I interviewed the Paris Sisters in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel one afternoon in the summer of 1990. The year before, I had published a book called Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow about girl groups, and a Radio 1 producer had approached me to see if I'd like to write and present a series for them on the subject. I said yes, of course, but it took months for the project to get off the ground. Then, just as I began to think nothing would happen, we suddenly got the OK from the powers that be at the BBC, and the next thing we were jetting off to New York and Los Angeles to meet the stars of the girl group sound, both past and present.

What I found when I got there was that, generally speaking, all the people who had made a lot of money had moved to Los Angeles, while the people who hadn't, but still loved music with a passion, had stayed in the Big Apple. Thus, in New York I went to various flats, bars, nightclubs and met, among others, Lillian Leach of the Mellows, Arlene Smith of the Chantels, Reparata of the Delrons, songwriter Ellie Greenwich; while in Los Angeles, I visited Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil in their Beverly Hills mansion, interviewed Jeff Barry, Gerry Goffin, and Eddie Holland in their beautiful homes, or stayed in my suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt to receive my guests…

The suite had a TV in it almost the size of a cinema screen, which in those days was a rarity. At various times of day, a waiter would appear there and stand by a table of refreshments to serve us, in case we were too lazy to stagger over there and pour ourselves a coke. This was where I met the Paris Sisters, along with the Honeys, Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes, and many others. In the early evening, when my interviews were finished for the day, I'd go downstairs to the outdoor pool, which had been painted in various shades of blue by David Hockney. At the time, Eartha Kitt was staying at the hotel, and she would appear beside the pool with about five small dogs in tow, each on a glittering golden lead, yapping their heads off. Also at the pool was a young woman who looked like an exact replica of Marilyn Monroe, and a hip hop band - I don't think they ever got a hit, I never saw them again - who would talk loudly on their mobile phones (also a rarity then) and dive bomb into the pool, much to the annoyance of the other rather snooty guests.

Life at the Hollywood Roosevelt was extraordinary and amazing to me. I was completely baffled by a lot of what went on - for instance, why did you have to get out of your car when you drove into the hotel, so that a Mexican could park it for you? (Answer: your tip was their wage.) Why did all the middle-aged women in the area, including many of my interviewees, have the same shape of nose? (Answer: they all shared the same plastic surgeon.) And why was my morning tea served in a clear glass bottle with a piece of clingfilm over the top? (Answer: I still don't know!)

Strange as I found Hollywood, I always warmed to the singers who graced our suite in the hotel: women in their forties and fifties who had been teenage stars, who had married and had families, and who now had jobs, sometimes as singers in the entertainment world - on cruises, at conventions, and so on - but more often than not as teachers, nurses, secretaries, cleaners and carers. A few of the women had definitely been marked by the whole experience and were extremely distrustful of me: for instance, Gladys Horton demanded a bodyguard before she would speak to me, so I had to find one of the burly security men in the lobby and ask him to come upstairs with us, which I found rather embarrassing but which they both seemed to think was quite normal. Many of the women told stories of exploitation and abuse - mostly of the financial rather than sexual kind - and some were very bitter about what had happened. And they had reason to be: after all, a lot of money was made out of those songs, and in most cases, they got little or none of it. But my impression was that, for most of them, their short-lived careers as teen girl stars were a treasured part of their past, when they were young, idealistic, and having the time of their lives.

However, for the Paris Sisters this did not seem to be quite the case. It was not being conned out of money that was the big issue. What troubled them was the way that their mother had tried to market them as a child, and then teen, showbiz act, attempting to create three identical girls from her three very individual daughters. Priscilla, a sensitive, shy woman with an air of fragility about her, seemed to have found the situation especially difficult to cope with. Her sisters, who seemed somewhat more robust, were protective of her, but there also remained a certain amount of rivalry between the three of them from the old days.

The interview was fun, and I think we all enjoyed it, so I was very sad to hear, some years later, of Priscilla's death. Out of the three women, I still remember her the most clearly. She was one of several female singers I met who spoke well of Phil Spector (Arlene of the Chantels was another) and who impressed me with her gentle, quiet manner - the same manner that, I think, comes through on "I Love How You Love Me" and that Spector recognised as the stuff true pop legends are made of.

[ click on images to enlarge ]


CHARLOTTE: How did you start out? Where were you living?

