Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sabrina Salerno - A Flower's Broken (1999)

Unleashing her biggest developments since puberty, Flower's Broken was Sabrina's 1999 flop comeback album. If you're expecting a poppers o'clock dance album, this album might sound like some of its air has been leaked out as Sabrina favours different dance flavours for her mouth-wattering brand of dance-pop. Songs like I Love You are scintilating, mysterious and jubilent, but the overall impression is confident and unmistakably creative.

Aiming for the dancefloor, I Love You is the lusty first single that launched the ill-faited project via a surge of high profile promotional slots such as the 90s late night cult British TV show Eurotrash (she also memorably performed her signiture hit Boys Boys Boys, live I might add, on another episode alongside the Smurfs) . Tears fall down my cheeks like suicide victims off a bridge everytime I hear Sabrina pledge her love on the spledindly life-enriching chorus. Like a lost bewitching Bananarama song - I cannot recommend it's brilliance enough. Delivered with a creeping sense of anxiety, the singer's vocals are untouchably dreamlike and divalicious. Enough to finish anyone off.

Sounding dreamy and suitably flowery, Shallala is a near acoustic pop stream of conciousness with strummy guitars. Sabrina's off-kilter songwriting is gorgeously evident - this is not the straight-forward dance-pop I was expecting. Repeated listens are rewared indefinately, with spoken word erotica that would make Mylene Farmer faint with shock and embarassment.

Cleaner guitar sounds, synths and a upright chorus, Jimmy is Madonna's Cherish meets Jeniffer Paige's Crush meets a decent enough S.O.A.P album track. Hit potential for at least a few Eastern European markets. Another disco delivery, Diamond In The Sand is foreboding and up for unexpected body contact. Going for a slightly rockier vein to stream her disco prescription into, vocals get loud.

Scaring the shit out of Alanis Morissette, You Oughta Know is the definitive version the world had to wait 4 years to hear as the Italian singer unequivocally yells "are you thinking of me when you fuck her?". Forget Gaga flaunting stupid fashion statements, Flower's Broken is a lilting melodic prize in amongst a fuzzy eclipse of jangly guitar distortions, rippling electro and hard/fast surfaces.

Downplaying her dance, Love Is All There Is is powered by hip hop grooves and jazzy new jack soul to jack off to if those anonymous male vocals are anything to go by (I wish). The midtempo funk sounds decent and Sabrina accentuates the slinky atmosphere by groaning insistently. Whilst not instantly memorable, the slinky unnasuming vibes creep into your head if given the chance.
We've all wanted one for ourselves at some point (at least when it comes to watching their gymnasts), and Sabrina's own Russian Lover doesn't disappoint my expectations for a loud, busy and confusing dance track. Nailed it. An intoxicating, homoerotic chorus (it's chanted by a bunch of gays Sabrina picked up at her local sauna in Moscow) leads to an interesting climax.

Which brings us to the album's own happy ending, Never Too Late. Sad, slouchy and slowburning, we have a ballad on our hands as Sabrina clearly has a lot to get off her chest (you knew that line was coming at some point). Not as difficult to like as it might sound on paper, Sabrina gives good slow ones too. Luxuriant melancholia - even trash goddesses have feelings too.

The orgasm-fueled dance-pop brilliance of I Love You steals the show, but A Flower's Broken effortlessly grows in stature with repeated listening and 12 years later my fondness for it has only increased. One of the brighter dance-pop albums to emerge from the late 90s, Sabrina is the whole package, here, on an album that refuses to sag.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Britney Spears - I Wanna Go (New Video)

Britney, look vacant during the "shame on me" bits. Nailed it. Okay Britney, now dance... Emm, okay just have fun whilst looking awake. Nailed it!

What I will say is that her studded heals don't actually fit her, but overall great job from Wigney, her best since Toxic.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Nina Hagen did it first Lady Gaga, you got that?

