The perpetually busy Natalie Bassingthwaighte returns to music for the first time since her 2009 debut solo album 1000 Stars this month with All We Have, an infectious, Eurodance-inspired new single.
Yes, it’s a shameless rip-off of J Lo’s On The Floor, but it’s also a damned effective one. The video may just be NatBass’s most eye-catching clip yet, the mother of one-year-old daughter Harper back in action, pouting and preening in front of a coterie of body-popping back-up dancers.
“I’ve never been so excited about a clip of mine, ever. It’s just sharp, you know?” an animated Bassingthwaighte told the Star Observer during a visit to her record company’s offices.
“There’s ‘chorry’, and I’m a dancer again! I haven’t been able to say that for a while. I didn’t put on my leg warmers though, don’t worry.”
The song’s vaguely apocalyptic message — that “all we have is tonight”, so we’d better make it count — has also shown up in recent pop songs by Britney (Till the World Ends) and Ke$ha (Shoots on the Hood of my Car).
Should pop fans be heeding the Nostradamus-type messages in these offerings? Does NatBass know something we don’t?
“I’m not saying there will be no tomorrow! It’s more about enjoying the night as though it’s all you have,” she assured us.
Surprisingly, given the number-one success of her debut album, Bassingthwaighte was cagey when asked how work was coming along on a follow-up.
“Because I wear so many different hats in my career, music is a part of my life but it’s not my entire life. For me to put all my energies into music would mean I couldn’t fulfil all my other commitments.
“So as far as a new album, it’s really about this single at the moment, then the next one. Focus on making each track a showstopper, making each song a moment. A new album’s not there yet.”
She would say, though, that she’s “learning not to take myself so seriously” with the new material.
“I’ve realised I don’t have to come out with some big serious ballad to get people to pay attention. I think I’m at my best when I’m quirky and in a bit of a character, having a good time. That seems to be what people respond to.”
It’s certainly what her gay fans appreciate, from the vamped-up electro of her Rogue Traders days to the disco sheen of her early solo singles.
And Bassingthwaighte returned the favour last year, releasing Love Like This as a charity fundraising single for the Wear It With Pride campaign.
“From an outside point of view, I think some people were like ‘You’re jumping on this bandwagon’. I thought, ‘You have no idea’. My core group of friends are gay and lesbian, so I support the cause. I’m completely behind it and I always will be.
“My best friend is gay, we’ve known each other since we were five. We’re 36 now and we talk every day on the phone.”
Given she’d volunteered her age, it seemed the perfect time to ask a question that could go down like a lead balloon: at 36 and competing in an industry against tweenagers like Willow Smith, does she feel like there’s an expiry date for her role as a pop star?
“Yeah, it was last year!” she cackled.
“I hate to say there is, but I do think so. It gets to a point where you have to say to yourself, ‘Babe, put the hotpants back in the drawer and never wear them again.’
“It doesn’t mean you can’t be an artist, I think you just have to move on to being a different type of artist. I think that day’s coming soon for me. So buy this song, bitches!”
With that, our time was almost over as Bassingthwaighte had to hurry back to her day job as one of the judges on the third season of The X Factor. Talent show judges — female ones in particular — are often pitted against each other by the media in what usually amounts to nothing but hot air.
But there’s something about Bassingthwaighte’s fiery relationship with fellow judge and ex-Spice Girl Melanie B.
“[The tension] seems real this time, doesn’t it? She’s quite full-on, I will say that. If I was a viewer, she’s really made the show this year. But [as a judge] it’s interesting,” she said diplomatically.
“I’ll admit, the first week I got a big shock – I didn’t realise everyone was going to play so nasty. But I’m growing some balls now — game on.”
INFO: All We Have (Sony BMG) out now.