Interview for XOXO
When I sat and waited on Anastacia at her managers office in central L.A, I was wondering how this multi million selling artist is as a private person, when media isn’t following her every move. Then it hit me, I’m just one of ”them” within the media sneaking in celebrities’ private lives. And at that moment she stepped into the office and shook my hand in a nice and warm way. Before I started to ask my questions; Anastacia started to ask questions to me instead, like: ”Where is this nice accent from?”, ”How long have you been in L.A.?” and ”Do you like it here?”. Anastacia is just like any girl next door, but a very good-looking one. She had eye contact all the time during our conversation and that meant she was listening to every word I had to say, and she made me feel good. Suddenly it didn’t feel like I was having an interview with a superstar, more like I had a conversation with a very close friend. Over the past 5 years Anastacia has gone through a lot of things. She has suffered difficulties with breast cancer, but there’re also highlights such as she sold over 20 million albums and performed at Madison Square Garden in New York with her big idol Elton John. If Anastacia was to be selected to a purpose in life, I have to say her music career would be on second place. This strong woman was picked to fight, lead and survive. You can experience her power and character in her unique and fresh style, that she gives form inside, she has controls everything with a voice that makes your adrenaline go faster. Exclusively for XOXO she’s telling about her past, present and her future, so sit back and enjoy.
When I’m listening to your music it’s very hard to put it in a category. It jumps between a mix of soul and sometimes rock, and jumps back in to pop. How would you categorize your music?
I don’t like to place myself into a category, my look does it already, maybe my personality, but my creativity as a artist spreads over multiple of categories. I’m not just R & B, I’m not just a ballade, ‘cause I’m not a singeltrace as a person, which I’m comfortable with. These different styles of music reflect just who I am. I can be funny, happy or serious, these different moods in music depends on how I feel at the moment.
On your self titled album, there’s a song called Pretty Little Dum Dum, and the lyrics seems to be for a certain person with the advice of leaving a relationship. Was that a real advice you tried to give, and was that the first time you tried to give an advice - through a song?
Yes, it was real. I tried to reach to someone that actually didn’t understand how it was and it wasn’t the first time I tried. When I gave my advices I simply used other words but I realized that it was a good theme for a song I decided to write it about this wonderful person, who unfortunately was unknowing and naive about what life is. By writing this song I had hopes that I got my message to a big audience. I hope my lyrics, like this, have a positive effect on people.
The song after Pretty Little Dum Dum, is a song with speed named Sexy Single. Am I right when I say it is about you when you were a single woman?
That’s correct! To be single is wonderful, as wonderful as having a relationship, but to be able to feel like that, it’s important that you are satisfied with yourself. Sometimes I wonder why the standards of being with someone even if it can be rough from time to time. It’s hard to have a good relationship with someone if you only want to be with that someone just so you won’t be alone. So at that time, I chose to be single and just enjoy, so song Sexy Single was a funny song to write.
In 2003 you got breast cancer, how did it affect you?
To go through radiation therapy took everything out of me. The treatment that I got every day put me on an edge, and for me who works hard, it was really hard. I often forgot who I spoke with and that was very frustrating ‘cause I like to have a lot to do at the same time, so at the end of the day you feel like you have achieved something. I’m better to take care of others than to be taken care of. My friends call me ”Ana Clause”, ‘cause I like to care, organize and give gifts. To let the patient within me come out, take it easy and just to be, was a different and pretty hard experience.
What was your impression of Stockholm and Sweden?
I have been in Stockholm several times. I was an introducer at the MTV Awards and I have also done a few concerts there. I’m there pretty often, it’s very nice and Swedes are nice and pleasant. I think that Swedish personalities resemble Australian people – they are very natural and traditional.
Of all the tours and concerts you have done, is there a favorite?
It must have been when I performed with Elton John at Madison Square Garden, in the first year of my career. It made a big impression on me, ‘cause I had never performed at Madison Square Garden, never performed for a screaming audience like that one and at the same time perform with a big icon that made me feel like his best friend from the first time we met. In a good second place is when I performed with Pavarotti in Italy, where he sang one of my songs that I wrote for the first album (I Ask Of You, note of red.). He sang a verse and a chorus while I was filling in as a duet. To have moments like these, define really what I do and that I can experience in such wide spread experiences within music. On my own tours, there are no special occasions those are better, because my fans are always fantastic and they have fun. I always do my best so that everyone in the audience can have a great time – after all that is my job.
It is hard to categorize your music and also hard to find a band that is similar to you, however I’ve heard that your voice compares to Tina Turner. Have you heard it before and do you think it’s correct?
Yes I have heard that, and I have been compared to her more than any other artist so for me it’s an honor, but I hope that even she feels okay with that. After seeing myself perform on video I better understand, ‘cause we both have our minds on the present. Tina Turner was never uncomfortable on stage and she was very striking and had the gift to be herself. I have felt the same about performing, I can’t go up on stage and do something that has been copied, I just want to be myself and have fun.
Do you feel that because who you are and what you have accomplished, that you have missed any other possibilities?
No, I still do things I used to do. I still have the same friends before I got famous. I have really good friends, those have the same valuations as me. Life is for living and you don’t have to be at all new ”cool” places.
How important is it to tell apart on Anastacia the person and Anastacia the artist?
