Hampstead mum's first pop single storms into US charts
PUBLISHED: 13:13 26 February 2016 | UPDATED: 19:08 26 February 2016
The ex-wife of Culture Club's Jon Moss tells of her inspiring journey to music success
At first glance Babs Savage’s house looks like the typical home of any Hampstead mother-of-three, with various-sized trainers lined up by the front door, walls adorned with family photos and a dog yapping in the hallway.
But Babs is far from a typical Hampstead mother-of-three.
She is a newly discovered R&B singer who, in her 40s, has stormed into the charts in the USA and Japan and is being played in nightclubs across the globe.
Her first single La La has become such a phenomenon in America that news channel NBC has filmed a documentary about her.
The single has reached number eight in the Music Week chart and number two in the UK Urban DJ chart, number one in Japan and shot into the top 40 of the American Urban AC chart,
It used to be Babs’s ex-husband and father of her children, Jon Moss, who was in the musical limelight as the drummer with 80s pop band Culture Club.
But now its the turn of the former Channing schoolgirl Babs, who grew up in St John’s Wood, to step into the spotlight.
The former Central School of Drama graduate’s biggest audience used to be at the weddings of friends, private parties, events at her kids former school and singing to residents in local old people’s homes, where she would lug around her own amps and equipment and sing for free.
More recently Babs, who also runs a private acupuncture practice for mums to be, had become a regular feature at the Hampstead Summer festival, compering and singing as a favour to organisers.
But now her voice is being heard by thousands around the globe.
What do her kids Clyde, 18, Gigi, 15, and Leon, 12, who are all at local schools, think?
“At first they didn’t quite get it, but now they can see me being successful, they are really proud of me. But they also laugh at me sometimes and are the ones who keep me grounded and remembering who I am. I find being a mum and being older can give you more vitality and drive and more resilience to cope with the knocks.”
“I am an example that nobody should put themselves in a box and feel they can only be one thing in life.”
Her youngest Leon was just around six when she and Jon parted ways after being together for 19 years.
“It was very difficult and raw time for us both. We were knocked, but we have remained close friends and he is very supportive too.”
Babs’s rise to chart success started when she was heard singing in a Mayfair club by a Chicago-based music industry insider who was impressed by her voice. He introduced her to Grammy-nominated producer Rickey Rainbow and she went to Chicago to meet him.
He was impressed and immediately got her to work writing her first song, Whispers. They then recorded chart hit La La Song, which takes inspiration from The Delfonics 1968 single ‘La La Means I Love You’.
The song was being played in nightclubs before it was officially released.
She has now set up her own record label, Savage Entertainments.
As we sit in her bright family kitchen listening to her music and discussing which single she should release next, Babs suddenly looks at her phone.
“Whoops, sorry, no more time to talk now,” she giggles. “I have to pick up the kids from school in five minutes!”
With that, the USA’s rising new R&B act is rushing out the front door to join the school run.