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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Exclusive Q&A with the International Diva of Dance, Ms Karin Nagi

Attention international dance fans! Karin Nagi is not only a lovely and talented dance diva, she is one classy lady. She has led a fascinating life, which she shares with us here, but is also a woman with a great social conscience and sense of humanitarian concern. She's had a charmed life that has not been without its adversity as you shall read. I found her as charming as she is enthralling, and I think you will too. Special thanks to Barbara Sobel and Sobel Promotions for arranging this very special Q&A.

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: You were part of the Dutch dance-music group, Maitai, that had international club-chart success, including in the US. Could you tell us about that experience? Was this your introduction to the dance-music recording industry?  
Karin Nagi: I toured with them in 1988/'89/'90 and part of this year. Left the group again last month. In 1990, I left because I tasted dance music and had an international hit with my group, Booby-Trax, with a cover of Yazoo's "Don't Go," and with the group, L.A. Style ("James Brown Is Dead").  I also had a hit with one of my own songs, "Got to Move." And I covered "History 2010" as Karin Nagi with the result being a UK Clubcharts #2 and international top 10. So, I discovered dance music on my own; it had nothing to do with Maitai.

DBB: Growing up, what vocalists were your main influences? Who did you most admire and/or emulate?
KN: My main influences were Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Madonna. The first four because of their amazing vocals and because I practiced with their songs. (And I love gospel choirs, by the way!) [I admire] Madonna because of the amazing way she created her career and kept on doing things her own way and in every style! Respect!

DBB: You have a hot, new single with remixes out now produced by Julian Marsh, and I love it! It's a great cover of the 1980 disco smash "Use It Up & Wear It Out," originally performed by Odyssey. Pat & Mick had a club hit with it, too, in the '90s. What sets your and Julian's 2013 version apart?
KN:  As a young artist, I used to sing this song and always wanted to cover it. When I told Julian, he was enthusiastic about it too, riight away! We just followed our feelings and intuition and I think we honored Odyssey's original very well, with a little touch from Pat & Mick, which was Julian's idea. I think we did a good job. Love the mixes!

DBB: Have you ever worked with Julian before? Who were some of your favorite producers in the past?
KN:  Yes,  I worked with Julian on a couple of songs now with more to follow. Love to work with him! My favorite producers from the past are Trevor Horn, Giorgio Moroder, Quincy Jones, Bjorn and Benny from ABBA and Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

DBB: Please tell us about your early personal background, childhood and upbringing. It's quite fascinating.
KN: My father is a businessman who is one of the first people building a bridge between the Middle East and the West. We traveled a whole lot and I lived in Greece and Switzerland.  It was very normal to have visitors like sheikhs and princes, ambassadors, and I was "discovered" by a band in Switzerland while living in a five-star hotel. My upbringing was pretty strict but also adventurous. My mother being Catholic and my father being Muslim; you should think that this would be difficult. But they never forced me into a religion and they stayed together for more than 20 years. I have seen extreme richness and wealth but also poverty.

DBB: According to your bio on Sobel Promotions, in 2005, you survived "by a miracle a huge car-accident, and decided to start writing [your] autobiography... currently negotiating for the film rights in the USA." Please tell us more about that experience.
KN: That was a very traumatic experience. They told me it was such a heavy accident that I should be grateful to still be alive. Must have an army of angels around me!
    It was in Belgium, after dinner. I drove home and ran into a truck during a very heavy snowstorm. The truck had slipped across the highway. Never saw it and did not drive very fast of course, but could not avoid it. I do not remember anything, only that I started driving and woke up in the hospital. They thought I drank too much because I smelled like alcohol!  It was the bottle of champagne I got as a present that was [on the next seat] and obviously broke. [Laughs.] They found out with a blood test I did not drink.
     What they told me is the fire brigade sawed me out of the car. I was unconscious for hours and woke up when they brought me into the o.r. for the first of many operations. Had to recover for more than a year. Wheelchair, etc. But I am alive and kicking and whole! I was lucky and very thankful for that.
      I have been negotiating with a pretty big producer, but have to find and agency and lawyer, which is the custom in the USA film industry. So, will pick that up again sometime soon.

