Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Haywoode's First Interview In 20 Years!

When Peter Wilson recently announced that 80s dance diva and Hit Factory alumni Sid Haywoode was embarking on a comeback, I knew I had to speak with her. Haywoode is an underground pop icon. She's probably best remembered for working with Stock Aitken Waterman and recording "Getting Closer" before Kylie but her appeal extends far beyond that. The English songbird recorded some of the catchiest tunes of the 80s ("Roses", "I Can't Let You Go" and "A Time Like This") and developed a strong cult following with her outrageous outfits, glamorous hair extensions and camp sensibility. Haywoode represents everything fun and fabulous about the 80s and if her amazing comeback single "Kiss Me Good" is any indication, she's picked up right where she left off. I'm honoured and proud to bring you Sid's first interview in 20 years.

First of all, welcome back! It's been twenty years since your last single, what have you been up to?
Well Mike. First of all, I am in denial about the 25 years! I have been living in NYC for almost 20 years and just realized that a month ago.

Did you miss making music? What sparked your decision to make a comeback?
I am always around music. My production company has been involved in providing music for events. As for me, I am always performing live and writing songs but had not been recording myself at all. Rumours about where I had disappeared to, people asking me to get back to recording and of course Peter Wilson finding me, inspired my decision to comeback. T1 Music are such a joy to work with.

Speaking of Peter, he tells me that you're updating some of your 80s classics and working on new tracks. Can you tell me a bit about your new sound? Will you be reclaiming your throne as Queen of the dancefloor?
Yes, we have re-recorded "Getting Closer" and may do one more of my old tracks, we have been writing new songs too which I think you will enjoy. Musically I am looking forward and would describe my sound as being pop/dance/soul. Now regarding the dancefloor I will just say this… Once a dance queen always a dance queen! So yes… I will be looking to reclaim my dancefloor crown!

Which pop stars do you admire today?
Well I am a massive MJ fan (RIP) and always will be. I am crazy about Janelle Monae, I also like Gwen Stefani and Mary J Blige and Beyoncé.

Do you have any idea when we'll be able to hear your new songs? It's been a long wait!
We are looking to release a single this year and an album in 2010.

I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions about the early part of your career. You were signed to CBS in 1983 and scored a top 5 US dance hit with your debut "A Time Like This". How were you discovered and how did you cope with instant fame?
I was working as a dancer on Top Of the Pops with the troop Zoo and had recorded some songs for a producer who played them to CBS and they signed me. I have been around the entertainment business since I was little, I went to a Stage school, my step-dad was an artist, my sisters and brother are artists, we were bought up to have a huge respect for our audience and not get taken in by the "hype". Although I used to get a little unnerved when my fans would get too excited if they met me on the street, joyfully screaming at me. I always found a way to communicate organically with them.

The campest video of the 80s?

I need to ask you about 1984's brilliant "I Can't Let You Go". It's one of my favourite songs and the video is amazing! Whose idea was it to use semi-naked men as furniture and how can I rent that apartment?
LMAO Mike!! I am so glad you like that song, me too. The idea to use the men was mine and the audition was so exciting as I am sure you can imagine! I was inspired by some art I had seen, it seemed quite original and modern at the time. People on set were saying that the guys were stuffing socks (if you know what I mean)! Very enjoyable!

"Roses" was your biggest hit and became your signature tune. Do you remember performing it on Top Of The Pops? Who were the other guests that week?
You know I don’t remember the other guests!! I think I was too excited and nervous. Performing as a singer on TOTP was really gratifying, it felt like my graduation because I had worked on the show so much as a dancer and at the time used to watch the other singers/bands thinking that I would do the same one day, so when I did, it was great.

How did you hook up with Stock Aitken Waterman?
They reached out and approached my management.

What were they like to work with? How involved were you in the two tracks they wrote and produced on your album?
SAW were great to work with and they definitely had their own winning formula of producing hits. My involvement was simply to do the vocal - so we recorded the vocals, two tracks on one Sunday afternoon. I loved "Getting Closer".

Did you get to meet any of the other SAW acts?
I did meet many of the SAW artists at the time, Rick Astley, Princess, Mel and Kim and others.

Were you disappointed that "Getting Closer" and "You'd Better Not Fool Around" weren't bigger hits? I imagine if you had hooked up with SAW a couple of years later those songs would have flown up the charts.
I was disappointed and thought that "Getting Closer" was a track that was ahead of its time. I still like it today.

"Getting Closer" was later covered by Kylie. What did you think of her version?
It is ultimate Kylie doing Kylie. I like her, she is great.

