Gina G, the representative in Eurovision 1996 for the United Kingdom with the song Ooh Aah… just a little bit, will appear on the Stockholm Pride stage on August 1st. Esctoday.com got the chance to have a very interesting interview with the artist where she reveals many aspects of her life, Eurovision and of course the Stockholm Pride 2013.
The interview is split in two parts and you can read the first part below.
How is Gina G the real person behind the scenes? Tell us about yourself.
I currently live in the US, in Santa Monica, California. It’s a great place to live because I’m always happiest when close to a beach. I grew up in Queensland, Australia and its’ all beach, sun, surf and sand out there and I need some of that. Growing up in Queensland was great, but what wasn’t great was the spiders and cockroaches that are the size of birds, and let’s not talk about the bugs. They are disproportionate to any kind you would find anywhere in the world. Best described as magnified!! Being an Arachnophobe…I had to get outta there.
After spending a few years in Melbourne, in 1994, I moved to the UK for the sole purpose of pursuing a music career. I had been a club DJ since I left school and loved it, but my passion and ultimate goal was to be on the records not playing them. After the success I had in 1996, 97 and 98, my career was put on hold due to a producer…gone bad. The long and the short of it is, he requested me to a sign a silly piece of paper or threatened to pull the project. I had no choice. Unbeknown to me, this allowed him full control of my career without an end date.
To read the fine print on this piece of paper, you would need bi-focals. Ooh Aah was played to Warner Music in London and it was signed on the spot, but through the producer as HIS project. The project was mine, I brought the song to him to just REMIX! But he took over and wanted the whole pie, not just a piece. I was cornered. When the second album was due, he disappeared. Sounds good doesn’t it? It wasn’t. He not only disappeared, but also with all the royalties paid direct to him from Warner Music, including my 50%.
His disappearance also resulted in me being stuck in his ridiculous contract until I could legally be freed. I could not record another note unless I was out of his binding contract. It took until 1999, and a lot of lawyers through the British High Court to be finally free to record again. This crucified my pop career.
It was like having to start all over again. I felt like Tina Turner when she said “I don’t want anything, just my name!” Which is basically all I got. I knew it was going to be a long road to try and make my way into the charts again so and in the downtime. So in 2003 I got married, started a family, and then moved to the US in 2005, ultimately for my husband’s career. Mine took a bit of a backseat so I could be a full time mum, but my love for music had always kept one foot in the door. All this time I had never really stopped making music. I was always writing songs and in the studio recording whenever I had the chance. I collaborated with other writers and artists. I was featured as an artist many times on various releases but remained anonymous. That was an interesting experience.
Then I finally released a single 2006 called “Tonight’s The Night”. The video to this song is my best one yet. I’m very proud of it. It also shows the very non-serious side of me very well. Please check it out on youtube, for a serious laugh.
This video was really well received and considering I had been out of the pop scene for so long, the single did better than I expected. And all on it’s own, the video made it’s way to the US where it was played everywhere in stores, malls, and music channels. I took another break from music to have my second child and back to being a full time mum, which I loved.
Then in October 2011, I drastically changed my image and released another single called “Next 2 You” – A progressive club track remixed by a stomping remix team in the UK – “Club Junkies”.
Their remix turned the song into exactly what I was trying to achieve with other producers. It was so great we released it as the single radio version because it just slammed. Progressive dance is exactly where I want to go musically from hereon. And way more progressive than people would ever imagine. Although I pushed for it, the production on all my singles were never hard enough for me. I like them hard and slamming (excuse the paronomasia). My favorite producer in the world is Axwell – and he’s SWEDISH!! All of my favorite dance tracks have come out of Sweden and I would kill to work with him! He is an inspiration to me as a producer and DJ.
I’ve been a fan of Swedish Mafia for years, and now he’s out on his own and having major success. Good for him. If I got to meet him, I would keel over. And he’s GORGEOUS. Like the rest of the Swedish population!! Ironically, when I was asked to perform at Pride, I had already planned to release a new single in Europe for this summer! My plan was to release the track to the DJs first, then on iTunes.
I’ve always had great DJ support and believe I will again on this new single, which is “yes” – hard and slamming. It’s also the first track that I have produced on my own. But would die for a remix from Axwell. Please read this Axwell. Please??
I’ve always wanted to be a producer and been watching them for decades in studios wishing I could produce my own songs. Finally I am.
When I was offered to perform at Pride I quickly decided to push the single release forward to have it available on iTunes by August 1st, the night I perform.
I’ll be doing some radio interviews as well in Stockholm, so if they play the new sinlge, Stockholm will be the first to hear it. Back home, my daily life consists of being a full time mum, running my own record label, writing songs and producing music. On top of this, I’m in the process of setting up two business ventures, one online and the other to feed my passion for interior design. How on earth do I fit all this into one work week?? With great difficulty and sleep deprivation. It’s extremely difficult juggling it all with two small children. But I make it happen because I love creating, whether it’s music or design. If I’m not creating DAILY, I’m not happy. I just hope I don’t crash and burn.
How was your Eurovision experience back in 1996 in Oslo? Tell us some anecdotes and share your memories and experience?
