The Gina G interview – part one

by Benny Royston 247 views

10 years after the Eurovision Song Contest performance that made her an international star, Gina G is back to her best and releasing music again. Taking time out from rehearsals for Saturday night's performance at London's Astoria, Gina G spoke exclusively to esctoday.com.

Eurovision, 10 years ago now, how did it all come about?
�The song entry Ooh… aah… just a little bit was actually written way before the competition, about two years actually. It was floating around on a demo tape in every publishing house, every record company, at the bottom of the pile. I happened to stumble across it on a tape, back in the day of cassettes. It was a very very rough demo with a male vocal on it. I took it and worked it, worked it, rewrote it, reproduced it. We did about five different versions of it.

We finally got it to a state where it was sounding pretty good. We tried five different styles that didn�t work, but the sixth one did. We knew somebody who knew somebody at Warners, and played it to him. He heard it and jumped up and down, he said we want to sign it� NOW! We got this producer, Motivate, to do it. He made it sound the way it did, which was good. The rest of what he did was absolutely criminal, but we�ll talk about that later. He was the one that knew Warners. The minute he knew he had a hit on his hand, and he did, he signed me personally to him, then he licensed me to Warners. Warners never owned me, Motivate did!

The next thing I knew is that Warners had entered it as one of 800 songs for Song for Europe. I was working as a receptionist at the time for a printing company. I got a call at work to say it had been entered for Eurovision. I said Oh, great, what�s that?. I�d just come from Australia, I didn�t know anything about it. It wasn�t televised out there until the year I did it.�

You were largely responsible for the Eurovision�s following in Australia.
�Well, actually I think I was. They started putting it on Prime Time after that, they made a huge deal of it. They certainly did that year!

Anyway, I kept getting calls every week saying �it�s in the top 40�, �it�s in the top 200�, �it�s in the top 100�. Then it got down to �ok, you�re in the top 8, this means you�re going to go on Top of the Pops and out of the eight songs, they�re going to whittle it down to four for the British Song Contest. It was just a roller-coaster from there. I was having to take days off work, coming in late because there was so much promotion to do and so many rehearsals to do. I ended up getting fired!�

Then of course you won the British Song Contest! Tell us about �that' dress!
�That dress. Oh boy, that dress! Warners kept hiring staff and stylists that kept coming up with awful things to wear. We�d shot the video and I�d worn the Gucci white-laced dress which I really loved. I thought that might be the way to go because I couldn�t find anything better. Then I thought �no, it needs to be shiny, it definitely needs to sparkle somehow, so I was looking for something sparkly, I just couldn�t find anything that I really liked. So, I was in Warners one day, and hanging in one of the offices was this shiny, sparkly dress made of gold disks, and it was really long, it was like full length. I just said �What is that?�. One of the guys at Warners said �Oh, it was brought in for Cher, but she didn�t like it�. It was a Paco Rabanne. I said it�s amazing, but it�s just too long. Let�s cut it in half!�. So, we took all the disks off and made it as short as physically possible!�

So, you Gina G�d a Paco Rabanne.
�I did, but it worked! Thanks Cher for not liking it, is she mad?�

OK, what do you remember about your experience of Eurovision?
�Well, it was my first press conference actually when I arrived. There was a huge room full of photographers. I was on my own with questions being fired at me. It was my first proper press conference and that really freaked me out. It was huge. I couldn�t even leave the hotel room. The phone was going constantly, there were photographers outside the door. It was just craziness.

I did enjoy it, but I was very very worried about getting enough sleep. The sound was a bit of a mess too. We couldn�t get the sound right. Because we weren�t a band, a live band, we were singing over a backing track with live vocals. There were no monitors on stage, so I couldn�t hear myself whatsoever. In Norway, in Oslo, they like everything clean and clear so the stage wasn�t really practical for a singer. Everyone was in the same boat, but a lot of people had in-ear pieces and I don�t work with those. The only negative I remember was the sound.

Everything else was coming together. I mean, we had a lot of rehearsals, in fact too many. I was much better in the dress rehearsal than I was on the actual night. When I came off stage, my mother was there with me. She said if you do that on the night, you�ll win�. and that was the rehearsal, Whoops! (Gina laughs). On the night, nerves really got to me. It was still great, everyone was just really happy with the performance.�

Did you think you were going to win Eurovision?
�Yes, I absolutely believed I was going to win!�

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