Bonnie Tyler says she wanted to ‘calm down’ Welsh accent

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Oliver Slow,Gray Gathergood-Dains

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Tyler also spoke of her respect for Tina Turner, who covered her song The Best

Singer Bonnie Tyler has said that in the early days of her career she tried to sound less Welsh while speaking.

Born as Gaynor Hopkins in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, Tyler said she had taken elocution lessons and was “frightened to speak between songs” because of her accent.

She said she had “wanted to calm it down a bit”, but was unable.

“It’s a bit like Tom Jones I suppose… he’s lived in America since God-knows-when until recently, and he’s still got his Welsh accent.”

Tyler, 72, is best known for the song Total Eclipse of the Heart, which recently had an overnight revival following a total solar eclipse over North America.

Speaking to the How To Fail With Elizabeth Day podcast, which focuses on things in people’s lives that have not gone to plan, Tyler also spoke about a miscarriage she had when she was 39.

“I didn’t dwell on it though because what’s to be is to be,” said Tyler, who has never had children, but said she feels lucky to have 16 nieces and nephews, with another on the way.

Soviet audience were ‘loving it’

Tyler also discussed performing at the Kremlin – the residence of the Russian president – which she has done three times, including once when Vladimir Putin was in the front row.

“He had his face down to his feet,” she said.

She also discussed touring the Soviet Union before its breakup in the early 1990s, saying performing there was “very strange”.

During those trips her touring party was chaperoned by the infamous KGB security agency.

“It was a normal thing in Russia then… but the audiences were loving it because they’d never had this before.”

Bonnie Tyler on Top of the Pops

Bonnie Tyler said she has performed three times at the Kremlin, including for current Russian President Vladimir Putin

Born in a council house, Tyler touched on growing up in Wales, saying that her family “didn’t have any material things as such, but no one did in those days”.

“The pantry was basically what was in the garden,” she said.

She referred to herself as “a working class girl who’s never stopped working”.

“People would love to have the opportunities I’ve had – to say no would feel morally wrong.”

She also said she had received numerous invitations to appear on celebrity television shows, but that there was “no chance”.

Tyler also discussed her song The Best, which she released in 1988, but which has been more closely associated with American singer Tina Turner who released a cover shortly after.

She said she often pays tribute to Turner, who died last year, at her shows.

“I used to say I did it two years before Tina but it doesn’t feel right to say that now,” she said.

“She was incredible, absolutely the best, simply the best.”

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