Lisa Stansfield is back in the new year with a brand new album, Seven, and is currently touring Europe. We sat down with Lisa in the lovely setting of Hampstead's Everyman Cinema and had a chat about strange fan encounters and burping on stage…
So So Gay: Tell us about your new album, Seven:
Lisa Stansfield: Do you like it?
Yes, we loved it!
It was the longest album to make and the quickest album to make. We waited until the time was right. It took us over a month to record and about ten years to write. It hasn't taken us ten years to write ten songs, it has taken us ten years to write a lot of songs.
You worked with John Robinson and Jerry Hay, what was that like?
Well we've worked with them for years. Jerry did the very first album that we did. He was incredible, he’s very intuitive. John Robinson is incredible, he’s like a human drum machine, you can tell him a tempo and he plays it . He’s incredibly skilled.
And how has the industry changed since you started out?
It's changed for the better. The internet makes your life harder in the sense that you're looked at more - and constantly. That's part of the job anyway. Communication wise, it's incredible.
What's it like to be touring?
It's lovely. I was saying I seem to have a lot more confidence. I'm not saying I wasn't, but just, like, in talking to the audience I used to be really shy. Now I just don't give a shit. If you're honest with them, and I've always been honest in interviews, but on stage... I just think, if i see something, or something springs to mind, I talk about it. The other week, we were in Glasgow and we had eaten chips and sausages before the show. It was embarrassing. We were all burping throughout the show and it taught me not to eat before the show!
What was it like being in the Vagina Monologues?
Anything you do that's new to you is petrifying. It taught me a lot about acting, but theatre teaches you a lot. It's like a baptism by fire.
You’ve also done some film work, how does acting compare?
It's not that different. You always have to pull something out of yourself. I don't believe in just going through the motions. I feel like I'm cheating if I'm not feeling it. Like, when I sing, I feel what I sing.
What would be your dream role?
Hmm, I've thought about that...I've done a few close to it. I'd like to be a real massive bitch. My take on that is, if you're really famous for being a complete bitch then if you're walking down the street people never bother you, because they think, 'oh shit, don't mess with her!'. If they know you're a nice person, they’ll come up and say hello. People talk to me because they think I'm approachable, which I guess I am really.
Who would you like to play a bitch opposite then?
I suppose bitches have to be bitchy to a woman... someone younger than me? Someone more attractive? I don’t know, I'm not really jealous of younger woman. I suppose you'd like to be a bitch opposite someone squeaky clean. Anyone who's whiter than white, squeaky clean. [Lisa jokes with her team] Gwyneth Paltrow, she’s slappable. Is that a word?
What are your career highlights?
When I did the Freddie Mercury Tribute with Queen, there were more than 100,000 people there. I don't know how many artists were there…every artist was so gracious.
Lisa Stansfield If you could choose between acting , theatre and singing, which would you choose?
I'd choose singing - it's the first passion I ever had. As long as I can write songs, I'll always sing.
None at all. Whatever you do, you have to go back and in hindsight look back and appreciate what they taught you. You'd never learn anything if you'd never done anything wrong; everything is a lesson.
What do you think of Miley Cyrus?
Being naked on a wrecking ball? There's nothing wrong with it. She's breaking out of a mould that she's been in for a long time and you have to just go the opposite way. I think she'll come out on the other side. The video is beautiful. Lady Gaga gets her kit off, we've all done it before. I've done it before. Everyone will still be doing it.
What do you think of Twitter?
I know someone who Tweets and Facebooks everything: breakfast, lunch, dinner. You realise how self-obsessed people really are. It's also a good way to communicate with fans, you get feedback. You're not second guessing, you know what people are thinking.
What’s the strangest fan encounter you’ve had.
This was in America , the second tour. There was this guy, he looked a lot like Mark Chapman. He came to every single show. Even when we went by plane, he'd be at the hotel before we were. We did ten shows and he was at every single show.
My security guy, Mike, had a word with him and said, ‘Please stop, it's getting really weird’ and this guy said, 'I know it's meant to be and I know we're meant to be. And I know [Ian (Lisa’s husband)] doesn't really love her.' Mike told him to knock it on the head. We never saw him again.
You are admired by fans and you have a massive gay following, are you surprised?
Not really. I think what I do is honest, it's upfront. The emotional content of what I do is a big part of that. I've looked at lyrics I've written and they could tend to any sexuality. It doesn't make a difference and it's the same emotional quality in songs.
Who was your stylist, way back when?
In the early days, I had it cropped. One of my best friends used to cut my hair. When I went back she'd cut it and leave the curl on.
Did you ever find your baby?
He was always there, I was always lying. He was always there!
Seven will be released on 10 February 2014 and is available to pre-order from Amazon and iTunes now.
Interview by kind courtesy of SoSoGay and Jazz for using some of my questions too!