Interview of George Michael by Denmark TV personality and announcer Morten Resen in August 2011 about his Symphonica Tour. Watch the YouTube video of the interview at the bottom of the article:
MR: George Michael, thank you very much for letting me be here today.
GM: My pleasure
MR: And I have to say in the beginning, you look amazing!
GM: Do I? You haven’t met me before, okay. You’ve got nothing to compare it to.
MR: I want to cover your diet.
GM: Well, actually I … you know I … I’ve … you know, of the many things have happened over the last year one of these is I dropped quite a lot of weight that I was carrying on the last tour and didn’t realize I was carrying. And that obviously, I think that probably, I’m looking a little less bloated. Actually, there are a couple of reasons: one is that there’s an obvious reason why I’m eating a lot less, right, which I won’t be going to, it’s obvious. But also on the last tour, I was taking protective … some steroids to protect my throat. And I think steroids, actually you retain weight or water or wherever. So I was not only eating too much but I was on these steroids that I think help my voice — to protect my voice — but I was carrying around almost two stone more. And I didn’t feel fat but that’s quite a lot of weight
MR: What has it done to your life to say, you know, yes you know, I’m George Michael. I’m gay and proud of it.
GM: Well to be honest with you, I can’t think of any other gay celebrity whose life got harder after they came out. You know, after 14 years or so of living as an
MR: You actually did that?
GM: Yeah, I did. I did that stuff. I never lived differently! I told my friends, some of my friends when I was very young told some of my friends when I was on my mid-twenties and didn’t tell my parents (they’re normally the last to know) until my partner died in 1993. But the point is, I’ve lived as a gay man and not really written about the issues other than my personal relationships. If I can be really honest about this, and this is not my ego talking although it’s very flattering, the truth about me seems to be that my sexuality for an awful lot of women didn’t seem to make a difference in terms of their feelings about me after I came out. I mean, you know, you have to go to the shows to see that ..
MR: Actually I should ask for my female colleagues you know it they said, ask him: “Are you sure you’re gay, George Michael?”
GM: I’ve got friends that still ask me that.
MR: Oh okay. You sure?
GM: Oh, I’m very sure. These days I’m very sure. There was a day, but these days I’m very sure. I think it’s caused me a great deal of … it’s put me in a kind of unique position to be an out gay performer with a very large female fan base that stayed.
GM: It’s made life more difficult for me because it means, I’m still, my sex life is still a fascination to the straight public. I think it means that … I mean, there are things I could tell you that would blow you away that they haven’t actually been publicized. But the attempt to invade my private life and my private space have been quite ludicrous, some of them. And if I were gay and was not attracted to women, this would not happen to me. You know, I … I hate to say it, but you know there are quite a lot of gay musicians over the years who’ve come out. And because they didn’t have much of a female following, nobody cares what they do, you know. No one cares where they put their penis, basically and unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me. What happened to me was that everyone seemed to care more. And so I’ve been chased around. My life has been spied upon. And I’ve tried to live anyway because I believe that I live in probably the most lucky generation of gay men ever — in terms of having a community, in terms of having fantastic kind of sexual freedom. And I’m not going to pass that up.
MR: Living the life you live, you know, with all the focus on you as a person, how does that affect your life, you know?
GM: Terribly, terribly. I think it’s ruined certain aspects of my life. But you know the old saying, about you can’t have everything and it’s you know swings and roundabouts. It’s very true: you don’t get any massive privilege in life without paying a price for it. Just seems to work that way. I think that’s the balance of life.
MR: But you know when you can always …
GM: It had a catastrophic effects on my personal life, and … and really makes me wonder sometimes whether my life has been as important as the work that I’ve made in terms of, you know, where I’ve put my priorities.
MR: What is so fantastic in your life that you can actually, you know, live the way you do with all …?
GM: Music! Music! It’s there. If it wasn’t music; if I wasn’t absolutely driven and if I didn’t find it impossible to live without music then I wouldn’t be doing this anymore.
MR: Just so you’re actually happy?
