Walking on Sunshine was a worldwide hit for Katrina & The Waves back in 1985. 35 years on, Katrina is a regular on the 80s music scene. Still writing great music, her latest single I Want to Love Again is off her new album Hearts, Loves & Babys. Loving 80s Music caught up with her for a quick chat...
Katrina, great to speak to you - how's your morning gone so far?
Well, I've just been doing what I call my 'ugly yoga'... I've patched together a little routine I do every morning, called The Five Tibetan Rites, which helps get you through life with being nimble, stretching yourself out and keeping a healthy mind, body and spirit. That's the plan anyway (laughs)
Sounds good. Before we chat about your new single, can I just mention the video - my children wanted me to tell you that they think your dog, who stars in the video, is super cute...
Ah, that's Peggy Lee, my Poodle. She thanks them for that! When we got in to the lockdown situation, I realised it would be fun to promote my new album with some homemade videos. I just looked at the poodle and thought 'you're on, poodle, ACTION...'
What's the story behind the video then, having Peggy Lee flying?
Well, I'm obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and always have been since a kid. I just thought well I can put together a tin man and a flying monkey because they happen to sell flying monkey outfits for dogs on Amazon, can you believe it?
(At this point we go off track, discussing how you can literally find EVERYTHING on Amazon and how we couldn't live with out it...etc, etc...) :)
Although I think a lot of people didn't get it and thought I was a spaceman and she was a super-dog, or something, but that doesn't matter - I just wanted it to be a bit of crazy fun.
The single, I Want to Love Again, I presume wasn't written from a personal perspective?
No. I was doing a show in Norway with Samantha Fox, who's a friend of mine and she'd just lost her partner. It was a very sad time for her but she said she wanted to just get out there again and I thought it sounds like she's ready to love again. I asked her if I could write a song for her and when I got home, in all of about 15 minutes, I had I Want to Love Again. I actually submitted it to Eurovision 2020, they shortlisted it, but they went for James (Newman) in the end, which I think was a good call. He was the whole package. I wouldn't have been singing my song, they'd have had to find someone else to sing it. James was very cool and it was Eurovision going in the right direction.
Speaking of Eurovision, you won it in 1997 with Love Shine a Light - do you still watch the contest each year?
Yeah, sure. It's kind of hard to avoid. It's compulsive viewing. Apart from the World Cup, it's the most watched entertainment show on TV and now the Americans are talking about having the American Song Contest. It's definitely opening up to the whole world - the interest in it is phenomenal. The movie with Will Ferrel, (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga), really bought it in to the houses of the rest of the world that had no idea what this crazy competition was about.
Going back a bit further then, you had a huge hit with Walking on Sunshine, in 1985 - would it be fair to say that with the current economic climate and the pandemic, you're probably not 'walking on sunshine' every day at the moment?
I certainly am not! I had 200 shows in 2020 that were cancelled. I had 2 very, very busy years previously, so luckily had a few coins in the coffer, so I didn't have to worry too much. It's really been more about the drastic life change because I'm used to travelling, packing my bag, getting up and going, so I suppose the feeling I have is restlessness. Everyone just wants to get the good times back - this will pass, it's a crazy time to live through but eventually we will have a vaccine and eventually we will all come out the other end.
When do you see gigs returning?
Well, I've got 2021 filled up. I think everyone is just trying to think positively that things will happen and to be optimistic that we will be back out there. My first show is in February, in Spain. It's an outdoor show so fingers crossed it will be fine and they will find a way.
We saw you at Butlins last year and you were hilarious - you did more talking than singing on stage and had that huge crowd in the palm of your hand...
I think a Butlins audience is the BEST in the world, I really do. They come with the expectation to have fun, to be supportive, to help you along with your show and if you know that - as opposed to an audience with people standing there with their arms crossed - it really encourages you to be your best and have your own fun up there too.
Didn't you have a big birthday to celebrate this year? Was it during lockdown?
Arrh, you know what, Helen, there's no 2 ways about it, it was a total washout and yet I'd had such high expectations for my 60th birthday. What happened was that we came back from an 80s cruise, out of Miami, 2500 fanatical 80s fans, with Berlin, Tony Hadley, the B52's, etc and we all came off that ship with Covid. Every single one of us. Tony Hadley, his crew, everybody had it, some worse than others. Mine was cough, fatigue and quite a bad headache. Nobody checked our temperature, we were one of the last cruise ships to come back in to Miami when this thing broke at the end of March/start of April. I think they just wanted to get everyone off as quickly as possible. We were all scared to death that we were going to be quarantined on that ship, as much as we loved it and as fun as it was, no one wanted to be stuck on there for any amount of time.
They managed to keep that all very quiet then - that everyone had caught Coronavirus - I thought that would definitely have made the papers?
They sure did! That's America for you. When I got home, I still had the affects of Covid, so I probably wouldn't have been up for partying on my birthday anyway and my partner certainly wasn't. You know what? We are going to make up for it in 2021....
Being American, you must have some views on the upcoming presidential election... please tell me you're not a fan of Trump?
Oh surely - you've got that damn right! (laughs) Oh my God, this has been the worst 4 years in American history; Embarrassing. Disgraceful to be an American now. It's divided the country. He has exposed some of the ugliest aspects of America and Americans with his racist, biased, homophobic views. I'm American. I love America, but it's tainted for me now.
Finally, in one sentence, can you tell anyone reading this, who hasn't yet downloaded your new album, why they should?
It will make you feel good, it will make you feel happy, it will make you dance, it will bring a smile to your face and you might even find some things about me that you didn't expect....!
HEARTS, LOVES & BABYS is out NOW.
Buy the new album here:
See the video to Katrina's latest single, I Want to Love Again, here: https://youtu.be/8kBpqsN071o
My selfie with Katrina - Butlins, Skegvegas. September 2019
Short video clip of Katrina - Butlins 2019 : https://youtu.be/rf1AzPeY2xo