Elton John one of few people to call Kiki Dee by her surprising real name

My nickname is… Keek. But people like Elton [John, who she duetted with on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart in 1976] still call me by my real name, which is Pauline.

The best piece of advice my parents gave me was… not to take myself too seriously. My dad always said, “Keep your feet on the ground and don’t let it go to your head.” I was only 16 years old when I was signed to a record label and my dad took me to London. It all happened so fast.

I’m inspired by… the beauty of nature and the good in people even if the world is a tough and difficult place. Not just big players but everyday folks who make life worth living for me.

The most expensive thing I’ve splashed out on is… my home. I‘ve never lived the rock star life. I bought a cottage in a little village in Hertfordshire.

Kiki and Elton
Kiki and Elton

Kiki says not many people call her by her real name
Kiki says not many people call her by her real name

I would tell my 16-year-old self… not to rush. I started in the music business when I was that age – and I tried to do too much too soon. I let people tell me what to do and what songs to record.

The biggest challenge in my life has been… when I was 40, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer after a routine smear test. I made a full recovery, but it was life-changing. It made me believe that living in the now is so important.

My childhood ambition was… always to be a singer. I was very close to my dad – a bit of a daddy’s girl. He was the one who helped my dream become a reality. I started singing when I was 11 years old and he first saw my potential.

Kiki in her Hertfordshire studio
Kiki in her Hertfordshire studio

One thing that cheers me up is… a good night’s sleep. If I have a good sleep, I wake up a different person. Being on tour and doing late-night gigs can tire me out. A glass of wine with my family and friends also cheers me up.

My idea of a perfect evening is… I have had so much excitement in my life over the years that nowadays I don’t crave the limelight. So it would be going out for a meal with people that I’m very close to and trust. I feel secure and relaxed when I’m with people who know me.

I’m excited about… going back on tour this year. Last year was tough and, like a lot of artists, I had to postpone my gigs.
So I’m genuinely really excited about touring with Carmelo [Luggeri] again. We have a new album out in April so we’ll be covering the new material, as well as some of my old songs.

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