Well, let’s see. I may lose thousands of Eurovision fans by telling this story. But I wouldn’t share it with such hardcore Eurovision fans if I didn’t think it was funny enough for them to forgive me. Because I’m Australian, I had no idea what Eurovision was. Okay, feel free to go ahead and scream at my photo on this page. I pondered over the name – ”Eurovision, Eurovision”… scanning my brain, it sounded so familiar…but I couldn’t quite get it. It sounded more like a European furniture company to me. Euro-Vision. Okay!! Feel free to scream at my photo again!
But…it gets better.
When I found out what Eurovision was all about, I threw myself into it 100% and my fists punched the air. I was going to WIN this competition…at ALL costs. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Warner Music THREW me in the deep end, head first…and I had no choice. The “Powers that Be” actually locked me in a dark room, forcing me to watch years and years of Eurovision. When I emerged from that dark room I was white as a sheet and needed medical attention. Once over the shock, and being the feisty, upfront, opinionated person I can be… sometimes. I said to Warner – “ARE YOU ALL CRAZY”???
I went on to say –“Imagine in one hand I have my song “Ooh Aah”… and in the other hand I have the Eurovision Song Contest? They’re about as opposite to each other as black and white, left and right and YES and “NO”. And that’s what my answer is – “NO!!” I then said to them –“I’ll be the laughing stock of Eurovision. There will be 300 million viewers laughing at their TVs….all at the same time. It might even cause a sinkhole!! People will DIE!!”
Concerned as they were about my mental state, the Warner people remained steadfast in convincing me it was a great idea, that it would definitely help make the song a hit! Ok, when I heard that, I paused for just a second. But horrible flashes of a sinkhole, people dying and me being responsible kept on coming. But I had no choice. You don’t say “NO” to Warners. So out of sheer and utter fear, I began working my butt off. I involved myself in every single aspect of the performance. One particular person I certainly had working hard, was the wardrobe girl. She went through hell, bless her!
NONE of the countless dresses she showed me EVERY DAY were good enough. This went on for weeks and still nothing came close to the kind of dress I had in my mind. And so the poor girl continued on with her relentless task, having to deal with my same response each time – “No” “No” “No” “No” “No!!!”
She quit. Look, I had to shine like a beacon!! Didn’t she GET that? I had to blast onto that stage wearing the shortest dress possible, so bright and dazzling it could blind someone. My hair had to be so big it would make Jane Fonda in Barbarella look bald. Plus I had to find two of the sexiest dancers in London. I had to do anything and everything possible in an attempt to take the focus completely off the slamming 130 bpm Euro sugarcoated pure pop EXPLOSION that was about to hit that stage, probably giving the Judges heart attacks. I was risking more deaths, but not as many as the sinkhole. BUT…all that worry, anxiety and stress was all for nothing. In the end…it all turned out okay. More than okay.I didn’t hear any laughing, there was no sinkhole and nobody died. But for a very long time, if I ever heard a distant laugh… I’d do an instant spin around to check to see if it was at me…. A lot of therapy was needed, but I’m good now!
You were one of the hot favorites to win the competition before the final, what did you think of the final results?
I wasn’t thinking. I did feel a whole lot of relief to have gotten through those 3 minutes on stage without a a single tomato being thrown at me. And besides, waiting in the results room, chilled on ice, was a big bottle of Champagne. I couldn’t get it down fast enough. The rest was a blur and I just partied and felt pretty good about it all. Until the next day… Returning in full force was my anxiety about LOSING the competition. I knew what was waiting for me in the UK at Heathrow airport. Press, press and LOTS of press. What will I say to me? Will they curse, yell, and throw stones at me? Will immigration toss me out of Britain, banning me from ever returning? So in full disguise, about to sneak onto the plane, with my tail between my legs I suddenly noticed all the Warner people standing there with these huge ridiculous smiles on their faces. Aahh…Newsflash! I LOST, what were they all grinning about? “Ooh Aah” had just hit No. 1 in the UK Charts.
Tell us about the story behind your Eurovision dress. Who designed it? Is it true that you had to shorten it or make it longer before the final?
Oh yes, very true. Ok, what legendary gay icon do we know that has to be at least 10 foot tall?
Most of you will have got it instantly. I’ve already told of the wardrobe catastrophe and it was now getting way too close to the show date, and I still had NOTHING to wear. Until…one bright sunny day I waltzed into the offices at Warner. While walking past an empty room something caught my eye. Actually it almost blinded me with the sun shining on it. It was a vision. I blinked a few times…yes, it WAS real. In a frenzy, I ran to find someone and scaring them half to death in my frenetic state, I dragged her to the room and asked – “Who’s dress is this?” Her response was a non chalante – “Oh that thing? It’s been hanging there for weeks and weeks. Paco Raban had custom made it for Cher, but she turned up her nose at it and left it hanging there. We don’t know what to do with it, we’ll probably just….” She didn’t get to finish her sentence. Within a minute that dress was MINE….but minus 5 feet.
Your Eurovision entry was already charting high before the final in the United Kingdom? Did this put more pressure on you?
Noooooo….Quite the opposite. Remember. Sink hole?
Would you compete at the Eurovision Song Contest again? Which country would you opt to represent?
I’m sad to say, probably not. As great an experience for me as it ended up being, compared to what I thought it was going to be, I don’t think I could ever top that performance. HOW?? The song, the dress, the hair…so much HAIR!! So much sparkle, and so much LEG!! I’m sure our beloved Eurovision fans would agree. It was a great moment in time, so let’s not mess with it.
Stay tuned for the second part of Gina G’s interview at esctoday.com which will be published tomorrow!