Boney M singer Liz Mitchell recalls her life on stage
The former Harlesden resident was spotted singing in a restaurant in Ladbroke Grove
A former disco queen returned to her roots to give a talk about her life on the international stage.
Liz Mitchell, who grew up in Harlesden, was plucked from as a teenager and ended up touring the world as the lead singer of 1970s group Boney M.
She spoke at an event organised by the/Black Music Congress, for British black music month, which was held in Willesden Green library.
Ms Mitchell told the audience she ended up in the group after a talent scout spotted her singing to herself in a restaurant in Ladbroke Grove at the age of just 14.
Her family, who live in Harlesden, are deeply religious Christians, and the life of a pop star wasn’t the one they had envisaged for their daughter.
She said: “My parents didn’t know anything about show business, none of us did. We were church going people,” the former Chamberlayne Road school (now Kensal Rise primary) student said.
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But mesmerised by her unique voice, the scout kept her number and called her up three years later to cast her in the rock musical Hair.
Ms Mitchell travelled to Berlin where she met Frank Farian who formed the disco group Boney M.
She said: “When my mum made the decision to allow me to go to Germany (where Boney M was formed) my dad was very upset, he couldn’t understand how she had allowed me to go off. But I think it as God’s will.”
Ms Mitchell became an international star and travelled the world to perform on the biggest stages.
Boney M is the only act to have two singles in the UK top ten selling singles of all time – and have sold a total of more than 200million records worldwide.
Ms Mitchell has always returned to Harlesden, where her passion for music began and her father, Norman, still lives and runs the West Indian senior citizens organisation for the past 30 years.
She said: “Harlesden is my first home after Jamaica. From a young girl I always knew I wanted to sing and this is where that all started.”