|Bernadette Cooper: Real Divas Don’t Die
By Tim Dillinger
Yes kitties. She’s back. Bernadette Cooper,
leader of the motley crew known as
Klymaxx, is reclaiming her throne. She still
looks good and she’s got more attitude
than ever. Between the massive Klymaxx
albums under her belt, collaborations with
Cheryl Lynn, Teena Marie and Madame X
(just to name a few) and a critically
acclaimed solo album, Drama According to
Bernadette Cooper), she could clearly live on legend. Instead, she is
still innovating: more fabulous and larger than life.
With the release of the new Klymaxx album right around the corner
(the first single, “Get Up Off Me” just dropped), Miss Cooper took the
time to talk with me…Here’s how our conversation went.
Tim: What can the fans expect from Klymaxx in 2007 with the
Bernadette: Lots of dramedy!!!! The new CD is fantastic. It has taken
me two years to write and it is a women-empowering project. It is our
best work: sexy, melodramatic, and funny. We did not change our style,
[we] just formatted to 2007 beats.
Joyce (Irby aka Fenderella) and I, have grown so much as individuals and
our vibe is not fake. What you heard in 1989 was real and what you hear
in 2007 will be exactly how we feel and how we think other women
should view themselves...Worthy with or without a man, with or without
love from your family, YOU ARE FABULOUS!!! Follow your own passion
and understand your mission in life... but look sexy while you are doing it!
The new single is just a little bit of the old getting you over the shock
that KLYMAXX is back preparing you for the new saga!
I am extremely passionate about this new CD and I’m usually right, so I
predict this will be a Tina Turner comeback CD! You can slap me if I am
Yeah, Cheryl Cooley is desperate right now...not pretty! No one likes a
Tim: It's interesting to me that even after Klymaxx knocked the
door down for female bands/musicians that we don't see more
women in those roles. Why do you think that is?
Bernadette: I think that this is a male driven business and men do not
empower women, so only a few get a shot.
I have met a few men in this biz that are absolutely fabulous such as
Dick Griffey (Solar Records). I appreciate him so much more these days.
He gave KLYMAXX our first shot and stayed with us until we got a hit
record. Trust me, we were a work in progress! He stayed with us
through the Jerri-curl days, through the member changes, through
KLYMAXX finding ourselves as women. He is the first person to give me
my opportunity as a writer, musician and producer. That kind of man in
the music business today is just very hard to find.
I also think that taking music out of the school system does not allow
kids--especially girls--to feel passionate about playing an instrument.
Some people are put on this earth to simply provide the world with
music. Like Prince, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, James Brown.
Music in school saved my emotional and spiritual life, because through
music in school, (Compton High...TAR BABY!), I found my passion. I can't
imagine what my life would be without my passion. Music is my faithful
Tim: You've collaborated with scores of artists...Who would you
like to collaborate with next?
That's a hard question, I am thinking...still thinking…Without being fake
and forcing an answer no one comes to mind. No one new stimulates
me! Maybe Whitney If I could be the only producer on her project, I
would write her manifesto. Not hide from the past… just put it in every
ones faces with beautiful melodies, great arrangements and songs.
Tim: What are your Top 5 Life Changing Albums?
1) All the Aretha Franklin albums
2) All the Marvin Gaye albums
3) Every D Angelo project
4) George Clinton/Parliament Funkedelics
5) All the past Prince albums
These albums touch me in a way in which no other albums have. They
take me to a place in time and remind me of a particular moment in my
life where I either laugh or cry! They were also instrumental in crafting
my creative process.
Tim: If you could have dinner with 3 people--living or deceased--
who would they be & why?
I could say some really powerful, influential people like Oprah, The Virgin
Mary etc, but the truth is if I respect you too much my mouth wouldn't
move. Power intimidates me sometimes. I never know when it's gonna
happen but then again I might have a good time. But to eliminate the
fear, I would have fun people.
ELLEN DEGENERES Because she is funny and would break the ice. I tend
to get very shy unless I'm comfortable with you. I would eat chicken
with my hands around her.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, I think she worked her 15 minutes of fame and I
would love to tell her that.
MARVIN GAYE, He was such a real man that I think he would make me
feel comfortable as a woman. We could have lustful uninhibited deep
conversations about love and sex .
Tim : Did you think that when you started Klymaxx in 1979 the
band itself would still be making music almost 30 years later? It
has to feel incredibly rewarding...
Bernadette: Yes, I saw the vision clearly! I quit law school to do this my
family thought I was crazy and they still do!!
To stay updated on Bernadette Cooper and Klymaxx, visit
www.myspace.com/therealklymaxx or www.klymaxx.org