Interview: Elkie Brooks
Now in the fifth decade of her career, singing sensation Elkie Brooks talks to Mark Rees about her upcoming Swansea show, packed with number ones and classics.
"I always give 100%, and so do my band," says Elkie Brooks of her upcoming show in the Swansea Grand Theatre.
"There are no support bands, just me for two hours. I just love it. There are so many people who don't enjoy their jobs, and I'm so lucky to do what I love. Its been a fantastic year. Very gruelling, but fantastic."
The Grand is a venue Elkie is more than familiar with, having played there "umpteen" times, she jokes.
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"It's a fantastic venue, and it's always nice to come back. I've done a lot of shows in Swansea, and the crowd are always very respectful and nice. And if they've seen me before – this one will be the best one ever!"
Elkie's career has now spanned five decades, and she was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the Best Selling Female Album Artist in the UK in the Last 30 years. Thanks in no small part to her hit singles from the 70s and 80s, which include Pearl's a Singer, Lilac Wine, Don't Cry Out Loud, Fool (If You Think It's Over), and No More the Fool.
As such, Elkie finds it more than a little difficult to pinpoint a single high point of her illustrious career, but she gives it a go.
"London Palladium in 1978 when my parents came to see me in the royal box was wonderful," she recalls.
There was also a special birthday in 1974 that Elkie remembers fondly. "I never thought I'd ever get a record deal, never mind have a single released. But Pearl the Singer was released on my birthday, which was the perfect present."
Despite this, Elkie's career hasn't always been plain sailing, but she now chooses to focus on the positives, leaving any negativity behind her.
"I never really dwell on the past," she says. "If you do, you can't move on. There's no point going through life with regrets."
Which is a philosophy that also extends to New Year's resolutions. "I never bother to think about stuff like that," she says. "I just stay positive about everything now. I've had my ups and downs, and now I just avoid getting too anxious."
As a result of which, Elkie has built up a strong relationship with her doctor over the years, who as well as helping her medically is also a
source for musical inspiration.
"My doctor, Dr. Frankie, is a huge blues fan" she says. "He recommends artists to me. People like Chantel McGregor – she's amazing! And Joe Bonamassa; I've got all his albums now."
And when it comes to treatment, Elkie has developed a knack for a particular martial art. "I've been doing Aikido for over 20 years now. Exercise is always good, it's great for depression. That's my tips – exercise and music!"
And for any musicians thinking of following in Elikie's footsteps, she has one main piece of advice: "You have to learn an instrument," she says.
"You don't have to be great, but if you learn a bit of guitar, or piano, then you can contribute musically. That's the most important thing. That's what I did – I learned piano, and I worked very hard."
Which also applies to any reality TV stars seeking instant fame. "Its always been there," says Elkie of manufactured stars, "but its more advertised now. It's more in your face. People like that come and go, but to stick around you have to be tough.
Elkie Brooks will be perfroming live in concert at Swansea Grand Theatre on Tuesday January 15.
To WIN a pair of tickets to see Elkie at the Swansea Grand Theatre, simply answer the following question and email your answer, along with name and address, to: email@example.com
Q: IN WHAT YEAR DID ELKIE RELEASE PEARL'S A SINGER?
closing date: January 9, 2013