A conversation with Terri Nunn: The Woman Behind Berlin's Evolving Sound


Meet Berlin's Terri Nunn

Known for their edgy, coolly emotive take on synth pop, Berlin gained fame in the 1980s with hits like “No More Words” and the Giorgio Moroder-penned “Take My Breath Away.” The band showcased its cherubically stylish lead singer Terri Nunn who drew huge favour with early audiences on MTV.

Berlin emerged from the Orange County new wave scene of the late ’70s, combining hooky dance-rock with Kraftwerk-influenced synthesiser production. They broke through with their 1982 album Pleasure Victim featuring the provocative, tongue-in-cheek single “Sex (I’m A…)” and scored a Top 40 single with “No More Words” off 1984’s Love Life.

Take My Breath Away - Top Gun soundtrack

It was the band’s 1986 hit “Take My Breath Away” (from the Top Gun soundtrack) that earned them both mainstream success and pop culture fame. In the wake of that success, the group broke up and Terri eventually took control of the band name, issuing a series of Berlin albums without Crawford including 2002’s Voyeur and 2013’s Animal. In 2019, the core classic lineup of NunnCrawford, and keyboardist Dave Diamond officially reunited for Berlin’s eighth studio album, Transcendance.

Berlin - then and now

Terri Nunn – singer, songwriter and actress best known for being one of the creators and the front person for the 80s band Berlin. In interview with me she discusses how difficult it is to be a woman in the music industry due to the amount of travel required. Terri Dunn is a woman who has survived the music industry for many years, but the COVID pandemic allowed her to reconnect with her family for the first time in years. Now, after more than 40 years apart, the original trio has reunited and are making music again.

The genesis of the band

A Los Angeles native, Nunn had already earned roles on a handful of television shows. She was an aspiring pop star who turned down the role of Lucy on Dallas to be able to pursue both singing and acting. Terri signed on to Berlin because she loved the band’s sound. Inspired by a mix of new wave, punk, and Krautrock bands including KraftwerkDevoSparks, and others, Berlin began recording and debuted with the 1979 single “A Matter of Time” on Renegade Records. Just as they were coming together, however, Nunn left the band to focus on her acting career. In her absence, the band hired singer Virginia Macolino and in 1980 issued their debut full-length album, Information, which included a re-recorded version of “A Matter of Time,” as well as several songs written with Tony Childs. But no mainstream record company would sign them until Terri Dunn came back …

Terri did eventually come back to the band and they enjoyed an on again off again relationship. Until they reunited one more time  in 2015 for a Berlin show in Reno. The following year, Crawford went through a divorce and began writing songs again. At the same time, Diamond was going through his own break-up. As a result, all three Berlin bandmates reconnected and began working on songs together. In 2019, the new Berlin with the three original members  issued their eighth album, Transcendance, which featured the title-track single, as well as a re-recorded version of their 1982 hit “Sex (I’m A…).” ‘Strings Attached is an orchestral re-imagining of the group’s songs recorded in collaboration with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Make sure you check it out.  

"I wanted music so much, it scared me." - Terry Nunn

For more information about Berlin and Terri Nunn head for the band’s website https://www.berlinpage.com/

To contact me with feedback, comments or suggestions for other interviewees, send me a message here.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode – a conversation with Berlin’s Terri Nunn.

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