An icon of the 1980s, Carol Decker will forever be remembered for ‘China In Your Hand’; a huge hit for T’Pau which spent five weeks at No.1 in 1987. A songstress with power in her voice, and passion in her attitude, the Shropshire native has just released new single ‘Run’ which sees the band take on a contemporary, summery feel. We caught up with Carol at Rewind South for a chat about ‘Run’, rivalry, and Roy Thomas Barker. Heart and soul; Eamon O’Neill.
Hi Carol, you’ve just come off stage at Rewind South; how was it?
It was absolutely awesome. You saw the size of that crowd; they know every word to all your stuff, and they’re such a supportive, generous audience, they really are.
Clearly, you’ve got the songs; what’s it like to hear the crowd singing back with such passion?
It’s fantastic. I mean, I never knew thirty years ago when I wrote those songs, particularly ‘China In Your Hand’, that it would become a classic. It’s an industry classic, and I’m very grateful.
One thing that was noticeable from your performance today is that your voice hasn’t dulled at all since then.
Oh thank you! I’ve still got the pipes, which is great, thank you god, but I have to look after myself more now. And do you know what? As you get older, you have to keep your voice in shape, like everything else, so I make sure I exercise. But there’s your stamina, and you hear a lot of mature artists a little bit out of puff, and it’s because they don’t keep fit; you’ve got to keep fit to keep the voice fit and on top of all of that. So that’s my advice, yeah – get on the treadmill!
As you rightfully mentioned, ‘China In Your Hand’ is a classic, yet it never made it to the Now 100 album.
No, and it’s so funny because I had to do so many interviews for newspaper and radio to throw some support behind it. Of course, T’Pau were on lots of them, and I kind of get it because it was just the hundredth one and it’s the current, young artists, but I just thought; “Why in god’s name have I just spent the whole day promoting something that I’m not on?! That’s ridiculous!”, but it didn’t occur to me until later.
You were in the news a few years ago after Gary Barlow said some disparaging things about the original recording of ‘China In Your Hand’.
He implied I sang it flat. He said; “It’s nice to hear it sang in tune for a change” [the song was performed on ITV's 'The X Factor' by Amelia Lily], and I just thought; “Fuck you, you boring twat!” But no, that’s an ancient, ancient story, and he apologied. I don’t know, maybe he’s got super-tuning hearing, and I’m fractionally out, or something, I wouldn’t know.
That Twitter spat must have gave the song a boost though?
It did, I think it went in the Top 100 again. So, thanks, guys!
On T'Pau's debut album ‘Bridge of Spies’, you worked with famed Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker.
He produced both of our albums. We wanted to work with him because Ronnie [Rogers, guitarist] loved Queen, and at that time he’d just done The Cars’ album which I loved. But Nile Rogers was the other producer who we wanted to do it – it could have had a really different sound!
Do you remember the first time you held the album in your hand – if you’ll pardon the pun?
Yeah, we went with Roy Thomas Baker from Chicago to New York, to Sterling master studios where we’d just mastered the new single, and watched our first album get cut, because it was a physical process. It was very exciting, yeah.
Bringing things up to date, and you’ve just released a brand new single.
Yes, it’s out now, it’s called ‘Run’, and it’s available on all the digi-download platforms, so I’m hoping people will give it a listen and support it. It’s just a great song. We love it, we’re really proud of it. It’s a slightly different sound for us; very danceable, very summer, very festival, so check it out!
Finally, you opened your set today with the song ‘Sex Talk’ which was on your 1987 debut; is it strange how relevant it is in today’s world with Tinder etc?
I know! Well, I wrote that on my first trip to New York. There were all ads; ‘Dial Me!’ on television, and I just thought; “Wow, that’s weird, phone people up and talk dirty”… so I did it, of course!
T’Pau’s ‘Run’ is available now. For all things Carol Decker visit T’Pau Central.
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