Tuesday, January 22, 2008
NICKI FRENCH - THE INTERVIEW!!!
Popplastic were lucky enough recently to catch up with the Eurovision legend that is Nicki French!!!
PP: Welcome to Popplastic Towers!
NF: Thanks so much for having me!
PP: OMG, we're in the presence of Eurovision royalty!
NF: Oh bless – mind you, they do say Eurovision is full of ‘queens’ don’t they? (Nicki winks & bursts out laughing!)
PP: With the Eurovision season almost upon us we were wondering, Is there anybody out there who can rescue MYMU! What would your rescue remedy be for the UK at Eurovision?
NF: Bring back two things – the orchestra and Nicki French!! One of those is serious, the other you can make your own mind up about!! (winks and laughs) Seriously though, I DO think that the way the songs and artists are chosen at present just doesn’t work, and needs a complete overhaul. Actually, can I put in a THIRD remedy – change the way the songs are chosen back to the OLD way, through BASCA. It used to be such a great opportunity for new writers, but now from what I understand, the BBC do it all pretty much ‘in-house’ nowadays, and BASCA entries don’t get a look-in.
PP: We've already heard so many MYMU/Eurovision rumours this year about who might be representing the UK this year, from the Scissor Sisters to Ace of Base and Same Difference. Do you think any of these groups have got what it takes?
NF: Let’s be honest, there are ALWAYS rumours around this time about who will take part. The only thing I would say is that whoever does get the chance, they’d better make sure their vocal stamina is there. The rehearsals, performances and even interviews through the course of the time you’re there puts a lot of pressure on the vocals. You really have to make sure that whoever goes through is able to do those live vocals – remember there’s no miming allowed at Eurovision. It’s all LIVE vocals, and I hope that never changes, as it’s one of the things that to me, keeps Eurovision so special!!
PP: Who would you send if you could chose anyone?
NF: ME!!!(More laughter.)
PP: Was there any truth to the rumours that you were going to be involved with Scooch at last years MYMU?
NF: (Nicki groans) Oh, I was supposed to be doing the backing vocals with another lady backstage – but had a call TWO days before MYMU saying that I wasn’t needed after all. I’ll be honest – I was furious at the time, as I was extremely busy with the theatre show, and had given up precious rehearsal time for it, but afterwards I decided it was a blessing in disguise, as the offstage backing vocals became a pretty big story in the media afterwards, and not in a good way!
PP: What did you think of last years Eurovision final?
NF: Ummm… next question!! (laughs)
PP: Who was your favourite?
NF: Well when I heard the songs in full (in advance on the internet), I just LOVED Brian Harvey’s song, but the performance really didn’t hack it. On the live show, the French girl’s song came over extremely well. But Scooch was the quirky one, and because of the UK voters still taking a very ‘tongue-in-cheek’ attitude to the Contest, that was the winner.
PP: You hear a lot of complaints about the new Eastern Bloc countries that have joined Eurovision. Do you think something needs to be done about it or do you see it as a positive development?
NF: Oh, to my mind something definitely needs to be sorted. I just don’t think it’s positive for Western Europe at all – just look at the results in the semis over the past couple of years. Some really good songs from stalwarts like Sweden or Denmark just didn’t go through, and some absolute **** did – mind you, that’s all the joy of Eurovision I guess! However, I’m not certain it’s so much ‘tactical’ voting as the honest fact that you are more likely to like the sort of style that is similar to yours – ie. your neighbours. Just look at how it’s described – the Eastern ‘BLOC’.
PP: You've had massive international success, number 1 hits around the world and you've done Eurovision. Is there anything left that you still want to do?
NF: Oh yes! I honestly would dearly love to take part in Eurovision again, as I would like to get a better result, maybe with a strong ballad. But my main ambition is to get more work in theatre, particularly Musical Theatre – it’s what I planned from a very early age, yet I must have come to a T-junction of my career at some point, and instead of turning left, took a right turn into pop music in my late teens!(Grins) Not that I regret it for one moment – I have LOVED my pop career.
Now people may find this very odd, but the OTHER thing I would love to do is present the news, preferably on Sky News – I LOVE IT!!! (laughs) Actually, presenting of any sort is always so enjoyable. I love doing TV or radio – actually I think I have a great face for radio! (wry smile)
PP: What's been the highlight of your career so far?
