Up Close and Personal with Terri Nunn
By Laura Latzko, June 19, 2014.
When she performs in Flagstaff with her group Berlin, Terri Nunn plans to sing old and new songs with an electronic flavor that has defined the band since it topped the charts in the 1980s.
Nunn said the band will bring its high-energy, multimedia-driven style of performance to the stage on June 29 at Pride in the Pines.
It's part of a summer tour that takes the band to the Southwest, Midwest, Japan and Russia to promote its newest album, Animal.
Nunn is the only remaining original member of Berlin, a new wave group known for hits like "Take My Breath Away," "The Metro" and "Sex (I'm A)."
Nunn said although the group has changed over the years, its new album, released in September, doesn't stray too far from the band's well-known electronic dance music style, with a mixture of instrumental music and sounds from a drum machine.
"That was my goal with the new album, to do sounds that Berlin is known for but to do sounds they never heard from us," Nunn said.
The album features a mix of highly personal and erotic songs written by Nunn, with the help of producer John King and writer Derek Cannavo.
Nunn wrote the song "Blame It On the World" about her dad, a child actor who killed himself in 1974, when Nunn was 14.
Nunn originally developed the song in 1992 and rewrote it for her latest album with what she called less "condemning" and more "loving" lyrics. She added that she now feels ready to perform the emotional song.
"I've forgiven him. I've forgiven myself. Things change when you become a parent. When I saw what it was like to raise kids, it changed my perspective," said Nunn, who has three children. "Time and experience have allowed for me to sing a song that intense."
The album also has a song about Nunn's mom, who died of leukemia in 2007.
Nunn said that working as a radio station deejay inspired her to do another album.
"I had to listen to hours of content each week," she said. "That was good for me. It was really cool to be thrust into music now ... I was hearing so many songs that were similar to the music I'd done for decades. It made me imagine a Berlin album in today's world."
Nunn said she has the same passion for playing for crowds as she did at the beginning, including Pride festivals, which she said have some of the best crowds.
"There's this party feeling you don't get anywhere else. There's chaos, but at the same time, it's safe," Nunn said.
Berlin has had a following in the LGBT community since the early days because of openly gay founding member David Diamond.
Nunn said Berlin's audience crosses generations. "I see a lot of people bringing their kids. That is so cool," Nunn said.
"There seems to be more of a crossover. The kids like the same music as the parents."
Nunn said the videos that accompany some songs during concerts add a deeper meaning to the music.
"I like to evoke the song in some way," she said. "It needs to be a visual presentation of the song in some way."
Nunn still performs hits she is known for, such as "Take My Breath Away," which she said holds special memories for her and audience members.
"It is the soundtrack for people's lives," Nunn said. "I have those songs that when I hear them, they are my life. All of those big moments have a soundtrack to them. It changed my life, and I see how it has changed others."