DBB: It would make an inspiring film, I think. We can visit Soundcloud and listen to many of your songs. Which are your favorites you might direct us toward?
KN: Personally, I work more with YouTube, have to update Soundcloud, sorry...
My favorites are "ALL 4 UR LOVE'," "MONEY," "HEART DESIRE," "OUT OF CONTROL," "'I'LL BE THERE 4 U" and "SHARE'" I wrote these songs myself and all my love and emotions went into them. I like doing covers, good ones. And I think I have some good ones in my repertoire. "TESTIFY TO LOVE" is one of my favorite covers because of its gospel choir. I did that together with one of the guys I work with, Jeroen Nap. 150 vocals together, so a 2-person gospel choir. [Laughs.]

DBB: Any special call-outs to your gay fans? And what do you make of what's going on in Russia now, politically, with the winter Olympics looming?
KN: Everbody knows what I think about discrimination. I am Ambassadress for a peace organization and I fight for love, peace and especially equality.
     "All the colors of the rainbow" is the first line in "Testify to Love" which I dedicated especially to equality. I don't love a gender, color, religion or race. I love a person. A human being! My music is dedicated to... love, peace and equality.
     I love children and animals, and I have donated "I'll Be There 4 U" to the Crindlestar album. All revenues go to organizations like Planting Peace. This is an organization that builds orphanages in Africa, and also supports and helps gay people. We all know gay people are treated absolutely terribly in Africa and not only there! This must stop! We are all the same. It is part of the "Project Voices United for Peace" which will be Presented September 21st, National Day of Peace, dedicated to all the children of the world.
     I don't like politics. I want nothing to do with it. I think it is absolutely inhumane and ridiculous to still treat gay people like they're outcasts. Snap out of it, Putin! We're living in 2013. Live and let live, and accept people just the way they are. If you do that, we will accept you too! So, for me: Boycott the Olympics! Let's not go there! No way!

DBB: "You Have Rescued Me" was a labor of love. You teamed up with Carol Hahn, through Sobel Promotions, "for all the animals we've ever loved. We have not rescued them, they have rescued us. This is a charity record for the NYC Animal Shelter Rescue Ink which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. All proceeds go to the shelter." I've interviewed Ms Hahn and she seems fabulous. Did you meet? What was it like working together? And please tell us more about your connection with this song, which currently has a number of fantastic remixes.
KN: That was a very nice experience, Carol Hahn is an extremely talented lady and has a beautiful voice. I was honored to work with her, and we have the same passions. Animals love and the environment. We are both strongly against all the manipulated and modified shit in our food. Let's go back to natural! I am a vegetarian and do not consume dairy products. Don't let me get started or you'll have a 10-page interview! [Laughs.]
        Again, it was a great experiencce to work with Carol, and maybe we could do something in the future. And, yes, "You Have Rescued Me" is a fantastic song, beautiful lyrics!

DBB: Karin, thanks so much for your time doing this Q&A with me. Any last words for your fans?  
 KN: I am most thankful, my dear friend! Thank you for asking me to do this. And a special thanks to Barbara Sobel who helped me through a dark and sad period, and who is one of the reasons I went on making music.
     To my fans: Let's keep on spreading the message of love, peace and equality together!United we stand, together as one! Never give up. You may be a little drop but many drops can create an ocean. Let's make an ocean together. My voice is my music. Thank you so very much for all your support, guys. You are all awesome! Without fans, there wouldn't be artists. We need you; all of you! Love you all very much and will never stop making music! Wherever you are, what gender, religion, race, color, you rock and I love you! Humongous hug from ~~ Karin Nagi!

Below, "Use It Up & Wear It Out" radio mix, Karin Nagi v. Julian Marsh:


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