Scots popstar now “homeless and living in hostel”

Sandra McKenzie, former Goldbug star, says she's homeless and broke. PIC: Cascade.
Sandra McKenzie, former Goldbug star, says she's homeless and broke. PIC: Cascade.
0
Have your say

Sandra McKenzie, the lead singer of 90s band Goldbug and Prince’s one-time lover, says she is now homeless and penniless.

One time millionaire McKenzie reached number three in the charts with a cover version of the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love.

The singer, who attended the same Swiss finishing school as Princess Diana, also became the voice of the Bodyform television advertisement.

READ MORE: Remembering Edinburgh’s legendary gigs

McKenzie, 56, niece of the late Associates lead singer Billy McKenzie, says she’s now back in Dundee, her hometown, living in a hostel.

She said: “I had everything. I led an amazing life, a proper rock ’n’ roll life, but I have nothing left. I’m desperate. I sometimes don’t think I can go on much longer.

READ MORE: The Scottish roots of Johnny Cash, the man in black

“I feel so ill, hate where I’m having to stay and I’m desperate to turn my life around again, but I just don’t know how.

“I’m rubbish with money. I led the high life, loved to party and enjoyed a drink.

“I was way too generous with my money whenever I had it and bought lavish gifts for friends.”

She says a series of bad business decisions led her to where she is today.

Born in Dundee in 1961, McKenzie graduated in fine arts from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and worked as a graphic artist for The Beano in the city during the early 1980s.

At night, she was singing in pubs and clubs and pursuing her dream of becoming a successful recording artist.

She said: “Someone heard me and I was invited down to London where I sang in the chorus at a club in Soho. I spent two years singing jazz in The Dorchester.”

It was while Sandra was in London that she became the voice of a Bodyform TV advert.

She then joined the band Goldbug, formed in 1995 by a former member of the Beatmasters, Richard Walmsley and DJ Adil Magik.

The group had almost instant success — getting to No 3 in the UK charts.

America called and Sandra went on to have chart success there over three years. She met famous artists and spent three months working and living with Prince, eventually becoming his lover.

On returning to England, Sandra could no longer get anyone to sign her and gradually everything she had worked hard for began to disappear.

When she was 50, Sandra suffered a further setback.

She was knocked off her bicycle in Oxford and was in hospital for months.

Sandra said: “I suffered really serious head injuries and it took a lot to bounce back from that.

“I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered to this day.”

She added: “In 2015, I came back to Dundee. I bought a beautiful house but when I went to the bank one day I only had £1,000 left in my account.

“That’s where the dream ended — now I have no idea what the future holds.”

Goldbug are best remembered for their UK No 3 hit single, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, which sampled the Pearl and Dean theme tune Asteroid.

It was released on the Acid Jazz label and entered the UK singles chart on January 20 1996 and stayed there for five weeks.

The band made their sole appearance on Top of the Pops on January 25 1996, performing the hit single.

Adil left Goldbug at the end of 1996 due to musical differences and the band’s follow-up single in 1997 — Real Hip Mary — failed to reach the top 75.

In 2000, Walmsley sued Acid Jazz over unpaid royalties relating to their Whole Lotta Love single.

Walmsley was successful, receiving thousands of pounds.

Due to the royalty disputes, Sandra received no money from the band’s short existence.

Sandra believes the row was one of the main reasons why no record label was interested in signing her when she returned to the UK.

Sandra said: “I’d done so well both in the UK and in America and was a successful songwriter as well as singer.

“Many people had described my voice as unique and I was much in demand.

“That’s why it was so upsetting that it all fell away for me.”