‘I came back from the brink’ says China in Your Hand singer Carol Decker

Pictures by Sam Webb

The singer best known for China in Your Hand is returning to the limelight more than 25 years after her biggest chart-topper.

EIGHTIES pop enthusiasts will recognise T’Pau frontwoman Carol Decker by her famous fiery red mane and enviable figure. These days she is equally well known among Twitter users for her fiery temper after a very public spat with Gary Barlow in 2011 when X Factor contestant Amelia Lily took to the stage to perform Decker’s biggest hit China In Your Hand.

“He said live on TV that it was nice to hear that song sung in tune. He implied that I’d sung it out of tune. I was shell-shocked,” says Carol.

“I was nervous about Amelia singing it because I didn’t want her to do better than me. It was my song, it’s all I’ve got left. I wanted her to give a good performance but not eclipse me.

“I tweeted him asking, ‘What’s your problem?’ And in minutes my phone was ringing. X Factor asked me to go on Xtra Factor but Gary Barlow refused to face me. I had to hide from the tabloids the next day.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that his career is massive and mine isn’t any more. How I handled it was difficult because it can look like you’re trying to latch on to something to get attention.”

Twenty-five years ago T’Pau, the band Decker formed with then boyfriend Ronnie Rogers, sprang into public consciousness after Heart And Soul was used in a Pepe Jeans advert in the US. But it was their next song China In Your Hand that really caught people’s attention. An undeniably catchy Eighties pop anthem, it hit number one in 1987 and stayed there for five weeks.

Their debut album Bridge Of Spies also hit the top spot and went quadruple platinum. They enjoyed success for several years in Europe and America, touring the world at one time for 17 months non-stop but their star was on the wane by the Nineties. After their third album Promise failed to reach the dizzy heights of Bridge Of Spies they were dropped by Virgin Records and the band went their separate ways. Carol is now able to look back philosophically on the highs and inevitable lows of fame and fortune.

“When it was good it was brilliant but there was a lot going on. The strain of being in a successful band, then the inevitable clashes with the other band members who wanted an ever-increasing slice of the pie took their toll. Ronnie’s mum died of cancer while we were away followed by my dad, who died of a heart attack in 1990.

Full Story in Daily Express

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