Pop star Anastacia says her new album titled "Our Songs," released on Friday, September 22, is intended as a gift for her German fans. "Germany has always been a wonderful market for me. People have embraced me for my English songs. And with this decision, I'm trying to honor these beautiful German songs," she told German press agency dpa.
On the new album, the singer and songwriter covers hits by singers and bands from Sarah Connor, Udo Lindenberg, and Johannes Oerding, to Silbermond, the Scorpions, the Kelly Family, Die Toten Hosen and Tokio Hotel. But she does it with a twist: She sings English versions of the original German lyrics.
Song by Die Toten Hosen in English
In April 2023, Anastacia released the first single of her upcoming "Our Songs" album: "Best Days" — a loosely-translated cover of "Tage Wie Diese (Days Like These)," by German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen.
Creating English interpretations of the 12 tracks on the album was daunting. "I've never done anything like that," she told dpa, pointing out that she is not a professional translator. "And that's why it was so hard work and frustrating from time to time."
Producer Christian Geller came up with the idea, but Anastacia was skeptical at first.
"I thought, there's no way I can do this. How? I don't speak German, how is that even supposed to work?"
In the end, the 55-year-old singer — known for her husky, gravelly voice and her fashionably tinted glasses — says it's more about the song itself than the language. "When I cover a song, it's all about whether it's good or not. Period. Just because it's in German doesn't mean it's not a good song; I just don't understand it."
Almost quit the music biz
Anastacia, whose full name is Anastacia Lyn Newkirk, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 17, 1968. In the late 1990s, after years of bad luck in the music industry, she considered switching to a career in child psychology.
But she persevered, releasing her debut studio album in 2000 "Not That Kind." It reached the Top 10 in eight countries in Europe and Asia. "Freak of Nature" followed in 2001.
Other commercial successes would follow, with international hits including the singles "Paid My Dues" and "One Day in Your Life." Her song "Boom" became the official tune of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, soccer's premium competition.
At the time, she told music magazine Billboard, "'Paid My Dues' is very much about the music industry. For years, I had been told my voice was too Black, that I should get contacts and ditch the glasses, that I was too in-your-face, the list goes on. Now, these are the very things that people respond to."
The singer-songwriter has battled numerous illnesses throughout her lifetime, including Crohn's disease and cancer. She has been an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness, particularly among younger women, and points to the importance of mammograms for women 35 and under. She was 34 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
Following her struggle with cancer, the former dancer returned to the stage, bringing out new hits, such as "Left Outside of Love" and "Sick and Tired," as well as embarking on tours.
She has also collaborated with the likes of Italian star singer Eros Ramazzotti, releasing the chart-topping duet "I Belong to You (Il Ritmo della Passione)" in 2006.
Since then, she has continued to release albums. "Our Songs" is now coming out six years after her 2017 album, "Evolution." She has also brought out fashion lines and eyewear collections.
'What you see is what you get'
Anastacia, with her small stature and powerful voice, has been dubbed "the little lady with a big voice," with her singing being compared to that of Tina Turner, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.
"I only pray they understand where I'm coming from as an artist. I'm not that deep, I'm not that mysterious. Don't try to figure me out. I'm a very open book," she once told Billboard. "What you see is what you get."
Edited by: Elizabeth Grenier