Photo copyright by Tony Woof

At last! One of my favorite high energy stars Hazell Dean joined my collection of italo interviews although she is not an Italo Disco star, but for me she IS everlasting burning fire in my heart and in my minds :-)

Who could not love her greatest high energy hits such as 'Searchin', 'Whatever I Do', 'They Say It's Gonna Rain' etc. And many more....

Hazell Dean has new great song 'Trade Him For A Newer Model' and she is back together with the high energy legend Ian Levine.

This is an interview I made together with my friend nrg rob and we had huge help from another high energy star Kelly Wilde . Without her this interview would not be possible. Thanx to Kelly and nrg rob and to myself ;-) we got chance to read what Hazell said about her career. I hope you will enjoy in this interview as I and Rob did.

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Can you tell us how & when you discovered that you could sing?
I was the only girl in a band at school, called The Vandals, playing guitar. There must have been a time when a female lead vocal was needed, and as only girl, it had to be me, age 13. I guess it all started there.

What was you're first break into the music industry?
The industry which was to become my career. I have only ever had 2 other jobs, very briefly, and have always earned a living through music.

Most people think that 'Heart First' was you're debut lp, but in 1981 you recorded 'The Sound Of Bacharach & David' which was a promo lp release only, do you think this will ever get a CD release?
Sadly, I very much doubt it will ever be released. I am sure there are pirate copies doing the rounds, depriving me of Royalties, but I cannot imagine it will ever be officially released, which is a shame as it is a lovely album.

In the begining you're style was very much pop, then you started to release songs in a hi-nrg style such as 'Searchin' & 'Jealous Love'. Whose decision was this to crossover to hi-nrg?
There was never any calculated cross over, as both songs were written in the Hi NRG genre which was emerging from the gayclubs worldwide, it was a natural progression for me.

From the very begining in hi-nrg, you worked with the finest writers, producers & remixers. Ian Guenther & Willi Morrison on 'Jealous Love' & Ian Anthony Stephens & Ian Levine on 'Searchin' how did you all get along?
I had great working rleations ships with all these guys. I see Ian Anthony Stephens occasionally, and it was particulrly nice to be able to sing 'Searchin" at Bromptons one night when he was D.Jing there, and to introduce him as the writer - although I am sure the crowd already knew that! I saw Mr Levine a few weeks ago, and am still friends with him of course. We have just worked together on 'Trade Him In For A Newer Model' which I believe is scheduled fo release on Dec 3rd. I pretty much get on with most people.

Then of course there was the up & coming trio of hot producers Stock/Aitken/Waterman. How did you meet the guys?
I was at Proto Records, and had 'Searchin' at no 6 in the charts when I was approached by Pete Waterman, who introduced me to Matt and Mike. I liked what they were doing, and was happy to work with them when they asked.

In 1984 you gave Stock/Aitken/Waterman their very first top 10 hit with 'Whatever I Do', there is a rumour that it started life as another track called 'Dance Your Love Away' by Michael Prince but the boys re-wrote the lyrics just for you. Is this true?
Yes, that's true. I didn't feel the chorus was strong enough, and asked the guys to rewrite it - which they did, ultimatly coming up with 'Whatever I do, Wherever I go'.

You were one of the biggest stars in the golden age of hi-nrg Stock/Aitken/Waterman along with artists such as Divine, Kylie, Dead Or Alive, Sinitta, Modern Talking, Sandra etc. Can you share any memories about you're fellow artists?
Obviously I worked with Divine, Kylie, Dead or Alive and Sinitta - and have great memories of all those times.
Divine and I shared the same ageent/manager in The States, Bernard Jay. I did visit Divine in his New York apartment, which I guess quite special. I haven't seen Pete Burns for a while, in fact last ime I saw him was in Paris, but we always got on great - I loved the Dead or Alive Tracks, and Pete was always charming.
Sinitta and I are still mates, we keep in touch regulary, it's always lovely to see her ( I am also friends with her mum, Miquel Brown). I haven't seen Kylie for many years (unless you count her show at Wembly...but thats hardly on a personal level) - she has had a fantastic career, and I am so pleased she is coming through her cancer ordeal. I worked with Jason Donovan at G.A.Y a couple of years ago, and he was as lovely as ever. I occasionally see Sonia, in fact I run into quite a lot of the PWL artists. No gossip im afraid - im not that kind of girl!

