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Saturday 23 August 2014

Guinness heiress: So you wanna be a rock'n'roll star?

Published 16/09/2012 | 06:00

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She is the Guinness heiress and former wife of a billionaire shipping magnate who has transformed herself into a renaissance woman.

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Best friend and muse to designers, including the late Alexander McQueen, she is renowned for her love of couture clothing as well as designing everything from clothing to jewellery.

But the Honourable Daphne Guinness is now about to launch a music career which could see her getting help from famous pals, including Lady Gaga.

The Diary can reveal that the 44-year-old socialite is recording her debut album in Grouse Lodge Recording Studios, Co Westmeath, in the same facility once used by Michael Jackson.

"Daphne wanted to be an opera singer at 17 but she was married at 19 and now wants to start over," producer Pat Donne, who is recording the sessions, told The Diary.

The daughter of Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne and his second wife, Suzanne Lisney, Daphne Guinness married the son of Greek shipping billionaire Stavros Niarchos in 1997. The pair's divorce 12 years later saw her awarded a settlement which was reportedly about £20m.

More used to recording singer/ songwriter Paddy Casey, Carlow- born engineer Donne said working with the heiress has been something of an eye-opener.

"She's unique and original because she comes at music in a completely different way.

"We started out listening to stuff on Daphne's iPod then got a guitar out to try some free association. From that we began picking out pieces of music which have turned into songs. We are now at a stage where we're ready to bring in other musicians and singers to develop them to the next stage," Donne said.

Sources say that some big names could be involved and they don't come any bigger than Lady Gaga who plays the Aviva Stadium tonight, and who last June paid £85,250 for a gown owned by Guinness and designed by the late Alexander McQueen.

Guinness was auctioning items from her personal collection to raise funds for the Isabella Blow Foundation, a fund she set up to help emerging designers in memory of a close friend who took her own life in 2007.

Lady Gaga has spoken in the past of her admiration for the two women, saying: "Daphne, like Isabella, is a huge source of inspiration for me. I cherish them both. It is as if we are all cut from the same cloth."

So that's the backing vocals sorted out. But if they need a piano player down at Grouse Lodge for the sessions, there's always Elton John.

Daphne is a close friend of Elton, attending his White Tie and Tiara Balls in Windsor each year.

However, don't expect Lady Gaga to be dropping into Westmeath this weekend, as Daphne Guinness suspended sessions this week for a photo shoot in Hawaii with American snapper David LaChapelle.

Sessions are due to recommence in Grouse Lodge later this month with some big names expected. Rumoured to pop by is singer Ryan Sheridan, who plays a nearby gig in the Uisneach Inn, on Saturday, September 29.

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