It is very important! People forget that it’s just a job and not who you are as a person. It’s fun to go to parties and to have nice clothes, nobody wants to show up in a pyjamas when the photographers take their pictures even if they place you in a category for the best or the worst dress. When the party is over you can relax in your pyjamas, some people seem to forget how easy it is to relax. I would never let my celebrity life take over the things in my life.
What other jobs have you had?
I’ve worked in a gym, at a reception in a jewel store, I worked in a clothing store and when I moved to L. A. I even was on unemployment benefit society.
You seem to focus more on Europe than the United States when it comes to your career, why is that and will it change?
Not if it changes on its own, because I don’t want to change a thing. I prefer to be an American citizen and not an American superstar, even if I’m famous and respected here. I have done many big performances here but not as many as in Europe. In a way it’s good so I can be more relaxed here when I’m at home, because if it was different I wouldn’t have anywhere to go.
Does the media in Europe feel more trying in comparing to USA?
No, media has always been nice to me. I wasn’t a teenager when I came into this branch of music, and that made me make more mature decisions about what I wanted or not wanted to do. I’m always clears with what questions I want to answer on and if it gets to personal I always say ”next question”.
On your last album you worked together with Sonny from P.O.D. on the song I Do. P.O.D. is famous for being a Christian rock band, are you an active Christian?
No, I’m not. For the song I Do, I was looking for someone that I really could scream along with, and a good friend of mine said his name. It didn’t take long for Sonny to realize I was a spiritual person even if I’m not in any religion. It is an interesting philosophy, but it doesn’t have to mean anything.
You were born in Chicago, but how old were you when you moved to New York?
I think I was 13, my dad moved to Scarsdale so I went to him and back to New York pretty often. Then we moved to Manhattan and that’s where I feel that I was growing up.
What is your earliest memory as a child?
My earliest childhood memory is from Florida since my parents had a house there. I remember that I used to run around naked and I liked stepping on cockroaches barefoot.
Have you any happy memories from your childhood?
We were a happy little family. But my upbringing was pretty conservative. I didn’t drink any alcohol until I was 21 and then I drank too much beer, so my first time being drunk wasn’t that fun at all. My mom always told me to buy my own drink and hold it in my hand so nobody would be able to mess with it.
How did you get a record deal without being in a band?
I worked with many different producers and I did my best to make them interested in me. Many years ago I met Randy Jackson to make him get interested in me but he said that the branch was very hard to get into and that I had to have the right songs etc. Just before our first conversation I played the song ”Not That Kind”, which was the title of my first album and my second hit single. I met Randy recently on a Mariah Carey concert and I said to him: ”Weren’t you the one who told me to have the right music and right song, that single sold 8 million ex?” and he turned around and said silently: ”Sometimes you make mistakes”. ”Yes, but that was your big mistake,” I said and laughed. I also worked with a guy named OJ Pearce who represented me, he was also R.Kelly’s manager, he helped me with a few songs. Before that I sang on different weddings around L. A. to get the right stage feeling.
What type of music do you listen to today?
Funny, I don’t listen to that much music. The only music that was played home when I grew up was Barbara Streisand and Elton John. When I think about it like that, it’s maybe one of the reasons that I don’t sound like anyone else.
You have the word ”forever” tattooed on your back, what does ”forever” mean to you?
I love that word because it is something that never goes away – it is forever! I think it is a wonderful word that many people use without meaning it. It has a very deep meaning and I think it fits as a tattoo on the back.
The latest from Anastacia – World is that you have gone together with s.Oliver to make your own line of clothing. Who was the brain behind this?
I have always been lucky to been working with such good designers for my own clothes, and as a celebrity you are often in the fashion world on different occasions. You always get noticed for what jacket or dresses you have on and if you have an eye for clothing, then you have the opportunity to get into the fashion branch. It is a big interest for me and I have always been involved in my own clothes. I go on planning and design meetings and we have ten different collections a year so it’s a tough branch. At the first launch we had about 500 stores, and we are growing all the time! We have released a scent called ”Resurrection”. People used to ask me what kind of perfume I use, which was a mix of different scents, ‘cause I could never find just one that was right, so this is what I have done with my own perfume.
Do you only use your own designed clothes nowadays?
Absolutely. I would have my own jeans on today but, everything is new so it is been using for a spring collection, so I’m pretty much out of jeans at the moment.
What is your favorite drink?
Almost everything that is decaffeinated. Decaff and sugar free coke is the best but is very hard to find in Europe.
What is your favorite color?
Strangely I don’t have any, I like all earth colors.
When can we expect to see you in Sweden again?
I don’t know exactly, but hopefully not to long from now.
Tell us something about you that your fans don’t know.
Believe me, they know more about me than I do myself. It is much more interesting to know what they know about me.
How do you stay in such good shape, are you working out in a gym?
My sister is a personal trainer but I can’t give her credits for that, ‘cause I don’t work out. I think it is genetic. I eat what I want even if I don’t eat too much. I often lose weight when I’m on tour ‘cause the food comes last. I used to do Bikram Yoga regularly, but now I have back problems so I take it a little easier. I take better care of the inside – my heart and my power, than the outside.
Fotografie: Photography: Peter Svenson for XOXO magazine