Monday, 19 November 2018

Carol bouncing back from illness for Rewind

SHE almost lost her voice through illness but the show will go on for Carol Decker.

SHE almost lost her voice through illness but the show will go on for Carol Decker.

The T’Pau frontwoman, who lives in Henley, is taking a break from singing to recover from a bout of bronchitis.

The 57-year-old fell ill in late January, shortly after beginning a tour to promote the band’s new album Pleasure and Pain.

Decker tried to carry on until doctors warned her she was harming her vocal cords.

They said she would suffer permanent damage unless she rested them for several months. The tour was called off in early March and she started seeing a voice coach to aid her recovery.

However, she is due to hit the road again in July and will perform at the Rewind festival in Henley the following month. Decker said it was the first time since she started her career almost three decades ago that she had called off a tour.

She said: “It wasn’t quite a health scare but it was bloody inconvenient. I’ve always had a pretty bulletproof voice and only ever cancelled the odd show.

“The tour was going fine though I started feeling grotty and thought I’d got the flu, which was going round at the time.

“I was doing that ‘the show must go on’ thing to begin with. I had the first few days of each week off so I thought I could use that time to recover. I realised I wasn’t at my best during rehearsals but I pushed on because that’s what you do.

“I thought it might be asthma because I couldn’t breathe properly — I could still hit all the high notes but I’d run out of energy halfway through a verse. Then I couldn’t swallow and I thought I had some kind of growth.

“I went to an ENT specialist who put a camera down my throat and said my vocal cords were completely swollen up. It was a hard decision to call off the gigs but it was a relief because I knew what was wrong and that it wasn’t my fault.”

As part of her rehabilitation, Decker has been performing exercises in which she sings while blowing through a straw dipped in a glass of water. This allows her to put gentle strain on her vocal cords without pushing them too hard.

During her time off she also discovered she had been walking around on a broken ankle since last summer.

She said: “Funnily enough, it happened at Rewind in Scotland — I tripped on a dodgy kerb and thought I’d sprained it but it was obviously worse.

“I’d been icing and compressing it but it wasn’t getting any better and it turned out I had two hairline fractures and one stress fracture. I think someone, somewhere, was trying to tell me that I needed to stop for a while.”

Decker said the time off had done her “a power of good” and she was looking forward to appearing at Rewind.

She will also embark on a 30-date UK tour in October with fellow Eighties stars and Rewind alumni Nik Kershaw and Go West.

“It was hard giving myself permission to rest because I’m a pretty motivated person,” she said. “However, I’m feeling great now. My coach had me doing these weird ‘bubbling’ exercises which were a bit like trying to sing underwater.

“I’ve just come off those and last week I sang a few lines from various T’Pau songs. I was quite nervous but it went okay.”

Decker, who lives with her husband Richard Coates, a chef, and their children Dylan, 12, and Scarlett, 16, sang at the first ever Rewind festival in 2009 and came back to Henley in 2010 and 2012. She also appeared at its Perth event in 2011 and again last year.

She said: “I love it — it’s great for Henley because it brings lots of trade in for cafes, pubs and hotels and it also brings a bit of life and colour to the town. For me it’s also a chance to catch up with a lot of the other artists from my era as well. Drinks are had and jokes are told — it’s so much fun.

“The Eighties revival has been going for many years and I think it’s first and foremost because of all the great music. I think that decade also brought with it some incredibly diverse, powerful and creative characters like Kim Wilde, Boy George and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

“On top of that, the organiser David Heartfield runs it to very high production values so it’s a very glamorous and well-established event.

“Of course, all of that said, it wouldn’t be anything without us artists!”

Carol Decker and T’Pau will appear on the Sunday of the Rewind festival, which runs from August 21 to 23.

Other stars include Billy Ocean, Kim Wilde, Bananarama, The Human League, Midge Ure and Hot Chocolate.

Tickets are available at

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