Belinda Carlisle interview

The 1980s pop star on finishing her world tour in Dubai

Interview, Hot seat, The Knowledge

Hi Belinda, welcome to Dubai. Is this your first visit?
I was here a year and a half ago with a friend. We shopped, ate and took a drive through the desert. Since then, I’ve only been through the airport, although I’ve wanted to come back and have a longer visit.
I would love to explore the old city a bit more this time. Of course I love the shopping, but I can shop anywhere. I much prefer to soak in the culture.

Where’s the attraction of an ’80s revival gig?
It’s an evening of instant gratification for the audience; they can hear all the hits of all of the artists and don’t have to sit through a lot of filler. It’s fun for the artists too – there’s a lot of camaraderie backstage.

So everyone manages to get on with each other?
Everyone is at a point in their career where there isn’t a lot of the ego – we’ve been there, done that. I love working with both Paul Young and Boy George, as friends and, of course, as a fan. We didn’t really get to know each other well back in the ’80s. Our paths did cross of course, but only briefly.

What did the ’80s represent for you?
I was young and wild. I had a good time. It was the last really great definitive decade for music, in my opinion. The music transcended itself and influenced art, fashion, cinema…

Has modern music taken a turn for the worse?
I think shows such as American Idol and The X Factor have unfortunately changed music in a negative way, where it’s more about marketing and making an instant fortune rather than nurturing artistry. Music has become more disposable and much less interesting, but there is still some amazing talent out there. You just have to really look for it.

Are you still making music?
I have to be passionate about what I’m doing, or I don’t bother. This goes for music too. My last album, Voila – sung entirely in French – was a project that was totally from my heart, and I can’t work any other way any more. If I’m inspired to record, it will be sincere and something that I love.

You’re 52 now: how does today’s Belinda compare to the girl of the ’80s?
It’s early to bed, early to rise for me. It was very, very late to bed back then and very, very late to rise. It’s totally different. Back in the heyday of The Go-Go’s we really did burn the candle at both ends, but I don’t regret it. We had a lot of fun, we were young, famous, rich and had no real responsibilities. We took advantage of the moment.

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