'The whole world became one big fat filter' - Anastacia

Exclusive interview by Pesti Est
Anastacia is back on the road with her seventh album, Evolution, which came out last year. Before her Budapest gig, we spoke to her about the new material, her bouts of cancer, countless surgeries and the message she wants to convey to her younger fans.

She is 50 years old.

 

She became famous with her first hit 'I'm Outta Love'.

 

She had founded the Anastacia Fund in 2003 fighting breast cancer.

-The Evolution Tour kicked off in April, so it’s early days, but how do you feel about being back on the road again?
- It feels really great and the new songs work so perfectly in harmony with the other music I had made, as if it wasn’t many, many years since Paid My Dues, I’m Outta Love or Left Outside Alone. It feels like this album came after 2006. My first cancer came when I put out the Anastacia album in 2004, and then I never really put out another one until this album, when I’d felt that I had my whole self back. But you don’t know these things until you have perspective. When I did Heavy Rotation, I was moving to another label. Then, I did Resurrection, which was after the second cancer and that was really cathartic. That was a very different album with lots of emotions because I was going through a lot of things. I didn’t feel that the power was back yet. What I felt was that I was through a storm but I wasn’t through it yet. I went through several storms after that because I still had many more surgeries to go through in the last four years. My last, my completely last surgery was last December. So I feel like a brand new person.
- The Evolution album was recorded in Stockholm in the summer of 2016 while you were still touring with the Ultimate Collection…
- Yes, and it’s not necessarily something I want to do again, although I seem to be very good under pressure. In hindsight, if I look at the album, I think it’s a great album considering I was exhausted and that I wanted to pull my hair out at certain points because I felt so much under pressure to write good songs in a short stretch of time.
- Why was it?
- We had a release date. Usually it’s the other way around: you write the album and then you make a release date. While we were on tour we decided to do the album and I was like “okay, I’ll try to do it on the road” which I’d never done before. It was definitely not that easy. I didn’t think it would be but I think vocally I just felt more struck.
- It was the first time you worked with the Swedish songwriter-producer Anders Bagge…
- Yes, and it was also the first time that I’d not recorded a whole album in America. Not being at home, not sleeping in my own bed, not driving my own car made it even more difficult. I was on foreign ground but it was still fine and Sweden is a beautiful country and most people speak English anyway.
- You wrote the majority of the songs on the album, but the first single Caught In the Middle is not yours. How do you relate to those songs which were written by someone else?
- In my career, but not that often, I did have songs given to me by other people, and with some of the songs that were presented to me, I was like “wow, that’s a me song”. I don’t find them as often but when I do it’s exciting. And we needed songs given to us because we were under time pressure as well, so it was great to have a good song.
- Which are your favourite songs in this album?
- Oh, gosh, Why is amazing, it’s just not necessarily radio. I like Before a lot, because of what it says. I also like Knock Me Down. There are a lot of songs on this album that have this old-school vibe. And then Boxer is great. Pain is the kind of song that screeches at you from deep inside your soul… I do feel that the songs kind of emulate the funky, rock, soul part of everything that my career always said and I’m able to say that again through this album.
- You always say that the lyrics and the message are the most important for you. What’s the most important message on this album?
- You know, I think it’s just allowing yourself to evolve and not beat yourself up over things. As it says in Before … (singing) “Thinking all night, thinking all day / About how I used to be before / I'm thinking about her, thinking about me / Always going after more…” So it’s these kind of things that there is no point tearing yourself up about, trying either to be another person or who you used to be, instead of allowing yourself to evolve with grace and kindness as a person. Especially in this industry of filter and beauty and glam and blablabla. Of course, it’s important for us artists, but I don’t want people to feel strangled by it. Especially the young audience. I don’t want them to feel like they immediately have to filter every picture that they put out there. Because it’s a hard standard to live up to. When you wake up in the morning you don’t see yourself through a filter, you see yourself in the mirror. And I don’t want young audiences to feel that they just can’t live up to the filter. In general, I just want to give them self-confidence through the lyrics and the rest of it can’t help because the whole world became one big fat filter.
(photo by Réka Egervári)
(photo by Réka Egervári)
- Two years ago, you did Strictly Come Dancing in the UK, which is interesting because you started your career as a dancer…
- Yes, in fact, I wasn’t a dancer, I was just rhythmically there and felt really comfortable with it. But then I stopped doing that, and started singing and since then my voice has been the priority and I never really dance during my shows, so Strictly was kind of stepping out of my comfort zone. I loved doing it but I wish I’d done it after this very last surgery because I wasn’t quite myself yet and there was one more surgery to do and I was still uncomfortable with how my body parts were feeling. However, I think being uncomfortable in a moment that you are put in, makes you a better person because it helps you fight against those things to make it work.
- Your last couple of years seemed pretty busy while also going through several operations. Do you ever get tired?
- I do get tired but the thing is when I’m on the road, it’s all about my job. I don’t go out, I don’t hang out with people. It’s just interviews and doing the show. My shows are never 70%. They are usually 110 %. I give every note that you hear on the album, sometimes even more, so I don’t give a show that is not what people can expect. When I promo, which I’ve done quite often, I have more time and I’ve been very very lucky to have seen most of what the world is. But when I’m on tour, I can’t allow a beautiful church or beautiful sight to take me away from the fact that I’m touring.
24 May 2018
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