To celebrate the release of her new book From My Heart, Linda Nolan shared some time with us to tell us all about her new autobiography.
What can readers expect form your new book From My Heart? – Fabulousness! It’s my life story, no holes barred, warts and all. I hope they enjoy it, that’s what I’ve done it for.
Your diagnosis led you to write this book- so at what point did you feel compelled to start recording your life?
We’ve all been asked loads of times before, and originally I felt was too young. When I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in March, at the beginning of 2017, I thought this was a good place to start. My cancer is treatable but not curable and I thought for my little nieces and nephews this book could be a way to show them who Aunty Lynn is and how much she loves them.
How much did your parents influence your passion for music and what was a typical night like in your house when you were young?
We’ve all only ever known music, our mum and dad were singers in their own right in Ireland. Dad was like an Irish Frank Sinatra and mum performed musical theatre, although she was offered a scholarship to Opera school. But we were just a normal family. A typical night when were kids would be 8 round the table for dinner with a hot meal, dad would come home from work and then in the early days mum and dad would go out to sing. Later then it would be all of us, having a wash, getting into our outfits and piling into the car to go to perform at working men’s clubs.
Please tell us about your experience of touring with Frank Sinatra.
It was 1975 and the European part of his World Tour. He had comedian who used to travel with him, Pat Henry, but in Europe there was the language barrier. So they sent videos and tapes of about 5 different musical acts to his offices in America, and they chose us, which was amazing, partly as our dad was like Ireland’s Frank Sinatra. We were brought up on his music and to the have our dad meet him was incredible. It was fairy-tale time. I was 15, it was just unbelievable.
In what ways did the formation of the band put strain on your family life?
In 1973 we were brought to London by a big management company and that’s when we became the Nolan Sisters. Until then we’d been working as the Singing Nolans- that was our two brothers, Tommy and Brian, our mum and dad and us six girls and we did all the working mens clubs. When we went to London they saw the potential in promoting six sisters, rather than being with mum and dad. Our brothers didn’t want to come to London, so that was their decision. There was possibly strain for mum and dad but they never showed it but they gave up their careers for us to continue with ours. We were just thrilled to have hit records and be working!
How did it feel to reunite with your sisters in 2009 for the anniversary tour?
The anniversary tour was amazing. When we were asked to do it we thought we’d love to , but is anybody interested? And then they put a little feeler out in the press and the response was unbelievable. Live Nation and Universal each put a million in. We had 8 boy dancers, Ray played guitar, Steve played the drums. My sister’s brought their kids with them and we had a nanny on the tour. It was just so much fun. We had make up artists, where we used to do our own make up and wardrobe. And the audiences were amazing. We saw people who had grown up with us and they were there with their children or even grandchildren at some points, so it was really well received and we had a ball.
Why haven't you performed again since your sister’s passing?
We were going to do a farewell tour and put a line under the Nolan Sisters. We lost her in 2013 and it’s too hard and too raw to think about doing anything without her, because she was such a part of our jigsaw. But never say never. And with technology the way it is now we could maybe do something where Bernie could be a part of it. So who knows, watch this space.
You suffer from severe depression so how do you cope with this on a daily basis?
My depression is under control on a daily basis because I got help. I did go down to the lowest point where I was suicidal, but I was helped through my GP and counsellor, and my local mental health team, who came to me and said let us try and help you. You’ve got nothing to lose. What they did was amazing and that’s the reason I’m here really. I’m on anti-depressants which is fine. They’re not a magical cure but they balance it out, they make it easier to cope with day to day life. My sister Maureen says to me ‘I want to get you off your anti depressants’ and I say to her, ‘if I was a diabetic you wouldn’t be saying that!’ It’s an illness for which I may have to have medication for life but that’s fine as I can function with it and I’m not ashamed of it!
You have had many heartaches in the last few years- so for anyone who is going through the same experience- what advice do you have for them?
My advice for anyone suffering from mental health issues is get help. Speak to your GP, go to your mental health team. They are there to listen, they are not going to judge you and depression is an illness, not something you’ve done wrong. So get help the way you would if you had a bad cold or need antibiotics.
What is next for you?
After promoting my book, I would like to get back on stage and get back out on tour and maybe do more musical theatre. And I am happy at the moment being at home with my great nieces and nephews. But I hope I’ll be getting back to work soon!