30 November 2011

Singing in the Key of Life

Written by Published in Music Interviews
Singing in the Key of Life ©Photo: Charl Marais/Sublime

As a Staffordshire pottery heiress and a renowned lyricist, a female vocalist and member of the international jet-set, Sublime’s latest guest interviewee is making for a very interesting conversation. And we’ve hardly started

It’s a tough call to interview Kirsty Bertarelli. The Sunday Times Rich List ranks her as the wealthiest woman in Britain, and she is a former Miss UK turned successful singer. Her biography reads like the script of a Hollywood movie: a girl from rural Staffordshire with big dreams survives a life-threatening brush with meningitis and drifts into a modelling career before crossing paths with Italian billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli at a dinner party. They marry after a fairy-tale romance and have three children, she penning the song ‘Black Coffee’ in honour of their relationship, a track which is snapped up by the group All Saints and becomes a worldwide hit.

With a life story as unique as hers, the prospect of encountering Kirsty Bertarelli is a curious one. But when we meet and begin to talk at a recording studio in west London, the oft-quoted, headline-attracting aspects of Kirsty’s life seem oddly far away. Brushing tumbling, honey-coloured waves from her face, she is softly spoken and exudes a quiet warmth, beaming with affection when she talks about her children and close-knit family. She describes her lifelong passion for music, and speaks with genuine zeal of the philanthropic work of the Bertarelli Foundation. She may hold the purse strings to one of the UK’s largest fortunes, but it is clear the things Kirsty holds most dear are those that money can’t buy.

’It sparked off from my children – it’s amazing how much even little kids understand and are so aware of what’s going on around them, and how they want to protect their environment,’ she says, describing the inspiration behind her new single, pulsating conservation anthem ‘Green’.

She opted to team up with WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) International for the song, which cautions that environmental destruction is ‘hidden by the treadmill of our daily lives’ and that we would ‘see our world crashing down’ if we only took the time to pause. Proceeds from the single will help fund WWF conservation projects around the world, and Kirsty hopes listeners will heed her powerful plea to reconsider their relationship with nature.

‘My kids are always telling me to “turn the lights off, Mummy”, and “turn the tap off, Mummy, you’re wasting water”. They inspired me to write “Green”,’ she explains....

To read the full article and see our exclusive ethical fashion shoot with Kirsty Bertarelli, get a copy of this issue here.

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