BBC Live Chat



BBC Live Chat transcript – December 8, 2000, 8:00 p.m. London time.

Pam: If you were asked to put one of your albums in a time capsule, which one would it be?

Cher: I don’t think it would be one particular album. I’d make a compilation, picking my favourite singles.

Carolina: If you could turn the clock back, would you change anything in your life?

Cher: Yes, I guess if I had the opportunity to change some things, I would, but I’d have to sit down and make a really long list of what was important to change. I think some things I did with my children. Some decisions I made about them I might change. And I might have taken more vacations. There are a few things that I think are really important, but they’re too important to talk about on the Internet.

Haley: Which person do you most admire, and why?

Cher: Well I admire people more like Winston Churchill, people who helped smuggle slaves out of the South — Harriet Tubman. I admire people who did important things more than I admire moviestars or singers. I admire those people’s work but when you think of all the people you could admire — movie stars are just doing a job. Not that a lot of people aren’t admirable, you know. Take Tina Turner — I admire that Tina has been able to overcome a lot of adversity and she’s a really good person — and a great entertainer. We’ve kept in touch for the last twenty-something years. I think that a woman who came from a hard background and still was having a lot of adversity to face in her life and remained a good person — those are things that you admire. People admire people for the wrong reasons a lot of the time, I think. You could admire someone’s beauty but they didn’t have anything to do with that — it’s a momentary thing. I admire people’s spirit.

Darla: What do your fans mean to you and what impact have they had on your life?

Cher: Well your fans are like a strange extended version of your family because, you know, they stand behind you and give you support. And a lot of the time they give you support when what you’re doing isn’t that successful. Your fans give you the courage to keep going.

Victoria: Are you still in touch with friends that you grew up around?

Cher: I’ve had friends my whole life that I still see and talk to — friends that I’ve had for twenty, thirty years.

Tine: What is the strangest thing you ever heard about yourself?

Cher: Oh God… that I was dating my sister! It was in the Enquirer or Star — one of those ridiculous rag magazines. Another — that Elvis is paying my alimony.

Sarah Mills: Do you write your own songs?

Cher: I don’t usually – I mean, I wrote part of “Believe” — the second verse. The first verse was this woman who was sad that this guy was going, and the second verse was saying the same thing, so I changed it on the spot! I wrote most of the songs for the album “Not Commercial”.

Joanna Rubis: Do you feel that you have any challenges in your life and how do you cope with adversity?

Cher: I’ve had lots of challenges in my life. Just to keep going every day, to continue being excited, fresh, interested and not just focus on yourself — you know, try to divide your time between doing stuff for yourself and family and charity. I takes a lot of time. I did a lot of work for the Democratic Convention — I was exhausted at the end of it. I always think I’m a lazy person that does a lot.

Carly Callaghan: What does it feel like to get a number one on the charts and what do you do when you get a number one — how do you celebrate?

Cher: It’s always exciting — really exciting! I remember when “Believe” went to number one on the English chart, we were on the road. We were in Italy, and we’d stopped at a Blockbuster to get a couple of videos. In Blockbuster someone called us in England on the cell phone. Some of us were in the store and some of us were in the car and we just started jumping up and down.

Fabianne: If you hadn’t chosen to become a singer, what kind of path do you think you would have taken?

Cher: Gosh, I don’t know. Starting out, I don’t think I would have been good at anything else. Now, with my experience as being an entertainer, I think I could do lots of jobs. But you start out in life and you think you’re going in just one direction but very rarely do you go in a straight line. I heard this saying: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. I don’t know what I’d end up doing. When I started out, I was just sixteen years old and I didn’t have any confidence. I still don’t have any confidence. The place I feel most confident, even though I’m nervous beforehand, is on the stage. I’m terribly shy. I’m so bad socially that my friends think I’m abysmal. Not around my friends but around strangers. I mean, a lot of times people think I’m aloof or a snob because I don’t know what to say — unless it’s about my work. If I don’t know people that well, I just wait and see what their reaction will be. I’ve spent so much of my time working, and e!
ven though I’m working with othe
r people, you have a strange isolation. Even though I think I’m pretty friendly, I’m really private and I don’t talk a lot. You know, I feel pretty free on stage — I don’t even need costumes — I do costumes and wigs for my own amusement — for some sort of fun. I can go in front of 50,000 people much easier than I can go in front of five. Except I have a real affinity for young people — I don’t feel that comfortable around people my own age. Young people are so much more open and honest.

Chico: Hello, I’m from The Netherlands… Do you create your own fashion style, and who are your favorite designers?

Cher: I do kind of do my own thing, you know? I think there are certain people who are always interesting, like Jean-Paul Gaultier — even when I don’t love his collection, I always think that’s really interesting — or Galliano or McQueen. There are some great designers too, like Valentino, who’s a genius — and there are so many young people. I’m always combing the streets for unknown people.

Stephen Bott: Where and what is your favorite landmark?

Cher: I guess I have two. In America, it’s the Lincoln Memorial and in England, it’s the Albert Memorial. I watched them redoing it for such a long time and I just think it’s so beautiful. I guess there are places all over the world that I’ve seen that are just unbelievable.

