When Matia Bazar met “Flashdance”

When Matia Bazar met “Flashdance”

When the phone at her home in Largo, Florida, rang in 1996, Irene Cara's star had already stopped shining for a while, imploding into a black hole. In a matter of years the singer from the Bronx was passed by a global success like that of “Fame” and above all of “Flashdance… What a feeling”the main song of the soundtrack of the film by Adrian Lyne which launched Jennifer Beals in '83 (more than 20 million copies sold worldwide and an Oscar for best song), at theoblivion On the other end of the phone, Peter Roberts, nominated several times for a Grammy, spoke to her about that Italian song which he was reworking together with Michele Vice-Maslin, a songwriter who had been entrusted with the task of rewriting the lyrics in English .

“You know, we thought your voice was perfect to play it,” Roberts must have told her, making the singer immediately involved in the project. The curious story of when Matia Bazar met “Flashdance”, or the .very unknown English cover by Irene Cara of “Ti felt”or “You need me”, which after almost thirty years is republished in the form of a remix edited by Uncle Peter and Bruno Guerrini, begins exactly like this.

Who knows how long it had been since Irene Cara received a phone call from a producer before that. Legal problems and often defamatory gossip about her lifestyle had condemned her to a sort of exile from show business: “Suddenly I began to hear stories related to an alleged bad temper of mine, as well as ridiculous rumors about myself drug addiction”, she said, claiming that she had seen all ties burned after filing a lawsuit lawsuit against the record company that launched itAl Coury, head of RSO and Network Records, the labels behind the “Fame” and “Flashdance” soundtrack boom.

Irene Cara Escalera, this is the artist's real name, had accused him of having deceived her by making her sign misleading contracts. Of the 10 million dollars she had asked for in compensation, she had obtained just 1.5: “.But then the entire record industry turned against me: they excluded me from everything“, would have supported the former Coco of “Saranno Famous” (it was the Italian title of “Fame”), as was the name of the character she played in the film set in the fictional High School of Performing Arts in New York, which had allowed her to conquer two nominations at the 1980 Grammy Awards for “Best New Female Vocalist” and “Best New Pop Artist”.

“Ti I feel” by Matia Bazar had been released in Italy about ten years earlier, in 1985. The song, performed by Antonella Ruggiero, immediately proved to be a international success, so much so that it topped the charts in the Netherlands and Germany. The record producer Lino Dentico, founder of the label UDP – Disk Plusborn in the early 90s and immediately became central in the panorama of Italian dance music, he had met Michele Vice-Maslin in 1995 in Cannes on the occasion of Midem, an annual gathering of leaders of the music industry, from artists to producers, through record companies, and he spoke to her about the idea of ​​launching Matia Bazar's hit in the USA, with lyrics in English.

Irene Cara, of course, enthusiastically agreed to release the single. The project developed in Los Angeles, within the walls of the Blue Danube Studios on Hollywood Boulevard, the studios of Peter Roberts himself. The DJ also became part of the team that worked on “You need me”, this is the title of the English version of “Ti I feel”.Todd Terrywho was at the peak of his career thanks to the remix of “Missing” by Everything But The Girlreleased a few months earlier.

“You need me” it was not a success and did not revive the fortunes of Irene Cara's careerwho will continue to live in the shadows: “I live in Florida and sell the records I self-produce independently online”, he said in 2018, four years before his untimely death (at just 63 years old), responding to those who wondered what had happened to the star of “What a feeling”. Yet that it was the first time abroad that they thought of making a new version of Matia Bazar's iconic hitwhich Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys would have included in the “Back to mine” collection in 2005 and which in 2023 a world-famous DJ like Bob Sinclar would have remixed: a rarity waiting to be discovered.