I was going to review Lady Gaga's disastrous Born This Way album, but every time I tried I simply typed in better examples into youtube, such as Nina Hagen and Leila K. Don't get me wrong, Vadge of Glory is a gorgeous MOR stadium ballad thickly lubricated with a Teutonic dance-pop gloss, but the legendary Nina Hagen sums it up best with her own brandy of kooky gutteral splattering, octave-tsunami anthems on her 90s classic So Bad, here given the Utah Saints remix treatment:

Furthermore, Nina Hagen did the whole 'club kids' gutter-glam New York trip thing with her best known hit single New York New York:

And even her 'down with the gays' moments are infinitely more fun (skip to 2:53):

Above: Now we know where Gina G stole her Next 2 U look from!

Alana Dante - Breaking Out (1997)

Sex tape superstar and Belgian dance pro Alana Dante's debut Breaking Out was no breakthrough, with its niche appeal and on thesurface emotional efficiency satisfying fans of the helium-euphuria of bubblegum dance, and those curious of whom are willing to experience nothing groundbreaking may well be impressed by the continuous momentum of melody, rampant eurobeats and reggae-lite dance incisions alike. Not as shocking as her sex tape shocker, but I guess she had to start somewhere.

Impanting emotions as big and fake as her tits: fixated on galloping dance beats, high-adrenaline and life-affirming simplicity, I'm Breaking Out unleashes a compellingly faceless charge of ecstatic eurodance cliches that do exactly what you want them to. Alana sings well, the euphoria is contrived as hell, and yet it's catchy as hell. By your second listen, there's no going back. Threatening a ballad, Back Where We Belong's slushy synths are comforatable territory for Dante to start spilling her heart out alongside chirpy faux-reggae arrangements Ace of Base might have used for more than a few of their demos. A woman after my own heart, we already know she's not camera shy, but Attention To Me's simple request exchanges mildy reggae midtempo dance fusions for your trouble. Dangerously close to sounding like a kids morning TV theme song, in the context here I'm willing to put up with it - but this is strictly turn-the-volume-down-if-someone-you-know-happens-to-be-near. Listen loudly, but with the windows clammed shut.

Feeling versatile (don't we all from time to time), The Promise gives in to domestic emotions and offers us a conventional ballad. There's a narrative about something serious, and "don't go promising cadillacs, she wants her daddy back" is the grimacing reality. Scaring the shit out of Celine Dion, Think Twice sounds like an oddly out of breath Ace of Base recording. We've had two ballads, but now "this is getting serious". Frankly I'm not into it, and Dante obviously had her sights set on the few Eastern European territories Dion didn't conquer with this mid-90s classic. Sounding like early Inna on the "I'm alive" chorus, They Say It's Gonna Rain temps me to look into whether Inna has actually sampled this. I love dance songs about rain - Alexia and Peter Luts spring to mind. It actually does have more in common with Alexia along the lines of Number One and Me & U, which can only be an amazing thing.

Usually I love them, but The Mirror is a cheesey speed-ballad Whigfield must have rejected, which of course makes it naggingly appealing. One of the album's more contrived choruses, which is saying something, melancholic bubblegum has always been a weakness of mine. If you like this, seek out Lynn's On The Run (my review of Lynn's bubblegum-pop classic Are You Online album can be found here). Going deeper, Groove Me takes a minimalist approach to its melody, giving emphasis to the ribbed bass sounds, this could have its own line dance routine and Tina Arena could record a more sophisticated version if she was up for the challenge. One Heart is an orcestrated ballad on a bigger scale than her other slow ones. Furlon and undoubtedly put-on, Dante can sing as well as most of them so it's hard to cancel this one out completely. Feeling OK Tonight is more familiar techno sensations. What I Do For Love keeps her confessions private, and is more familiar reggae-lite sensations. How Can I Win Your Love is a late entry for album highlight: slinky and hyperventelating over something worth dancing to, Dante is back to kids TV but the chorus is embarassingly beautiful. Her final adlibs are divine, a plaintive finale.

If it sounds dated, it's worth remembering this was released in 1997. Singing may not be her only talent, but the album's simplistic, consistent and robust production flourishes that aid the intensely assured emotional directness of the songs themselves, are the stuff bubblegum-dance (wet) dreams are made of.


