Chart-topper Annie Lennox has said that pop stars who did not use their fame to promote good causes were missing an opportunity.
The former Eurythmics singer and HIV awareness campaigner said that artistes should not “necessarily” use their elevated status to champion worthy causes.
Ms Lennox, speaking before her appearance at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh, said: “I don’t believe in ‘should’, but I do feel for myself, that having come to a certain place in my life... this is very important to me.”
The singer said that choosing to make a difference was her “calling”.
She said music had the potential to provide a platform for all issues, adding: “It should be used in that way, the potential is there, it’s a missed opportunity if people don‘t ever use it.”
Ms Lennox is of the same generation of 1980s pop stars such as Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Bono who promoted humanitarian causes.
She said today’s celebrity-fixated culture made her “a little sad”.
Ms Lennox added: “That whole celebrity thing is a bit of a tangled mess. Remember Tony Blair with his Cool Britannia, asking Noel Gallagher to come to 10 Downing Street. It was a photo opportunity and it made him look good.”
In recent years she has established The Sing Campaign to raise awareness of HIV and is an ambassador for many international organisations on the issue.
She confirmed yesterday that she would be visiting Malawi in February with former First Minister Jack McConnell in her role as special envoy to the Scottish Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).
She said: “With this issue it really helps if you’ve been to a country that is outside of your own culture and you look people in the eye and you’re able to take an abstract statistic that you may have read and personify it with one individual.”
Despite her role with the Scottish Parliament and also hailing from Aberdeen, Ms Lennox does not back independence for Scotland.
She said: “I understand the sort of desire for Scotland to have its autonomy and its separate identity, but at the same time I feel I don’t want to see the breakdown of the United Kingdom.”
Ms Lennox added that balance was required, otherwise “you could take a fierce independent pride and nationalism and it could tip too much the other way”.
The star said that the current court case in Germany involving HIV positive pop star Nadja Benaissa, who is accused of grievous bodily harm for allegedly infecting one man, was a “dark story” but that a positive message could be found.
She added: “People will see from this young woman that HIV is not only a gay community thing, it’s a heterosexual issue. Sixty per cent of people living with HIV in certain countries are women.”
Ms Lennox, who lives in London and has two teenage daughters, estimates she splits her time evenly between singing and humanitarian work.
She said: “I want to contribute to changing the perception of HIV, I want people to know that it’s the biggest killer of women of reproductive age globally.
“Our perception in the West is still from the 1980s and ’90s and we need to upgrade that and change that and spread the message.”
Ms Lennox remained tight-lipped about current musical projects, but said she would be talking more about them in a few months’ time.
She added: “There’s all kinds of lives I could live. I’ve made a bob or two. But it’s about my values, what I do with my time, my focus.
To actually make a difference, to really contribute is immensely satisfying at a human level, I genuinely feel alive doing what I’m doing, it’s my calling, it’s what I need to do.”
Ms Lennox formed Eurythmics with Dave Stewart in 1980. They were one of the biggest British music acts of the 1980s, selling an estimated 75 million records worldwide and scoring hits such as the 1985 number one, There Must Be An Angel.
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