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Bonnie Tyler can't wait to picnic in Stradbally

Bonnie Tyler

The Welsh Rocker tells Eamon Sweeney what it is like to have such a long career.

Profession: Singer, Queen of the Power Ballad

What are you promoting today and why?

I'm performing at Electric Picnic with my band and I can't wait. I'll sing for about an hour. I've heard it is a great festival and it's a wonderful opportunity to come back to Ireland. I'm really proud to be doing it. There are some great names on there. You think the Welsh are friendly, but the Irish are fabulous. The trouble is you work hard and play very hard as well.

What is the most rewarding thing about your life?

Family is very, very important to me. It is also immensely rewarding to be a performer and continue to make a living out of it.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

I've been doing this since I was 16. I worked in a shop for a bit when I left school, but I always knew I wanted to sing. I formed my own band when I was 17. It's incredible what it has all led to. I'll be going to Argentina and Russia later this year. My husband didn't come out on tour with me for the first 10 years or so, because he thought it'll all be a flash in the pan. It has gone from strength to strength. I'm blessed to have a wonderful career.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'm delighted with my life. I split my time between the Welsh coast and a house an hour from Faro airport in Portugal. However, I do think that I left it too late to have children. I absolutely love kids. I had a miscarriage when I was 40, so I left it a bit too late.

What's the rumour about you that's bothered you the most?

I'm very lucky in that regard. I honestly haven't heard any rumours about myself. Have you? I must be pretty boring so!

It's Sunday night, you're curling up to watch TV. What's on your DVR?

I love watching movies with happy endings or anything with Steve Martin, or stuff like that. I do love to catch up on Coronation Street. A lot of people do. It's a lifelong thing. I remember the theme music (Bonnie sings "dah, dah, dah-di, dah-di, dah" down the phone) from a very early age. When I am off, I don't tend to go out much, unless it is to eat. I don't go to clubs and bars much anymore. I seem to have spent my life in them.

What's the most shamefully uncool album you own?

Oh God, there's probably hundreds! I suppose Christmas albums, but you can't beat listening to them on Christmas morning.

Do you like being well known?

Yes, I'm very grateful for all of it. I've been successful, but I haven't had any unwanted attention. To be honest, I've never invited or courted attention. I think if you act normal then people will treat you normally. If you go around with a big entourage all the time, you're not staying true to yourself. My mother always brought us up to believe in ourselves, but that you're never better than anybody else and to treat everyone with respect. I can't do anything I do without my monitors guy or my sound guy.

I'm nothing more than part of the band at the end of the day. I know I'm Bonnie Tyler and I'm the person fronting the show and selling the records, but that's all I am. Ultimately, I'm just another singer. You're only as good as your team.

What drives you on a daily basis?

I am very fortunate to be doing something I completely love, so it is certainly not hard to get motivated. Watching people sing along and put their hands in the air is a very powerful thing. I'm 63, but I don't feel it. I feel like I'm in my 40s. I enjoy life.

I love going to the Algarve and going out on a boat with friends. The last time I was over there I had dinner with Cliff Richard. (It is worth noting that this interview took place on August 14 before the police raid on Richard's house) We went to a nice Peri-Peri place.

Who is your hero?

My husband. I've been married to him for 41 years. We knew each other for four years before that. He travels everywhere with me. I wouldn't travel anywhere without him. He's always on the side of the stage. One night I called him on and introduced him.

Ever since then, I get him up for every show. I think the first time he was absolutely petrified, but he's got used to it by now, or at least I hope he has! In terms of musical heroes and influences, I adore Tina Turner. She has been a role model to me and inspired the confidence to choose my own material.

What makes you emotional?

Usually family. Songs can do it too. I was singing 'All I Ever Wanted' in Estonia recently, which is on my new album. I started crying onstage. Songs get to me. I'll sing that one in Ireland, but I'll try not to cry this time.

What's your favourite day of the week?

When you're in the music business every day is the same. If you work 9 to 5, you can't wait for the weekend, but in the music business you don't know one day from the next. It's always the weekend.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Hopefully, I'll be settled in my new house in Portugal. It is nearly finished. I hope to commute to shows from there and to base myself in Portugal.


1951: Born in Skewen, Wales.

1969: Comes second in local talent contest. Wins £1.

2013: 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' officially deemed to be the most popular song to sing in the shower.

Bonnie Tyler plays the Electric Ireland Powerhouse at Electric Picnic this weekend. Rocks and Honey is out now.

Irish Independent

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