When working with Stock/Aitken/Waterman, apart from vocals did you have any other imput?
No, not really. I did write some of the album tracks, but to be honest, they did their thing, I did mine...and it seemed to work just fine that way.

Stock/Aitken/Waterman & ian levine always used to record a song with several artists such as 'Turn It Into Love' was recorded by Kylie, a male vocalist (Deon Estus?) and yourself, is there any demos/tracks you sang on that are locked in the vaults?
I have no doubt that there are Hazell Dean vocals in some deep dark vault!!!!

Stock/Aitken/Waterman are now back and have just teamed up with the girl's from the Sheila's Wheels tv ad and brought out a brand new Stock/Aitken/Waterman production 'I'm So Happy Happy You're Mine'. Any chance of a new Stock/Aitken/Waterman - Hazell Dean reunion?
I very much doubt that.......but hey, never say never!

You are also a very talented producer & writer having worked with well known artists such as Bad Boys Inc., Miquel Brown, Tina Charles, Dollar, Louise Thomas, Jon Otis & France Joli. One of my favorites is you're co-production with Pete Ware of Bona-Riah's amazing hi-nrg version of 'House Of The Rising Sun', are you one of the female vocalist singing on this?
Nope, sorry, that wasn't me...and sadly I cannot for the life of me remeber who it was - but suffice to say, it was not me!

You're fans worldwide can't get enough of you're classic songs such as 'Searchin', 'Whatever I Do', 'They Say It's Gonna Rain', 'Turn It Into Love' etc . Which tracks hold the best memories for you?
Obviously 'Searchin' is what started the whole ball rolling, it's what I will ultimatly be remebered for - and that's no bad thing, in fact it's an honour to have recored such a classic gay anthem.

You started in the 70's and are still going strong today with you're amazing preformance at Manchester Pride 2007 but it's the 80's that is the held as you're best decade and indeed the 80's for music in general seems to be the decade that never went away. Any thoughts or stories that you can share with us as to why it is still so popular?
Why am I still so popular? I guess I have just been lucky to have such loyal fans. I think maybe it's because I also genuinly enjoy what I do, and I really can sing. I'm a nice girl who does a good job - simple as that!

You recently launched you're offical website where there is a 'Did you know?' section, which is full of amazing facts that most of you're fans may not be aware of. Can you tell us a secret or little known fact?
I have no dark secrets i'm afraid. I am however dyslexic, so suggest you spell check this before you go to print! Seriously though, being dyslexic made things quite hard for me at school, as I struggled academically. Finding a niche within the school music dept and joinging a band, gave me the confidence to do something well, which in turn gave me the confidence to suceed in other areas of my life.

Are you working on any new songs, either for youself or other artists?
I have phases of writing, but am not working on anything right now.

And finally Hazell, any special messages for you're loyal fans around the world?
As you mentioned earlier, we have started, which although still very much under construction, gives fans the chance to find out more about me. As we progress with the site, we will be adding more info and photo's from my own private collection, which have never been seen before.
It's nice to be able to "put the record straight" as it were, in my own words. Although saying that, I am a VERY private person, so there is a limit to what I will ever divulge.
There is no special message - those who have supported me over the years know my feelings, which remain unchanged, I am extremely lucky to have such loyal fans, and for that I am very gratful!

Love Always.

Hazell Dean

Big thanx to my friend Alen who gave me his permission to use mp3 samples from his fabulous site.
Thanx also to Tony Woof for his great photos he made and I used for this interview.

© Zeljko Vujkovic & nrg rob - November 2007