Lovely to meet you Annie. First of all, why record a Christmas album?
I’m a sponge for all kinds of music – I love all sorts and my record contract came to an end as I’d filled all my obligations for that one. So it was then carte blanche. What shall I do? So I was thinking in a very open minded way. What would I love to record? For years I’ve always wanted to record traditional Christmas carols. I’ve grown up with these and I’ve sung them for so many years. I think they’re really beautiful and I thought I’d really love to go through the process of reworking and interpreting them in my way. Making a lovely recording.
I’m assuming it’s a very raw process for you and you’re involved in every single aspect of the album?
That’s right. Yes. I wouldn’t want to just lay vocals on a track. It’s a little bit different to most people nowadays. I worked with my friend Mike Stevens and we worked as a co-production team on this. It was just us. He has a studio at the bottom of his garden that used to be his garage and we just had a lovely time. Just the two of us. It was adorable of working like that.
It must have been great not having the constraints of a record company telling you what to do as well.
Oh yes. I mean, I have been quite fortunate with regards to the people I’ve worked with over the years. Sometimes it’s been a bit of a struggle. But I’ve very autonomous with what I’ve done. I haven’t had too many of those nightmares. There are always a few restrictions or constraints but I’ve had the freedom by and large to do what I’ve wanted. By and large they’ve always been OK with what I’ve given them.
What is your day to day life? Do you manage to live quite a normal existence?
Well I don’t know what a normal life is. I get up. I exist. To be frank with you it just depends what I’m doing with my creative work. Obviously if I’m recording then I have to spend a lot of time doing that. I’m very well organised with my time. My priorities are my creative work and my campaigning work as a HIV and AIDS representative. My home life is important too. Because I’m an artist my work and my private life are synonymous. I feel privileged because there are people that have to get up and go to a job they don’t particularly like and I have a great life.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love walking, books are a huge passion of mine. I live films, bites to eat out and very low key stuff. I’m not a social butterfly. I’m not comfortable with doing all that. I love my life and I really hope I’ve got the balance right.
I’m also very much into my technology and I love to sit on my laptop and surf the net. I write a blog on my site and I find it liberating. My own website is The House Of Me. It’s got all my archived stuff and I’m very proud of it.
It must be great looking back at what you’ve managed to achieve throughout your career.
It is lovely. It’s wonderful because I feel that it’s all been up to my high standards. I’m not ashamed of anything that I’ve done. And that’s a very important thing for me.
What about your daughters Lola and Tali – do they keep you running around?
Not now. They have their own lives. It was a lot more intense when they were younger. It was a total juggling act back then. But now they do their own thing. It always meant I had to be extra conscious of what everybody’s needs are.
Eurythmics – are we going to see a return?
I’m not planning on that. No.
A chapter that’s moved on?
I’d say so. For now definitely.
You’ve performed on American Idol’s charity gig’s before, but never the X Factor. Conscious move from you?
They wouldn’t be my bag and they’re not really my thing. Yes, it feels like a factory and I’m not interested in that. I performed at American Idol for the charity. A show like that has such a huge outreach so it was a great opportunity. But I wouldn’t normally ever appear on a show like that.
Celebrity culture has definitely changed since the old days.
I think the thing is that I don’t live that celebrity lifestyle now and I never did. It’s changed so much. When I was doing my thing in the charts it wasn’t a celebrity world. We didn’t even have that word. I am, and I still remain a singer, songwriter and performer. I still view myself like that. The word celebrity is a word I just don’t feel connected to at all. It’s very bizarre and I think it’s embarrassing.
How do you stay looking so fit and healthy as you’re getting older?
I think in these instances it’s each to their own. I think what’s really hard for women is if they’ve been really really pretty and they’re known for their looks and their youth then they have that feeling that they always need to be pretty and youthful. But the thing is they aren’t pretty and youthful anymore. I think if you allow yourself to do it maybe more gently then you can combat ageing. The idea that you need to keep this prettiness about you that’s difficult. Wrinkles and sagging is one of those things. I’ve never been a pretty looking person so maybe I’ve found it easier to cope with ageing.
Some would say you’re far prettier with your androgynous looks.
I think my look has allowed me to age far gracefully than some, to be frank with you.
Have you seen the Dolce and Gabbana adverts that have just leaked of Madonna before and after her airbrushing?
No, but I will say I think it must be really hard if you have lived your life in the spotlight and you’ve focused very very much in keeping your image cutting edge, super youthful and the Queen of this or that. I think that’s a big challenge. For someone that lives her life so publicly the scrutiny she must face must be pretty unbearable.
On November 15 Annie releases her sixth solo album. A Christmas Cornucopia is a collection of new, inspired interpretations of 11 traditional festive songs, rounded out by a new Lennox composition, Universal Child, available digitally from October 12.
To learn more about Annie’s humanitarian work please visit: www.annielennox.com.