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Jack Alexander

“Everything is tongue in cheek with me,” Anastacia tells GAY TIMES shortly before getting on stage at Mighty Hoopla. “I really love to enjoy life.” The 53-year-old made a name for herself in the early 2000s with hits such as I’m Outta Love, Paid My Dues and, of course, Left Outside Alone – quickly becoming a mainstay in one of the most iconic musical eras in history. “I’m really happy about it because I do love my music,” she adds, discussing her legacy more than two decades later. “I do still love singing I’m Outta Love every single show, it would be weird if I didn’t do it! I don’t know if Madonna can feel the same about Like a Virgin, but I would still want to hear it!”

Anastacia says that her earlier songs have a special place in her heart, especially as she “didn’t know” that they would have such a huge impact on people. She adds: “I’m glad that I can look at almost 20 years of Left Outside Alone and it still haunts people in its way that they’re like, ‘That’s my song’ and I really am grateful that some people have different ones – Sick and Tired or Paid My Dues, or whatever they have – it’s just really nice that music helped them in the way that it’s helped me.”

The singer-songwriter originally planned to celebrate her iconic career with a 20th anniversary tour in 2020, though a little thing called COVID-19 quickly put a stop to that. Instead, it will kick off later this year, aptly named the I’m Outta Lockdown tour in honour of I’m Outta Love turning 22-years-old. “It actually just in general was going to be an anniversary tour and it is, but it just is so much more enthused with, oh my God it’s just a celebration of us! Those of us that are here right now,” the star explains.

Over the course of the last two decades, Anastacia has developed a huge LGBTQ+ following that has stuck with her since the release of her debut single. Growing up in Chicago, the One Day in Your Life singer says her mother always raised her around a diverse range of people which meant she has always seen everyone as equal. “I’ve been an ally, I’ve been a member, I am here and I’m never going away,” Anastacia tells GAY TIMES, “and so I just really appreciate the support that the gay community gives me and I will fight just like every other ally does for every moment of your right to be free, right to be loved, right to be a human being. Fuck yeah!”

Anastacia has been the source of inspiration for a number of drag performers, be it so they can lip-sync the house down boots to one of her bops or recreate one of her iconic outfits. Discussing her performance at Mighty Hoopla, she reveals part of it includes a “bucket list” moment she has been waiting to achieve for her entire career. “It’s the first time I’ve ever had drag [performers] come on stage with me as part of the show,” she declares. “I know, slow it down, let me repeat myself. It is the first time I’ve ever had choreography with drag in my show.”

Anastacia starts getting goosebumps when she explains what it was like to see drag queens perform to her music for the first time: “I have to say, I did feel like that was when I reached a moment where it was like, if they are doing me, if they are representing me, then there’s something going right. I’ve done something right! So, I’m always super honoured and I think through them I realised what my characteristics were and everything about what I do – I’m like, I do do that! So half the time I was like, I fucking did it!”

Mighty Hoopla, which takes place in Brockwell Park, is Anastacia’s first proper return to the stage since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Oh my goodness, you know it’s just nice to be working and just to be out here,” she adds. “It’s the first time I’ve been on stage since the pandemic as far as singing more than just one song. I’ve never sung eight songs in about two and a half years, so we’ll see how that goes! I’ll see if I remember these words! It’s just an exciting way to start it and I have a really lovely show planned.”

She says she loves doing shows like this outside of her tour because it allows her to deliver “a greatest hits on helium” set packed with “back to back” fan favourites. When it comes to which song of hers she enjoys the most, she doesn’t need much time to think: “Somebody’s always asking the question of my favourite and I’m like, my first is my favourite just because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this girl that was in red clothes dancing and singing the way she sings and just, the way I was, worked. For whatever reason, it worked for people, they liked it and we kept serving them more songs and they were eating off the buffet!”

Anastacia’s I’m Outta Lockdown tour kicks off this September. Tickets are available here.

@gaytimes We caught up with @Anastacia at Mighty Hoopla! #anastacia #mightyhoopla #mightyhooplafestival #mightyhoopla2022 #celebinterview #celebinterviews #ally #lgbtally #lgbtqally ♬ original sound – GAY TIMES