SHERRELL: Well, we were born and raised in San Francisco, California. We started out as dancers. We were all fairly strong dancers. We started doing hospital benefits and radio and Air Force shows. They needed artists to go on USO shows. The whole dancing school would go. We just decided one day, amongst the three of us, to try singing. So we'd go on the bus trip with all the dancers and do these camp shows. One time, at one of the Army shows, there was a vocal coach in the audience. She said she liked our sound, and offered to teach us harmony. That's how it all started.

CHARLOTTE: You were terribly young at the time.

PRISCILLA: Very young! I was about four when we turned professional, but I was only two when I followed my sisters into dancing school and learned acrobatics. I suppose dancing didn't come as naturally to me as it did to the others. Singing came more naturally for me.

CHARLOTTE: Your mother had a career in music. She must have pushed you quite hard.

PRISCILLA: It's thanks to our mother that we were in the business at all. She had been an opera singer with the San Francisco Opera. She gave it all up to marry my father when she was 15. She kind of continued her career vicariously through us. She gave us a lot of support.

CHARLOTTE: Albeth, what kind of songs were you singing at that time?

ALBETH: We had a great number, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe". We came out toting guns and twirling them, which our father taught us to do. I distinctly remember one time getting hit in the eye with a gun and having to go on stage with a black eye. We sang and we danced. We had tap shoes, fringes and cowboys hats. It was very adorable.

SHERRELL: We were one step up from Gypsy Rose Lee, I think.

ALBETH: Anyway, those were the days of big production numbers. You did a lot of choreography within the framework of your songs. At the end of that particular routine we had a tremendous finish: Sherrell jumped on my back - see, I was the oldest and the biggest - and we scooped up Priscilla with Sherrell's legs, which were sticking out in front. And that's how we got off the stage.

SHERRELL: Twirling our guns. Don't forget it, twirling!

CHARLOTTE: You were discovered by the Andrews Sisters, is that right? How did that happen?

SHERRELL: We used to go and watch them at a little theatre in downtown San Francisco. We would cut out of school - we were still in grammar school - and sit in the audience and watch them. We were dressed alike and mouthed all the words. We tried to emulate them in every way possible. Finally, they noticed us and asked us to come backstage to watch the show. They called us out on stage and we sang "Rum And Coca Cola" with them. Now, who was the bandleader? Was it Patty's husband? It was about a hundred years ago!

CHARLOTTE: So you started out in that '40s and '50s mode of singing, like the Fontaines and the McGuires.

PRISCILLA: Like the Andrews Sisters. That's who we were patterned after. Our mother taught us all their songs - "Pennsylvania Polka", "Rum And Coca Cola". We had the same kind of harmony and the same kind of sound, being that we were real sisters. Sherrell did the bass and I did the lead, like Patty did, because I was the youngest. It was a wonderful sound.

CHARLOTTE: What did you think of the other sister groups that were around at the time?

ALBETH: They were great. They had a marvellous sound. There's something about being related that gives a special flavour to the harmonics. The King Sisters, they had a great sound. And the Dinning Sisters, and the De Castros.

PRISCILLA: And the Lennon Sisters, don't forget them. Well, you know, I don't know how my sisters felt, but to me none of that existed. I knew the Andrews Sisters existed, because we had to rehearse their numbers, and we went to see them and we knew them. To me, the only thing that was important was going to school and making friends.

SHERRELL: We worked with the McGuire Sisters. They were very, very sophisticated. We did the Arthur Godfrey Show and we met the girls at that time. We learned how to use make-up by watching them. We sat in the dressing room and watched them. We had never used make-up to that extent, or extreme, before. We learned that from them.

ALBETH: We worked with the King Sisters in Lake Tahoe. We were very young, and it was our first nighclub act. They were next door at Harry's Club, which was a very big club in Tahoe. They did a take-off on us on closing night - closing night used to be a big deal. They put wigs on and came on stage and did a Paris Sisters take-off, which was kind of cute, to say "Bon voyage".

CHARLOTTE: The Paris Sisters seem to have been somewhere between a 1950s white starlet group and . . .

ALBETH: We were out of our time. We were too late for the three-part harmony sound we'd been trained in, and a little too early for the girl-lead-in-front sound, which is what we had our hit records with.

CHARLOTTE: Now, were you all lying about your ages? I read somewhere that your father . . .

ALBETH: Yes, we lied about our ages. We still do. We started working Vegas at such a young age. Well, Priscilla was about nine when we first played Vegas, and I wasn't much older. I'm the oldest.

CHARLOTTE: How old were you pretending to be?

