does follow me. I’ve got the best job in the world and it’s given me an amazing life. I get to make music, jump around like a lunatic in front of thousands of people, and see them enjoying the songs I’ve written.
You’re mates with Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, do you see them often?
SS: I see them every now and again, but they’re very busy people and we’re all off doing tours or movies. I saw them all about two weeks ago and it’s nice to see everyone and catch up. Before that I hadn’t seen them for a long time.
Do you have big girls’ nights out?
SS: We all love a good girls’ night out. None of us are big drinkers, though, because we all have kids and everyone goes, ‘Ooh no, the school run!’ Having a hangover with small children is never a good idea. I did it once and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made, I’ve never felt so ill in my life. You have to get out of bed and look after your kid who doesn’t care if you’ve got a sore head.
Do you rate Gwyneth’s voice?
SS: Gwyneth’s a really good singer, you could see that in Duets, the film she did. We spend most of our time singing when we’re all together. Everyone loves a good singsong, so we all do a bit of karaoke or something.
What are the best and worst things about your physical appearance?
SS: The best would be my mouth because I think quite a nice sound comes out of it and I have quite big lips, which seems to work for me. I’ve had a baby, so the worst would be my tummy, which has dropped a little bit. But I’ve been doing Pilates twice a week to strengthen that up and it seems to be working.
Did you worry about turning 40?
SS: No, my bum and tummy had dropped way before that. Kids have got a lot to answer for!
Your boyfriend is 29-year-old TV chef Bryn Williams, what’s the advantage of a younger man?
SS: Isn’t that obvious?! I don’t think it matters what age people are. I didn’t have any idea he was younger than me when I met him. I’m quite a romantic person – everyone loves being treated a little bit special, no matter how hard you are on the surface. I live in movie land; my head is full of nonsense.
What do you do on a day off?
SS: I stay in bed all day wrapped up, door closed, with a big mug of tea and toast, watching EastEnders on Sky+. I love it and always want to know what will happen next.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
SS: I haven’t had any bad jobs. I was a hairdresser before I did this and that’s it. I still cut my family and mates’ hair when they want a trim. If I go up to Scotland to see my mum, I know she’ll say, ‘Bring your scissors!’
If your house was on fire what would you save?
SS: There are many things I love in my home, but I’d just want to make sure I got my daughter out safely. She’d be screaming to get the cat, though.
What’s the last lie you told?
SS: On the phone two days ago when I told my daughter her fish were doing OK when two of them had died. We have freshwater tropical fish, but I’m losing a fish every day. I think one of them has been eating the others.
When was the last time you cried?
SS: Last week in a video. I had to cry for five hours. My eyes were killing me, but the director kept making me cry. They use little tear sticks, which are quite painful. They poke you in the eye!
Who is the most famous number in you mobile phone?
SS: Probably Madonna and Gwyneth. No, I know, it’s Paul McCartney.
Who would play you in the movie of your life?
SS: Marion Cotillard who played Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. She’s so good and has played a singer already. I’m sure she could do a good Scottish accent too.
Do you do your own laundry?
Yes. I always do it when I need to get my head together. I’m like, ‘Don’t anyone come near me! Does anyone want any laundry done?’ I’m happy doing that. I love gardening too and growing veggies. My courgettes are enormous!
Do you cook?
My boyfriend is a chef, so he cooks for me, but I cook too. The only time I felt pressure was when he asked how I wanted vegetables chopped, so I described in sizes whereas he knows the right words. I felt a bit daft then.
What’s been your most extravagant purchase?
I bought a dress a few years ago for £2,500. It was outrageous and not the kind of money you want to be spending. I had a mad moment that day.
Source: Mirror Celebs By Rachel Corcoran