Watch your back, Britney Spears Berlin vocalist Terri Nunn is about to hit the pop charts, baby, one more time. That's right, although it's been more than 15 years since she shot to No. 1 with the love theme from Top Gun, the New Wave siren can still take our breath away. In fact, on Voyeur, her revamped group's first full-length album of original material (out Sept. 3), the once-and-future MTV star, hotter than ever at age 41, tears through 11 tracks that are as provocative as the original line-up's classics, "Sex (I'm a... )" and "No More Words." Plus, she tells TV Guide Online that after this month's video shoot for the disc's first single, "Blink of an Eye," she aims to make the recording industry safe once again for every other female artist who is not a girl, not yet an old woman.
TV Guide Online: What do you hope to achieve with Voyeur? Is it important that you make the top 40?
Terri Nunn: Not as much as it was in the [1980s]. In the beginning, I aimed for the charts because the only way to make money was to have the record sell, so it had to chart for us to earn a living. Now, the concerts are so huge that I don't need chart success. But I'd like to get us women back on the radio with the kind of music that I like 'cause I'm not hearing any.
TVGO: Not a big Britney fan, eh?
Nunn: It's okay, but it's not what I listen to. I want to have a voice that talks about sexuality now for women in their 30s and 40s, not just women who are 15 and 20. Britney and Christina Aguilera talk to them; they don't speak to me. Their experience... that's not my game anymore [nor is it many women's]. My mom's 74, she just got married [in June], and she says she's having the best sex of her life. So that means that we're only, like, halfway through our journey. That's pretty cool.
TVGO: Amen! Since you fall outside the teen-pop demo, is music-biz ageism an issue for you?
Nunn: It's a prejudice that I have to fight. My dream is for rock to become like jazz, where I grow old with the people that I love in music. I just got to see Debbie Harry [perform], and I was so happy that she hasn't killed herself or destroyed her voice or become a drug addict. It's a very selfish need of mine for these people who I love to keep going until they die. I'm growing up, too, and I want to know what they go through. "What's it like for you, Debbie? You're way older than me, and you've been through it. Talk to me. Write me a song." I guess I'll be part of that.
TVGO: Seems to me you already are, given the number of modern acts Berlin has inspired. Does it ever tick you off when you hear, say, Garbage ripping off your sound?
Nunn: No, I love Garbage. They took the Berlin sound and took it further than we did. I think it's great. And actually, bands like that inspired me [to reenter the game]. No Doubt also just put out a really nice dance record. I like them as people, but I haven't been a big fan of [their music] until now. Gwen Stefani has told me that the Berlin sound has been a big influence on her, and now that they're starting to use some of those elements, I like it! (Laughs.)
TVGO: Speaking of mutual admirers, how did you wind up collaborating with Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan on the ballad "Sacred and Profane"?
Nunn: I just called him. At that point, we'd already finished [the track] and it was a fast song. But he called me back and said, "I wrote a song for [late INXS front man] Michael Hutchence, too, called 'Shame.' I was devastated when he died. I have some ideas for this song, too." So he came over and played me the song the way he heard it slowed-down and very vulnerable, with a film noir kind of sound. And we went with it.
TVGO: Did you know him before you phoned?
TVGO: That takes some nerve.
Nunn: It does! Thank you for appreciating that. I called three guys that I wanted to work with on this record, and Billy was the only one that said yes. Trent Reznor [aka Nine Inch Nails] didn't even return my call, and Moby said, "Nah, I don't wanna write with you. I just turned down Madonna, too." (Laughs.) I was like, "Okaaaay, backhanded insult." But whatever. You gotta try.
TVGO: After all that rejection, I hope at least your love life is on track. Seeing anybody special?
Nunn: I'm married and I'm a stepmom! I have two boys, 7 and 10. It's a challenge, but I'm liking it. I'm constantly reworking my role [in their lives], 'cause I'm not really their mom they have a mom but I'm an adult and an authority figure, and they look to me to be that. It's a trip.
TVGO: Mind if I ask your husband's name?
Nunn: Paul Spear. Can you believe my last name is technically Spear?! (Laughs.) How ironic.