By Gary Ryan
“Elton? The ultimate diva! [Laughs] And….Cher?”
CORRECT. Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Chaka Khan were all also on the line-up.
“I was 15 years old at the time and was like: ‘Whatevs! It’s Cher and Elton’. I didn’t really think that much about it, but looking back, what a show! Whitey Houston was the ultimate person for me. The first album I ever bought was a Whitney Houston record, aged six, so to be on the same stage as her not even 10 years later was a trip. She was super gracious and sweet to me backstage.”
Having started so young, signing a record deal at 13, did you feel any affinity to Britney Spears when you watched the 2021 Framing Britney Spears documentary? There seems to be a lot of parallels in your back stories: both child stars, both sued your manager fathers and your mental health was affected by the music industry…
“Oh my gosh, yes, there’s so many similarities. We all have our own unique paths, but I think there are so many similar pitfalls when you start in this business so young that, ultimately, all of us go through in one way or another. Similarly, when I watched the Taylor Swift documentary [2020’s Miss Americana] I cried through most of it because to see that another young woman had to experience some of the things I experienced was heart-breaking. It’s like: when do we break the cycle of this and how can we support the talent in these young people without destroying them to some degree? I don’t know if that’s possible, but I hope the new generation of kids doesn’t have to go through the same stuff. My heart has always gone out to Britney and what she’s been through.
“I think there’s a real, deep sense of denial that has to happen in order to be able to survive in the industry, and it wasn’t until I got older that I understood the double standards and suppression of my own voice and my own humanity in order to play the game. It took me many years to rediscover who I was, what my values were and what I was willing to do and not willing to do any more.”