“New music is the lifeblood of anybody making music— it’s that creation, excitement, new babies [songs]! It inspires me and it inspires others,” declares Terri Nunn, the charismatic and enigmatic singer of L.A.’s iconic synth electro-pop pioneers, BERLIN.
BERLIN will forever be recognized as the American progenitor of electro-pop artistry with sensually appealing lyrics. Few bands emerging from the era of BERLIN have achieved as far-reaching and long-lasting an impact and, rarely, such a timeless array of musical grooves. The Los Angeles-based band made its first national impression with the provocative single “Sex (I’m A…)” from the platinum-selling debut EP Pleasure Victim in 1982. “The Metro” and “No More Words” were also chart toppers, but it was the unforgettable, intimate, and strikingly beautiful love song, “Take My Breath Away” that took the band to another level. The ballad’s defining role in the Tom Cruise film, Top Gun, helped solidify BERLIN’s everlasting place in American pop-culture. The song was a #1 international hit and received both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in 1986.
The band released its seventh studio album, Animal, in 2013. Animal explored contemporary electronic dance music while remaining true to the groundbreaking sound and Nunn’s signature vocals that continue to define BERLIN. Animal was the result of Nunn’s re-ignited love affair with current electronic music, and the feeling that BERLIN could make a unique statement in the EDM [electronic dance music] milieu. “It’s still my favorite medium. I’ve loved it since I met John [Crawford, original Berlin bassist) in 1979, when he wanted to bring electronic music to America, because it wasn’t here yet,” she recalls. “What it’s morphing into is exciting me so much, I was motivated to look for songwriting partners to help us initial impression on the music world in 1982, with their seductive single, “Sex (I’m A…),” from the platinum- certified debut EP Pleasure Victim. BERLIN’s first full length LP, Love Life, hit in 1984 and was certified gold. In 1986, BERLIN topped the charts with the unforgettable, intimate and strikingly beautiful love song, “Take My Breath Away.” The ballad’s defining role in the Tom Cruise film Top Gun has also helped solidify BERLIN’s everlasting place in American pop-culture. Nunn’s ongoing influence earned her the #11 spot on VH1.com’s “100 Greatest Women in Rock,” while, as an actress, she played leading roles in films including Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold with Kim Basinger, and Thank God It’s Friday with Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger.
Video was very important to early hits like “Sex (I’m A…)” and “The Metro”— has also taken on new meaning for BERLIN. “YouTube is the new MTV,” Nunn notes. “We used to spend so much money on mini movies, but now all you need is a good HD camera and a guy who knows some lighting. Online is where people go to see and hear music—it’s free and it’s easy and so wonderful.” Nunn’s honesty and infectious enthusiasm carries through every aspect of Animal, which she views as an entirely new chapter. “I always looked at music as passion. All we can do is appreciate that people’s passion is so strong for music… I feel it too, it’s part of my DNA, and I love what I grew up with. What I learn as I get older,” she concludes, “is that it’s not about money or ‘making it.’ Sure, they’re fun games, but it’s about connection, that’s where the real joy, passion and bliss comes from, and music is such a huge part of connecting people. It’s the way… to bliss.”
BERLIN’s discography has yielded twelve gold and platinum album awards. The band—founded by Nunn, bassist John Crawford, and keyboard player David Diamond—made its everlasting place in American pop-culture. Nunn’s ongoing influence earned her the #11 spot on VH1.com’s “100 Greatest Women in Rock,” while, as an actress, she played leading roles in films including Katie: Portrait of a Centerfold with Kim Basinger, and Thank God It’s Friday with Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger. Along with comedienne, Wendy Liebman, Nunn also previously hosted the critically acclaimed radio show Unbound with Terri Nunn on 88.5 FM KCSN Los Angeles.
Despite her many creative outlets, music, BERLIN and touring remain Nunn’s first love. Nunn, a rabid music fan, was inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” and her discovery of the LA club scene, starting with the band, X. Looking back, she recalls her own early musical dreams. “I remember going to a Rolling Stones concert at the Rose Bowl, and I couldn’t believe they did 2 ½ hours of songs and I knew every single one! That’s a legacy, a body of work that has mattered to people. That’s what I aspired to,” she says. “Of course, no way am I close to that body of work, but I have a number of songs that people love that much, and they come to hear Berlin over and over. I’m so grateful for that.”