Monday, 13 June 2011

Gina G - Next 2 U (New Music Video)

One of the surprise treats of 2011 has without a doubt been the re-emergence of Gina G. Her perky comeback tune Next 2 U is an intoxicating rush of tantalising adrenaline, with its stylish production flourishes, Gina's gushing vocal and blushing lyrics about turning to jelly because of some hot guy. In it's new music video, Gina turns to her nearest gay bar in order to find the men of her dreams - she seems to be attracting the attention of two guys (one is the very hot Emmanuel Carella) that could almost pass for identical twins, and maybe she hasn't realized yet as she takes a break from her mission in order to perform on stage as well. Who knows how it all turned out, as the video teases "to be continued" right at the end before we get to see who she'll be sharing her taxi with. Whatever the story arc, Gina looks sensational and her new brown locks really show off her bone structure. With Gina balancing, during a recent trip back to Australia, promoting and recording, stay tuned for more Gina updates.

Read my Gina G interview here.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Marcella Woods & Felix Leiter - Sky High (New Song)

No idea what this abs-olutely wonderful gym-addicted vocalist has in store with this new song (ie, whether it is just lucky enough to be included on a few compilations or will be given a proper release), but it's a welcome addition to her catalogue of trancey dance anthems. Best known for her collaborations with Matt Darey (such as the exotic UK top ten hit Beautiful, the uplifting U Shine On (which is my personal favourite) and darker Voice of An Angel - the two also memorably auditioned for the X-Factor by deliberately being crap, 'LOL' etc), Woods delivers a fine vocal on the frothy and euphoric trance offering.

Donna Dummer - Shout It Out (1987)

It's a bit of a bummer that my first Donna Summer review is an album of second-rate material. Material recorded in the early 70s and remixed for an 80s pop-dance audience, the main frustration of Shout It Out lies in the formula of echo-effect choruses and the odd attention-worthy verse that allows Summer's powerful voice the chance to splinter through the dance-identified production.

If it was good enough for pre-PWL Bananarama, Na Na Hey Hey will do just fine with someone who can actually sing. Taking a costume change and a half to get going, Donna eventually shows up on her own album, sounding distorted and decidedly spooky. Verse two is a stronger, clearer attempt to sound like any effort is being made to connect the singer to an actual audience. The brave hearted They Can't Take Away Our Music is sadly not the rave-hearted belter I was hoping for. Soppy, synth-gleaming and downbeat, Donna supplies a dreamy wail "from deep within" but this is rather overwrought and ostentatious. Summer soars on the verses, but the chorus is choma-inducing. Mediocre tracks like Jeanie, Little Marie, Back of Boogaloo and Shout It Out get nowhere fast, and are so repetitive in their formulaic structure that they warrant little discussion. Nice To See You could almost be Grace Jones (before Grace Jones was amazing). An odd, often frustrating experience. The album sounds like something Donna Summer just happened to take part in rather than a fully-fledged solo album.


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Princess - All For Love (1987)

Despite a promising opening track, much on offer here is dependent on the vocal supremacy of Princess injecting all she can into second-rate filler material with 80s contemporary production. This her first post-PWL effort, the aim is top 40 rnb-pop spliced with a slight dance tinge. Red Hot works wonderfully: it's choice lyric "do you like boys or do you like girls" haunts me like my school days, and is edgy, dark stuff. Her grimacing open-minded investigation to get into some guys calvin's is admirable, but a simple grope usually works for me. The faintly histrionic I Cannot Carry On is an electro-charged trigger of 80s Hi-NRG sensations, but takes a few insertions to develop a feel for. I might not have much use for this album, but her voice is something that deserved a bigger audience than PWL obsessives and her short career was all too brief.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cher - Living Proof (2001)

