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Liz McClarnon
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  Interview with Lil backstage at BBC TOTP // 08/01/06 were invited backstage at BBC Television Centre to interview Lil before her first ever solo performance on the UK's top music show, Top Of The Pops... a performance she had chosen to do totally LIVE! So an hour before the show, how was Liz feeling?

"I was very nervous at first, but I'm actually quite calm. It's weird, it's not in my stomach, it's in my hands. I'm actually like..." Lil shakes her hands to show how she's feeling!! "So I'm better than I thought I'd be. We've just done rehearsals, and because we've been focusing on this for ages, rehearsing for it, loads of people like Edith Bowman and everyone have just come up to me and gone 'Isn't your voice great', she just turned round and went 'She's got a lovely voice', and I'm like that..." Lil gives a beautiful beaming smile!

Liz, who is signed to record label All Around The World, chose 'Woman In Love' as her debut single as a result of a conversation with her manager. He suggested this particular track, which had been a number one for Barbra Streisand back in 1980, after Robin Gibb, who co-wrote it, said he'd like to work with Liz.

"There's no way
I'm singing
that song..."

"Martin, my manager, said what about 'Woman In Love'. I said there's no way I'm singing that song, it's so hard, too high, it's everything! But they said just try it, and I said OK... Robin heard me sing it and said you HAVE to sing it, so I did it... and then everyone says that has to be a single... and then I thought "Oh...... I'm going to have to sing it live!" But it's all good!"

Lil at Summer Pops
Lil at Summer Pops in 2004

Whilst it will be her first solo track to be released, 'Woman in Love' is not the first solo work we've heard Liz perform. Indeed back in the summer of 2004, a few months after Atomic Kitten started their extended break, she performed at the Summer Pops concert in Liverpool several new songs such as Kisses, Had Enough and Broken Promise, which she had written herself. We asked Liz if these were going to be on her debut album. "Kisses for definite, Had Enough for definite, but we might change some of the words on that because I have to believe in it when I'm singing it. They're important to me, but it's important to feel it when you sing it, so I have to change the words... all because of Fiji."

When Liz came back from Fiji, she said she had become much more confident. "I am much more confident, but I'm more confident in my every-day life. Just like if someone really does anything to me normally, if I know them, I don't want to upset them so I go 'Oh!'... and I'd get upset instead. But now I just say *$@!#%*!"

"But actually the main people who've helped me with performing and so on are two people called Nick & Edith Speakman. They're coaches, not singing coaches, but life coaches. And they've just changed me. Sort of jivvied me up a bit, I don't know what it is, but they make me feel like I can do anything."

"And also," (speaking of confidence), "bloody hell, when I go on the website and everyone goes 'Weee loooove youuuu!!!!'"

With this new-found confidence, we wondered how Lil was finding working without her fellow Kittens. She certainly couldn't have been too lonely, her dressing room where we talked was filled with family, including her mum Jan, friends and her 'people'... Carl, Scotty, & Kate.

"I considered starting another band..."

"This is just half, I have an entourage I tell you! Yeah, it's quite sad actually, at first it was quite unnaturally lonely, and I didn't really like it. I was just like, I really don't want to be by myself. I considered starting another band....doing a 'James from Busted' - and I love Son of Dork by the way, funniest boys ever in the world, they're just so funny - but then I just thought 'do you know what, why don't you just have a go... you're lonely right now, only because it's un-natural', do you know what I mean?"

"So I went for it, and now as long as I have people with me like now, I'm happy, I'm cool, and it's weird. Because when I perform, I just have to concentrate on me. It's quite nice actually, it's quite nice to be able just to say I'm gonna sing it like this because I want to, as opposed to having to ask anyone else. And everything's wicked, I like it. But I'm still "love alone"."

Not that Lil doesn't think about the odd guy or two. When conversation moves to the 'Woman In Love' video, and the hunk who plays her lover, she's quick to exclaim, 'Danny, he's lovely isn't he!', and, as it goes slightly off-topic, 'Bloody hell, he's been in mine (dreams) as well!'

Perhaps Lil will meet the man of her dreams at the gym? We asked if Lil went there on an average day, if there is such a thing as an average day in her life?

Lil performs on TOTP
Lil performs on TOTP

"I do bits and bobs. I do go to the gym every now and again, but I'm just not very good at it though. I go, "Oh I'm knackered, shall I go and get a coffee and a big steak in the hand?" Well in our gym actually they have all these big screens and you plug earphones in so you can watch the news on the running machine. But an average day is like...... some interview of some sort, and it's always getting up early!"

Very cleverly timed to coincide with the Match of the Day theme playing on the TV, Kristina asks Lil if she still plays football. "Yes, but I'm still crap though, I'm still crap. Just little bits and bobs, nothing really, just a bit of training or something, but no matches."

