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Salon Chair Diaries recently caught up with Bernadette Cooper, founder and creator of the all girl band Klymaxx and writer of such classics like The Men All Pause, Divas Need Love Too andSexy, to name a few. She has also worked the artists such as Teena Marie, Paula Abdul, Madame X (her own creation), Bette Midler and numerous others.
Her latest solo effort is entitled Last Diva On Earth and the first single from the project is I Am Your Diva Savior (Blowin’ the Spot Up). Bernadette took time out of her busy schedule to answer ten juicy questions. Here’s what she had to say….
SCD: What have you been up to the last few years?
BC: I have been touring with one of my new concepts, Klymaxx Presents Bernadette Cooper: Diva & A Turntable, as well as with Klymaxx. I have also been working on my new record, Last Diva On Earth! In the midst of all of these music endeavors, taking care of my mother has been my priority.
SCD: What inspired you to do your latest project?
BC: Life, love, family and realizing I am in the midst of the second half of my life, so I had to sit down and think about what truly makes me happy. I most certainly did not want to continue chasing after a hit record. The answer was simple. I want to tour because I enjoy performing, immensely. I want to tour internationally, so I felt it was Important to release new material to accomplish this. This album is a cornucopia of my life.
SCD: I know that you're a producer and you do almost all of your own production. What other musicians did you collaborate with?
BC: I worked with Rob Bacon, Darkjedi, OsunLade, Mike Vangen .and Madame X. Mainly, it is a labor of love performed, produced, engineered and written by me, myself and I.
SCD: Tell us about your first single, I Am Your Diva Savior (Blowin’ The Spot Up)?
BC: I Am Your Diva Savior (Blowin’ The Spot Up) began with a track that I confiscated from Rob Bacon. The track has actually been in my vault for over ten years. I loved it the first time I heard it. When it came time to work on my album, I pulled the track out and dusted it off. I added additional instruments to make it familiar to the new technically savvy ears. I added vocals and touched upon a topic that is controversial. I attempted it by combining comedy and drama... dramedy. I have personally had five female friends who have died from complications of the AIDS virus, mainly due to being infected by men who received it from extra-curricular activities. I have also had many gay male friends who have passed away, so I am no stranger to the epidemic. I wanted to bring awareness to the fact the virus is still active and the best way to survive it is to use protection. They have free testing facilities everywhere. If you are digging someone, simply go out to lunch and then visit a testing facility. It's important to be aware. The song is not about gay men who love one another; it's has more to do with perpetration. It's focusing on men who are straight, however, they have a delicacy for dating men outside of their relationship with women and not being honest. Not allowing their woman to make a choice whether she wants to be involved in that situation or not. It's about responsibility, respect and honesty. I wanted the message to be heard and digested without being forced, so maybe with an element of comedy attached, maybe one will hum the words and make better decisions. I could also write about infidelity among men and women, or other ways that people step out of the boundaries of love. I am just touching upon this situation at this time.
SCD: What advice do you have for people that are living in secrecy for whatever reason and are suppressing who they really are?
BC: People have the right to their privacy. Some people choose to come out; some people don't like to wave flags and love to keep their sexuality private. It's all a personal decision. I respect any way a person wants to handle their private affairs. Live and let live. A lot of people live in secrecy from themselves. There comes a time in your life that you have to be honest with yourself. Once you are comfortable in your own skin and love and accept who you are, you then become the owner of your real estate. Your life becomes yours. This is everyone’s individual life to live. Don’t blend in.
SCD: Will you be touring anytime in the near future? If so, where?
BC: Yes, everywhere.
SCD: Where would you like to tour outside of the USA?
BC: My focus at this time is on Europe.
SCD: It is rumored that you can be difficult to work with. What brings out the "bitch" in you and gets people on your bad side?
BC: I am pretty cool and even. I am a lot of fun to be with and I love laughing. Creativity can make me temperamental because I go into a zone, a world where me and my vision exist. If I feel that my creativity is being compromised or someone is not respecting my vision, I can become difficult. I have learned to follow my own intuition. This has come from me making mistakes by not following it. I'm not at a point in my life where I want to compromise my creative intuition. I did that in Klymaxx. It was torture! I don't like mediocrity and I despise settling just to appease the masses. In the end, if my intuition fails me, it will be my cross to bear, but if I don't follow it, I am haunted. My process is my process. This is the process that makes me, Bernadette Cooper. Every producer has her own process. Sometimes I can't express my desire, so I go within. The so-called “bitch” pops out when I feel like I am being misunderstood or my voice is not heard. If I hire you, I'm not going to tip toe around you. I expect perfection. I grew up not having a voice and I was often verbally abused and I had to be completely self-motivated in my career, so when I feel negative emotions I go into the “bitch zone.”
SCD: What and who is a Diva to you? And, what Divas would you like to collaborate, record and tour with?
BC: Diva is self-confidence. I was responsible for bringing that word into popular music, by penning Divas Need Love Too. Now the word diva is on steroids, but it's a positive word, with women being called bitches and hoes, it’s good having a word that personifies empowerment. I'd like to work with Grace Jones and/or Bette Midler again.
SCD: You said in your press release that, "you are retiring the word Diva after this project," why?
BC: Last Diva on Earth is my retiring the word DIVA from all future projects. I brought it in; I'm taking it out. It’s time for a new dream!
SCD: Who are your favorite groups or bands?
BC: The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and The O'Jays.
SCD: If you were a man for 24 hours, who would you be and why?
BC: I would be Mick Jagger because he has mad swag and I’m going out like him and I will be on stage to the end. Also, he’s comfortable in his own skin and he surrounds himself with beautiful people.
For more info about Bernadette Cooper take a look at her press release about her current single! CLICK HERE
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