Terri Nunn Talks Upcoming Tour, Berlin’s Origin Story, & More

Image via Louis Rodiger

Berlin, the iconic 80s new wave band founded by lead vocalist & songwriter Terri Nunn, bassist John Crawford, and keyboard player David Diamond, are set to hit the road this summer on a nationwide tour with Boy George & Culture Club and Howard Jones for The Letting It Go Show. Produced by Live Nation, this brand-new production will kick off its 25-city run on July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“We are thrilled to be invited on this tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones,” Nunn says in an official press release. “A lineup this great is a once-in-lifetime event. Are you ready to ‘Let it Go’ this summer? We look forward to seeing you soon!”


Known for their edgy, emotive take on synth pop, the Los-Angeles based band will forever be recognized as the American progenitor of electro-pop music. Few music groups emerging from the era of Berlin have achieved such a far-reaching, long-lasting impact, or a timeless array of musical grooves. They made their first national impression with the provocative 1982 dance hit “Sex (I’m A…),” and have gone on to produce chart toppers including “The Metro,” “No More Words,” and their beautiful love ballad “Take My Breath Away,” which had a defining role in Tom Cruise’s critically acclaimed film, Top Gun.

The song was an international hit and received both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in 1986.

Nunn, who also pursued acting earlier in her career, is still fronting the band, and is seen as an early purveyor of femininity and girl power within the new wave scene. She took some time to talk more about Berlin’s upcoming tour with Boy George and Howard Jones with Instinct, as well Berlin’s origin story, upcoming projects, and more.

Let me begin by asking, how excited are you for Berlin to tour the country this summer with Culture Club and Howard Jones for The Letting It Go Show?


I am very excited because not only are they nice people, they are iconic bands and I love their music. I haven’t seen Howard in a couple years, but we recently played with Culture Club and had a really good show. I’m into it. They’re just so smooth. The closest analogy I can come to with their music is like Steely Dan. It’s not rock, and it’s not pop, even though they are very poppy. They just have their own unique sound and vibe.

What can audiences expect from this upcoming production?


Great music. Howard Jones is a great songwriter, and I know our show is great. It’s more than a production now because we’re a very visual show with videos and the way we are on stage. It’s also John Crawford, David Diamond, and me on stage together again. You know, the nucleus of the band. John and I started in 1979, and David came in 1982, so it’s fun to have that kind of chemistry on stage.

Do you feel a sense of nostalgia when you play songs from your back catalog?

Some of them, and then some of them not. Songs like “The Metro,” it doesn’t sound old to me. It’s such a weird song that it’s just “The Metro.” I still love playing it, and I still love the experience of that song.

You will also be performing with Culture Club on their upcoming Australian tour this September. What do you enjoy the most about performing and collaborating with Boy George?


He is such a nice and approachable guy. Him, the band, it’s just like a traveling circus. You go out with people and just really enjoy the whole vibe of them all because we’re living together for a couple of months. Maybe a little more than that. I enjoy the interaction and friendliness. They’re so much fun.

Which song would you say is your number one must play?

I just talked about “The Metro,” but I would still say that one. There’s just something about that song for me. It has so many benchmarks for me because that was the song that really helped Berlin define itself when we were floundering around trying to find who we were. We knew what we liked, we knew we liked electronic stuff, but we didn’t know who we were yet. We were trying all these sounds and combinations, and it was that song that was the benchmark. Where we were finally like, that’s us. That’s what we want Berlin to be. Even now when we play that song, the crowd just loses their shit. They explode, and I do too. Like, yeah, there we are!

Image via Louis Rodiger

I honestly thought your number one must play would have been “Take My Breath Away.”

That was later, and we had not really had a ballad before that was romantic because we were all about sex and darkness. “Take My Breath Away” was the first romantic ‘I love you’ ballad that we approached.

“Take My Breath Away” was in the original 1986 Top Gun film, and it is also in last year’s Top Gun: Maverick. How did it feel to know that new generations were getting to know your music today?

I love that the new generations are showing up with the older generations to concerts, and they can because everything is so accessible. When I was a kid, I didn’t listen to my parents’ music because I couldn’t find it. You’d have to buy it. You couldn’t just log onto a computer and type in Frank Sinatra. We didn’t have computers. Now, everything’s there, and Berlin’s music, electronically, is not that different from artists like Rihanna and Billie Eilish. These bands are doing a lot of electronic stuff, so maybe that’s why newer generations are listening to what their parents were listening to. It hasn’t changed that much.