And over the next few weeks, promotion of 'Woman In Love' will take over Lil's life. "YES! It's really funny, it's really really so much, it's gone crazy! It's gone mad... so many interviews to do, so many TVs to do. I'm so grateful though that everyone is taking me on straight away without seeing anything."

After Top of the Pops, Lil is off to Capital for an interview, then will spend some of the week rehearsing for CD:UK. "Yes, next Saturday! I mean, how good is that, it's so early!"

She is also taking a very active role in the promotion, "...just about what everyone's doing, things like that, and getting a band, at CD:UK we're going to have a string quartet, so that's going to be beautiful."

"You don't get that unless you've..."

"And possibly, possibly, this is really wicked because I haven't even released and they're going to do it for me... possibly G.A.Y. You don't get that unless you've.....! Possibly sharing the bill with someone famous I'm friends with." As Lil eludes to, not everything is finalised yet, so shhhhhhh!!

One thing that is finalised of course is Lil's record deal, the best moment for her of 2005. After Lil pauses for a moment to think of other highlights, the Fijian bottled water she is sipping prompts us to suggest Love Island?

"By the way, I love on, where you have the fiji. microsite! I was looking at pictures the other day, on that website, and I was just like, 'Oh my god, I wanne go back, I wanne go back'. Cos I was actually on the phone to Jayne (Middlemiss), just before she was about to do ITV 2 with Duncan, Soapstar Superstar, and I was like, 'don't you flirt you naughty!' Then she said", here Lil impersonates Jayne, "'I have to, I have to'... and we were just saying, 'let's go back, let's go back'. But we're busy. Actually we want to go on holiday together soon, so that'll be good, maybe we'll just do it Ryvita!"

Lil on stage at Top of the Pops
Lil on stage at Top of the Pops

On, the Ask Lil! page allows fans to submit questions they'd like to...... well ask Lil obviously, and this was the perfect opportunity to put a few of the best and most popular to her.

Who makes you laugh and why? (by Jon)

"Lee Evans! Loads of people, but Lee Evans the most. Cos we just bought the XL DVD, and I had tears pouring down my face!"

What has inspired you the most in your singing career? (by Christina)

"Eva Cassidy mostly, but recently, cos I always wanted to go quite rocky, but I didn't want to be as rocky as Ashlee Simpson, I wanted to still keep it quite singy, so now, Kelly Clarkson. I'm going to her concert as well, Eric got some tickets!"

Being a Liverpudlian, you must be a fan of the Beatles. What's your favourite Beatles song? (by Heidi)

Lil can't remember the title and bursts into chorus, with the most beautiful pure voice... "Oh how could I dance with another, when I saw her standing...... She was just... " Scotty: "That's the Beatles... 'When I Saw Her Standing There.'"

What do you do with all your presents you get from fans? (by Pam)

"Teddies are all in my room, well most of them, but after every year, I do donate a lot of teddies. But I do have them in my room a long time. In London and Liverpool. But after a year, I do donate most to charities, because you can't keep them all!"

What has been the most bizarre thing you have ever received from a fan? (by Natalie)

"I was just going to say a star, I thought was it Heidi? And then I went no, yeah when Heidi named a star after me, that was boss, that was my favourite, because we'd only been talking about it the week before, and I went 'isn't that cool, so cool.' Then she went, 'That's for you', and I went 'Oh My God'. That was brilliant!!"

Whatever happened to the wonderful Mr David Kay? (by Alex)

"David Kay, I still talk to David Kay, he's gorgeous. He lives in London, well his family are from down South, but he lives in London, he's still as gorgeous as ever, and a lovely person as ever, he's wicked!"

And the most-asked question of all... Will Atomic Kitten ever get back together, and how did the Poland gig come about?

"That was a private show, which we'd been contracted to do, and you can't let people down, there were loads of people there for it and everything. So it was just that, we just had to do it, there was nothing we could do about it. We couldn't drop it, that's just awful, you can't do that. There are things Atomic Kitten did agree to do, and you can't just say sorry we're not going to do that. So that was just a private show for people."

"And Atomic Kitten, it's all still up in the air completely, there's been no discussions about it, I still speak to the girls, still love the girls, we love each other, but it's just like, bloody hell, Take That, you know, got back together. I say it's still up in the air!"

Woman In Love is released on the 13th February 2006 (perfect for Valentines Day!). As Lil told us during the interview, promotion will be taking place across the country, including appearances on CD:UK and other TV and radio shows, and we've since heard there should be an in-store signing at HMV Liverpool... watch out for further dates for other opportunities to see Lil.

Massive thanks go to Scotty, Kathy, Lil, Carl & all at Integral, and to the BBC who gave us free rein of TV Centre.

(to view our 2005 interview with Lil, click here)