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Interview with Belinda Carlisle: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and lead singer of The Go-Go’s

Belinda Carlisle, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and lead singer of The Go-Go’s, chatted about her latest endeavors.

Belinda Carlisle
Belinda Carlisle. Photo Credit: Bill Photography
Belinda Carlisle. Photo Credit: Bill Photography

Belinda Carlisle, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, front-woman, and lead singer of The Go-Go’s, chatted about her latest endeavors.

Byron Pulsifer once said: “Imagine, dream, and believe in yourself. With determination and belief, you will be surprised at what you accomplish.” Belinda Carlisle embodies this wise quote.

The Go-Gos made Billboard history becoming the first all-female group to achieve a Number 1 album on the Billboard 200 all-genre charts with their iconic “Beauty and the Beat” album.

This also marked a first for an all-female band writing their own material and playing their own instruments. “To have our debut album go No. 1 is a real feat. Not that many bands have done that,” she said. “Our documentary really changed people’s perspective on our band.”

Their smash hits include “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation,” and “Head over Heels.” Her solo single “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and it earned her a Grammy nomination for “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.”

Charitable event

Carlisle spoke about her upcoming holiday party on December 15, which benefits a philanthropic cause, the Animal People Alliance. “Admission is tax-deductible and the proceeds go to charity,” she said. “This is the second time that we are doing it in Los Angeles. Previously, we’ve been doing it in London four times. It’s a hilarious event of music, comedy, raffles, and auctions. We raised a total of $93,000 last year.”

“This year, we have Margaret Cho co-hosting and Lisa Loeb and Carnie and Wendy from Wilson Phillips singing and myself performing. It will be a great night of live music. Last year’s event was just amazing, it was full of joy and love, and it was all for a good cause,” she explained.

“It’s just a really festive and fun night,” she added.

Animal People Alliance

The proceeds from this charitable event benefit the Animal People Alliance, which was co-founded by Carlisle. This nonprofit provides care to animals and employment to vulnerable people in Thailand and India. “I co-founded it in 2014,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in India, I noticed that there was a lack of animal services. We expanded it to Thailand and in the past eight years, we have treated over 30,000 animals. It has been very successful.”

She noted that the mission of the Animal People Alliance is to provide high-quality and compassionate care, of the highest standards, to neglected street animals in India and Thailand. They train and employ vulnerable people from the community, and pay living wages that help them improve their standard of living.

The Animal People Alliance works with passionate and respected local and global organizations, activists, and veterinarians. Establishing strong community links, they help educate residents on animal care and safety, while partnering with local organizations to promote adoptions, vaccinations, and compassionate animal care. “It has been a really amazing project,” she admitted.

On her music and songwriting inspirations, she said, “I have to like it. I’ve always been very lucky to work with some of the greatest songwriters in the world. I won’t sing a song if I don’t love it. My love for music and pop music inspires me.”

Suzi Quatro

Carlisle had great words about Suzi Quatro. “I love Suzi, she might have inspired me to be in a band just like The Runaways inspired me as well. All those that came before me were big inspirations. It’s weird that Suzi is not in the Rock Hall. Suzi was the first of her kind,” she said.

Regarding the key to longevity in the entertainment business all of these years, Carlisle said, “It’s a combination of luck and timing. One of my strengths is being able to know what my capabilities are. My voice, may not be the best voice, but it’s unique. I think that this is what I am meant to be doing. Now, I am busier than I have ever been since the ’80s.”

For young and aspiring singers, Carlisle said, “Believe in yourself because anybody can manifest anything that they want, The Go-Go’s are a real example of that. Work hard and believe in yourself, that’s one of the top things.”

On the title of the current chapter of her life, Carlisle revealed, “The Gypsy Family.” “We are living in Mexico right now, which has been great, and was an unexpected thing. We are immersing ourselves in this culture, which is amazing and interesting,” she said.

Her favorite motto to live by is the following quote by Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” “That’s how I have lived my life since 1994,” Carlisle said. “It may seem crazy to a lot of people. Outside of music, I have done a lot of crazy things. I love making the best of every single day.”

She is extremely proud of her son, James Duke Mason, who is a writer, activist, and commentator. “James is doing really well,” she said. “James writes, he is involved in local politics in LA, and he is a lot smarter than me… what can I say?”

Favorite song

From her musical catalog, she claimed the song “Summer Rain” from her seminal “Runaway Horses” album as her personal favorite. “It’s very unusual and progressive in its arrangements. It’s very dramatic and it’s a cult favorite all over the world. It’s really fun to perform and it’s beautiful,” she said.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In 2021, Carlisle was inducted into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Go-Go’s. She was inducted alongside her fellow band members Charlotte Caffey, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin. “That was one of the most amazing evenings of my life,” Carlisle said. “I think that cemented The Go-Go’s legacy and it doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Go-Go’s are credited for pioneering pop-punk perfection, especially since “they got the beat.” They are considered the most successful all-female rock group of all time.

The Go-Go’s were recognized by the Rock Hall for their catchy, well-crafted songs that formed a bridge between the brash urgency of L.A. punk and the dark melodies of new wave pop.

‘Big, Big Love’

Carlisle is thrilled about her comeback single “Big, Big Love,” which was written by Academy Award winner Diane Warren, and will be released in February of 2023. “It’s a great song and I filmed a video for it,” she said.

“It’s my first English-speaking release since ‘A Woman & a Man.’ All my albums I do from the heart, I can’t do them any other way. This was accidental and out of the blue, and sometimes, those things are the best. The song is an amazing song and it’s very special. It sounds like a hit song. Diane is so prolific. I am really proud of it and I am excited for ‘Big, Big Love’ to come out,” Carlisle elaborated.

Success

On her definition of the word success, Carlisle said, “My success has brought me freedom, and that’s what it’s all about.”

To learn more about Belinda Carlisle, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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