Anastacia, singer songwriter, producer and former dancer chats with Kevin Cooper about her health issues, touring with Lulu and Chaka Khan, her experience on Strictly Come Dancing and her forthcoming tour of the UK
Anastacia is an American singer songwriter, producer and former dancer. She has sold over 52 million records worldwide and has topped the U.S. dance charts on two separate occasions.
In 2014, she released her sixth studio album Resurrection, which reached the top ten in the Italian, Netherlands, Switzerland, German and UK charts. Her Ultimate Collection was released in 2015 and peaked in the top ten of the UK charts, giving the singer her sixth top ten album in Britain. She is known for her powerful mezzo soprano voice.
During her life Anastacia has battled many health problems. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 13, breast cancer at 34, and supraventricular tachycardia at 39. In 2013 Anastacia was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. In 2013 to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Anastacia informed the media that she had undergone a double mastectomy.
In recognition of her decade-long charitable efforts in breast cancer awareness, Anastacia became only the second woman to be presented with the Humanitarian Award at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards in 2013.
Whilst busy preparing for her forthcoming tour of the UK, she took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.
Hi Anastacia, how are you today?
I’m doing fabulous Kevin thank you, and just how is the weather over there in Nottingham?
Its okay at the minute; the most important thing is that it is not raining.
Are you telling me the truth, is it really dry because I am telling you that is a very big statement for you to be making about the UK (laughter).
(Laughter) yes I am, we have not had any rain for a few days now unlike last week when we had snow warnings.
Oh my god, I know, I heard.
Anyway, enough about the weather, let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
No, thank you very much, I really do appreciate your time too Kevin.
And just how is life in Miami treating you at this moment in time?
It couldn’t be any better. I am here staring at the palm trees, so all in all life is not too bad right now.
You are bringing your Ultimate Collection Tour over to the UK in May. Are you looking forward to being back here in the UK?
Absolutely. I think that for me, being on Strictly Come Dancing and being in the UK for that long, and not being able to do what I do for a living was extremely hard; so I am really excited to be coming back to the UK and actually put my microphone back in my hand.
What can we expect from the tour?
The tour is following on from The Ultimate Collection album when I picked what I thought was an array of the best of my hits together with songs that the fans have liked the most. Also, on the tour I will be performing some different songs that maybe they are not so familiar with; songs from the covers album It’s A Man’s World which I recorded back in 2012. On that album I covered Best Of You by the Foo Fighters, and I will be performing that on the tour together with a lot of fun and eclectic versions of a lot of my songs from all the different albums all put together for the one tour. There will be live dancers on the tour, live musicians and me singing (laughter). Also featured on the tour will be the A 4 App live album which I recorded and released last year.
In relation to the A 4 App album, would I be right in saying that you are intending to be doing something a little different with that on the tour.
(Laughter) who has told you that (laughter). Well, yes its true, I am intending to do something a little different. As you are no doubt aware, there are ten songs on the album which were recorded in ten different countries and what I am trying to do is to get the fans at the shows to vote for one of the ten songs that they want to hear me sing that night.
After not being able to tour for long periods due to health issues, does being able to now get back out there on the road excite you?
Oh my goodness, most definitely yes. I have to say that because I have been ill at different times of my career, for me it will be a big joy to be once again out there on the stage. I no longer take that for granted. I have had to miss out on performing for such long periods of time for reasons that were totally beyond my control. So whenever it is in my control and I can be out there I just try to stay out on the road for as long as I can. Last year I played sixty dates on the first half of the current tour and I have about the same number to perform on the second half of this tour so it really is great. It’s great for me to be able to still work, go out there and do what I love to do.
You released your last studio album Resurrection back in 2014. Are there any signs of a new studio album?
Yes, there are and I have to say that this is a first for me as I am currently writing the new album and I will be continuing to write it as I am touring. I have never really done this before. I have previously taken time out, written an album, put it out, promoted it and then toured it. However, with the new album I intend to write it whilst I am in Sweden and whilst I am touring. So I will be going back and forth to Sweden.
It’s a hard life but someone has to do it (laughter).
(Laughter) absolutely, absolutely and I am so pleased that that someone is me (laughter).
Do you enjoy the time that you get to spend here in the UK?
Absolutely, I really do. I have grown really quite accustomed to the culture and in fact I recently got myself an Oyster Card (laughter). I now understand the red line and I feel like I know the place a little bit. I have to say that I know it way more than a lot of other people (laughter). I think that maybe I am okay because I don’t live there; I have my very own get out of jail free card. I can choose the different places that I want to go in the UK but then when I have had my fill I can simply say “okay, that’s enough I want to go to Miami now” (laughter).
Taking you back now if I may, and I have to tell you that I was fortunate to see you at The Royal Concert Hall here in Nottingham in 2009 when you toured Here Come The Girls.
