“Belinda Carlisle: An Iconic Singer and her love for Music.”
Buzz Knight [00:00:01] Welcome to Taking a Walk Music History on Foot. I’m Buzz Knight, your host. And please follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify I Heart. Tune in or wherever you get your podcast and kindly share this with a friend or multiple friends. We appreciate it. Leave us a rating when you follow us. And you could also go to our website at Takinawalk.com to not only hear all of the episodes, but you could leave us comments, suggestions, maybe guest ideas. Maybe you even want to be a guest. And you could also sign up for our newsletter right there.. I’ve been looking forward to meeting up with our next guest in a big way. She is a rare talent who continues to stand the test of time. She has an internationally acclaimed recording catalog. She began her career as co-founder and lead singer, the groundbreaking all female new wave rock band The Go-Go’s. Songs like Our Lips Are Sealed. We Got the Beat became anthems for our generation and still are to this day. After the band went their separate ways in 1985, Belinda Carlisle wasted no time in forging her solo path with hits like Mad About You and Heaven is a Place on Earth. Belinda was creating her next chapter and she continues to do that to this day with a new collaboration with the legendary songwriter Diane Warren called Big, Big Love. She’s celebrating 35 years as a solo performer with her critically acclaimed decades tour as well. Let’s welcome Belinda Carlisle to Takin a Walk. Welcome, Belinda. I’m so excited to have you on. My only regret is we couldn’t be taking a walk in person.
Belinda Carlisle [00:02:01] Well, you never know. Maybe. Well, I’m going to be in Boston, so you never know.
Buzz [00:02:08] I love it. Are you still in the south of France?
Belinda [00:02:11] No, no, no. I’m in Mexico City. I live in Mexico City. And yeah, I mean, we’ve we live in France for a very long time, but I. I love it here. I love the city. It’s vibrant. And the best part about it is it’s close to California, My family and friends.
Buzz [00:02:31] I love it. Congratulations on teaming up with the iconic Diane Warren on your your great new work. Big, big Love. Definitely want to circle back on that. And also, congrats on announcing the summer decade’s tour, but tickets going on sale everywhere. So we have a lot to talk about in a short amount of time, but I’m so grateful to talk to you. Can you can you describe the feeling you had the first time you ever heard your music on the radio?
Belinda [00:03:06] Oh, well, I remember the first time, like on a big radio station. And I was then I was just with my boyfriend. We were in his beat up VW Bug and we heard on the radio and I turned it up and it was just, you know, I just heard of the songs that I hear on my phone. It’s still exciting to hear stuff on the radio.
Buzz [00:03:29] Did you ever expect songs like Lips Are Sealed and We Got the Beat would be anthems to this day.
Belinda [00:03:38] Um, no, I mean, it’s it’s funny how that goes. Early songs are they go because I have a few songs that my solo career too that sort of transcend music and become have become moments and people’s lives and you know, where the song means much more than just the songs to them. So, um. Yeah. I mean, who would have guess? I mean, they’re, they’re great songs, but it’s only once in a while that a song comes along that gets to that and it gets to that level where, where it becomes a lot more meaningful than just the song.
Buzz [00:04:14] When did you first realize that music would be, you know, so much of your life in your career?
Belinda [00:04:22] Well, I mean, I always fancied myself the singer, even though I couldn’t sing, so. I mean, the only thing I really wanted to do when I was growing up is is travel and see the world. And so I thought, well, I’ll be a travel agent. And then when The Runaways came out and, you know, they were all girls, I thought, Well, that’s even better. Way to see the world is to be part of a band. So I my career started out with the Go-Go’s. I mean, I had never I was I was in some punk bands before that, but I mean, properly. I mean, and it was just like, the fact is, if it wasn’t for the punk days, I probably wouldn’t have had the career that I have. So back then it was, you know, you can do anything, you won’t be terrible and you could record the worst, but the worse you were, the better you were. And you know what I mean? So I had a choice between playing the drums and singing. So I thought, I’ll sing. So at that moment, that was back in 1978. I would never have thought that I’d have a career that lasted as long as it has.
Buzz [00:05:28] And then you’re your solo career, my goodness. Has been and continues to be so fantastic. And I look back at the catalog and I see some really incredible people that you’ve had the opportunity to work with in your career, such as, Oh, this guy George Harrison on Leave a Light On, Right. What was that like?
