On Air Now
The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
1 October 2021, 12:11
Shirlie Kemp reveals she saw George Michael only weeks before his untimely passing in a new joint autobiography from the former Wham! backing singers.
Only weeks before his tragic passing on Christmas Day in 2016, Shirlie visited George and asked him if he had enjoyed his life and liked being famous, and he said “yes”.
“I knew George as a friend way before Wham!, way before fame." she goes on to say.
"He was adorable and his sense of humour, he could laugh at himself. It was his empathy and his wit. To be that compassionate but that hilarious was a beautiful combination.”
It comes as a surprise to many who believed George to be struggling in the days leading to his death, but his kindness for others always came first.
Kemp's recollection of her final moment with George Michael comes to light in Pepsi & Shirlie: It's All In Black And White, the new book from the former Wham! backing singers.
As Wham!, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley were one of the biggest selling pop groups of the 1980s.
Wham! - Club Tropicana (Official Video)
Both Shirlie and Pepsi recount their whirlwind success with Wham!, joining the band in 1983. Pepsi says: “I was actually impressed by them, really impressed."
"I thought Shirlie was the coolest and I was conscious of the fact she really wanted me to be comfortable. Meeting George and Andrew, they were doing exactly the same thing."
“I can’t even describe to you the decibel of screaming [at concerts]. We’re talking about hysteria to the point of concern."
After Wham! broke up in 1986, and George went on to become one of the world's greatest pop music icons. But he never lost sight of those that mattered most to him.
As the former backing singers promote their new book, Pepsi says she feels George is “wishing them well”.
“I’m quite emotional actually. I’ve been walking into the hotel foyer and every time one of George’s songs comes on." she says. "I think he’s got his fairy dust on our book, wishing us well.”
“I feel really proud of the fact I can look back on so many fond memories. It’s tainted with sadness, but that’s life.”
Pepsi & Shirlie: It’s All in Black and White by Pepsi Demacque-Crockett and Shirlie Kemp is available to purchase now.