CLEVELAND, Ohio – Bonnie Tyler went to Portugal a year ago in March, just to relax on a week off between European tour dates.
“And I’ve been here ever since!” she laughed, her Welsh burr exploding over the phone line.
Tyler, 69, has laurels to fall back on, including lasting hits such as “It’s a Heartache”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a hero”, not to mention nearly 45 years of ‘registration. But Tyler isn’t the type to look back. In fact, his 18th studio album, released on Friday February 26, is titled “The Best Is To Come”.
The 12-song set was conducted by longtime Tyler producer David Mackay and recorded before the pandemic in Woldingham, England. In addition to his originals – mostly written by Steve Womack – he also features Tyler’s versions of 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love”, Donovan’s “Catch the Wind”, among other covers. She may be enjoying a prolonged and unforeseen quiet time in Portugal, but “The best is yet to come” makes sure she makes a lot of noise because of the quarantine …
Your last album (2019â²s “Between the Earth and the Stars”) has toured Europe. What are you planning to do this time around?
Tyler: This time I didn’t choose the duets on purpose, because on the last album I had so many duets (with Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and Francis Rossi from Status Quo), and when it comes to gigs you miss because we’re all in different countries and can’t get together, you know? So I was like, “OK, this time I’m not going to do duets because I want to do all the songs live.”
So all Bonnie, all the time, right?
Tyler: Oh yeah! I had fun making this album. It sounds pretty 80s, and I don’t mind because I loved the 80s. I have a wonderful songwriter, Steve Womack, who writes especially for me. It just captures that sound that I love from Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart records, a timeless rock feel. But I also did an old 10cc song, which I think I made my own.
Talk about that one; You inject a lot of emotion into it when part of the plot of the original was a kind of ambivalence, almost detachment from the singer.
Tyler: David, my producer suggested it, and at first I was like, “I don’t know about that …” so good, “and I think so, actually. It’s an emotional song; (The singer) is desperately in love, isn’t he? In he wants her to know – in my case, for him to know – how much she loves him. I loved doing it, and it’s a completely different version. I didn’t think it would be that different, but I’m so glad it turned out this way.
What drew you to do Donovan’s song, Catch the Wind? “
Tyler: I did it because when I was very young, even before singing myself, we watched âTop of the Popsâ every Thursday and Donovan was huge. I was fascinated by his one-man band. I’ve always loved this song and love the lyrics, and we tried. David made a wonderful arrangement of it, and I think it worked out really well. I’m really happy with it; Hope (Donovan) likes it.
The title track, âThe Best Is Yet To Come,â is a strong enough statement to go this far in your career.
Tyler: You’d think it was written after COVID, right? What happened was I recorded this album in between tours with my band – I tour a lot in Europe – and I used to land at Heathrow Airport and the studio. from David is only 25 minutes to Surrey. He was sending me demos as he showed them how I felt, and when I first heard “The Best is Yet to Come” I loved it and it just seemed to be okay. , so David, who is a really good musician himself, hit the song in a little more form and then we built it from there.
You have panpipes on “Stuck to My Guns” – not exactly what you would expect on a rock ‘n’ roll album.
Tyler: (laughs) I had an audience with Pope Francis – it was a Christmas concert, and we had an audience with him the day before the show. Nile Rogers was there, and Lionel Richie was there too, as was Leo Rojas, who played the panpipe. And when I heard him play, I was like, âOh my God, that would sound amazing on ‘Stuck to My Guns! “So I asked him if he would play on the track, and he said” I would be honored, Bonnie “, so I’m delighted because it works so well.
Didn’t you ask the Pope to make an appearance?
Tyler: Ah! No, but I sang for him. I sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and a Christmas song. He looked pretty happy with it.
You mentioned a duet with Rod Stewart on the last album, and of course a lot of people thought âIt’s a Heartacheâ was a Rod song in ’77. Are you friendly?
Tyler: We are. I’ve met him before, but we haven’t met for (the duo). We were both in different countries and I was pissed off that we couldn’t be together to record it, but I’m just so glad it’s there – Sir Rod Stewart is on one of my albums. And also Sir Cliff Richard. We actually did a show together; We sang here in Portugal on the beach in front of 50,000 people and he did an appearance with me which was fantastic.
Could the 1977 Bonnie Tyler have imagined being 70, still like you?
Tyler: Never in millions of years. To be honest, I never thought I would ever have a recording deal, period. All I ever wanted to do was be a singer in a band, and I lived that dream for seven years, sending tapes of my songs to record companies in the hope that they would listen to them. Coming from Wales you never thought you would ever get the chance to do this. But I was in the right place at the right time, at a club in Wales singing with my band and a talent scout had come from London because he heard about the boy singing in the band at the ‘floor – which was absolutely fabulous. But he got to the wrong floor and heard me sing and that was it, as it should be. I was 26 when I got my first hit record, but I haven’t stopped working since – only now, because I was forced to quit by COVID.
So what keeps you going?
Tyler: It’s definitely down to the songs. And it’s really a joy to work with David, in his studio, which is everything in his house. He has a great work ethic, just like mine. It’s just a joy to work with him, so it makes me want to do more and more.