ALBETH: I think I had to be 16. I remember one incident when I was like 13, right at the end of our Vegas time, I was in the bathroom and a lady came in and asked me how old I was. I asked her how old she thought. She'd seen us on stage, and she said, "35"! Of course, I was flattered. Today I would also be flattered if someone said I looked 35.

SHERRELL: So yes, our father falsified our birth certificates to make us older. When we started touring, Albeth had to pretend to be 21, so she could act as our chaperone or guardian.

PRISCILLA: I can't change my passport back. It's true, because the date is taken off your birth certificate. I'd not only like to change it back, but to take it down a few years. This business is one where when you're young you have to act older, and as you get older and more mature - hopefully more mature - you have to be kind of younger. Although, I do want to say one thing: I'm singing again after quite a break, and I never really talk about my age. All that matters, about being older, is being able to sing the way I wanna sing now. Doing the songs the way I want is the most wonderful thing in the world. I've always loved singing, but I never could do what I wanted to do. At first, I had to do what was best for the Paris Sisters. Then I had to do what was best for Phil Spector. Then somebody wanted me to copy Billie Holiday and somebody wanted me to do something else. Now I'm doing me, Priscilla, and it's wonderful. Maturity is fun.

CHARLOTTE: So how did you meet Phil Spector?

SHERRELL: That came about through our mother. She was a very aggressive little lady. Excuse me, she's still aggressive, and a little shorter now. We had been on odd little labels and had made funny Christmas records that sounded like the Chipmunks. Our mother brought the contract about. She got us to a man named Lester Sill, and his protégé was Phil Spector. They were looking for groups to record. Phil came to our home and sat with us and interviewed us. He had us sing separately and listened to each voice. Priscilla had the softest voice, which he preferred for the records. And that was it, we started recording with him.

CHARLOTTE: The first one was "Be My Boy"?

ALBETH: "Be My Boy" was originally written and recorded as "Be My Girl" [by Ray Peterson]. Phil was really the one who picked it. He chose all of our arrangements and songs. He was looking for the kind of songs that would enhance the sound he was creating. We had been used to that three-part harmony sound - belting - we were big stage performers. So recording with Phil was a new world for us.

CHARLOTTE: How did you like "I Love How You Love Me"?

ALBETH: Well, how can you say anything bad about a song that all these years later is still played on the radio. The only thing is, Sherrell and I were just the "oohs" and "aahs" in the background. So it was kind of interesting to go on tour with the song and make as much as possible out of "oo-oo-ooh".

PRISCILLA: Yes - may I answer that, since I was the lead . . .

ALBETH: Well, I can answer whether you were the lead or not.

PRISCILLA: I loved the song because it was a chance for me to sing in a soft sexy voice, which I had never done before. Phil had his first hit when he was a teenager with the Teddy Bears' "To Know Him Is To Love Him". Phil sang on that record, and the lead singer was a friend of his, who he really cared about at the time. Phil told her exactly how to sing, and it was that sound, from "To Know Him Is To Love Him", that he was still attached to, and was going after with us. But we were an accident. My sound was not like Annette's - she had a very thin type of little girl voice. I have a heavy roque - that's a French word meaning very heavy, husky - voice. I think Phil fell into something he wanted to do, added extra ingredients, and ended up with something different. I don't think it was a planned thing. Was it teenage music? Well, I don't think "I Love How You love Me" was teenage music at all. I was 15, but nobody knew it. Walter Winchell said it was the sexiest sound he'd ever heard. I didn't try to sing sexy. I didn't realise what I was doing. It just turned out to be one of the sexiest - without being vulgar - records there ever was.

SHERRELL: I think what Priscilla is saying is true. It was not a teenage song, even though it was on the charts, and we did all the teen shows on TV like Sh'boom and Dick Clark and American Bandstand and so on.

CHARLOTTE: Was it Phil's intention to market you as a white rock'n'roll girl group?

SHERRELL: I don't think he went into the marketing aspect of it. He wasn't concerned with our careers. His interest was in creating a sound - he put all his energies into the recording studio. He would go on to other groups.

CHARLOTTE: Were you aware of the black girl groups, like the Shirelles with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"?

ALBETH: I don't think we were. Our focus was in our performances and our stage appearances. We didn't concentrate on who was doing what in the record world.

CHARLOTTE: So you weren't typical girls twiddling the knobs on the radio.

