As streaming giant Netflix release new documentary Wham!, Shirlie Kemp joined Jackie Brambles on her Greatest Hits Radio evening show yesterday evening [Wednesday]. Shirlie opened up about her feelings on this latest retrospective and what son Roman thinks of her time as a popstar as well as reminiscing about her early days with the band….
Shirlie on how it felt to look back on the documentary: ‘It was emotional for me and I did feel exhausted [watching it] but at the same time I just felt so happy when I saw it. I’ve seen so many things that have been inaccurate, about Wham and about George.. [but] as soon as it started I just had the biggest smile on my face because all of a sudden there were my best friends again, chatting and laughing, so I smiled the whole way through.’
On son Roman Kemp’s reaction to seeing the film: ‘I took my son, Roman to the screening that I went too – because I’d never really spoken to my kids about my Wham! days, I was just Mum – and he stood up after he’d watched it and went ‘Oh Mum you’ve had such a great life, I’m so proud of you’ and he patted me on the back and I loved that. I felt really proud that I was actually a part of that band.’
The incident at Stringfellows that led to their first TV appearance: ‘Wham! were booked to do a PA in Stringfellows and that night I remember George’s shoe came flying off as he did his high kick. It was his white espadrille and he had a white towelling sock on underneath and I’m thinking he’s going to slip… Then all of a sudden someone threw the shoe back at him! When it was finished he was so upset but a lady came over to us and said ‘You guys were fantastic. I’m a producer for Saturday Morning Superstore and I would love you guys to come on.’ And my life changed because that’s when you experience people going ‘you’re that girl from Wham!…’ Just being recognised and having this sensation that things are not going to be the same.’
Why Wham! was always about the friendship, not the fame: ‘Wham! was always about friendship for me it wasn’t about the success. Those two boys were my best friends and it was kind of heart-breaking for me to have to share them with the world, once Wham! got famous. It does change the dynamic of a friendship, but the lovely thing is all four of us have always been friends. I was best friends with George until he passed away and Andrew and Pepsi are like family to me, so you don’t hear that from many bands that they still all love each other.’
Listen to Shirlie Kemp chat to Jackie Brambles on Greatest Hits Radio at greatesthitsradio.co.uk