INTERVIEW: Anastacia13th February 2016
I’m brimming with excitement. Anastacia and I are booked in for tea and ity bitty sandwiches at the Savoy Hotel. Immediately as I enter the quaint room, (it even has a dado rail and two sets of different off cream wallpaper) I feel slightly underdressed in my jeans and high backs.
I am though, wearing a shirt and it’s freshly pressed. She grabs me and says, “I’m glad someone is keeping it real with their clothing” and laughs as she looks at her own attire of a see-through black lace bodice and biker jeans with a set of killer heals. She looks incredible, it has to be said, and at 47, she looks as fresh as she did in the Outta Love days. Her laugh is naughty. Her honesty is refreshing as we talk botox and Simon Cowell, and her love of drag queens puts her at icon status level 1. We settle, teacups in hand with little pinkies out…
JH: I’m boiling with excitement…
A: Yay! Oh my god, well that makes two of us. It’s lovely to be back and talking about new music…
JH: Yes I hear you’re back with Sony?
A: Yes I am back…
JH: With a vengeance this time?
A: You know what, I’m back as if I never left. It feels like I never left the company. There was never animosity with me leaving, I actually left out of a very strange thing called loyalty, I left out of being loyal to the gentleman who signed me. Not the typical reason to leave a ridiculously thriving career at the top of your game. Not the best scenario. It’s not going to be something I tell all my younger singers to do in their life, but sometimes I can be loyal to a fault and it steers me in different direction. I know their (Sony’s) feelings were hurt because it’s not like they didn’t work their butts off…
JH: But they still sent the royalty cheques though?
A: Yes, but that was a hard thing to lose for them. They worked really hard. It was just unconventional, but I don’t think anything in my life has been supernormal. My story will be so like, What’s Love Got To Do With it? I mean I have a good story…
JH: Are you going to give Tina Turner a run for her money?
A: Oh my god, wouldn’t that be cute? I put myself in that category jokingly of course, but it’s something I’ve thought about in my life. I still feel I’m too young to want to go there with that kind of movie of my life. I could write a book that could become a movie for sure.
JH: As long as you don’t have that hideous scene when Tina is forced to record Nutbush City Limits over and over again…
A: I don’t have that scene, but I’ve got some good scenes! (Laughs). I think we all, as artists, have our own story.
JH: Would you play you in the movie?
A: Never, I would never destroy the movie like that!
JH: So who would be the person?
A: That’s a good question… Oh gosh…
JH: Is Jennifer Anniston too conventional? You’ve kind of have a similar look going on…
JH: Would you have to dub the vocals in?
A: I dunno man, I’ve never heard her on the karaoke, so she could really blow you away. She could rock out to one of my songs and I’d be real surprised. I would see Jennifer Anniston possibly playing me in the current stage… Yah, she could play current me. Younger me could be Emma Roberts. She’s sorta has the humour, but she has the serious and emotional. Not that she looks anything like me, but I’d like to look like her. I’d like to pick the person I’d like to look like. Do I have to look like myself in my movie?
JH: They have to look like you; you’re the famous one!
A: Oh come on… It’s my movie, this is my movie, I can pick what I want! (Laughs)
JH: Are you a fan of the X Factor juggernaut – considering its artists are also homed at Sony?
A: I’ve always loved it. My own career got discovered off something that was before Idol. It was an MTV show called The Cut. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez was the host. It was the artist singing their own material, not cover songs, so it was a hard swallow for the public, because people didn’t know your material. The song that I was singing was Not That Kind, it’s a song that inspired people. I wrote it and I could sing it well. My look was so different that it just worked. I know the machine of a show like that and what it can do for people’s careers. I’ve seen what his (Simon Cowell’s) show has done for a lot of the winners and some of the people who didn’t win! It still is an entertainment show at the end of the day, we all know this, but there is talent within the entertainment as well. (X Factor) is a brilliant idea, who knows why it didn’t quite fly in America, but I can say the same about my career! (Laughs) I don’t really happen in America so Simon and me have a lot in common, little did you know!
JH: The rest of the World loves you… so it doesn’t matter really right?
A: Hello the World is big!
JH: The World is massive!
A: Right and I think Americans forget that.
JH: If you were going to be contestant on X Factor today, what song would you choose to audition with?
A: Maybe Left Out Side Alone because there’s such a different range of where I go with that, from operatic to low voice to belting and it’s really catchy. It’s a very difficult song to master, vocally. I think the most popular one on X Factor is I’m Outta Love. Simon has said (to me), “I frickin hate your song!” Not serious but in jest. He’s like, “please don’t sing Anastacia, it’s like killing it”. It’s the same with Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Patti La Belle if you really wanna go with a shocker song, you really gotta come with it honey.
JH: There is the saying, ‘don’t sing Mariah Carey unless you’re Mariah Carey…’
A: Yah, she does such a unique thing with her voice. Now, I will say that when Leona (Lewis) came out there I was like, “I can’t be mad with her if she sang any Mariah Carey” ever.
