After a decade away from the spotlight, All Around The World singer Lisa talks exclusively to the Sunday Mirror's Dean Piper
Lisa's been living like "a bit of a recluse" for the last ten years
Pop star Lisa Stansfield has revealed how she started wanting to become a mother when she hit 40 - but her attempts to conceive through IVF failed.
The singer - who had a smash hit with All Around The World and is now making a comeback - always said she hated the thought of motherhood.
But when her own mother died six years ago and she unexpectedly felt a twang of maternal instinct.
It was then that she embarked on a quest to be a mother at 40 years of age.
“I never ever wanted children and nor did my husband Ian,” Lisa, now 46, says during her first interview for five years. “Then my mum died six years ago and everything changed.
“I was around 40 and I started to get these feelings. Very alien feelings about children. I thought ‘for C****t sake I’ve gone this long without it, nature please don’t start doing this to me’. But it did.”
But after trying to conceive naturally with her partner of 24 years, Ian Devaney, the couple flew to New York and tried IVF treatment three times but all three attempts to become parents failed.
Lisa says: “It totally got me and we eventually did IVF and went to New York for it,” she says. “We went to the same people that some friends of ours went to. And nothing worked. Both of us were apparently fine - well, I was probably a little old really.
“But we were told I was completely fertile and fine and nothing happened. Now I’m glad it didn’t happen. I just don’t think I could do it. Looking at mum’s picking kids up from school then was heart wrenching but now I look at them and I just want to run in the opposite direction.
“I felt like I didn’t have a maternal bone in my body for all those years and I’m thinking it was basically nature’s final attempt at seeing if I could. And it nearly got me - or trapped me, whichever way you look at it.”
It’s been close to ten years since Lisa – who sold 20 million records throughout her career – has recorded an album or sung in public.
Now – after 14 years living a virtually reclusive life in Ireland just outside Dublin – she’s ready to enter the music world once again.
She’s halfway through recording a brand new album and has just announced two small live dates in London and Manchester with plans to tour on a larger scale in the spring of next year.
“I haven’t done anything for ten years except quietly live and write,” she admits. “It’s been a long time and I’m glad I did rest on my laurels. Things were happening in the media that I didn’t fit into. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but all this reality television and stuff - it didn’t work for me.
“I guess I’ve lived like a bit of a recluse for a while.
“Ireland was perfect. I didn’t get hassled, my photograph wasn’t being taken a lot and I could walk down the street as a normal person. I needed that. It was a breath of fresh air.
“I’m not interested in the paparazzi and the word celebrity. I’m a singer. It’s a different world these days to a certain extent. But I do believe if you want attention you can get it. If you want to be a normal person then you don’t have to go to the Ivy for your lunch. That’s always been the case. If you go to the supermarket with no make up on then no f****r will ever bother you.
“I only get recognised if I’m made up. There’s a ‘little me’ and a ‘big me’. And I think most famous people have that to a certain extent. I’ll go home to Ian in the evening and I’ve been shopping or taken me dogs out and I’ll say ‘I’m famous today’ or ‘I’m not famous at all today’.”
The Brit Award winner also says giving up smoking two and a half years ago has helped her hatch a comeback.
She was shocked to realise when she began singing again that heavy smoking had damaged her voice and she wasn’t able to reach her top range notes.
“The biggest scare was always my voice,” she admits. “I did sing while I was away. And my voice has got much stronger since I stopped smoking. I always said I’d give up smoking when my voice started to crack. And I did start to lose my very top notes that I had at the beginning. And it’s come back to what it was. Right now it’s like having a really new voice again and I can’t wait to get out on the road and test it out.”
Lisa admits she’s watched the rise and rise of Adele with a particular interest. Adele’s current situation mirrors Lisa’s own meteoric rise to fame in the music world and she thinks Adele is handling her career perfectly.
“I think Adele’s incredible,” she says over a coca cola in London’s trendy Hampstead where she now lives. “There are similarities and I’ve got so much admiration for her because she’s stuck to her guns. Like me, she writes and I admire a singer of that standard who has that incredible imagination to be able to do what she’s done.
“I’m glad she’s not courting everyone or spreading herself too thinly too. That’s the danger when you’re a relatively new young artist. The industry can suck you in. You can also become very secure in the fact everything that goes on around you becomes your reality. It’s not reality at all. The minute you start believing what people say about you.
“That’s scary. Thank God I never fell into that trap. A lot of people do go out and get the papers every morning and do get upset if they’re not mentioned. I’d read the good things in the paper but I’d never read really s**t reviews. It doesn’t matter to me. If I put out a record and it’s what I want to do then I’m proud of it.”
And it’s not like the star hasn’t been offered her fair share of opportunities to return to the spotlight through reality television – but she’s not willing to take part in any of them.
She laughs: “I’ve just been offered - for the fourth time - celebrity Come Dine With Me. I watch the show but I wouldn’t do it. I watch I’m a Celebrity too and the Hotel Inspector but I don’t want to go on them either. Never.
“It isn’t like I need the money. If you want to it to boost your career or have a good time then fine. But I just don’t want to partake, myself. If I want to eat kangaroo balls then I’ll eat them in the privacy of my own home without a camera.”
And there’s one more reason for Lisa’s comeback looks set to work – because she says her trademark mole on her left cheek has made a return just in time for the relaunch. “It’s so funny because my face mole - or beauty spot - disappeared when I went to Ireland,” she cackles. “But it came back when I moved back to London. It started winking at me again. Maybe it’s a sign that the time is right for me to return to music.” I’m sure the fans would agree...
Lisa plays Sound Control Manchester on Nov 20 and London's Scala on Dec 4. Tickets 0844 811 0051 or www.gigsandtours.com .
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Lisa Stansfield on Adele, saying no to reality TV and her long-awaited comeback
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