Lisa spoke to Danish artist Sannie, who performs as Whigfield, during one of the hottest weeks this summer. When we weren’t melting, we talked about her music, her upcoming appearance at Reminsce Festival in St Helens, her foray into Eurovision, and happiness.
How are you coping in this heatwave at the moment?
Right now I’m in the garden – it’s so hot! The thing is, even if it’s 37 degrees, it’s so humid.
We’re in London and we’re just not coping with this at all! The humidity is just horrible!
We’ll survive somehow!
You’re a headline act at Reminisce Festival, in St Helens this September. What can fans expect to hear from you?
Well I love performing; I’ll be playing most of my hits, all the big ones – hopefully they like that!
Do you ever get sick of people *just* wanting you to sing ‘Saturday Night’, for instance?
I used to, maybe in the mid 90s, because it was non-stop 24/7, and there was a moment when I was a bit overwhelmed, and it was a bit too much, and I travelled over the world, and it was the same and the same and the same. Now I just have fun with it – now I can be naughty!
I know a little bit about your naughtiness! I watched the video for ‘Boys On Girls’…
That’s a very naughty video and song isn’t it!
There’s actually been quite a lot of edits to that…
Yeah! It was worse than that. There was more tongue and whatever involved, and I was like, no guys, this is not what I want. I wanted *something* but I don’t like in your face kind of stuff. Stuff that’s like fun and easy, yes, but in your face, I don’t like that.
So that was your song for when you tried out for Eurovision (Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018)?
That was a bad move!
Oh really!! So you wouldn’t try again!
Never! It was just an experience and it was fun, and whatever, but I wouldn’t do it again.
I wanted to do it for so many years, and that year I thought I had the right song, but it didn’t end up there, so I thought what the hell.
I think you would be perfect!
I actually thought it was a good song!
It was a great song for Eurovision, but obviously they wanted Vikings that year…he knew all the time he was going to win – he was there sitting next to me going, “yeah yeah.”
That sounds a bit suspicious!! Ah well! Let’s change the subject! Now, I asked how do you feel about mostly being known for ‘Saturday Night’, and for the record I originally come from Australia, and I had never heard the song before…
I can hear your accent!
…so I knew ‘Close To You’, and ‘Sexy Eyes’, because they were the big ones for you in Australia!
I know! I’ve toured Australia twice, and every time I do ‘Sexy Eyes’ people go mad! They’re so nice, and I’m like, “WHAT!”
So yeah, as I said, I’m here in London, and I put the word out about what questions people would like to ask you, and this being the UK, they mostly all want to know about ‘Saturday Night’. Kelly wants to know, what is the weirdest place you’ve seen someone do the ‘Saturday Night’ dance?
It was Antananarivo, in Madagascar!
Is it true that you’re in the Guinness Book Of Records?
Yes! I had the fastest selling single from a debut artist to go straight to number 1 in the UK. I kicked out Wet Wet Wet with ‘Love Is All Around’, who had been number 1 in the charts for 15 weeks.
And no-one has beaten that!
I have no clue actually! I might be there, I might not!
I’ll look that up and make sure!
Peter Fitzpatrick, from Dublin, wants to know what are the words you sing at the start of ‘Saturday Night’, and is there any deep meaning to them?
Dee dee na?!! Noo it’s just rubbish! It doesn’t mean anything! The producers thought it was a great line to put in the beginning, it was something recorded at the end of the track just like, do this do that, do funny stuff, and they liked it and thought it was right to put in the beginning.
Well I think it sounds great, they made the right decision!
Peter is a synth pop artist, and he asks if his alter-ego, Circuit3, would be able to a remix of any of your tracks?
You’ll have to ask the producer! I don’t own the rights to the tracks! It’s not my call.
Angela asks, what sorts of fan gifts have you received, and are there any that are especially memorable for being lovely, and on the flipside, are there any that you remember for being particularly horrible, or weird?
The only weird thing wasn’t really a gift, it was someone wrote to me and asked me if I could cut off my toenails and send them to him…
Oh lovely! And you’re like “I’ll do that! Not a problem! Here we go! In the next mail!”
[Both laugh] Yes…okayyy haha!
Angela also asks, which artists do you admire the most, and why?
I would say Whitney Houston, because even though she had a lot of trouble in her life, she was such a trooper. She was so great in whatever she was doing. People forget that artists are human beings – she was a human being, I feel so sorry she ended up in the wrong place in the end.
I think you’re right there with Whitney Houston. She was very vulnerable, and people didn’t see that, they just abused her in a lot of ways didn’t they.
What if anything would you do differently in your career, and if so why?
I think maybe after the third or fourth song, I would have changed something [style of music]. But the problem is the record labels wanted the sound, they wanted this or that. If it had been up to me, I would have gone into television, because I always loved working in television. They still ask me to do reality tv shows, but I wouldn’t do that.
Once you do one, you end up being asked to do all of them…
Well I presented Top Of The Pops in 1995, and I was honoured to present Oasis’s first number 1. That was fun! I got the tv bug – I’d love to do more of it – even in Australia!
Have you got contacts down there!
Not really! I think you need a hit to get into television. But hopefully – I’m going to be releasing a Whigfield single at the end of summer – so hopefully it’s going to be a hit!
We’ll see what we can do!
So what’s your take on the current state of the music industry? It’s changed a lot in the time since you first started. What would you say to artists who are just getting into it now?
When I started in music 27 years ago, we needed a label, producer, whatever. Now can do everything by ourselves, meaning you don’t even need label, you can publish your own videos, you can make your own videos with a phone. The only thing I can say, is try as hard as you can, and do it every single day. If you’re good enough, something will come up.
Basically – just do it!
What have you got to lose!
I’ve got one more question – what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?
Are you happy?
Are you happy?
I am now. Today I’m happy.
What about tomorrow?
People always ask different things, but nobody asks, how are you. Are you happy. Because it’s a normal thing to say, we don’t really want to know how people are. It’s kind of like we’re embarrassed. Nobody ever wants to know how people are feeling.
In your day to day life, are you happy with how things are going?
I’m actually happy with how things turned out. I learned a lot from my mistakes. A lot of artists end up without a dime, broke, drinking, drugs or whatever, and I’m living a very healthy life, I don’t drink, I eat well, I keep myself healthy, I’m still doing festivals and concerts around the world, and I’m happy that I can still do that. I’m grateful.
I know you’re doing a whole lot of festivals over the summer, but do you do headline tours of your own as well?
Let’s wait for your new single to see what happens!
Thank you so much for talking to us!
It’s been a pleasure!
Sannie will be performing at Reminisce Festival, St Helens, on 7th September. You can find out more information from their official website. Find Sannie online on her website, Twitter, and Facebook. Watch out for her new Whigfield single coming later this summer!