Today marks the release of Anastacia's 'Ultimate Collection', and we managed to catch up with the iconic singer/songwriter to find out more about what's made the cut. Promising us she's got some original material lined up for the future and also talking candidly about her health struggles, Anastacia was a pure delight to chat to - read on to find out what she had to tell us...
You're releasing your 'Ultimate Collection', with such a huge catalogue of hits how difficult was it to decide what made it on to the album?
Well, I think to a certain point, we didn't call it the 'Greatest Hits' because that would then almost define what this was supposed to be. We called it 'Ultimate Collection' so that we could get more creative with songs that were unexpected, great songs nonetheless, but definitely part of the history of my body of work. That being able to put 'Love Is A Crime' on this album from the Chicago soundtrack. My fans loved that song, it just didn't quite seep into my career so what a great opportunity to be able to let other people that know my music as the albums, be able to see other facets and then, a couple of other projects I've worked on when I wasn't on Sony, doing a covers album and covering 'The Best Of You' for the Foo Fighters. The song itself, that's a hit, it wasn't necessarily my hit, it was Dave Grohl's hit and Foo Fighters, but I believe it's a song I so feel like... it's mine. When I sing it I feel it's always been my song it always was my song, I know it's not but it feels so at home, that it's a wonderful opportunity, being able to shed light on other things.
What my fans like is just that we've taken time out, we've thought about what we wanna put on there. We put the absolute musts on there and then really went through the catalogue and figured out what else we could do. Not only giving them new material but giving them material that maybe they didn't know about.
There are also new songs on the collection, what can you tell us about those?
The brand new material is two brand new songs. The single being 'Take That Chance' and then, the other three or four songs are Chicago soundtrack, 'Love Is A Crime', 'Best Of You' from my covers album, 'Stupid Little Things' from my last album 'Resurrection', which was an amazing, fun song, that in essence, it wasn't on Sony but they were like, 'what a missed opportunity for the record company you were on, we love that song', so it really says a lot about the record company to put on songs that even might have been done on a different label, which is so awesome.
From The Fantastic 4 we have the Ben Moody duet that I did, but a lot of people may not have even realised I was on The Fantastic 4 soundtrack.
So it's that kind of essence, then the rest of the songs could be new depending on when you stopped buying the full project of Anastacia and just bought singles. It all just depends on what you're familiar with on the catalogue of me.
It's just cool because it's a whole new generation since I left Sony, it's been a decade, so we have a whole new audience in a way to relate my music to. They don't think I'm new, they know of me but they're not current buyers. So it's a real wonderful thing to reintroduce my music to a different space of people that are the real Tweeters and Instagrammers and those kind of things. The younger audience that really were the ones that knew my music when they were six, but were too young to go to the concert.
Does it feel good to be back at your original label with Sony?
It totally does, it feels like home sweet home. Fans keep telling me it looks like we stopped, like I was in a time machine, and then all of a sudden I came out, because they feel there is an essence of what they loved about Anastacia being on Sony, which is what they liked about the 'Resurrection' album, is that they felt very haunted by the 'Anastacia' album which came out in 2004, and then the 'Resurrection' album came out in 2014, and even though it was 10 years difference, it was almost as if no time had passed. A little bit more ballads because of what I'd been through, but really the packaging and everything was like, 'oh my God, what? What happened?'
I had to find myself again. I had my own little artist moment, female moment of rediscovery. You have to sort of take time out to do that and go, 'who am I?' Luckily I was able to find it myself and be like, 'no, I do like doing this'. All my 90s gear is way back in style so hey! Everyone's cutting out their outfits and I'm like, 'been there done that! My whole midriff was cut out!' So it's really fun to see what's happened in fashion, in music and know that in a way you can kind of fade out and fade in, and because I'm still an artist that really sings and writes her music, there's a timelessness about some of us who are able to do that. We can fit right back into the current music in an interesting way.
You mention your recent album 'Resurrection', how did you find the response to that record?
A really, really overwhelmingly positive response. I was pushing the envelope by having such a big title of the record, because I actually came up with what I wanted to call it before I wrote a song. I felt like that was inside me and then every song that came about was like the story of everything that the one word embodied. And not to mention, 'resurrection' in Greek means Anastacia. Crazy all of it is, and very comically amazingly, and then to resurrect going back to Sony... I couldn't have made this up or written a better story for my life! When you say 'happy endings after all the suffering', not that this is my ending at all, it does feel like, 'are you guys punking me?' (laughs)
So it's really wonderful. It feels lovely, I'm in a really, really wonderful place, regarding my own spirit, my health, so it's just emulating everything and I'm really happy.
And you recently wrapped up your world tour performing at over 80 dates across the globe, how was that experience?
