Inspirational Pendle singer who appeared on The Voice pens new single in memory of her baby son
International singing sensation Kiki Deville, who is also well-known for her role as patron of Derian House Children's Hospice, has released a new single in memory of her baby son, Dexter and to rid grieving couples of the stigma surrounding the death of a child.
After losing Dexter to Zellweger Syndrome in 2007, aged just one month and three days-old, Kiki, who lives in Earby, and is renowned for her appearances on ITV's The Voice UK and All Together Now on the BBC, became a passionate spokesperson for parental bereavement.
During the first UK-wide lockdown, she put pen to paper and co-wrote "The Day" with singer songwriter, Angus Powell, in a bid to help other couples share their stories of grief.
The inspirational 47-year-old, who is blessed with a 12-year-old son called Arlo, and is also mum to Alec (30) and Paris (25), who both live in Australia, has been a professional musician for the past 30 years, performing at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, as well as the Melbourne Concert Hall.
The burlesque songstress has a huge following and wowed singer Will.i.am on BBC1’s The Voice, in 2014, with her rendition of "Stone Cold Sober" by Paloma Faith on the popular show.
When not singing, Kiki works tirelessly to raise awareness of Derian House Children's Hospice in Chorley - where Dexter died - and to help parents come to terms with the heartbreak of losing a child.
Originally from a small town in Australia called Mount Gambier, Kiki settled in Earby 17 years ago after meeting her "Northern English" husband Chris Robinson.
It's been 13 years since Kiki lost Dexter and she says nothing can prepare you for that feeling of "utter devastation".
Recalling the "darkest moment of her life", Kiki admits music helped her through the grieving process.
Speaking to the Lancashire Evening Post, she said: "We had gone from the best day of our lives, with this little boy who was so beautiful, to being told that was all going to end. Zellweger Syndrome is very rare. It affects the metabolic process which breaks down long chains of fatty acids in the body. Dexter had a severe strain of the disease and died at four weeks old at the hospice.
"After his passing, I thought I would never recover. Everything leaves you with an awful sense of guilt and shame and my confidence was entirely gone. I had to rebuild and find myself again. Thankfully, I have always been a musician and music played an enormous role in helping me return to my new normal."
"The Day" is a song Kiki wanted to write for 13 years and she admits the whole process - from conception to the release of the single - took her eight weeks.
She wants her new single to support two deserving causes - Derian House and the umbrella charity for the UK's children's hospices, Together for Short Lives. They will receive 30 per cent of the proceeds generated from the iTune sales.
Kiki revealed the shiver-inducing song is an ode to loss, but a reminder that life can still continue after the death of a child.
She explained: "We have an epidemic of silence around the issue in this country. Bereaved parents are left invisible much of the time, with society preferring we don't mention our children who have died. I want all bereaved parents to have a platform to share their family stories.
"I had the idea, I wrote it out on piano and sent it as a voice note to Angus and the next day we pretty much finished the writing of it. Then the production of it took some time. Angus lives in Buckinghamshire, and he and I have never actually met in person, so we were doing the whole thing remotely.
"I would record my vocals in my home studio and send them to him, where he would put them into the track.
"It's a song I have wanted to write for 13 years so when I sent the original idea to Angus, along with an explanation as to what it was all about, he was incredibly supportive and keen that we get it written and released."
She added: "I am fortunate enough to have an international career, albeit in a very niche area of the industry (variety and Burlesque-mostly European) and through platforms like The Voice and All Together.
"I have had ample opportunity to tell people about Dexter and Derian House and the work that we all need to do to help bereaved families.
"I am a big believer in humour and I adore the Mark Twain quote 'Tragedy plus time equals humour.' I am so fortunate that in my work, laughter is a large part of what I do (stand up is a large part of my hosting positions), and it has been something that has gotten me through the toughest of times."
Looking ahead to 2021, Kiki plans to use her personal tragedy to help others by launching a groundbreaking project giving heartbroken and grieving parents a voice to come to terms with the devastating loss of a child.
She explained: "My ultimate goal is to write songs for other people, but I don't plan on retiring from performing just yet! After working with Derian, Angus and I are incredibly excited to start a new project with bereaved parents where we will be working with them to create new music and spoken word pieces in tribute to their children.
"We aim to release an album of these songs in 2021, with the view to expanding the project nationally should we receive the support we need. Someone needs to allow these families to be able to open up about their loss, and I am incredibly excited to be able to help in doing that, and wonderfully proud of Derian for recognising the importance of ongoing support."
Kiki's fundraising efforts have been praised by Caroline Taylor, communications and marketing manager at Derian House Children’s Hospice. She said: "We are beyond proud of our wonderful Patron Kiki for her new single, and are thrilled that she has chosen to donate a percentage of the profits of each sale to help us care for children and young adults at Derian House.”
The single will go live across all major streaming platforms from December 13th.
"Please know that this is a song for anyone who has ever had to say goodbye to someone. Grief is a very lonely place, and I want this song to connect people. I also really want to raise some money for these wonderful, vital charities," concluded Kiki.
Pre-order your copy now by clicking here