NF: There are actually many. Representing my country at Eurovision is just such a special memory for me (well, until I start thinking of the voting!), then there’s the worldwide success of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ back in the 1990s, and all the amazing countries I got to visit because of it. My trips to Brazil will always be extremely special to me too, particularly since I was invited back again just last year – and the fans were just as enthusiastic as they had been in the 1990s! To hear people singing one of your songs, that is actually an original, so they can’t have learnt it from any other artist – that’s incredible. One of the early ‘special’ memories was the first time I appeared on Top of the Pops – for a singer, that was the pinnacle at that time.
On the theatre side, there are two highlights – when I was at college, I played the lead role of Laurey in the big production of ‘Oklahoma!’ – that was probably the moment I knew, without any shadow of a doubt, that I wanted to be on the stage. Then just last year, I finally managed to get a role in a London show, ‘Menopause the Musical’, and that was just amazing. My dream had been realised!
PP: On that very subject, how did you enjoy your experience in Menopause the Musical?
NF: Oh God it was just SO much fun! I had such a great time doing that show, and really didn’t want it to end. Although I was cast as an understudy, I did actually get on stage quite a few times as the character of Earth Mother, and had an absolute ball. To be told by the others that you’re on that stage with that they really enjoy performing with you was great. The audience had the opportunity to write any comments they had about the show on these little ‘You Be The Critic’ forms, and after my very first performance, someone had written ‘Earth Mother – wonderful’ – which the producers gave to me to keep! The woman that wrote it didn’t actually know I was the understudy either!! I made some great friends from that show, and we’ve kept in touch, and met up for boozy lunches since!
PP: Dancing on Ice, Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Master Chief, it seems as if we can't get enough celebrity reality TV. Have you ever been asked to appear on one, we've often thought you'd be fantastic on one of them.
NF: Sadly, I’ve never actually been asked to participate in any of them. There were rumblings at one point about the Jungle, but nothing came of it. I can’t say I was that disappointed, as I could probably cope with most things – except spiders!!! I’ve said a few times that I’d dearly LOVE to take part in one – I would have loved Celebrity Big Brother, as I’m a real ‘people-watcher’ – and I think I’d have coped ok. I would love to do either Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing on Ice, as the entrants all seem to lose SO much weight!!
There were two others that I would have enjoyed I think, but I understand that neither is coming back – one was The Games on Channel 4, and the other was The Farm. I could have coped with either of those I think! If there’s anyone out there that has connections – I’m your girl!!!
PP: The recent Reunion of Stock Aitken and Waterman got us all excited here at Popplastic Towers – Does this mean we might see you working with the legendary team again?
NF: (looks coy) Er – let’s just say ‘Never say never’, and maybe – just MAYBE – also ‘watch this space’!!!!
PP: Do you have any other projects on the go?
NF: Well funnily enough, just the other day I was approached to record some tracks for a new album – NOT with SAW, I hasten to add! But right now, my main project is to move into my new home – I’ve just sold my flat and found somewhere new, but God don’t solicitors take AGES?!!! (rolls the eyes and laughs)
PP: Nicki, you remain hugely popular on the Eurovision circuit, what do you put you continued popularity down to?
NF: Oh that’s lovely of you to say so, thanks. I think a lot of the fans appreciate the fact that I am a GENUINE fan of the Contest. I don’t go on about loving it beforehand, then after Eurovision (usually because of a bad result nowadays!), try to erase it from my CV. I still love the Contest, and I’m a fan!
PP: Lastly and perhaps most importantly, how's Satchmo?
NF: (Nicki sighs) Oh he’s GORGEOUS!! I was over looking after him just at the weekend, and I’m over there for the rest of the week, as my ex-husband has to go away. I miss him terribly (the dog, not the husband!), but hopefully with the new property, he’ll be able to come and stay a bit more from now on. I have to say though, he’s definitely NOT a huge fan of Mummy’s singing – he leaves the room whenever I start! Clever dog! (Nicki laughs)
PP: Thanks for joining us Nicki, there'll be a large organic Chardonnay waiting for you next time we see you!
NF: (Nicki laughs) Oh you know me SO well!! Thank you!
PP: Finally before you go, what's your favourite website?
NF: You mean there are others? Oh I just LOVE all things PopPlastic!! Long may you reign!!
Time for some classic Nicki . . .
Nicki French - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
and of course . . .
Nicki French - Don't Play That Song Again
although, please do, play it as often as you can . . .
12 points from Popplastic . . .