This September, Eighties pop queen Belinda Carlisle embarks on a 14-date UK solo tour to celebrate the release of not one but two forthcoming albums: Runaway Horses – 30th Anniversary Box Set and Belinda Carlisle Gold. The beloved singer – best known for smash hits including Heaven Is A Place On Earth and Summer Rain – touches down at the William Aston Hall in Wrexham on the 29th September 2019.
Yes Mag’s Carly caught up with Belinda to discuss life as a pop icon, the upcoming albums and her UK tour.
Carly: You are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Runaway Horses with the release of the super deluxe box set. Do you look back fondly on the album?
Belinda: Absolutely. Out of all my solo albums, it’s my favourite. The material is so good. Some of the songs have a real melancholy about them, which I’ve always liked. There is an element that is less rock and more melancholic. It also has more unusual arrangements. It’s more European sounding.
Carly: Tell us about the other new recordings you have made for this edition of Runaway Horses.
Belinda: I’ve done a version of Elton John’s I Need You to Turn To; I love that song. I always thought the chord structures were reminiscent of Runaway Horses. So, it fits very well with that. It doesn’t hold a candle to Elton John’s version, but I think people will like it.
I’ve also done a version of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now; I grew up loving that song. Early Joni Mitchell was all over California Radio. My recording of the song is more like the Judy Collins’ version.
Carly: You are also releasing a new compilation entitled Gold aren’t you?
Belinda: Yes. I’m very proud of it. It’s really well done. It’s released in a limited edition. Some people might cringe at the idea of a compilation, but the fans absolutely love these reworkings of the catalogue. They eat them up. These albums do exceptionally well. I’m very lucky. For real music lovers, it’s great. I feel really good about it.
Carly: You have a marvellous relationship with your British fans, don’t you?
Belinda: Yes. I feel a great connection with them. In the UK, it’s different from in the US. When British fans discover you at the beginning, they’re there for the long haul. American fans are fickler. I see fans here that I’ve been seeing for 30 years. I can name five of them off the top of my head.
I love the enthusiasm of British audiences. They’re not quiet or subdued. Every concert in the UK is a great exchange of energy. If people just sit there and don’t move, it’s a drag.
Carly: What do you think explains your continuing popularity all over the world?
Belinda: For anyone, they’re well-crafted pop songs. I’ve worked with the best songwriters in the world.
Also, I think my voice is very distinctive. It may not be the best, but there is a quality to it that people really respond to it. Also, I’ve always had a very good understanding of myself and what I’m capable of. That’s served me very well through the years.
Carly: You are touring the UK in the autumn. What do you adore about live performance?
Belinda: I love performing the songs. I love the feeling of allowing people to escape from their daily lives for an hour and a half. I’m very blessed that I can make that happen.
The great thing about some of my songs, like Heaven for instance, is that they transcend being just a song and become a moment or represent an era.
Carly: Why has Heaven Is a Place on Earth become such an iconic track?
Belinda: It’s one of those songs that has become something else. It took on a life of its own. That song was so big and in some parts of the world it took over the radio. It still means a lot to a lot of people. That really gratifies me. It makes me happy that I can make people happy.
Carly: Looking back, what are you most proud of in your career?
Belinda: I’m very proud of Wilder Shores, my album of chanting. I chant every day. It’s part of my practice. It has completely changed my life. It’s not airy-fairy. It’s very scientific. No one had put chanting into a pop format before, so I thought, “Why not?”
It actually worked and did very well in the World Music charts. I’m very happy I did it. It was very unusual, but really fun.
Carly: What do you hope audiences will take away from your shows in the UK this autumn?
Belinda: Most people forget how great my catalogue is. My wish is simple: that they have a great time and love the songs as much as I do.
To book tickets for the Runaway Horses 30th Anniversary Tour, visit thewilliamastonhall.com or call 0844 249 1000.