Kerry loved Smile. It was always a song close to her heart and one she had always wanted to record. During 2011, whilst receiving chemotherapy treatment for bladder cancer, an opportunity arose to release a charity duet with the sensational Susan Boyle. Always the perfectionist, and never one to let anything stand in her way, Kerry set about preparing her voice for the project by recording some of her and her family's favourite songs. Smile was Kerry's first choice and a new arrangement was put together by Spanish composer, Neftali Madrigal. The version of the song, never originally intended for release, remained within the family and close friends.
On 4th January, 2012, Kerry passed away. Smile was played at her funeral. In the months that followed, the McGregor family felt it would be fitting to release Smile on Kerry's birthday, with proceeds going to establish a foundation in her name.
Kerry McGregor was born on 30th October, 1974 into a musical family in Pumpherston, a small village in West Lothian, Scotland. Her late grandfather, Bobby McKerracher was known as "the Scottish Bing Crosby" and her mother, Margaret is also a talented singer.
Kerry lost her father in a tragic road accident when she was 5 years old. Then raised as a single child, she became an award winning child gymnast and was quickly identified to compete at national level. At the age of 13 years, she fell from a tree and broke her back, resulting in being paralysed incompletely from the waist down.
Being a young pupil at West Calder High School, Kerry was told by the authorities she would need to now attend a specialised school for disabled children for the rest of her schooling years. Both Kerry and her mother fought vigorously against this move and with sheer determination, Kerry crammed 2 years physiotherapy into just 6 weeks, proving she could make her own way around her school, using leg braces and crutches. Kerry was allowed to remain at the school. The following year, she won the Child of Achievement Award, after being nominated by the school. Kerry described it as her "proudest moment."
As a teenager, Kerry obtained the school grades to then study music and drama at Jewel and Esk Valley College in Edinburgh, where she found her passion for the arts. From 1993, Kerry formed various bands and recorded albums which reached the UK National Charts.
She was talent-spotted by Kenny MacDonald, (The Proclaimers), to record a song to be selected for the UK´s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. She appeared on the BBC show with the song "Do-Re-Mi: Yodel In The Canyon Of Love" and came second behind Katrina and the Waves, "Love Shine a Light." The official video for the song was directed by acclaimed Scottish movie director, David MacKenzie (Perfect Sense, Young Adam, Hallam Foe).
In 2006, Kerry was a contestant and finalist in the third series of the British television show, The X Factor and reached the final 10. She was mentored by X Factor judge, media personality and music promoter Sharon Osbourne. Grammy award nominee Leona Lewis won the competition.
Kerry appeared at sell-out summer shows in Blackpool in 2007, and performed for the National Lottery Live, before taking a break to concentrate on her song-writing. In 2008, she toured with singer-songwriter Jay Brown and worked with producer and musician Calais Brown. Kerry also performed at the 2010 Edinburgh International Festival singing in concert with classical tenor, Martin Aelred.
As an actress, Kerry has performed in several theatre, television and radio productions including the Glasgow-based "Sounds of Progress" in Gordon McDonald´s acclaimed production of "A Wee Bit Of How Do You Do" alongside Gerda Stevenson (Braveheart) and Forbes Mason (The High Life).
She played Carol-Ann in Annie Griffin´s (BAFTA Scotland winner) hit Channel 4 series "The Book Group", and appeared in the award-winning BBC children´s drama series, "Grange Hill."
Kerry was deeply committed to a wide range of charities that work with and for women, the disabled and children. She launched a clothing brand at London Fashion Week specifically designed for disabled women, appearing on the ITV breakfast show GMTV. She has also written for the Spinal Injuries Association and Diana Memorial Fund and has presented a number of seminars together with Ade Adepitan, MBE on inspirational speaking as part of the BBC "Beyond Boundaries" tour.
During 2010, following a period of illness, Kerry was diagnosed with bladder cancer, at the age of 36 years. She underwent extensive treatment and during this time continued to develop her own projects, supported and raised awareness for a number of charities. She supported the 2011 International Children's Games held in Lanarkshire. Her last public performance was in 2011 at Tunnel2K, an international paralympic wheelchair race held in Newcastle at which she received a standing ovation.
Sadly on Wednesday 4th January 2012 after an extraordinary life of triumph over tragedy, with so many people describing her attitude as an inspiration to us all, Kerry passed away following a battle with cancer. She will be much missed by her family, friends and many fans, whose tributes were testiment to her amazing life and achievments.
"Over the years, Kerry has certainly proved herself to be multi-talented, with natural charisma and star qualities. She was an exceptional songwriter. She was an absolute joy to work with. Coolness personified." Kenny MacDonald
"It takes a certain spirit in an individual to sing a song that great. When it´s done right, it becomes unbelievable." Tony Bennett
"This is a great song. It needs to be sung well and you sang it beautifully." Rod Stewart
"My life changed completely for me from an early age. I had been very involved in singing, ballet and drama. In some people´s eyes it could be a hindrance but in my eyes it´s not. If anything, it gives me all the more reason to kick my heels in and go on. I am determined and I will achieve ... " Kerry McGregor