Interview for Sunday Express

Believe in Anastacia

Sheís sold 20 million records, now Anastacia wants to help someone else do the same. She tells David Stephenson about becoming a judge on TVís newest talent show...

POP SINGER Anastacia, who is entering the competitive world of TV talent judging on Five with Donít Stop Believing, will often repeat a favourite line from her agent. When asked whether she would also like to be a judge on The X Factor, Anastacia replies, in her lovely American twang: ďThatís a high-class problem!Ē

What she means is that if such an offer arrives from Simon Cowell it would have to compete with other options. She is a busy singer with touring, singles and recently an ice dancing show in Switzerland. Life is that bizarre when you are a global singing talent who has sold more than 20 million albums.

Donít Stop Believing, she tells me in London, is exactly the sort of talent show she was looking to do: ďItís probably the right show and the right title for somebody like me,Ē she says.

ďIíve always enjoyed watching Pop Idol and The X Factor and it felt like Iíd love to be on one of those shows but then you think, ĎOh my God, itís too much pressure judging things; how do you know what to say?í

ďThen I read the treatment of what this show was and I said: ĎWhat a nice, refreshing new idea.í

ďThe show hasnít been done before so I donít feel as much pressure not to say whatís been said before by judges. Itís sort of, ĎHow do you talk about something thatís never been done before?í Itís exciting.Ē

The singer hasnít seen any auditions for the show, which will feature groups and choirs. ďItís going to be new for everyone. I wouldnít have wanted to see them. I like being just as surprised as the audience is. It really does mean you give a proper opinion on a live show. There is no delay or anything.Ē

Was she waiting for the right show to come along? ďMy normal thing is: ĎIíd love to do that but itís not going to happen to me.í Iím a little bit optimistic and pessimistic just in case it doesnít happen. Iím a little bit English like that! Also, Iíve never really had the time before. Iím always everywhere.Ē

Chicago-born Anastacia, 41, owes much of her success to her second place in an MTV talent show from which she secured a record deal. Her debut album reached the top 10 in eight countries and is best known for the hit Iím Outta Love. More recently, her successful battle with breast cancer saw her create The Anastacia Fund.

SHE ADMITS that the timing of this show is ďperfectĒ for her music career. ďI have a single coming out in Russia, along with a tour Iím doing with a Belgian singer. We expect to sell out about 10 shows. I do have a lot of fans in Europe and they follow me everywhere especially for the chance of seeing me in an arena. The Here Come The Girls tour will be back soon, too, as well as private shows.

ďThe good thing about Donít Stop Believing is that itís live, Sunday and Monday, and for the rest of the week, I can fly off around Europe to do music stuff and then come back. You donít have to be there for other than the live shows. Thatís the appeal for many people.Ē

We talk about her health. She has also suffered Crohnís Disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestine, since the age of 12. ďI tick every box Iím afraid. Every article talks about my tits, my ass. How can I be shy with these things?

ďI can be as hung-up as the next person but Iím definitely not scared of anything thatís coming my way.Ē

ďIt can throw me for a loop, it can sideswipe me, it can be debilitating for a bit but itís not something I think about.Ē

AT THIS point, she breaks into song: ďGuess the ailment! Guess the ailment! I got to have some kind of sense of humour for the fact that something might happen to me.Ē

Sheís comfortable with being a spokeswoman on these issues. ďI donít mind if itís in a positive light, if thatís how Iím remembered. I donít want to be remembered for sorrow that I made happen but for making a difference and helping people.Ē

ďThatís why I write the songs I do. Iím trying to help myself as well as others.Ē

Donít Stop Believing, Five, next Sunday, 7pm

Photos: Stuart Clarke for Sunday Express