BELINDA'S OUI BEAUTY; EXCLUSIVE Sexy Pop Star Back on Music Scene after 10yrs with Album of FRENCH Songs Made with IRISH Musicians

Article excerpt

Byline: By MAEVE QUIGLEY

SEXY singer Belinda Carlisle enlisted the help of 10 Irish musicians to make her first album in 10 years.

Producer John Reynolds, accordion player Sharon Shannon and Hothouse Flower Fiachna O'Braonain all helped Belinda make her album Voila - which is sung completely in French.

Belinda said: "The Irish connection is John Reynolds - it was really his idea to bring in all these fantastic people.

"And I think it is incredible that I got to work with them.

"The album was an idea I came up with myself - all the songs are famous French tunes.

"And even though I have lived in the South of France for years, Fiachna was my French vocal coach for the whole album.

"Everyone knows Fiachna speaks Irish beautifully, he plays the guitar and sings.

"But he can also speak French with a proper accent - he's a very talented guy.

"Fiachna was invaluable to the project - he didn't teach me any Irish though as French was hard enough."

Belinda began her musical career with punk outfit The GoGos in the 70s but then reinvented herself as a pop star in the 80s with huge hits including Circle In The Sand, Leave The Light On For Me and Heaven Is A Place On Earth.

But the 48-year-old hasn't made a record since A Woman And A Man 10 years ago because she got bored of the pop scene.

She said: "I have had no desire to make a pop album but I was approached a couple of years ago at the music industry event Midem in France.

"I said I wasn't interested in doing a pop album - I've been there and done that so it isn't very challenging for me.

"But - and this just kind of popped out of my mouth - I said I would love to try to make an album of French songs.

"Everyone thought it was a great idea and I was hooked up with John Reynolds as my producer.

"We did a couple of songs, they worked out and then we carried on.

"From the whole time I've been living between France and England, I just came to love the music, the artists, the melodies and the lyrics.

"For me it was like discovering a whole new genre so it was very exciting."

Belinda has been living in Cannes with her husband Morgan and son John for 14 years.

And she isn't sure whether her renditions of famous French songs like La Vie En Rose and Bonnie Et Clyde will go down well with her neighbours. …