Belinda[00:05:54] Brian Wilson. Well, so I very much feel like Lindsey Buckingham And there’s a lot of great people. Well, George, it was just, you know, I mean, just ask and really and I, you know, you never know until you ask. And I really didn’t expect him to say yes, to be honest. But he did. And and I feel very humbled and very lucky because he hasn’t he hasn’t really worked with anybody outside of his own needs. I mean, Ravi Shankar and and those those musicians. But as far as pop outside the Beatles, he really didn’t work with anybody else.
Buzz [00:06:31] And then you did the quintessential song called California with the quintessential, as you just mentioned, Brian Wilson. That must have been pretty outstanding.
Belinda [00:06:40] Well, yeah, that was like probably the most, I think, emotional, like incredible day in my in my career, I think. I mean, I had worked with Brian. I knew from the through years of, you know, he would come to go go. So he came back to my shows and I sang backup vocals on on a couple of his albums. And then, you know, we had a song, California. So I asked him and he came to the studio and it was I mean, because I grew up with the Beach Boys and they’re part of my DNA, you know? I mean, it’s just the way I grew up in Southern California. So, I mean, to have it sort of come full circle and to have the singing and my my album was like and besides that, it was just so beautiful watching him work. And and, you know, he’s like Mozart. He’s going to be regarded in that sort of way one day, you know? I mean, people respect him now, but I mean, to to experience the way he works. It was just like it was it was very, very emotional.
Buzz [00:07:52] Well, so now you’re collaborating with the iconic Diane Warren on the new song Big, Big Love. How did that collaboration come about?
Belinda [00:08:03] Well, Diane, I know Diane and I knew Diane for years, and she wrote a couple of hits for My Heaven on Earth album, including I Get Weak, and I was planning on retiring and just really slowing down. And then my son ran into her in a coffee shop in L.A. and she said, What is your mom doing? And let’s call her. So, you know, so they called me and she goes, Come to the studio because they have hits for you. And I really wasn’t sure when wanted to open up that door because, you know, it’s a big commitment. So I thought, okay, well, as a courtesy, I go to the studio and see what she’s thinking, and then to play the songs that I was completely blown away and really just like, well, I’m not I’d be stupid to say no, and I’m obviously not meant to retire yet, so I’m going to record these songs and and that’s why the EP is called Kismet, because it was all of ours. And it’s just weird how the whole thing came about. It was kind of magical. And by chance, this all happened.
Buzz [00:09:10] And now you also go back to the joy of playing live in front of people with the Decade tour, How joyous is it being in front of people on this upcoming tour?
Belinda [00:09:23] Well, I guess it’s fun for me. I love I love doing live shows. And I just came up a big tour in the U.K. and and it was I mean, I love it. I mean, I don’t like to slug it out for too long because there’s a lot of physicality. And but, you know, for two weeks at a time. Yes. It’s a lot of fun for me. So, yeah, I love it. And I haven’t done anything in the States for a long time, so I’m looking forward to this.
Buzz [00:09:55] I also want to commend you for your amazing work with the Animal People Alliance. Can you talk about that important work you do?
Belinda [00:10:06] Oh, yeah. Well, I co-founded this my organization, Animal People Alliance, a friend of mine, and I did it. He works in the NGO Trafficking in Calcutta, and he said there’s a lack of animal services. Do you want to do something? And I said, Sure. So that was in 2014, and we sort of found our way. And nine and a half years later and 30,000 animals later, we’ve treated, you know, we’ve create employment for people who might have difficulty getting a job like lower caste people or people with disabilities. And we’ve expanded into northern Thailand, near Myanmar, where we work. A lot of luck with stateless people who would have a hard time getting a job because of lack of identification. So we do a huge rabies and and spaying and neutering drives and those places. And it’s been very successful. And I’m really, really proud of it. And the great thing about it is I’m not like, you know, this white savior, you know, coming along to save the day is that they’re actually on the ground doing it themselves. So it’s it’s really been kind of an amazing, amazing thing. And my wishes to expand are here in Mexico and have I’ve always wanted to have a donkey sanctuary. So that’s kind of what I’m hearing on at the moment is doing that.
Buzz [00:11:37] Bless you for doing that work. Congratulations on Big, Big Love and thank you for being on and for the joy that certainly you’ve given me and so many others with all of your music. Thank you so much, Belinda
Belinda [00:11:51] Thank you so much. And have a great day.
Speaker 1 [00:11:55] Taking a walk with Buzz Knight is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.