In a career spanning four decades of countless of toy-boys and well over 20 studio albums, Cher is no stranger to hit-proof albums. Following the commercial coop of bagging the biggest-selling album and single of her entire career, she hit the road, and, well, we all know how long that takes her. So it should come as no surprise that her follow-up, Living Proof, was not released for another 3 years. Cher seemingly appeared out of nowhere on the British music TV show TOTP doing her classic hip-to-hip dance endurance moves and syncing for her life to her new single The Music's No Good Without You, a monotone auto-tune affair, with expressive verses and an emotional soliloquy that she wrote herself. I wasn't completely sold. That is, until I saw her music video, which was a tribute to Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and I felt better: Cher was down with the kids after all. The single went straight in at #8 in the UK charts and was never to be heard since. America held its breath for another 5 months before they got exactly the same album, but with its best song chopped off to reward their patience.

Above: Cher dreads to think what life without wigs would be like.

I do like Living Proof. The vocoder hic-ups and trembles of Real Love bounce along in a Kylie sort of way (does it use the same piano riff as Janet's All For You?). She sings her lungs off, or maybe that should be nose off, on the emphatic anthem Song For The Lonely, which has a great remix package and video. The plaintive ballad You take It All is mesmerizing and emotional to say the least (the middle eight is heroic). The chunky grooves on Alive Again soar higher than her hair (it was a low-key German single)

Above: From Russia with photoshop.

The ballsy kitchen-sink Hi-NRG When The Money's Gone is just daft fun, but she does not sing the lyric as it's written in the inlay ("all it ever was" perhaps to much for a diva to sing about her career in the past tense?). On a lighter note, Love Is A Lonely Place Without You is more auto-tuned melancholia, like a more tranquil On A Night Like This. Different Kind of Love Song is pretty identical to what's on offer here in a general sense, but I do like the title lyric moments, and the chorus is pretty easy on the ears (a well chosen single, and the Will & Grace 'dancing fairies' holler secures it's place in Cher history).

Above: "If that dancing try-hard tranny Gaga steals one of my 80s looks again I'm gonna set Buster onto her."

I was on the whole very happy with Living Proof (I used to listen to it and the Britney album all the time), but she wasn't bringing anything new, the best track was a European bonus song, and I don't think even she could remember how some of these songs go, probably the day after she recorded them. Rain, Rain is a bit dismal, but could be this album's The Power, and the song she wanted her fans to went their pants over, the Amber cover Love One Another doesn't quite have the flashy thrills of the Dutch dance dealer's video edit.

This will hopefully be the last dance album from Cher of this kind: the album proves there was little for her left to do in this genre. The production is more expensive, and whilst I adore overproduced dance music, the hastily assembled charm of Believe is now gone. The songs themselves are less anthemic, less believable, and less Cher. There's no exotica heavy-breathing of The Poweror sumptuous fast-lane craziness of Taxi Taxi. What the album does have is a coherent and plaintive elegance. The pathos chills of the devastating You Take It All rank as an unforgettable career high, with its lingering backing vocals that flow beautifully with Cher's own quaking gusto, and yet is a European-only track, Love Is A Lonely Place Without You is Metro at their most dependable, Song For The Lonely is the would-be killer anthem, but was a US-only single and UK promo was cut short altogather despite some catchy remixes via the tarty appeal of Almighty, the similarly themed A Different Kind of Love Song requires some repeated listening to get over how generic it is (although it's more than catchy one it works its magic on you), Real Love might sound like a robot with bulimia, but is an unexpected delight along the lines of Janet'sAll For You meets Kylie's Love At First Sight (or perhaps Britney's Anticipating). However, it lacks songs that leap out with the same freshness and unthinking vigour as All Or Nothing with its jittery guitars, the sensual aroma of Love Is The Groove, the intoxicating Taxi Taxi, the bruised-and-rouged club remix of We All Sleep Alone, and of course there is nothing that comes close to the song Believe itself. It's not a failure by any means, and I do genuinely rate it hightly, but this is now time to move on and get something new from Cher. The world awaits.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cher - Believe (1998)

