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Anastacia: Records that changed my life

Anastacia: Records that changed my life
Known around the world for her distinctive, powerhouse voice, singer-songwriter Anastacia shares some of her favourite records with Reader's Digest

Barbra Streisand, assorted records

Growing up we didn't have a lot of music in the house, but I'm very grateful that my mother was a Barbra Streisand fan. We had lots of her albums and I often listened to them. Every single album cover was beautiful. I thought she was just flawless. Her eyes were beautiful, her nails were gorgeous, everything about her, she was quite the lady. And her voice! 
"Barbra is legendary for me"
Every single song was just so beautiful and the orchestras that she would use were different than anything that was being played on the radio at that time. It was calming and fabulous, but also powerful. Barbra is legendary for me. I don’t necessarily sound like her but I did sing a lot of her things when I was younger, you know, I’d try to hold the note as long as her. I’ve since gotten better at my breathing technique. I can’t really pick a single album‚ I loved them all! Superman, Memories, A Star Is Born.

Elton John, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player

elton John
Equal to Barbra Streisand is Elton John. What I loved about him was the opposite of Barbra, it was his sass, his twang, his presence. The way he attached his voice to a song and used it felt very familiar to me. At that time I didn’t have any desire to be a singer but his music was like a sort of ear worm for me. 
And I loved that he wore very flamboyant glasses! When I was six, my mom was like, “You need glasses.” She was surprised when I was excited about it! I was like, “When can I get the windshield wiper glasses?"

Celine Dion, assorted records

Celine Dion was a huge part of my life in the Nineties. Her voice is so effortless. I don’t sound like that, but I always found her voice so beautiful, and I sang her songs. It’s hard to pick a particular album, but I’d probably choose one from before her Titanic days. Something earlier. I used to walk everywhere listening to her on my Walkman. I was mesmerised by her voice, I just loved everything she was able to do with it. 
"I used to walk everywhere listening to her on my Walkman"
I wouldn’t necessarily call her an influence for my sound because I found that my tone and texture fit way more with rock. In car rides with my parents we listened to a lot of rock, the Eagles and Air Supply and Journey, and that influenced my sound more. I always had this inner rock chick. But I really loved listening to Celine.

Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation, 1814

Janet Jackson
I loved Janet Jackson. She was tough and feminine at the same time. And she was so nice! The whole family is like that, I worked with the Jacksons and we shared concerts together for about a month. They’re just really great, and so humble. I felt very accepted with them. And I loved Rhythm Nation, and I had it on cassette because cassettes were cheaper than CDs.

Anastacia’s new album, Our Songs

The artwork on the new album is 100 per cent me. I knew I wanted that graffiti look. At first it was just this super glam picture of me, but I wanted the graffiti airbrushed texture, with the brick wall coming through. It connects to Chicago, my home town, because we have a lot of graffiti there, and then it connects to the Berlin Wall too. That was on purpose, as was the album name [Our Songs]. 
The songs are all originally German. I could have called it anything and nobody would know in other countries, but I would have felt horrible if I was saying this is Anastacia. Like, I wrote the English words, but the songs already existed. 
"This whole project has been a journey, it’s been very special for me"
Translating them was hard! I thought Google Translate would really help but it didn’t, it just literally translated things and it didn’t always make sense. I had to work out the exact words myself and then work to fit them to the song. It was like Tetris! It was actually the hardest thing I did, and many times I didn’t think it was going to work out. I was very, very frustrated. But I stuck with it and then I wrote the last song in half an hour with Peter Maffay, who’s like the Bruce Springsteen of Germany. He’s never done a duet with anyone and he gave me his biggest hit—no pressure! I literally wrote it and demoed it and gave it to him, and he wanted to sing it with me! We’re doing some stadiums together in the summer.
This whole project has been a journey, it’s been very special for me. And the album artwork was really important to me because I wanted vinyls, so it needed to be a statement. It could be like, a coffee table book, you know? A piece of art. 
Anastacia's new album, Our Songs, is out now
Cover image © Marcel Brell
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