Awesome! I'd never done some of these things before. I'd never ridden on a bus. I've always flown private, sorry, I'm just representing! So I wanted to, if I was going to resurrect I was going to do it from the ground up. I didn't want to do what was immediately expected. I wanna be on stage, two hours like a rock star. I wanna be able to do that, I'd never done that before. I wanna have a Q&A at my f**king concert, why not? Who says you can't?
So I just did things that were a little unconventional but almost exactly what the fans who were waiting, wanted. They were like, 'We knew you'd come back!' I was like, 'You did? Oh God, I didn't know this was happening!' But it was just so lovely to do concerts for a lot of the younger audience who had never experienced it. The older fans I recognised and still are being the trailblazers of my FANily, and just seeing the Instagram start to crawl up, because I'm a new Instagram person. I didn't really do that, I'm from the old school, we didn't do those things. So, it is still a new world. I still call them records, I'm never probably gonna not call them records, and when someone says 'get on your computer' I will think of a laptop, I won't think about a phone. The current kids all think about a phone as their computer and I'm like, 'oh no no no, I gotta get to a laptop! I gotta see it bigger hunny! I can't read my phone it's too small! I need glasses now!'
You did also keep fans updated with your social media presence on the tour...
I had such a good time letting them into the little bits, like trying to do a video from stage each night, I'm so terrible at technology. It's really tragic. I do need to have a full-on tutorial with Kim Kardashian about new technologies, I really would humble myself. Even selfies, I don't know! I look like a wombat. I don't have enough patience to take 1,200 pictures of myself to find the best one. I count on that for a photographer to do. They need to light it and I just smile.
So it's wonderful to experience all of these things simultaneously, instead of feeling as though they're hindrances because it's not the same. Some people are not able to adjust to what has been happening in our music industry and I think it just makes it feel like I'm a brand new singer. I feel like a new artist, I'm telling everybody who I am, where I came from, where I was born, all these things that they never heard before. I do feel like you're hitting different pockets of fanbases that maybe didn't know those things because we didn't have the ability of letting them see a million YouTube things or different stuff like that. I don't have the kind of hits on my videos the way that people have them now, but it's amazing to see it climb so fast even on the last record. But, it's just amazing, the viral reality that we're in.
We've talked about your health struggles in the past, but what advice might you have for those who may be going through similar situations you've seen through your life to-date?
Hm, it becomes hard to be the role model of telling someone how to get through their own experience, because really, everybody's own experience, it's their own. Because I got through mine with humour and positivity, that's how I'd get through everything from birth. I laughed about my Crohn's, then it became a reality that that would become a part of my life forever. It's not the fun thing to talk about when you're trying to get a boyfriend that you have like, pooper scooper issues. It's like, 'Hi, would you like to talk about poop all day? Because that's what I do!'
So it's really difficult to be able to give advice, but the fact that I've gone through it and been able to walk through it, I think that in itself sometimes becomes its own cheerleader, that I just am there to... if any questions come, and they have over my career, I mainly try to help someone out with what they're struggling with more than tell them, 'this is how you should do it', because every woman is different, every person is different. Some are more insiders, some are extraverted. My way is the high way, and that's one of the things, being a person who has experienced a lot of health issues. You can't determine what's gonna be right for someone, but you want to make sure that they're comfortable within their journey.
Should we expect more new music in the future?
Absolutely! Totally, originals is coming next, for sure. Whether it's gonna be original and I'll throw on a few duets - there's a lot of interest that I have in coupling up, artistry to artistry and I think I'd have a lot of fun doing it. A complete duets album, the only thing I'd find difficult in that is touring it. Even though it'd be an amazing experience to do, it's just for the sales of it, not for the touring of it and I still wanna tour. At this point I'll definitely want to have a couple of duets on the next album because I don't have any on this which are new, but I would definitely think about a really interesting duets project in my future when it's down the line, and I'd like to just sing with a lot of different people I haven't sung with and it's not about touring, and it's just about a body of work people would love to have.
Who are some of the people you'd love to work with?
Oh my God I have too many! Really too many! I mean there are so many that, the good thing is hopefully somebody will say yes! (laughs) Just because I wanna work with them doesn't mean they wanna work with me. I have a number of artists that I think are just dynamic, wonderful, and if we would write a song that would be killer, then it's an ultimate duet. I don't wanna duet just for a duet's sake, it would have to be the perfect project. I'm already thinking about it now even though I'm not even in the process of the next album, the duets need to be something that feel organically natural, and you can't do that overnight. Everybody featuring on everybody's music, I think that's cute for the younger audience, I just never really do that unless an organic duet comes about. I don't want to force it and put it on an album of originals.
If there is the right stuff and if I am quite lucky enough to have more than one, I'm gonna definitely go for it, because it's been something I've wanted to do because I've never really been somebody that pairs up with too many people when it comes to duets. It would be fun for the next project to spatter one or two duets there with the originals.
Anastacia's 'Ultimate Collection' is out now.
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