A GoPride Interview

Terri Nunn

Better than ever: an interview with Terri Nunn, the lady of Berlin

Mon. June 30, 2014  by Jerry Nunn

To me the most exciting form of electronic music is EDM. It's really exciting me.
Terri Nunn
LA based band Berlin led by lead singer Terri Nunn took off in 1986 with a hit "Take My Breath Away" that has lasted the test of time. The delivered more songs with "The Metro" and "Sex (I'm A...)."

Now they return with a new album titled Animal that features strong beats and a RuPaul Drag Racer in the video for the self titled first single.

Nunn caught up with Nunn while in Toronto for World Pride where she played the music festival to hear more about this wild Animal.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Terri. You look even younger than when we last chatted. Last time we talked it was during the Restoration Tour when you were traveling around.

TN: (Terri Nunn) That was years ago, yeah, maybe three years ago.

JN: Tell me what has been going on since. How's life?

TN: Life is good. It is hectic right now since the new album Animals came out. We are flying all over the world but I like it. I really do. I knew it would be busier. I love the new music.

JN: Talk about this new music.

TN: To me the most exciting form of electronic music is EDM. It's really exciting me. It's also a lot that Berlin has done so it felt like here is place where I feel like doing an album. I had released songs here and there. I write words and melodies but I needed to find someone that can create this kind of electronic sound that is the Berlin that people know but also sounds that they haven't heard us do and collaborate with that person.

First it was John King from The Dust Brothers and we worked together. Then I met Derek Cannavo through another songwriter friend of mine and we wrote the title track "Animal."

JN: So are you playing EDM festivals also?

TN: We are playing everything. We are doing all of it. We are doing packages, festivals, and clubs.

JN: You are playing Chicago City Winery coming up. Have you played in New York there before?

TN: No. Is it a sister to it?

JN: Yes but it is newer and a little over three years old. You will love the space because it's intimate and people have wine right there in front of the stage and dinner if they like. It is a place where you can tell stories to the audience.

TN: Cool. I love wine. When I heard there was wine I said, "I'm there!"

JN: What they do with some artists is make wine specifically for them.

TN: I know, I just signed a contract.

JN: Yay, you can sell your wine now.

TN: I just hope it's good. You don't want it to suck! I love red wines.

JN: So it's a red?

TN: It's got to be a red. I am not an expert but I know what bad wine is. I put my name on it so I hope it is good. I won't know until I get there.

JN: I am sure you will have a glass or two.

TN: Yeah, absolutely!

JN: Do you know what varietal it will be?

TN: I should have asked. My favorite is shiraz or merlot. I like a strong blend. I want it to grab me.

JN: Very rock star of you!

TN: I'm not much of a pinot girl because it is just kind of watery. What do you like?

JN: I like Francis Ford Coppola's cab. Have you had that?

TN: I have.

JN: Maybe you could do a winery like he did one day. Where are you based out of?

TN: I live on the West Coast about an hour north of Los Angeles.

JN: Do you perform at Pride out there?

TN: Sure.

JN: You played at Market Days in Chicago. What has made you such a gay supporter?

TN: Well, in the beginning of Berlin David Diamond, who was a member of the band, was the youngest gay person to play the US Festival. It was a huge three day event with 250,000 people. We played there and Steve Wozniak from Apple threw this festival for two years. David was very open about his sexuality and we were very close for years when he was in the band for years.

It is also a selfish thing for me because Prides are just fun. They are outrageous and crazy with great people. It is just time. I'm a minority too. Less a minority because women now get to vote but I am just so over people saying that one group of people are okay and others are not. Anything I can do to counter that and promote equality for all is something worth doing.

JN: Any favorite memory from the song "Take My Breath Away?"

TN: I love that they used it for the movie Top Gun and they put it throughout the film. When we first agreed to do it they showed me the love scene that it was going over but then when I saw the movie it was everywhere. It was the beginning, in the middle, and the end!

It was a wonderful experience. Giorgio Moroder who wrote it and was producing "No More Words" with us at the time. We were at the right place at the right time. We weren't big. We hadn't had a hit yet. We had "Sex (I'm A...)" as an underground dance hit and "The Metro" was another underground hit. It wasn't played by Top 40 radio. When Giorgio started working with us people didn't know us and this was a big movie for Paramount. We just happened to be there. They tried other singers on it that were way bigger than me and the producers didn't like them so they asked me.

JN: I learned my last name is Irish because one time and I interviewed you and you told me it was. I called my mom after to confirm.

TN: You didn't know? Your mom didn't tell you what your ancestry is?

JN: I may have forgotten but it was a good reminder. I wear a nun's habit sometimes and have a website www.NunnontheRun.com

now to take the name back.

TN: Really? [laughs]

JN: I wanted to thank you for reminding me of my heritage.

TN: Cool.

JN: You are doing one night at City Winery?

TN: Yes, because then we are off to Milwaukee Summerfest.

JN: What else is on the books?

TN: We have Japan coming up next month, Russia, and lots more states. We are booked through November. No bus tour because I've got kids. I go out and do a few shows then come back home for a few days.

Are you staying to see me at World Pride?

JN: Of course.

TN: I am singing with Peaches. She is performing tomorrow and I ran into her at the festival. We are singing a cut together. Her mother is here in Toronto since Peaches is from here and ran into Bianca Del Rio and Adore Delano from Drag Race at a Starbucks.

JN: You have judged on RuPaul's Drag Race before.

TN: Yes, but it was when Raven was on the show. He is also the costar of my Animal video. I met him on the show when I was judging him. I called him and asked him to be in the video. He's gorgeous as a guy or a girl. He came out dressed as me on Drag Race.

JN: That's so great.

TN: I know. It was cool!

Berlin rocks City Winery, 1200 W Randolph Street, on July 1 until there are "No More Words." Visit citywinery.com

for tickets and information. For more Berlin's current release Animal visit berlinpage.com.

Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.