Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews, 6 March 1947, Little Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England) is a singer-songwriter, with a career spanning more than 40 years. She is best known for her 1976 duet with Elton John, entitled "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", which went to Number 1 both in the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 1993 she performed another duet with Elton John for his Duets album, a cover version of Cole Porter's "True Love", which reached #2 in the UK.
Kiki Dee began singing with a local band in Bradford in the early 1960s. Her recording career began as a session singer. She sang backing vocals for Dusty Springfield, among others, and was regarded by other singers but did not achieve solo success in the UK for many years.
However, her 1965 release "Why Don't I Run Away From You" was a big hit on Radios London and Caroline in 1965, and her 1968 release, "On a Magic Carpet Ride", which was originally a B-side, has remained popular with the Northern Soul circuit. Hit songwriter Mitch Murray came up with her stage name, and also penned her first single, "Early Night".
In the United States she became the first white British artist to be signed byMotown, releasing her first Motown single in 1970. In the days before BBC Radio 1, Dee was a regular performer of cover versions on BBC Radio, and she starred with a group of session singers in the BBC Two singalong series, One More Time. She also appeared in an early episode of The Benny Hill Show in January 1971, performing the Blood, Sweat and Tears hit, "You've Made Me So Very Happy".
Nevertheless, it was only after she signed with Elton John's Rocket Records that she became a household name in the UK.
Her first major solo hits were "Amoureuse" (written by Véronique Sanson, with English lyrics by Gary Osborne) (1973) and "I've Got the Music in Me" (written by Tobias Stephen Boshell), the latter credited to the Kiki Dee Band (1974). In addition to her burgeoning career as a lead vocalist, she could sometimes be heard singing backing vocals on various Elton John recordings, such as "All the Girls Love Alice" on "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and various tracks on Rock of the Westies.She became a household name with her duet with Elton John, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976.
In 1981, Dee joined forces again with Elton John, recording a cover of the Four Tops' song "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever".
In 1983, she supplied backing vocals to Elton John's album Too Low for Zero. Between 1987 and 1990 the theme music to the BBC One TV programme Opportunity Knocks was Dee's recording of "Star", a song written by Doreen Chanter of the Chanter Sisters. Dee also sang the song "What Can't Speak Can't Lie" (1983), composed and recorded by the Japanese jazz fusion groupCasiopea, and with lyrics by Gary Osborne.
She has released 39 singles, 3 EPs, 9 LPs and 3 CDs to date. Dee has also appeared in musical theatre - notably in the lead role in Willy Russell's West End musical Blood Brothers, in which she took on the role originally played by Barbara Dickson for the 1988 production and recording. She received an Olivier Award nomination in 1989 for her acting skills.
In 1990, she contributed to the last recording studio collaboration between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, on the album Freudiana, performing "You're On Your Own". In 2008, Dee's first DVD was released. Under The Night Sky was a collaboration with guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, filmed live at the Bray Studios in London. That same year, several albums from her earlier 1970s-1980s Rocket catalogue were re-released by EMI Records, including an expanded edition of Almost Naked with extra tracks, including a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold", and a new take on "Sugar on the Floor". The latter song had previously appeared as a full band version by Dee; a piano/vocal version (with slide guitar from Davey Johnstone) by Elton John (a bonus CD track on Rock of the Westies that was the b-side to "Island Girl"); and a jazzy version by Etta James.
She also performed at Live Aid, reprising "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with John, and performing backing vocals on the other songs in his set. She still tours, and occasionally makes guest appearances on television in shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks. She has recorded with other artists such as Dave Stewart and guitarist Carmelo.