After a career spike in the late 80s, Cher had turned down various movie roles and her music career had once again dimmed commercially. In 1995, It's A Man's World was certainly an artistic success and was arguably her very best since 1975's Stars, but failed to ignite much interest outside of the UK where it was moderately successful. As confirmed recently by Gina G in an exclusive interview with Diva Incarnate, Cher heard the dance album Fresh! and told the head of her UK record label that she wanted her album to sound the same. It had been decided Cher needed to go back to disco (something she said would never happen) as she was giving her core fanbase (let's just say 'the gays') rock ballads that had little chance of crossing over onto radio. This was obviously a good decision as Believe would become the biggest selling album, and single, of her entire career. However, she had released an Rn'B version of her last album in America, which makes it an unfair assessment of the adult-contemporary sheen of the UK version which performed respectably enough.

However, since Cher expressed an interest to work with the dance producers Metro (Gina G's Ti Amo), there was a song lyring around that had been co-written by these guys along with Brian Higgins of Xeonomania. First offered to Australian dance and TV icon Dannii Minogue, in the hands of Mark Taylor of Metro, Believe the song soon transformed into something very different: incorporating the use of auto-tune (often mistakenly referred to as the vocoder, which Cher has joked would have made it a lot easier), it became a worldwide best seller. The Believe album campaign had well and truly kicked off. Although its follow-up singles did not equal the success of the title track, and some have argued were the wrong choices, they ensured the record went on to sell 20 million copies.

Although the album has an unequivocal dance-pop sheen, The Power is the kind of number that could have featured on any of Cher's 70s albums such as Dark Lady and Gypsies, Tramps & Theieves. It's bridge is gorgeous, one of parental disdain and caution - when Cher barks that "every bad dad needs it" it's one hell of a shudder. Exotic and mysterious, it could only be Cher's distinctive approach. The female Elvis sounds sensual on the sturdy hell-no anthem Strong Enough. Far from being my favourite, it went top 5 in the UK, but this is throwaway stuff.

Part of why I love the Believe album so much is how last-minute it all feels, as if it were put together without much focus or prediction. The pulsating elegance of Love Is The Groove and mesmerizing poetry of Taxi Taxi are floaty and sublime, and I just love their dreamy lyrics. The euro-pop voltage of All Or Nothing is incredibly cheesey (and wonderfully so), but she injects so much euphoria into it, as do those tremoring guitars. A song we recently found out that Gina G was offered first, Runaway is a bit faceless and generic, is not essential, but she does sound distressed enough to make you wonder what on earth is the matter in Cher world this time. Some people think it's makeshift and tacky, but I can't get enough of the We All Sleep Alone remix - I live for that clenched-fist-waving-in-the-air "yeah!" moment. Filler flood, Takin' Back My Heart is weak (Diane Warren has a lot to answer for), and Cher's game enough on Dove l'amour, but it's not my favourite (although I do love the story of Madonna fake gesturing that she wanted to direct its music video).


Saturday, 4 June 2011

Rozlyne Clarke - Gorgeous (1990)

With an album called Gorgeous, the pressure was on for big-in-France Ozzy house diva Rozlyne Clarke to deliver a decent album cover at the very least. Luckily her looks are better than her average voice, and the flashes of relentless house beats and bulges of bass are enough to make one not pay the blindest bit of notice. If only Cherly Cole would start naming her own records in much the same way: maybe album #3 (God help us) could be called Do My Dimples Make You Forget I'm A Former Racist? Clarke might be white, but she's down with the swirl and recreates her own Vogue with pumping dance-pop energy and toned homosexual back-up dancers. The fleshed-out Eddy Steady Go is the winning formula here: it's by far the best on offer. The juicy grooves continue on the singles Dancing Is Like Making Love, Eddy Steady Go, the title track and the French club chart #26 smash Wizard of Roz. With spiralling piano keys, thick and fast house hysteria and the slow one, Gorgeous feeds off its singles, but there's a fun vibe throughout.