For those who don’t know, what is the origin story behind Berlin? How did the band begin?

I met John in 1979 when I was looking for a band. I was pushed into it because I had been a teenage actor, and when a show called Dallas came along, I was offered a seven-year contract.  That was kind of a crossroads for me because I had to decide. I was either going to do that or try the music thing, so I decided to try the music thing, which pissed off everybody that was working with me. My manager, my agent, they all dropped me. They were like, you’re out of your fucking mind to turn this contract down. But I wanted to try this music thing, so I was by myself at this point. I had nothing to lose.

When I met John, he was playing some Berlin shows, but it was a very different sound. I liked his writing, so we hooked up. Not sexually, but musically (laughs). We just kept at it, and in 1982, we decided to write “Sex (I’m A…)” for a radio station out here called KROQ because they would be the only station to ever play what we were doing. We noticed they liked quirky and sexy, so we thought, we like sex. Let’s write about that. We did, and they started playing us, which created a bidding war, because we started selling a lot of records. We put it out on an independent label, and then we took off with Geffen.

Image via Erica Vincent

So, this has always been your passion? You’ve always had a desire to pursue an entertainment career?

Music. I really, really wanted that. It was difficult for me and difficult to even try it, especially young. When television came along, I got lucky and found an agent pretty fast. I did commercials, and then some television episodic as a teenager, and that helped because I learned how to encapsulate emotion in a scene, which could be anything from 30 seconds to five minutes.

That helped me later with music because in music, you have to bring the emotion when you’re singing to communicate what the song is about. That was a good discipline for me in television, but it was hard. It was hard to find the right combination of people that were doing what I wanted to do, which was something unique and different. I like unique and different, and at the time, Berlin was very unique and different. We didn’t have much of that going on in America at the time. It was mostly punk and power pop in the late 70s.

What do you always hope audiences take away from your music?


Being able to feel. To feel what they’re feeling because I think that is what helped me. Music has helped me the most, especially growing up. Now, too. It’s helped me to feel that I’m not alone, and that other people are feeling what I’m feeling. Whether it’s dark, joyful, or sexy, that’s what I want people to come away with. They can feel their feelings in my music and own them. Know that they’re valid.

Are you currently working on any new albums right now?

We’re writing new original holiday songs for a holiday album!

Image via Erica Vincent

What advice can you offer to any aspiring artist today?

I don’t know the format of how to show up in today’s music world, so I would say, the things that have helped me are to stick with it if you love it, and keep listening, especially to friends. Just because people love you doesn’t mean they can’t be objective, and they can be kinder than the rest of the world will be when you get out there. Get feedback with what you’re doing. If there’s a lot of good feedback, then it helps when you get the bad feedback because it’s not just bad.

Your music has rocked the gay club scene since Berlin launched to fame. What message would you like to give to your supportive LGBTQ fans?

Thank you. David Diamond has been in the band since 1982, and he’s now back onstage with John and I, and he was one of the first to come out back in the 80s. David Geffen, who has not come out yet, was not in favor of David being honest about who he was. We were, and I’m glad he did because he made it safer for other people to be who they are. So, many thanks to the LGBTQ community for their love and support. It’s means everything.


What are some future goals you hope to accomplish with your career and platform?

I think one future goal that I hope to accomplish is to write a book because I keep getting asked about that. For the purpose of sharing, probably some of the best philosophical advice that I’ve ever gotten that’s changed my life, and that is that the universe is benevolent. Love is a whole show out here, and we’re all in this together. We’re all one and we’re all in this together, and if I can share that and leave that here on Earth after I leave so people can have it if they want it, then that would be worthwhile.

Before we wrap up, are there any other upcoming projects or anything else you’d like to mention or plug?

There’s a movie in the works that will be called No More Words, which is based on Richard Blade’s book, World in My Eyes. It’s been optioned and they’re writing the screenplay, and it’s basically about our romance. Our rock’n’roll nightmare, as they’re calling it. It was great and it was awful (laughs).


For more information on tour dates and to purchase tickets, click HERE. Stay up-to-date with Nunn and Berlin by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit their official website.


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