A New Zealand band called True Bliss also released a cover of the song. Have you heard it?
No but I am off to find it now!

"Arrival" is such an amazing debut album but it's so hard to find. Is there any chance of re-releasing it? I need "Jelly Baby", "Missing You" and your lovely version of Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover" on my Ipod!
You are so kind, I don't even have a copy. LOL. Ask Peter!!! I have heard rumblings about a re-release of "Arrival" but don't know the date. It makes me happy that you enjoyed my debut album and I promise you that my next album will be even better.

You released a couple of singles in the late 80s. "Boogie Oogie Oogie" includes a remix by Pascal Gabriel. Do you remember working with him?
Yes I do, he is so brilliant.

I also noticed that 1989’s “He’s Got Magic” has a Harding/Curnow (PWL) mix. How did that mix come about?
I wish to the high heavens that I could remember, but I cant!

Your sister also had a couple of hits in the 90s (I loved "Don't Poison Me"). How is Emzee? Is she still making music?
Emzee is still doing music and thank you for asking about her, she is a great artist. I am very proud of her.

Thanks for the chat. I wish you every success with your comeback.
Thank you so much Mike, it has been my pleasure.

Sid's biggest hit - check out the amazing vinyl dress!


tommie said...

Stunning interview! Will her comeback only be released in Australia?

Now... bring back Kakko!

Mike said...

No, Haywoode's going global! I'm pretty sure her comeback single will be released in Europe well before Australia.

undisco_me said...

Never heard of her before - 'Roses' is like a cross (dresser) between Sheena's 'Strut' and Shannon's 'Let The Music Play', very funky and gritty. I can't take my eyes off her - she's a proper diva!

Her 'Can't Let You Go' video has been ripped off by Bananarama, Dannii Minogue and the Sugabears.

'Getting Closer' video is lush, the pink/cereese draping colours remind me of that other magpie popstar Beyonce.

If she is working with Peter Wilson (?) then I'm sure the new stuff might be better than the old stuff after all - not many 80s pop stars can say that and mean it.

Peibols said...

Amazing interview.
I love all of greatest divas have a sister who also sings. It's double fun.

I hope she releases something in Spain.

She must release the male-furniture in Ikea-style, could be quite funny.

Miss Halliwell said...

Fantastic interview. I think that lady has one of the most fabulous voices i have ever heard!

Looking forward to her new material!


Jamie_movietrip said...

I can't wait to hear her new stuff too, I love You Better Not Fool Around, I have Arrival on LP, so good! As excellent an excellent interview.

RV said...

I've never really clicked on her stuff (too young PWL stuff or too funky) though I like it for being milestones in SAW's career but I agree that seeing work with Pete Wilson and remix one of her past hit (getting closer ? I'd rather you better not fool around, myself!) will sound heaven for my ears :))
That guy has talents
I'm currently in love with his Evelyn Thomas & Carol Jiani duet "are you man enough" :)

Jay said...

She is very forgetful...

Peter said...

Thanks for all the nice words. We make our music for the European market, so an Australian release isn't likely at this stage. (Never say never though) We are looking at the UK, Germany and France to start with. Pete

Ro Ro said...

How fabulous! i have never heard of her before but after reading and seeing and most importantly hearing her it's love! Mike you're too fabulous for words..u open my virgin innocent eyes to numerous new and fagulous things!

mobius said...

Great interview!
Never seen that "Can't Let You Go" vid before. Great idea.

Jennifer said...

LOVE this interview! I stumbled upon Haywoode on a random blog a couple of years ago, and have loved her music since. Very hard to find stuff but worth the hunt as it is good pop/R&B. Glad to see that she is coming back and still keeping up with the music!

Anonymous said...

can't wait

D'luv said...

Oh, how "Getting Closer" and "You'd Better Not Fool Around" got me through many long walks across my university campus in winter '95/'96, when a guy from France made me a SAW mix tape from his scratchy old vinyl!

Awesome interview, and glad to hear she's still making music!

Tommy said...

Great interview, Mike! Good to know she's finally releasing a follow-up album.. Really enjoyed "Arrival," which I had discovered a few years back (for a whopping $2 no less haha). All the best to her!

Mark Bowling said...

Have always been a huge fan of Haywoode ever since the very early days. I even remember buying the I'm Your Puppet single! Looking forward to some new releases... mxxx

marteen said...

keep on keeping sister you got it ,, keep up the good work looking forward to see you perform from your kraze/moonfou family love you and stay well knock them out