Anne Rani - Christmas single at number 1 in Danish music charts

Dec 17 2023.

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Former Hi!! covergirl, Sri Lankan-born Dane, Anne Rani is enjoying success once again as the Christmas single she recorded 25 years ago with the Danish girl band Juice has reached the number one position in the Danish music charts. Adopted as an infant, Anne Rani was taken to Copenhagen by a Danish couple who subsequently went on to adopt another Sri Lankan boy giving Anne a Sri Lankan sibling. Anne’s talent for music was discovered at a young age and her parents encouraged her to sing and perform. As fate would have it during an audition, Anne was selected to join a girl band which went on to become one of Denmark’s most popular music exports. Anne along with Juice toured the world and has performed at many of the iconic music venues in various parts of the world.

Anne spends part of the year in Ibiza and while there she was introduced to Andy Taylor a member of the iconic 90’s British band Duran Duran. Andy was looking for a backing singer and Anne was his perfect choice. More recently Andy has been staging gigs fundraising for prostate cancer. In 2018 Taylor was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and since then he has been doing all he can to raise awareness on prostate cancer. One of his gigs was at the Soho Farmhouse in the UK and Andy invited Anne to be one of the backing singers. In an exclusive interview with Daily Mirror Life, Anne who is currently in Sri Lanka reveals that she wants to discover her roots and collaborate with Sri Lankan music artists.

Q WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING SINCE YOU WERE FEATURED ON THE COVER OF HI!! MAGAZINE? Since then I’ve been working on new music and some exciting projects are in the pipeline. Due to all the attention I received from the Hi!! magazine telling my story of being an adoptee from  Sri Lanka, growing up in Denmark and becoming very successful in music from an early age, I have been inspired to reconnect with my Sri Lankan roots and I can already reveal that I’m learning to say a few words in Sinhala that I’m using in my songwriting for my new releases. My Sri Lankan friend Minosh who has great patience is teaching me. I text him different words or lyrics that I want to incorporate in my songs, but some of it is so difficult to pronounce, so I try to stick to the simple words that are not too difficult.

Q ARE YOU LOOKING TO COLLABORATE WITH ANY SRI LANKAN MUSICIANS? I would love to collaborate with Sri Lankan artistes when the timing is right for it. It’s exciting and it could be fun to do.

Q HOW DID THE CHANCE TO PERFORM WITH DURAN DURAN’S ANDY TAYLOR COME ABOUT? I had the pleasure of being introduced to Andy Taylor in Ibiza where I have lived for about 15 years. Five years ago when Andy started recording his Album I had my first recording session with him which led him to use me for more songs on his fantastic album Wolf To A Man. Needless to say he is a legend and a genius in what he does. He is an amazing singer, songwriter, musician, guitarist, producer and bandleader. He knows what he wants, so working with him you learn very quickly to trust him completely and follow his lead. When Andy called me and said he needed me for his gig in the UK at the Soho Farmhouse Cancer Charity event I didn’t hesitate for a second and when I later found out that Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin was to join us, it became one of those moments where you have to pinch yourself to really know you’re not dreaming. I remember 5 years ago saying to Andy that I would love to perform live with him if the opportunity would ever be there. He kept his word which really proves his loyalty and the faith he had in me as a singer.

Q CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PREPARATION FOR  THE EVENT? We had 7 days of band rehearsals, 8 hours a day, up until the gig. We would meet after breakfast and rehearse, have lunch and go back and rehearse until dinner time. At and when we finished dinner, I would be so dead tired going to bed knowing we had to continue the days after doing the same things. We all learned 8 songs in that week, and everyone was so into memorizing their parts, so the vibe in the band was very focused and sometimes the whole band would sit at lunch very quietly, as we were all just memorizing everything we had to learn in our heads.

Q HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE OF  WORKING WITH ROBERT PLANT FROM LED ZEPPELIN? We rehearsed in Andy Taylor’s studio and Robert Plant came to join us on the last days. Every one of us was starstruck when Robert came into the rehearsal. I don’t think any of us musicians could believe this moment was really happening. Robert had not wanted to perform with his legendary hits from Led Zeppelin in 16 years. So it was a huge deal that he had said yes to do this gig with Andy Taylor. Robert was so sweet and when he left our band rehearsal on the first day he was there, he turned around and looked at all of us and said ”Thank you for giving me hope.” That’s quite unbelievable to have Robert Plant saying this to us. Robert hasn’t lost his charm at all and when he gives you a wink and a smile on stage, you understand why so many just couldn’t help adoring him including me. He is a true legend and still has an amazing voice. I’ll never forget this experience! I feel truly blessed to have worked with Andy and Robert.

Q WHO ELSE WAS INVOLVED IN THE MUSIC? All the guys in the band were so very outstanding and all of them are truly stars in their field. We had Guy Phratt on base who played with Pink Floyd, Madonna and Michael Jackson, and David Palmer on drums, who’s been the drummer for Rod Steward for years. Kenwin House came to the rescue playing guitar as Andy Taylor had a small accident hurting his fingers and he was nervous about being able to play his guitar. Luckily on the night, Andy was able to play and Kenwin being there adding his fantastic skills as an extra guitarist, just made it so great. Andrew James Taylor Junior, Andy Taylor’s son is an amazing musician, producer and singer. He had a successful solo career in the 90s and was signed to EMI.

Q WHAT COLLABORATION DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING WITH ANDREW JAMES TAYLOR JUNIOR? I’m also going to work with Andrew Taylor on songwriting and new productions for my new releases and I’m planning another trip soon to the UK to work with him. Dino Jelusick, is an absolutely outstanding artiste and a rising star with his two rock bands; Jelusick and Whom God Destroy. He was recently a judge on The Voice in Croatia. Dino Jelusick played keys and sang backing vocals with me on stage but he also plays guitar in his own two bands and is an incredible singer and songwriter and a multi-skilled musician.

Q WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE BACK IN SRI LANKA? I am currently on holiday in  Sri Lanka and I feel it’s so important for me to connect with my roots and to experience this beautiful island learning and exploring as much as I can. I keep thinking that I could have grown up here and what my life would have been like. Sort of like seeing a parallel life that I could have lived. I love meeting Sri Lankan people and listening to their life stories. I’m so proud to come from such a beautiful island where everyone you make eye contact with sends you a big beautiful smile. It’s so contagious In the most positive way. I love it!

Photos courtesy of Anne Rani


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Deputy Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno [email protected]


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