When Bonnie Tyler entered the press conference room earlier today she was pure sass. “I hope you’re all gonna vote for Bonnie Tyler!” she said. But as the questions from journalists came in, Bonnie got really emotional, particularly when discussing her mother. The tears flowed and journalists clapped. Bonnie wasn’t putting on a show. “It’s OK. I’m not going for the sympathy vote,” she said. “I’m not on the X-Factor.” Here’s what went down.
How was your rehearsal?
I preferred the rehearsal we had the other day. There is so much been happening today, but actually it was good, but some times I like it that way. Cause if you have a great rehearsal something normally goes wrong on the night. It’s better to have a mistake in rehearsal and get it right on the night.
Are there any personal references in “Believe in Me”?
Yeah. It was recorded in Nashville and it’s written by Desmond Child. He’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in America and I went to his house for dinner with his partner and we had a lovely dinner there and I said, “Have you got any songs for me Desmond?” He said, “Bonnie I’ll give you a CD of songs and you have a listen to them.” The next day I phoned him back and said, “There are two songs on this particular CD and I love them and I’d like to record them.” One was called Stubborn. The other is called Believe in Me.”
He said, “I haven’t finished it. So come up to dinner tomorrow night and I’ll finish it at the dinner table.” And he did….It’s on my album Rocks and Honey. I sent little snippets of my album to the DJs to listen to just to see how they felt the music was and somebody picked up on Believe in Me and asked if I would do it in the Eurovision Song Contest.
During all these years has the phrase “Believe in Me” been important to you?
Actually, my mother always brought me up on this motto She used to say, “Believe in yourself and go for it because nobody else is going to do it for you.” She also used to say, “You’re just as good as everybody out there. Not better, but just as good. Hold your head up.” This is my mother’s ring and she’s with me today. Oh my god, I’ll be crying again now. [Tears flow].
Any family members here?
My husband is a third degree black belt in judo. He represented great Britain in the Olympic Games in 1972! I’ve been married to him 40 years. I must be doing something right.
How important are your fans?
I’ve got really great loyal fans. I’m successful in a lot of European countries and hopefully my loyal fans will text and vote for me. I did see a great semi-final last night. Frightening. Really good. I wish I hadn’t seen it! It was bloody good. No bullshit. It was classy.
Denmark was fantastic. I loved Russia. It was fabulous. Ireland. I was there one time on St Patrick’s Day. It was great. We had one of these beer with a chaser. Little whisky…a boiler maker. Love you! One of them will set you right up for the day.
You said earlier that the Swedish reporter made you cry. Why?
He was so natural and lovely. Obviously my mother came into it. I had told him that I did a rehearsal today and hopefully my mother was with me. Yeah, he was so [breaks down crying even harder this time]. He was so nice. It’s OK. I’m not going for the sympathy vote. I’m not on the X-Factor.
You had been asked by the BBC before to do Eurovision. Any regrets about not coming sooner?
Well I tell you what. I’ve had a ball this week. It’s been hard work, but now I get it. I really see. It’s a really good feeing, you know? I couldn’t have done it 30 years ago because I was #1 in America at the time and I was also #1 in the UK with Total Eclipse of the Heart. But with the new album Rocks and Honey it seemed right, and I have time as well. I’m touring in the summer.
You saw the first semi-final. What did you think of Lithuania because nobody believed in that guy.
What did he sing now? I sat next to him. He’s a really nice fella. When we went into the audience I missed him. I must have been doing an interview. I saw most of it, but some of the times I was doing the One Show in the U.K. and they kept taking me into a different room.
You did Total Eclipse of the Heart and then Nikki French did a cover. Did you meet Nikki?
I haven’t met her actually. We talked on the phone when she got to #1 with it in America. Jim Steinman who wrote the song liked it very much I must say. But we’ve only spoken on the phone.
We are amazed to see you here. You have a great career and now you take the challenge of such a competition. Why?
Apart from representing my country which I really do…my mother and father would love it. They loved the Eurovision. We used to have drinks in the house when we were kids. I wasn’t working last year and I saw it. If I’m not working I always watch it. I’m doing it because of my new album as well. Let’s be fair: If you’re in business you see your best opportunities and you take them.
[Bonnie Tyler draws the second half of the Eurovision final.]
I was hoping I’d be at the end of the first half so I could have a drink!
Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)