Steve Cobb: “Mask” was an emotional film to watch. My wife and I cried over the sadness and the strength of the character. Was it hard to film?

Cher: That’s my favorite film that I’ve ever done. It was a very strange experience because the director and I didn’t get along at all, but the relationship with the boy that played my son was so strong, it was like real, so nothing that anybody did could change it in any way. We were actually able to create that relationship and nobody could hurt it. And I think we were both able to tap into the realness of the relationship between mother and son that nothing could change it. He had all that latex on his face and he could still show in his eyes all the feeling in that character — it was a miracle.

Luci Edwards: You have toured everywhere. Where was your favorite place in the world you’ve been, and why?

Cher: You know what’s really strange? The moment of the show and the people are the same all over — in Ireland, Denver, London — audiences come with a real excitement and anticipation. My audiences have been great everywhere — I haven’t had any bad audiences. I’ve done better or worse, but the audiences — on this last tour, I had the greatest audiences I ever saw.

Philip Smith: How did you start in the singing business and how would someone make it as big as you?

Cher: I think it’s luck! I started out wanting to be an actress. I was at [acting] school, and then I met Sonny. It was a huge accident. One of the regular background singers had a car breakdown, and the producer looked at me and said, “Sonny said you can sing.” I started to explain what my singing ability was, and he said, “I don’t care — just get out there and do it.”

Nathan: Which artists would you like to colloborate with if you were do an album of duets? And who would like to have producing/remixing?

Cher: I’d like Bono. I’d like to sing with Tina. I’d like to sing with Madonna. I like Ronan — Ronan has a beautiful voice. And there’s this guy in England I saw on a video — Craig David — I thought he was fabulous. I don’t know who I’d like to have remix it. I think Chicane is great — he remixes and produces. He produced a song for Bryan Adams.

Rachel: Which song do you most enjoy performing live?

Cher: I really love performing “Believe” alot. And I love the U2 song — it’s not even my song, I just love singing it. I always open my shows with it, I like it so much.

Helen: You battled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. How did you mange to recover from it? A lot of people think the illness is psychosomatic. Do you think it is?

Cher: My experience was that it was really a physical illess — but it does make you depressed as well. It’s a virus you have — it’s called Epstein Barr virus and the disease it gives you is Chronic Fatigue. Boy, it was devastating for me. I finally went to a homeopathic doctor who did Eastern stuff as well. I wasn’t able to work for almost three years. I had gotten pneumonia and I was sick constantly. I kept getting colds that turned into bronchitis. Finally, I got pneumonia and I was really really sick and I went to this doctor. I’ve spent pretty much my whole life working.

Jason Bird: Did anyone ever treat you differently because of your fame?

Cher: People have grown up with me. I’ve always been there, so people feel like they know me — it’s such a strange thing. People usually treat me pretty nicely — they feel like they know me.

Vicky Sisson: With all due respect, you’re not as young as you used to be and you achieved an awful lot. Is there is anything that you feel you still have left to achieve? What is it?

Cher: Well you know there are certain things that I would really love to do. I directed this thing in America called IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK — actually it was on HBO, and 23 million people saw it, so I got lots of offers to direct after that.

Chloe Umpleby: What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while on stage?

Cher: I got my hair caught in my zipper and I couldn’t get in or out of my costume! I wasn’t actually on stage — I’d run off to make a change and I had to cut my hair to get out of my costume.

Jennifer Smith: How do you feel about the media?

Cher: I think it’s not very honest. I think it’s mostly sensational — it’s very subjective. People get information to suit themselves so it’s hard to believe anything you see or hear because the media is not just purveyors of information, they’ve got a vested interest.

Geoff Keegan: Are you the patron of any dyslexia groups in the USA or Europe, or would you if you were asked?

Cher: I’ve given things to auction, and I’ve served on committees, but I’m not on the board of any groups. But I’ve done some work for the Lab School in Washington DC — a great school.

Saskia Wood: Do you have a special person in your life at the moment?

Cher: No, I don’t. I think I’d prefer to have a partner, but if I don’t find someone I’m interested in, I’d rather be by myself.

Carla Knight: What is the most stupid thing you’ve ever done?

Cher: Oh God, I’ve done so many stupid things in my life, I can’t even figure out which one is the most stupid I’ve ever done.

Anna: I’ve seen photos of you on your website — you look slimmer and in better shape now than you were in the 60s. How do you keep in shape? Tips please…

Cher: Well, I’m a huge fanatic about yoga. I do Pilates and yoga.

Martin: If you were going to stay on a deserted island, what would be the most important three items you would take?

Cher: Oh my goodness… I guess I’d take a picture of my family, and I’d take a book, and I’d take my CD walkman so I’d have . I don’t know what album I’d take. If I could only take one, I think I would take Bruce Springsteen’s “Greatest Hits”.

Cher’s Final Thoughts:

I really want to think you for hanging in and I hope I won’t disappoint you. I have more things coming out that I hope you’ll enjoy. That’s what my job is, to make people feel better.

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