ALBETH: Not at all. In fact, I didn't know what groups were on the charts. I did know who were the great performers on stage. We were strange. We were taught to be the old Vaudeville-strong stage act, and we were strong on stage. We never dreamt that we could get into the charts. We really didn't. When "I Love How You Love Me" caught on - it caught on like wildfire - everyone was shocked. I think Phil was shocked and the record company was shocked. It not only went into the charts, but went on to become a classic, a standard.

CHARLOTTE: Were you perceived at the time as a rock'n'roll group?

PRISCILLA: We had a lot of problems with that. Before we met Phil Spector, we had recorded on Decca, and we had that Andrews Sisters sound. And then we became famous for that soft one-voice sound. It was very difficult. We had a manager that had several big groups, but he could not place us. We had the No 3 record in the nation, but he could not sell us. We were booked into strip joints, and I was only 15. It was because in that first year as a hit record group we could not make the change from the big band sound to our new sound. It was very difficult.

ALBETH: This is interesting. It's like I'm hearing it for the first time. Priscilla was the youngest, and she remembers so much more than I do. But that is true, the first year was very difficult, yeah.

CHARLOTTE: Priscilla, did Phil Spector really ask you to marry him?

PRISCILLA: He did. I was pregnant when Phil asked me to marry him, pregnant with my first one, and I was also married. I had married to give my son, Eden, a name - in those days you had to. Phil was heartbroken. After I had my son - I didn't stay married - I did have a relationship with Phil. I had a very wonderful friendship with Phil, and I still do.

ALBETH: Phil and Priscilla always had a special rapport and they really understood each other. There was an empathy and a chemistry that I certainly never had with Phil. I was always afraid, not afraid of him, but of his unexpected weird behaviour. I felt he thought I was very square.

PRISCILLA: He was an absolutely original person. He still is. I talked to Phil about two weeks ago in Paris. We hadn't talked for a long time.

SHERRELL: Is he sober now?

PRISCILLA: Yeah, I think he was. He was even asking me about what I had been through. He sounded pretty good. He's one of those people that I think suffered a lot. I'm probably one of the few people in show business today who knew Phil, who worked with him, who still loves him. OK, he never hurt me. He was a little crazy. So am I maybe. But I think he was a hypersensitive person who suffered a lot, and showed this through his behaviour. Everyone thought he was eccentric.

CHARLOTTE: What about your dresses - suddenly you were new stars - how did they change?

SHERRELL: Well, the empire line was in at the time, if you remember that style. It came up under the bust line, and gathered. We stayed with that style for quite some time, because Priscilla was pregnant and had run off with our light man - the lighting man from the Sheridan Hotel. Is this the truth? Am I telling it right?

PRISCILLA: No, Sherrell.

SHERRELL: We see things a little differently. But Priscilla was carrying her son, and the empire line was wonderful. It camouflaged Priscilla's condition, and we were all able to wear it. I think she kept singing right up to a week before she had the baby. We did the Dick Clark show and no one knew she was pregnant.

CHARLOTTE: OK, Priscilla, say your piece.

PRISCILLA: Let me say what I have to say, and we can argue about it, or whatever, afterwards. I was the youngest, it's true, but I had been professional since I was 4, and had been working Vegas between 10 and 13, so I was relatively mature. I fell in love - it's true, he was our light man - and I got pregnant. Well, was my mother upset? EVERYBODY was upset! They didn't want me to keep my son. They wanted to hide the fact that I was pregnant. Of course, that many years ago, a young girl getting pregnant wasn't accepted as it is today. I did marry his father, who I loved and adored. We're not married any longer, but we're still friends. It's true, the empire line did camouflage my pregnancy, but at the time I wasn't concerned with that. I was only concerned with having my son, loving him, teaching him things about my family. My mom and my sisters were extremely upset about it all, extremely upset. They were concerned about what was gonna happen to the group. I don't really think that they realised what was happening to me. I was gonna have a baby, and they were worried about the group! My father, who never said very much, said, "Well, you know, let her have this kid. This is our grandchild. Remember we were all young once." Anyway, I did have my son, and he's now six-foot-five, and he's wonderful.

CHARLOTTE: After your big hit record, you were now quite big stars, what happened after that? Did you try and find a new direction for your stage act?

PRISCILLA: None of our subsequent hits, the one or two that followed, were as big as "I Love How You Love Me". We never had that kind of success again. We then got tied up in litigation. There were contractual arguments going on between Lester Sill and Phil Spector. We cut an album, which was put in the can. Whether or not the tapes were lost is another story. All of that is true. This all began to affect us through the years. We kept on performing for seven or eight years after the hits. We travelled all over.

