My chat with… Depeche Mode’s ‘Fletch’

Depeche Mode, Fletch, Andrew Fletcher, by Katy Pearson #whatkatydid

Interview: My chat with Depeche Mode’s Fletch in the Echo newspaper

What is your earliest memory?

It’s in the place I grew up in – Basildon – and it’s me and my sister. We had a barrow load of sand and we tipped it accidently over someone’s lawn and the man was shouting at me. It’s hazy but That’s my earliest memory.

Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?

I like Leigh-on-Sea. I’ve got lots of friends who like there now and I like all the pubs and restaurants, especially those by the front on old Leigh.

Are the Essex roots still quite strong?

My sister lives in Basildon. My niece lives in Basildon. My mum lives in Billericay. So yes I guess they are. Continue reading

My chat with Westlife’s Shane Filan

WHEN ex-Westlife star Shane Filan was last in Southend for his first solo tour it was in the wake of something of a tough time.

After 14 years in Westlife and their forty-four million sales, just when he should have been set up for life, he found himself bankrupt and staring at a bleak future in 2014.Westlife's Shane Filan chats to Katy Pearson

A bad Irish property investment left him hugely exposed financially and he was making his first scary steps as a solo artist, on the road, alone.

But two years on, he’s back with a new album, a new tour and Shane – who along with Feehily and McFadden, was the lead singer in Westlife – is in fine form.

When we chat his Irish burr is unmistakeable and he’s clearly happy to be going back on tour.

“Southend had a great atmosphere last time around – and it’s a great venue,” he tells me, chuckling his way through the conversation.

“I actually brought my daughter with me to Southend – we had a bit of a daddy/daughter time. She was on stage for part on the show – on a couch in the middle of the acoustic section.

“Touring is best part – getting out there, seeing fans, performing. It’s just fun.”

Does he feel in a different place emotionally this time around? Continue reading

My chat with Lulu

Ahead of my phone call with Lulu I have been pre-warned she’s been “rather poorly” and won’t be able to speak for long, as her voice must not be “over-exerted”.

The Echo newspaper, interview, Katy Pearson, Essex

The Echo newspaper

Lulu, however, appears not too bothered by the bout of flu which had seen her laid up for ten days (“I just had to say that’s it and rest!”) and is in rather chatty, affable form.

There’s no denying it’s her from the moment she comes on the line – sounding just as she does on TV – her Scottish roots coming through clearly one minute and then lapsing into a trans-Atlantic drawl, mixed with the accents of the various places she’s lived.

The tour which is to bring her to the Cliffs Pavilion in March is in celebration of the 50-year showbiz career she’s enjoyed, since she shot to fame with her rendition of Shout in the Sixties.

The years since then have encompassed two highly-publicised marriages, decades of TV credits and hits galore for the Grammy-nominated singer.

But this tour, she tells me, feels like something of a new beginning.

Continue reading