DIVA TALK: Chatting With Tony Winner and The Bodyguard Star Heather Headley

By Andrew Gans
19 Oct 2012

Headley and Adam Pascal in Aida.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Question: Do you have a favorite song of the ones you get to sing?
Headley: No. There's one I particularly hate singing, but it's one of the best songs. "I Have Nothing" is just a great song, but it is so hard. It's keeping me up at night. [Laughs.] They're all so hard. That's one of the reasons I had to stop listening to [the recording]. They really are tough songs. Aida was tough, but these are not easy songs. I think even her easiest song — even when she's singing calmly — they're tough songs. And, I have 11 of them I think, so it's a lot. Again, I love her whole catalogue. Now, it's different when you have to sing it. [Laughs.] Singing in the bathroom is one thing…

Question: Whitney didn't have to do all these songs eight times a week.
Headley: Right… For me, it was a big discussion about keys. It was a big discussion about how this is going to be done. Yes, you're completely right — singing them eight times a week. And, I'm not trying to diminish Whitney in any way, at all, but that's another beast. That's a whole other beast. Normally, when we do these shows in my pop-life, or whatever you want to call it, you have a break. You do a show, you take a day off, you travel somewhere else, and you sing the next night. For me, right now, it's the stamina. Every day or every other day I take about an hour… Right now, actually, in a few minutes I will head to a rehearsal space with a pianist and sing through five or six of them. It's just about building up the stamina. And, on top of that, there's dancing. On top of that, there's scene changes and clothes and moving around and having to do mommy at home. It's a very, very tiring and engrossing show.

Cover art

Question: You have a new CD out, and it has some of your own songs on it. Tell me about the recording.
Headley: You know, when I was starting to work on the album and started writing a bunch of stuff, I was going to put the album on hold because of the show. My husband, again, came in one day and gets in the car and said, "I think you should release it and kind of release it for the fans. I know you're leaving town, but let's just release it for the fans." And so that's what we decided to do. And so I kind of went through some of these songs that we had been writing, and because I'm really critical of everything I do, I was like, "Well, I think they're okay," but for me, songwriting, I love to be in collaboration with other people… It's just been a diary. I love, I love, I love having songs and putting them into my own voice and translating them, and then on the other end, I love being able to be a part of a team and write. It's not easy, but when, in the end, you come out with some beautiful gems, it's just the best thing in the world. (Read more about Headley's new recording here.)

[To book tickets The Bodyguard: A New Musical, contact the box office on 0844 579 0094 or visit www. thebodyguardmusical.com for more details.]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.