GM: I’d say … I haven’t been happy with fame since I was 22, right. So I wished I was someone else since I was 22 because I do … I hate the effect it has on friendships, on relationships, on your privacy. I hate it … all with of it! But I love the fact that that I’ve been given the ability to make music. And I’m a kind of slave to that and I think I tried to maneuver emotionally through the difficulties as best I can. But I am my mother’s son in that privacy would be everything to me. I think the way I’ve been treated as a gay man by the media is absolutely despicable. And I think their treatment of me has been a negative to young gay people to look at the fact that you can be so successful and still be reduced to your sexuality.
MR: Is it possible to be George Michael, you know, just like living a normal life like …
GM: I do my best. I really do my best. People would be quite surprised, you know. And now I don’t have a driver’s license people be quite surprised at the places they’ll see me catching a cab, for instance. But I try my hardest. It’s very … it’s very … it got harder and harder. In a weird way, your fame: the longer it lasts, the stranger it gets. People think it must get easier but actually it gets stranger the longer you’ve people have been watching you in 2d, the weirder it is when they see you in 3d, you know what I mean? Me I ‘m coming out of 3d telly then I mean coming at them in the street.
MR: Well I have that you know, sitting right here right now
GM: Okay. Well the thing, is though yes so people’s responses to you get stronger and stranger. But I still try very hard. I’m not saying that I wish it was different but yeah, I cope with that fairly well. I think I cope with it pretty well, I’m not crazy yet.
MR: You mean a lot, you know, to hundreds, millions of people of people have made babies to your music.
GM: A lot! I think I’m a gay man I’m totally responsible for a lot of procreation. From afar maybe …
MR: Yeah, maybe. Actually, I’m going to a little bit of story from my personal life because I bought my wife tickets for your show … on the 25 Live Tour. Actually I had to go on work so she had to go with a friend I couldn’t join her.
GM: Was it Copenhagen?
MR: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then actually in the middle of the concert she called me up and said, “Something is happening here tonight. This is .. I cannot explain what’s happening. People here will remember this for their whole life.”
GM: And I feel the same way about those audiences. And I have to say this, and this is not bullshit. I don’t say this in every interview or anything. The most … the best, and most puzzled I was, was at how incredible the reaction to me is in Denmark of the whole, all the places that I had visited for all those years. Honestly I think there were probably more people outside the hotel in Denmark than anywhere on the entire tour. And the response of those people — the shows were phenomenal, which is why I came back and played more
MR: Yeah, actually the final I think.
GM: And yeah, yeah … I came back and you know, I played that … all together, I think I played that that mini stadium three times. And it was just phenomenal.
GM: It was the best reaction in the world. It was so different to touring the best part 20 years before where yes, I’ve given people five or six years of pleasure. That’s funny, five or six years of pleasure … and then coming back twenty years later it was like people genuinely wanted to show me what an impacts that music — 25 years worth of music — had had on them. So well … that makes sense to me, your girlfriend’s very complimentary but your girlfriend saying that I think is great.
MR: You are going on tour again in August you actually kick off the Symphonica tour with three shows. And it’s going to be a very different experience. Why do so Symphonica?
GM: Well one because I do think there is one more kind of big bells and whistles tour. I thought, you know, years ago, I thought it would probably be the last one. But we’ll see. We’ll see. All I know is that this is not going to be the last tour. To be at 48 and know that you have the creative freedom and all people will still listen to you; changes in direction in what you do is an incredible privilege. The fact is, I’m extremely excited and extremely nervous about doing a completely different type of show than anyone I’ve done before. There’s a lot more work involved in rearranging all these songs. And visually I think it will be something. I’m not going to expect people to go there and just watch an orchestra and and marvel at that, you know, the beauty of my voice and whatever. It’s gonna be quite a technologically challenging event as well.
MR: Thank you for you know, being the way you are both on stage and off stage and thank you for sitting here today and we are looking very much forward to see you on tour in Denmark.
GM: Okay. I won’t let you down because you didn’t let me down last time, that’s for sure.
MR: Okay and I hope you didn’t feel that I invaded your private life. Thank you so much. Thank you George Michael. It’s good to meet you.
Watch and listen to the George Michael Symphonica Tour video below:
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- An Audience with George Michael: Interview with Chris Evans (1996)
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- George Michael’s Interview with the Gay Magazine ‘The Advocate’ (1999)
- George Michael on ‘Listen Without Prejudice’ (1990)