ALBETH: In answer to your question, we tried to incorporate our record sound into our stage act, but it did not really work. You could do a couple of soft ballads, but a terrific show it did not make. We were the kind of performers who liked to speak to the audience, to try to captivate them, to make them laugh, to do funny skits. The new songs and our old stage show never really married well.

PRISCILLA: They never really did. That's exactly what I was gonna say. We never gave up one for the other - we should have. We should have chosen one or the other and stayed with it.

CHARLOTTE: Sherrell, when you were doing these shows, what did you wear?

SHERRELL: Do you mean the performances before the hits, or after? Because our dress changed, it changed drastically. Before the hits, our mom did a lot of sewing of costumes for us. We wore very bouffant gowns - lots of sequins and sparkle and lamé.

CHARLOTTE: What about your hair?

SHERRELL: Oh! Now you've touched upon a very sore point! We didn't wear wigs when we were performing on stage. No, we wore our own hair. This is my subject, Priscilla, we'll get to you. I have always had, as you can tell now, very curly hair. Very curly. Naturally curly. I wore it long - we all had long hair - but at the time it wasn't in. It was not fashionable. Straight silky hair was in. So I would iron mine and glue my bangs down to my forehead. In fact, Priscilla and I came to fisticuffs once in the Philippines. This might have been just prior to the hit record.

ALBETH: I really don't remember this incident.

SHERRELL: We were performing at the Clark Air Force base in Manila for the troops. It was very humid, during the summer. The troops were these young adorable fellows. To me they were the prospect of the future, our young American Air Force men. And Priscilla would not share. We were packing up to leave, and she'd packed away her hair drier. She would not let me use it to straighten my hair. I had this frizzy hair like Janis Joplin! So I took the whole suitcase and threw it out of the hotel window.

ALBETH: Being the oldest, I was always the one that attempted to manage the three of us. We were three sisters and were together every waking hour. We always dressed alike and we used to wear - whether we had wigs or our own hair - our hair identically.

PRISCILLA: This is very interesting. It's exactly right. As you can see, we all have different hair. When we were kids, before we had our hits, when we were playing Camp Stillman and different shows and hospitals, it was very important that we all had identical hairstyles. Albeth and Sherrell's hair was better short, cropped very short. It curled naturally and was kind of cute. I had very long hair. I will never forget this particular incident, when my mother absolutely forced me, and held me kind of down, and cut my hair. She made it short and frizzed it up to go with the kind of hair my sisters had.

ALBETH: I can hear the hostility. Will you ever forgive her?

PRISCILLA: No, never. I'm still angry. Later on, we wore wigs - especially after the hits in the '60s. Big bouffant things. We each wore a long wig that went with our faces.

CHARLOTTE: I have talked to another group, the Bobbettes. Their situation was the opposite to yours. There they were, these big girls, and they were being put in little dresses, to look like children. Is it damaging to a person to be in showbiz very young and to have to act as a different person to who you really are? What effect does it have on a group of girls to act younger or older than they really are?

SHERRELL: I think that you could almost answer that question yourself, Charlotte. You asked it because you perceived something in the three of us. I would venture to say that it has an ill effect. It effects how you perceive yourself and what you're gonna be in the future. It is damaging. It may not damage each member of the group to the same extent, but somebody gets hurt. It's like living a lie.

CHARLOTTE: Priscilla, was it really natural for you sisters to be together all the time?

PRISCILLA: This is a pertinent question. I think what Sherrell said is completely true for me. I was the youngest, but it's not only whether you look and act older or younger, it's the fact that you're playing a role - a role, exactly, that to you has to be real. It's a responsibility and a tremendous pressure. It's very damaging. It's not being famous that's damaging, although that has its drawbacks too. I was the third one to come along - I didn't have a choice, from the age of two I didn't have a choice. I went to dancing school, to singing school, to acrobatics lessons. We came home from school and rehearsed five or six hours an evening - I had absolutely no choice. I can love my sisters now. I live in Paris, but we get back together again, we have the same type of humour. But my goodness, we were under stress. There was so much competition between us, especially Sherrell and myself - she's just 18-months older than me. It took something that was very positive, a close loving family bond, and destroyed it completely.

CHARLOTTE: Albeth, how did you cope with all this?

