Imelda May shares hilarious red carpet mishap

·5 min read
Imelda May at the 2009 Meteor Music Awards (2009)
Imelda May at the 2009 Meteor Music Awards (2009)

Imelda May has opened up about the importance of her family in her life, and how they have been there every step of the way in her stellar music career.

The Irish singer-songwriter opened up to White Wine Question Time host Kate Thornton about her childhood, early family holidays, and a hilarious story involving a red carpet, a latex dress and a rusty old can of WD-40.

May, who has performed with Bono, Lou Reed and Van Morrison, said it's important to her to include her family in everything, because they have shown her such support throughout her life.

Read more: Imelda May on working with Noel Gallagher, Bono and more

She said: "The first award show I was invited to and I got these awards, things started going well, I always included my family, my mam and dad because I know dad gave up his dreams to raise us. I wrote a poem about it called 'The dancer and the dream'.

"He gave up his dreams to raise us because he couldn't feed us. So he got a normal job, which really wasn't good for him in many ways. 

WATCH: Imelda May's hilarious red carpet mishap at the Meteor Music Awards

"And I remember I'd bring them all the time to everything I went to. There was always an entourage of my mam and dad and aunties and uncles and all. And I loved their company!"

At the 2009 Meteor Music Awards, May had decided to wear a latex dress that a friend of hers had made when she was a singer in burlesque clubs.

May said: "And I remember mam and dad and my auntie Kathleen sitting and saying: 'Which should I wear, the normal dress, like this one?' And they said: 'Definitely the mental one, we love that one. Definitely the rubber dress.'

Imelda May at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2009, at the RDS, Dublin, Ireland.   (Photo by Julien Behal - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Imelda May at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2009 (Julien Behal - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

"And people thought I had stylists but I had me mam, me dad and me aunty Kathleen!

"So I went to the ceremony and I put the dress on. And to get into latex, you have to cover yourself in powder or else it sticks to you, to pull it up. 

"And then you have to have a shine to shine it up. But I forgot the shine. I thought: 'Oh sh*t what am I gonna do, it's all dull.' We had little sponges, you know, for your shoes. I was trying to get them from a hotel and I was trying to shine it.

"And dad was there, and he disappeared. And I thought; 'Where's dad? We don't know - it doesn't matter.' And I'm standing there with my manager. 

LISTEN: Imelda May talks about how her hard work and determination have propelled her musical career, which has seen her work with Jools Holland, Noel Gallagher and more!

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"And I walk up the red carpet and in front of me there's a sea of cameras. 'Imelda Imelda Imelda May, look this way. Imelda over here, Imelda over here', as you know. 

"So I'm looking around. I'm trying to smile. And in between I heard: 'Imelda! Imelda! Imelda!' I thought: 'That sounds like my dad.' I look around to my right. 

"And there's security holding him back. And he's going: 'That's my daughter!' And he's trying to run up the red carpet. 

"And he has a see-through plastic bag with an old rusty can of WD-40. 

Imelda May with her Best Irish Female Award at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2009, at the RDS, Dublin, Ireland.   (Photo by Julien Behal - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Imelda May with her Best Irish Female Award at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards 2009 (Julien Behal - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

"To the security man he's going: 'But you don't understand, it's for her dress!' 

"He'd jumped in the car and went home, into the yard and thought: 'WD-40 that'll shine her up!'"

She spoke honestly about the importance of the support her parents had given her.

She said: "They were very creative. Mam made all our clothes and you know, they're really special, very special.

Imelda May performs live on stage for the Teenage Cancer Trust annual concert series at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Imelda May performs live on stage for the Teenage Cancer Trust annual concert series at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017. Photo credit: DavidJensen/EMPICS Entertainment

"I'm very lucky, very blessed to have been brought up in such a bonkers house. 

"They encouraged us. My brother decided to make canoes and they go: 'Brilliant. That's a great idea.' But then, the tiny house was full canoes! Balanced them on chairs, we'd have to go underneath them to get into the kitchen."

She also explained many of her dad's creative solutions to problems both in the car and in the house.

In one story, she explained: "Dad always had old second hand cars. I remember the windscreen wipers stopped working one way.

"They went that way but not that way. He had tied a string to them and put it through into me mam.

Rumer,Jennifer Saunders,Ruby Turner,Jools Holland and Imelda May arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London
Rumer, Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Turner, Jools Holland and Imelda May arrive at the Music Industry Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. PA

"And then it would go like that and me mam would pull it. We went for months like that, mam pulling the string!"

Hear Imelda talk more about her dad's creative DIY solutions and hilarious family holiday stories in the new episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on Apple podcasts and Spotify.

WATCH: Imelda May on her journey to success and performing with Jools Holland

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