Amanda Lear – Innovator, Icon And Multifarious Talent, 7HollywoodMag - Fall 2013/14
Amanda Lear is a pop art phenomenon as scandalous as she is innovative. Part Marlene Dietrich part Edie Sedgwick, Lear is a diva, a vamp, an icon and overall bon vivant- an androgynous visionary whose music and styling predates the likes of Madonna, Grace Jones and more
Lear’s talents and proficiency are unparalleled, she’s a queen of the ’70s scene who has more to offer than most Disney fuelled muppets charting today. An internationally recognized talent – Amanda Lear is a singer, lyricist, painter, television presenter, actress and model, once the muse of Salvador Dali and the lovers of David Bowie and Bryan Ferry and Brian Jones..
Lear’s multi faceted career and rise to fame took root while she was working as a fashion model during the late sixties in swinging London and later the catwalks of Paris modeling for Paco Rabanne and Yves St Laurent. At that time she met Salvador Dali and was subsequently recruited as his key muse and lover. Until his death in 1989, she often travelled and socialized with him, later revealing details of her life with Dali in her book "My life with Dali" published worldwide in 1985.:
Lear is also renowned for featuring as the cover model for Roxy Music's album For Your Pleasure in 1973, resplendent on bondage style attire. From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, her disco inspired albums sold millions internationally while she was signed to Ariola Records.
The Roxy music album became an artistic milestone, with the cover as famous as the recording. David Bowie, then a charting UK Rock artist dated her for over a year. He wanted her to sing and she actually participated in his "Midnight Special" shown on NBC in 1974. De Fries , Bowie’s producer, signed her which gave her career yet more momentum.
Lear's first four albums attained mainstream popularity, charting in the Top 10 on European charts, including the best-selling Sweet Revenge (1978). Her biggest hits included "Blood and Honey", "Tomorrow", "Queen of Chinatown", "Follow Me", "Enigma (Give a Bit of Mmh to Me)" and "Fashion Pack".
As the 1980s approached Lear gained momentum as one of the leading media personalities in mainland Europe, especially in Italy and in France where she hosted many popular TV shows. Her art career also blossomed seeing regular exhibitions in galleries across the globe. She also continued to make music, earning minor hits such as "Incredibilmente donna" and "Love Your Body".
Lear’s career as a model and muse to top tier designers has spanned an amazing five decades. In the sixies she worked with Mary Quant, 7 the seventies saw her collaborate with Paco Rabanne, the eighties Thierry Mugler, and in the nineties an naugties Jean-Paul Gaultier and Ricardo Tisci.
In September 2012, Lear appeared as a catwalk model on Jean Paul Gaultier's fashion show in Paris. In late 2013 Amanda will grace the stage in Paris for her play Divina, she is also working on her next studio album.
Amanda Lear – Questions
//What are your thoughts on fashion today ?
When I started being a fashion model the creators were intriguing, more so than today. They were in the business of fantasy to transform the look of a woman there was so much creativity and energy, it was a different world. I have since worked with designers from four different generations including Mary Quant Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier and more recently Riccardo Tisci as a key muse and model, its been a great ride.
I recall I was invited by Mary Quant inventor of the mini-skirt to come to the US to launch it. I was under contract to tour. I went to Memphis Atlanta, Florida and everywhere, it was was a big scandal at the time, lots of vodka and fun. I stayed in New York as I ended up with no money, I met Andy Warhol and Nico so it was a happy accident a very exciting time.
//Recount your music career and its beginnings - Music arrived via Bryan Ferry and David Bowie who signed me to a contract for to years – he produced my first record. I wanted to bring the world of fashion to music as during that era performers weren’t very glamorous, just people like Olivia Newton John and the like I wanted to create a glamorous image to compliment the voice – a lot of my audience were gays. Diana Ross and Cher were people that were conveying that image of glamor and that’s similar to what I wanted to carry off. All the girls were doing that disco trip at that point
//You are now doing a new play – ? Theater is my new career direction. I am ready for a change and have been waiting for years to have the opportunity to go on stage and perform live. For the next ten years I will pursue the theater. Its very stressful but I love it. I cant wait to go on tour with another play
//Jean Paul Gaultier recently made you some costumes for your forthcoming theater production. How was it working with him ? He went crazy and made me a wild costumes I had to stop him as he is so crazy he is making six different dresses for the play. He is a great creator and it was so surprising as he accepts criticism with open arms which is nice and unexpected.
//You are very active and have several artistic pursuits ? I have a lot of energy and I prefer to do something rather than sit on my ass.I have a painting show in Hamburg another in Milan this year. Painting is my therapy it keeps me sane. Some people take drugs to cope, I paint instead.
// What are your thoughts on Hollywood – I have great memories of being there with Salvador Dali – he knew everyone there – he helped me get a test for 20th century Fox. Somewhere around that time I met the high prodile producer director/director David Zanuck, which was opening doors, though a very angry Salvador Dali called him up in a rage scolding him for stealing me away, which made things complicated. Another memorable experience was getting married in Las Vegas to my boyfriend at the time Twiggy and Sacha Distel the singer were both witnesses at the ceremony.
//Are there any stars you have memories of during your career ? Marlene Dietrich as we both had a great discipline towards our work – she was a warrior , apart from the fact she was a lousy actress and couldn’t sing for shit. When I went to Germany I got compared to Lily Marlene because of my low voice. At one point Marlene Dietriech heard about me through the composer of the song "Blue Angel" and she became very intrigued due to my voice and Character.
// What are your opinions of today’s music and people such as Lady Gaga ?– "I think Madonna was doing her schtick 20 years ago. And I preceded Madonna. I was the first to pose naked and the first to wear leather bondage gear – she’s still doing the same thing. She’s a good show girl, but it gets tiring what else can she do ?– how many wigs and dresses can she wear? she will end up having to change her image.
//How have the auteurs of the world changed? I have met many music visionaries, though today none have balls. Its different nowadays, people don’t communicate they are more concerned with competing. There aren’t movements. I would like to meet the visionaries, those with great ideas, but I don’t meet them whether that’s writers painters or musicians.
//What are your thoughts on the cult of celebrity ? It’s a different world now, people who attain celebrity for no reason. Reality tv isn’t very creative – its changed, those girls are talentless, and do nothing other than sit there with lots of make up on. Its not a good sign for the future.