ALBETH: As the quarterback of the team - I was often referred to as that because I was the oldest and I seemed to be the stable one - I would command the group and give us our, um, orders. When we broke up, when we finally stopped singing together, I felt a great sense of relief. I would have gone on into eternity working with the group. That was what I believed was expected of me. In my mother's great attempt to give the group a unified look, to make us a unit that worked as one, she robbed us of our chance to be individuals, and we each lost our identity. It was hard to explain that to her in later years, because we really owe all of the opportunities we had to her. She was terrific, and is terrific, but there was something very sad about how we were not able to express ourselves about how we dressed, or even how we spoke. We were together morning, noon and night. We never had individual friends and went to parties and concerts together. The only one to stand up was Priscilla. She was the youngest, and she rebelled.

PRISCILLA: Towards the end, we became individuals on stage. It's true that I was the catalyst, because I refused to cut my hair short again, and to wear a style that fitted Sherrell but didn't fit me. We're all different sizes - Albeth is tiny, I'm medium and Sherrell is a tall model-type figure - so we couldn't wear the same things. We weren't like the Lennon Sisters, who all had the same hair, same noses and same body. We really were individuals. On stage, we developed the comedy end of our act. Together we were a very funny act - we had pathos and comedy, and brought the house down. But we were never an act that fitted into our time, never.

CHARLOTTE: We didn't talk about your financial situation. So many of the girl groups I've met either made money - people like Diana Ross - or they made no money at all. Many of them never finished their education and now don't have proper jobs. What's interesting about you is that you've all managed to have quite solid careers after your singing careers. How did you manage that?

SHERRELL: We were lucky enough to have good schooling, and that helped. Our dad thought it was important. I think what also helped was the fact that we weren't just an overnight record group that someone took out of school. We had been on the road and paid our dues. We really knew, all of us, what work meant. We became record stars out of the blue, but when it was gone, it was gone. Although we each went through our neuroses, and our problems - Priscilla probably the most. When we did break up, and Priscilla said she was going on her own, I was devastated. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I took five guys, put them in back of me, toured, made more money, bought property and said, "I can do it!" I remember appearing on a television show some years ago and looking at that end of the business. I thought to myself that when the time came that I couldn't be in the limelight anymore, I didn't want to become a has-been singing in a nightclub somewhere. I wanted to be on the other end. Well, I've been with Mark Goodson Productions for over 15 years now. They make game shows for television. I'm Bob Barker's right hand lady, his executive assistant, and fashion co-ordinator for the company, and a writer for the company. So, I've been blessed with a good career. I don't think I could have done it if I hadn't learned it from the ground up.

PRISCILLA: That's extremely true and extremely important. I have to say here that any of the money we made, we did not make off the record "I Love How You Love Me". We were never paid for it, which happened to a lot of groups in the '60s. From the time we were little kids, we worked, we travelled, we supported the family. We knew discipline. We knew what it meant to spend time practising, being professional, calling people, calling agents. So we were different from those groups that had a hit record then found themselves nowhere. When the group split up, I sang solo for a long time. I made some jazz albums that sold relatively well. I didn't get paid for those either! But I had an accident, and my face was paralysed. It was very serious and I stopped singing. When I stopped singing, I went through a very bad period where I drank too much and I really went to the bottom. I have to say that I've been sober for many years now. I'm an alcoholic - it's nothing I'm ashamed of, but that's a whole other interview. Anyway, during that time I accidentally went to Paris, and I fell in love with the place. I decided to stay there and finish my education. I got my French professorship and my English professorship. I have my own company now in Paris. I'm in the right place at the right time, because of the European Community. Everybody wants to learn English. I have lots of hotels that are my clients, and I teach them communication. So everything I ever did that was kind of disjointed has fallen into place. Plus, I love it.

ALBETH: Well, I think they’ve summed it up very accurately. Our father was an advocate of being able to articulate your feelings, being able to communicate. All of the singing lessons, dancing lessons, music lessons - both Sherrell and Priscilla play guitar and compose. Priscilla's composed hundreds and hundreds of songs - all of that went into developing a sense of who we were, and how we could sell ourselves later in life. When I finally stopped performing - I stopped because I got pregnant and I wanted to have a quote normal unquote life - I went out into the world and learned how to be an administrator. I then worked at ABC TV as a programme executive for nine years. I'm currently at the Television Academy as the international advertising co-ordinator for Emmy magazine. It all came about because we had this tremendous ability to communicate with people, and to study. That's all very important, and you have to learn it, I think, when you're young.