Friday, 3 June 2011

Gina Wild - Porno Star (1999)

German porn star Gina Wild certainly likes to have her hands full... Shedding her porno star image by releasing a song called Porno Star sure paid off with such lyrical gems as when she cackles sarcastically "are you satisfied?", whilst an anonymous vocoder sings the chorus as if the track is a response to Air's Sexy Boy. Don't worry, Wild promises to "make you come" and "play your dirty games", but this is an unexpected delivery of trash par excellence. Robotic, sexual and undeniably compelling; the song is a cult classic, and well worth seeking out. It's b-side Desire is another atypical subject matter for the actress, but is basically a 'dub' along the lines of Dannii's If It Moves - Dub It feeding off Movin' Up. The single had a respectable chart run in her native homeland, peaking at #30 (she actually has a movie where stars alongside the same amount of guys funnily enough) and stayed charted for 6 weeks in total. I hope she fucks better than she sings, but the end result is a tacky masterpeice.

Whigfield - C'est Cool (New Single)

Back in the 90s, in the days before Wendy Williams and John Travolta, getting wiggy with it meant only one thing: Whigfield tarting herself up for her legendary Saturday Night movemment evaluations. "I like the way you move" was a lifestyle of dodgy danceroutines and casual sex in Ibiza, and in 1994 life didn't get any better than waking up with a strange itch and an addiction to repetitive north-east-south-east turning choreography. Since falling off the edge of the world, the Danish dance junkie has decided life will get better if she starts looking like Paris Hilton, buys plastic tits and literally gets wiggy with it using a nest of extensions. Wigfield was never a fan of over-thinking her gameplan, and her new smash C'est Cool is no exception with brain-numbing clarity: "ba da ba ba ba ba" is accompanied by "yes we can dance, we can dance" and "we can dance, dance". As someone who can speak English, these are lyrics to live by.

Nicola Roberts - Dance To The Beat of My Drum

When songs dick around for 12 akward seconds before any melody appears, I usually take a rain check and get back to excavating the 90s for lost dance sounds, but with crimson-crusader Nicola Roberts the immense, almost mythical, expectations of what she could be capable of delivering are simply too high and throbbing to ignore. Thankfully, Dance To The Beat of My Drum is fickle and adamant that you listen to what she has to say. Granted, it's not a lot, but the shades of M.I.A, Robyn and Paloma Faith (it even makes me fondly remember Lisa 'Left-Eye' Lopez's Bloc Party) gives Roberts a chance to show off her range of influences in ways that getting aloof talky bits in Girls Aloud songs rarely allowed ger the chance to express. Without a doubt, Nadine was the best vocalist of the lot, like a leading lady in a film, where the rest of them were the supporting 'character' actresses (or singers in our case), and it was Nic who time after time made these moments cound and often stole the show (pun intended, although The Show was one of the rare examples of Cherl Cole being useful). Nicola's moment of glistening clarity on the remarkable dance-ballad Untouchable (think Kelly Llorenna meets David Gray's Please Forgive Me) was crestfallen, morbidly dignified and enriched with grimacing pathos. Although this particular single (their only one to miss the UK top 10) was all about Nadine's beautiful robots, Robert's gorgeous and dreamy opening verse is saturated in melancholic wisdom beyond her years. Dance To The Beat of My Drum is a clunky parade of likeable noises and a nagging chorus (what more can you ask for really?). This song needs to be a hit: being awesome, having no charges of racial assault, with no accusations of being an 'Irish bitch' has to count for something, right?

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Gina G: Diva Incarnate Interview

Staging a comeback is not for the faint hearted. Gina G stormed the charts in the mid-90s with her tantalizing anthem Ooh Ahh ... Just A Little Bit. Even its very name left one in suspense. Just what was she on about; was she a size queen? was she short changed at Primark? or did her hairdresser just need a little bit of encouragement? Straight-faced, sequined and ultraconfident, it's unforgettable intro was like a camp siren, instantly recognizable, and even to this day proclaims the musical identity of this Eurovision legend whom only straight people could have forgotten about. Loud and clear.

