Carol Decker: “I don’t have the thick skin that everybody thinks I have”

T’pau arrived on the music scene in 1987 with ‘Heart And Soul’ reaching No. 4 in both the UK & US charts.

Taken from the debut album Bridge Of Spies, the infectious song introduced the world to Carol Decker’s distinctive vocals.

‘Heart And Soul’ left its mark on the music scene from the late eighties, so much so that the song was used in ‘San Junipero’ – the most memorable and poignant episode of the last season of Black Mirror.

‘Heart And Soul’ stayed on the US billboard chart for 6 months. After a UK arena tour supporting Bryan Adams, the band immediately toured the biggest venues in the UK as headliners to tie in with the next single, the classic ballad ‘China In Your Hand’.

‘China In Your Hand’ stayed at No. 1 for 5 weeks – the longest serving No. 1 of the year. It’s an ambitious piece of music, largely for the fact it’s quite possibly not the easiest song to sing.

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When I met up with Carol, I asked her if she realised at the time of writing ‘China’ – with its challenging structure of serious note-holding – that it would become a chorus of combat.

“It’s quite difficult to sing, but when I wrote it I was twenty five!”, Carol laughs. “I’m still getting away with it at the age of sixty, so I am told, but it requires a little more effort.”


Last month saw T’Pau celebrating their 30th anniversary of ‘China In Your Hand’ reaching No.1 on the UK singles chart, and despite there being some happy memories of a triumphant time spent working in the music industry, there have also been some unhappy moments, which have been reflected on in detail in Carol’s autobiography, Heart And Soul. Personal ill-health, a marriage breakdown and family bereavement have affected Carol’s music making, and her band have only released five albums since they started out.

“I think it’s disappointing and remiss of me,” Carol says. “The only explanation I can offer is that I did go through some down times when Ronnie (Rogers, T’Pau’s co-founder, and Carol’s ex) and I broke up, and my dad died. It was hard. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My career had gone down the toilet, and so had my relationship, which I treasured.”

T’Pau ‘Red’

“I was quite depressed for quite a few years,” Carol says. “I didn’t do much at all until about 1997 when I met industry executive Will Ashurst, who now looks after some loser called Ed Sheeran. Apparently he’s ginger as well. Maybe he’ll get somewhere!”

I’ve not heard of him either.

“Will started managing me,” Carol continues. “He introduced me to one of his best friends, Richard, who is now my husband; we had two children, and my whole life just picked up on other levels.”

“I tried to write songs where I would put my head above the parapet, like I did with the album Red, and it got slaughtered in the music press, so I just retreated again. I’ve not got the thick skin that everybody thinks I have. There is a massive difference between bravado and confidence.”

Carol Decker will be performing with Kim Wilde, Toyah and Lawnmower Deth at the Wilde Wild Xmas Show at O2 Ritz, Manchester on 22 Dec. UPDATE: Carol will now NOT be performing on the Back To The 80’s cruise, as mentioned in the video below. Did you miss my interview with Bananarama

The Virgin Anthology

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Tags : Carol DeckerT'Pau
Phil Marriott

The author Phil Marriott

As well as holding the Head of Music position, Phil currently presents the Sunday mid-morning show on Gaydio - the world’s biggest LGBT dance radio station. As a DJ, he has supported Tiesto and played for clubbing brands Fierce Angel and SupermartXe. He is one half of a remix duo with DJ Rich B and also produces the PMKEpodcast with singer Katherine Ellis, the LDN Vegans YouTube channel with Polly Harvey, and produces and presents Boys On Film with Raj Rudolph from EQ Music Blog.

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