JH: But her albums didn’t sell after the first…
A: The X Factor has that extra added value of an audience that can make them fall in love with you in editing. Even though Leona’s voice is amazing you still have to have a great song to make it on radio, you can’t just have a great voice.
JH: Talking about amazing songs, it has to be said that I’m Outta Love was literally made for drag queens…
A: Oh my god… I agree. It’s just the worst because I realise how short my legs are every single time a beautiful drag queen does it. Their legs couldn’t be anymore gorgeous and long and fabulous – even if they’re drawing in their cleavage, it’s beyond beautiful. Now my cleavage is actually better than theirs, because I got my twinset – so they can’t compete with my little frickin’ twinset. I’m super honoured.
JH: I once saw a queen doing I’m Outta Love and I actually thought it was you…
JH: She was AMAZING, she had this hairpiece that she whipped off, she had a skirt that she ripped off, she was strutting around the stage.
A: I’m so jealous. You don’t realise you have a gimmick until someone makes light of you – you’re then like, “oh my god I’ve made it, I’m quirky enough!” (Laughs) Things I thought looked whack – they love it.
JH: So you’re a fan of drag then?
A: Oh absolutely, always have been and let me just tell you, my Mother’s 70th birthday: drags… I had drags at her 70th birthday. I had Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland – all the people my mum would have loved to be in a room with and hang out with. And me (laughs) – somebody played me.
JH: You had your own drag queen come to your mother’s 70th birthday?
A: It was a total surprise. Michelle Visage got me some really great ones from Ru’s show. When I say I love a drag I’m not lying! I’ve known Michelle since we were like in our early early twenties in New York.
JH: A duet between you two?
A: OH MY GOD that could totally happen –that is something we have talked about… definitely. She my little Madonna.
JH: We will be all over that…
A: We would do a song and make all the money go to a HIV /AIDS charity – that is just something we would do! We would put it out not make a penny on it. I’d make sure we did a Pride Tour. That would just be fun. She could be my hostess and I could be up there just singing my ass off. I would have some drag queens up there. You’ll know who I am because I’m about 2 feet tall. That’s the unfortunate part – you’ll be like, “Oh, (sad face) I thought she’d look like him!”
JH: If you could put something from pop history into room 101 which would it be..
Lenny Kravitz’s leather trousers?
A: Oh Lenny Kravitz. I’m sorry but that one eyed monster came out and I was like WHATTTTTT! I was so excited; I mean for him, I don’t know how he feels…
JH: He trended for days…
A: I mean the picture was so brilliant you couldn’t pose better for it. He was in his element and he was freein’ willy and it was awesome. I was so in love with him at that moment, he gave me a boner- and I don’t even know how to have one so.
JH: He gave you a lady boner?
A: He did – he gave me – what’s a lady boner – a loner! (Laughs) He gave me a loner… Oh my gawd.
JH: What’s the best way to get back on a cheating lover?
Drink lots of red wine, put I’m Outta Love on and eat lots of ice cream?
Take scissor to all of his clothes?
Take yourself off to a retreat, dress in hemp, put on lots of beads and meditate for a month?
A: I think logically I would more do the meditation. If I wanted to be honest in my real life, truthfully, I never mention anyone’s names but I write songs to get through my relationships. That’s probably why people enjoyed my music, because there was a such a literal level of honesty cutting through each lyric. So I would say, number 1, but spiritually I’m a number 3.
JH: One Day In Your Life should have been a number 1 worldwide – it was THE TUNE… Why wasn’t it? Discuss!
A: My thoughts would be is that I was hard to out do I’m Outta Love, and it was really close. It was a strong reminder and I think if anyone else did it, it might not have even gone that far, but because I did it, it was reminiscent. If people had a choice, they’d have chosen I’m Outta Love, over One Day In Your Life.
JH: I just don’t think they heard it enough!
A: I really like that song, it’s definitely a song that I don’t do at the beginning of my set for sure…
JH: You don’t want to give it away too soon!
JH: Which was the album that was the most fun and releasing for you to write?
A: Definitely Resurrection. I think the one I learned the most from was my covers album, It’s A Man’s World. I did only men’s classic rock songs like ACDC and Led Zeppelin. I did that for me, not necessarily for the factor that it would sell. I just needed to find myself again, it was the most engaged I’ve been in discovering music. When you’re trying to sing those songs my god, you pay homage, you’re like “I’m not worthy”. I was just able to come back to a place where, once I wrote my next project, which was Resurrection, I understood everything. I really loved writing Resurrection; there was real joy in it. I think the older you get you really understand music writing and lyrics and radio.
JH: Which of your songs has surprised you?
A: Paid My Dues, I didn’t think anybody wanted to hear about me being punched in the face but ohhhhh yeah they did!
Anastacia’s album Ultimate Collection is out now on Sony.