15 battle-scarred years later (and that's just myself), dance icon Gina is about to strike out yet again for career longevity and a p.a pursuit that will make sure there's not a gay in the world who has not been made aware that there is a site called iTunes with a new song called Next 2 Uavailable to buy for the price of 79p give or take the exchange rate. Her biggest hits sizzle and kaboom like an explosion of 90s euphoria; and her new one here is ready to create its own nostalgia and expand her musical boundaries by way of its Nintendo-inspired original version, and the feverish trance-formation of the new single edit.

Below: Gina G on the promo-trail in her native Australia, wearing a fashion-forward pink tutu, Gothic-chic corset, and the ultimate accessory for every diva of dance, a pair dancing gays she found at Starbucks!

The pulsating atmosphere and body-jerking grooves of Next 2 U are driven by Gina's lyrical excitement, gushing voice and blushing that tease "mmmm delicious". The energy level is on par with the rampant momentum of Ooh Ahh and the sumptuous I Belong To You, and Gina still revels in her enthusiasm for the opposite sex and clubccentric infection. I managed to harass the singer for long enough on Twitter for her to be kind enough to give up some time and answer some hard-hitting questions (well, some questions nevertheless). It's no secret that Gina G is one of my all time favourite singers, so I hope you enjoy. Here is part one:

Hi Gina - it's great to have you back doing what you do best. What took you so long?

Babies babies and more babies. Actually it’s only 2, but it feels like 100. Don’t get me wrong I love my family. It’s a juggling act. So to answer your question, I took time off to start my own circus.

Your 'size queen' anthem Ooh Ahh ... Just A Little Bit is your signature song. What surprised you most about the success you experienced with it?

Being Grammy nominated. When I found out, I think I fainted in my father’s front lawn.

What's the story with the track Heaven? It was, and still is, an amazing song that could be a hit single.

I agree with you. It’s on the list of potential re-makes.

One of the reasons I loved the 'demo' of Next To You was that it didn't pander to any particular market; it updated your sound whilst retaining your unique lyrical excitement, and just sounded like lots of fun. Do you feel pressure to recreate the sound of yourFresh! album, or are such atypical sounds the first taster of more to come in this vein?

I don’t feel any pressure to recreate anything. I am extremely excited about the sound of today. Next 2 U is nothing like the original demo you heard. You won’t recognize it and there’s no comparison. It’s still in a league of its own and even more classic poptastic with really cool synths. The only similarity to 1996 is that it sounds like me.

Below: one of the many iconic images Gina created in collaboration with acclaimed photographer David La Chappelle.

Something that goes hand in hand when the name Gina G gets mentioned is your style. For example, your David La Chappelle photographs remain incredibly iconic. Have you kept in touch? And how important is style to your brand?

I saw David once in West Hollywood and he remembered me. We had a nice long latte. I was honoured again to be sitting across from such a genius. Style is extremely important. I’m not saying I haven’t made any fashion faux pas, but overall I get very involved and I love it. Just don’t get that photo of me at 8.30am racing the kids to school!

Another Eurovision queen Dana International had another stab at entering this year's contest but never made the final. What did you make of Dana's Ding Dong? Personally, despite a respectable performance, I felt her exotic appeal had gone and her ding dong was a bit limp.... Would you ever try to go back (again)?

Firstly, no disrespect to her because I know how hard it is to write the perfect pop song. But why ‘Ding Dong’? Is it Israeli for ‘you have large hands’?

To answer the 2nd part of your question: Highly unlikely. I doubt I would ever be able to create such a magical moment like I did in 1996. Plus I need to move on and progress as an artist. I’m sure my fans would agree.

And how would you do things differently if entering Eurovision became a serious possibility (ie, what would it take to make it seem appealing)?

If I could be the front person with the the 2006 winners Lordi, I would be there. “Good lordi”.

Who are your show biz friends? And what famous person would you put straight to voicemail (and why)?

I’ve had many great conversations with Pete Burns in seedy corners of nightclubs. I love him.

I would put Jesse James straight to voicemail. How could you cheat on Sandra Bullock? She’s one of my idols.

Below: G reveals that she and Pete Burns always have a great crack together.

If you can tell a show biz story that would make people's jaw drop (without naming names of course), now would be a great time to share...