You did, well I have to tell you that was such a fun show to do. Tell me did you see the show with Heather (Small) or Chaka (Khan)?
I saw you with Lulu and Chaka. Was the show as much fun on stage as it appeared to be off stage?
Oh my god, the three of us girls had a riot. There were absolutely no egos in the show; we were all old school performers, we all kept it live and we all had such a good time that even Chaka wanted to get up and dance which she did. She was really out of her comfort zone bless her but she danced (laughter). I told both Chaka and Lulu “look, I just sit in a chair and sing” (laughter). Chaka is so funny and Lulu is such a lovely person so the three of us really did have a great time. It was one of those moments where a once in a lifetime opportunity presented itself to us and so we all said “why not”.
Coming right up to date, did you enjoy your time on Strictly?
I did enjoy it, I enjoyed it very much. It was a very cool experience; a very difficult experience and you meet a lot of people on the show who you become friends with that you wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t participated on the show. I also did what I wanted to do which was raise both money and awareness of breast cancer. So my ultimate goal was reached, even in my injury my ultimate goal was reached.
A few weeks ago now I interviewed Brendan (Cole) and he said that you were such a wonderful lady.
Did he really, that is so very sweet of him. I was so lucky to be partnered with Brendan because he is an old school member of the show. He knows all of the ins and outs of the show. It felt very cool to be a part of the show. I love to be laughing and he is so funny, he got me laughing all the time so he has to be good in my books (laughter). It must be difficult for him and I can only imagine things from his side of the coin. Year on year he gets a new person who he has to teach. It’s a difficult situation for him as he has to get to know somebody who he doesn’t know. It’s interesting but I don’t know if I could do it. At least he gets to do his own wonderful show where he gets to do exactly what he wants to do.
What was your favourite dance?
I have to say this and I know that Brendan will hate me for saying this because I say it for sentimental reasons, but it was the quickstep in week five when I danced with Gorka Marquez to Frank Sinatra’s My Kind Of Town. I was born in Chicago, and my grandfather loved Frank Sinatra, so it was such a sentimental song for me to dance to. I felt like my grandfather was up there watching me. For me it was quite a beautiful experience to be on the show and to have songs that were so vibrant and such an important part of my life to dance to.
Will you now continue to dance?
I haven’t yet but it wouldn’t be something that I wouldn’t do. At my time of life finding the time for me to learn dancing is extremely difficult to get, so I have to tell you that it has sparked a fire within me. However, at this moment in time I simply don’t know when that fire will be ignited once again. However, I now feel that once I get out there on the stage I will be able to move with more confidence.
Testing your memory, what was the first single that you bought?
That would have been What Have You Done For Me Lately by Janet Jackson.
And what would have been the first album that you bought?
Don’t laugh at this but I have never bought an album in my life (laughter). I was never rich enough to be in a position to buy an album. I never had that kind of money. However, I was fortunate in the fact that my mom had albums in the house, everything from Elton John to Barbara Streisand so I was in heaven.
Who did you first see performing live in concert?
That was Andy Gibb and the reason why I went to that concert was because I was in love with him (laughter). The Police were headlining but I was like ‘who are they’. I was there simply to see Andy Gibb. At that time I had a big fat crush on Andy Gibb.
What was the last song or piece of music that made you cry?
Wow, that is such a great question. I have to say that I don’t know. Maybe it could have been when I was singing one of my own songs at some point but to be honest I simply don’t know. I sometimes get very emotional on stage and I never try to hide it. So I would have to say that it might have been sometime on stage for me.
Who has musically inspired you?
I am pretty sure that my mother and father did even though at the time I wasn’t really aware of it. You will probably find this hard to believe but when I was growing up I never wanted to be a singer. It was never my ‘go to’ job when I was young. My father thought that I would eventually be an archaeologist or a doctor simply because I loved looking at things through a telescope. At that time I was eighteen years old and found myself spending a lot of time dancing in clubs. My voice then suddenly started coming out of the woodwork and producers were asking me if I was a singer and I simply said “I guess so” (laughter).
So singing was something that I just sort of fell into and then I realised just how much I actually enjoyed it. My mom was in musical theatre and my dad was a crooner so I was always around music but I didn’t really think that it was something that I would go into as a profession.
Have you had chance to explore our fair city of Nottingham?
Unfortunately, the way that things work for me and my life is that I will go into Nottingham and I will suddenly say “oh I remember this” (laughter). To be honest with you I can’t even picture it because I get so tossed around in all of these different places that I just have to see if I recognise anywhere from the last time that I played there (laughter). Until I get there I have no clue and this is just me being very, very honest. Each city just becomes that thing that you remember from it until you get there.
On that note Anastacia let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me, it’s been a pleasure and I will see you here in Nottingham at The Royal Concert Hall on 5th June.
Thank you so much Kevin. Thank you for your time and make sure that you enjoy the dry weather. I hope to see you up there in Nottingham.