By Megan Wadding, July 2016 Issue.
She gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of one of the most-successful female bands of all time. Her band, The Go-Go’s, sold more than 8 million albums in three years. Her activism has recently landed her in a back in the spotlight. And her solo career, which spans four decades, is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon – and the next stop on her summer tour is Arizona.
Yes, Belinda Carlisle is headlining the Flagstaff’s Pride in the Pines festival June 25. (Read Echo‘s complete coverage here.)
Carlisle spoke to Echo Magazine about what fans can expect of the show, her new plan to move to Thailand, her work in animal rights and her new album.
Echo: Have you done many gay pride festivals before? What is your tie to the LGBTQ community?
Carlisle: I’ve done many gay prides in my career and they are always really fun. I’ve always had a lot of support from the LGBTQ community and I’m grateful. I’m the proud mother of a gay son, and that has, of course, made me more involved in activism.
Echo: What can fans expect from your show at Flagstaff Pride?
Carlisle: Usually, I just do the hits when I do Pride events, both solo and [The] Go-Go’s.
Echo: How does the new music you are working differ from the pop-influenced music you have previously made?
Carlisle: My new music is still pop, but it is repetitive mantra. I know the power of mantra; I’ve experienced it in my yoga practice for years. It’s scientific. Chanting certain mantras, especially all mantras in Kundalini yoga, has an effect on the glandular system because when pronounced correctly, it activates the 84 meridian points on the roof of the mouth. It produces a sense of well being and changes one’s perspective; all very positive things.
Echo: What can you tell me about your new yoga mantra album? What was the inspiration behind this?
Carlisle: If you put my new album on in another room, you would think it’s a pop album, which it is. If you really listen to it, it’s repetitive mantra, in Gurmukhi, which is an ancient Sanskrit. It’s mantras put in pop song format. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, and felt I was ready last year. With teacher training in Kundalini yoga and with the experience of chanting, I felt that this album could bring more people to the practice, which is life changing.
Echo: As someone who has enjoyed much success as both a member of a band and as a solo artist, which do you enjoy more?
Carlisle: I like both of them. When I’m on my own, I miss the camaraderie of a band. When I’m with the band I miss being on my own. When I can dictate the pace I work at, there is not one I like more than the other.
Echo: You are doing a farewell tour this summer with The Go-Go’s. Are you planning on continuing to record as a solo artist?
Carlisle: Yes, I will continue doing projects on my own.
Echo: You are a big animal rights supporter and recently co-founded the Animal People Alliance. Can you tell me a little about the goals of the organization?
Carlisle: We provide services for street animals in Calcutta – spaying and neutering, emergency surgeries [and] funding chemo. We also go into schools to educate the young people on how to treat animals. Their attitudes towards animals are much different than ours. There is a lot of fear and religious stigmas attached to dogs, especially. At the same time that we are doing all of this, we are also training vulnerable women and girls to become veterinary nurses in order to service the various NGOs in India.
Echo: What inspired your recent decision to plan on moving to Thailand?
Carlisle: I love the Far East and I always knew that I would end up living there one day. Now we feel the time is right. We’ve been living in France for 24 years and it’s time for a new adventure.
Carlisle will take Flagstaff Pride’s main stage at 8:15 p.m. June 25. For more information, visit flagstaffpride.org.