A very big rock star at the time, practically forced me into a room to partake in an illicit drug snorting fest. I escaped unharmed and undrugged.

What reality TV shows have you been offered that you can remember? Personally, I think you would be great on Strictly Come Dancing (camp, glittery and glamorous - obviously your fans would expect nothing less).

I’ve been asked to do “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” about 20 times. The answer is no every time. I hate spiders!!! Also “Celebrity Total Wipeout” – no way!!! I actually have my UK agent looking into “Strictly Come Dancing”. I would say YES to this one.

Tonight's The Night was a corker of a comeback song (fast and bold Latin rhythms and your trademark gushing vocal delivery), and it's b-side Undone was my personal favourite (almost going into darker Dannii Minogue territory if you don't mind me saying). Not to be picky, but you did promise us a follow-up "no matter what". Lots of things get in the way of course, but what is the story career-wise with that era?

I fell pregnant with my 2nd child right after I returned from the UK promo tour of “Tonight’s the Night”.This was totally unexpected, but well worth it. She is amazing.

Are there any celebrities that you could 'out' as Gina G fans?

Cher. When she heard my album she said to the chairman of Warner Music ‘I want that sound for my album’. Enrique Englesias. When he heard “Ti Amo” on the radio in Europe, he immediately wrote the next song with the producers of that track, Metro (now Metrophonic).

Your song Tease has recently been recorded by Nomi Madness (whom your righthand man John Collins, I believe, has been working with). What do you think of his version, and is writing for other artists something you'd like to do more?

It’s always flattering when someone covers your work. I’d love to write for other artists such as Katy Perry, Kylie, to name a few.

Who do you see as your contemporaries (or friendly 'rivals')?

Pop is back, so I am in great company. I do feel I have a unique sound.

Would you ever work with Motiv8 and Metro again? When I heard the Metro-produced Heartbeat for Enrique I immediately thought it sounded like a Gina G song.

I would work with Metro again in a heartbeat!

While I am at it - the song Believe recorded by Cher was written by Metro and famously rejected by a number of singers, and I was wondering if the song was ever offered to you? Or what songs have you turned down that we would know of?

Believe was never offered to me, but “Runaway” from the “Believe” album was. It wasn’t for me.

Was it annoying seeing pretty much any other dance diva and her mother getting their own Motiv8 remixes during the 90s and stealing your sound as it were?

No because mine was by far the biggest hit. Steve Rodway who is Motiv8 is a one trick pony. He’s only ever did one sound and he’ll only ever have that one sound. That’s why I didn’t do the 2nd album with him. And he didn’t pay me a penny for the first album. Sour grapes at all….absof**kinglutley!

These days, the Freemasons are the ubiquitous dance producers of the moment: who would be your dream collaborators to make dance music with?

RedOne, Dr Luke, Metrophonic again.

What information can you give about your new album, including song titles, that you haven't told any other blog?

“Into The Night “and “Kinky” are being rewritten and re-produced beyond recognition.

Thanks Gina G. Best of luck with the new project - I look forward to hearing more about it!

Thanks Gordon!


Well, I think I may have to lie down after that. My closing thoughts: I love Gina's undiminished passion for what she does, and the process involved in creating the songs; her eagerness to do Strictly Come Dancing; I can't wait to hear Kinky as it has the potential to be as amazing as the title track to her debut; the Pete Burns and Cher name-dropping were 'fabulous'; it was interesting to know she turned down Runaway (it's a tad generic, but Cher gives it some gusto I suppose, and I agree it wasn't a Gina G track); I wanted to add "hear hear" to the Steve Roadway answer (as much as I love his vintage sound, he didn't move on and his remixes quickly became stale at the time when her sophomore album would have been released had there been no 'issues' to put it mildly); and the line "I escaped unharmed and undrugged" should be used in a sentence at least once a day! If you're a fan, I hope you enjoyed my interview, and for everyone else, please check out Next 2 U, it's a really special, and enticing, dance track well-worthy of the singer's special legacy.