With “Maria Magdalena” Sandra stormed the charts in the mid-80s. Now the singer has turned 60 – and wants to go back on stage after surviving breast cancer.

It was the time of perms, puffed sleeves and waist belts. In the 80s, the Americans had Madonna and Whitney Houston, the Italians Gianna Nannini, the British Samantha Fox – and in Germany, after Nena’s worldwide success, Sandra suddenly appeared.

With “Maria Magdalena” the singer became an international act in her early 20s. The biggest hit of the native of Saarbrücken, which is still present at hardly any 80s party, made it to number one in more than 20 countries in 1985.

Getting started after five years of breast cancer

This week (May 18) the musician, born Sandra Ann Lauer, turned 60 – and the day after her milestone birthday she was on the concert stage in Olmütz, Czech Republic. “I’m really happy,” she said before her performance. Because after almost five years of breast cancer, she is finally healthy again. She is happy “that I can go back on stage and be myself again”.

Now she wants to start again, even if the fans would have to wait another year or two for her new songs. In the future, she would also like to have more appearances in Germany – and therefore also want to rent an apartment in Munich. “I don’t always have to be flown in,” said Sandra, who still mostly lives in Ibiza.

Again and again creative breaks

The singer’s last album (“Stay in Touch”) was ten years ago, followed by a best-of release in 2016. Long breaks are nothing unusual in the life of the musician, who sold more than 30 million records in the first phase of her career. The silent star has always taken time out and has grown older without scandals or embarrassments.

In Japan, Sandra was celebrated as a superstar in the 80s, in Europe she was played all over the place in discotheques, in South America she was called the “European Madonna”. With “In the Heat of the Night” Sandra had landed another veritable follow-up hit, but then there were no further huge hits. A cover version of “Hiroshima” brought her back into the charts in early 1990 – then it became quieter around Sandra.

Youth left behind

“First of all, I needed a total break,” she explained to the German Press Agency at the time. “Since I was 16, I’ve actually only lived out of a suitcase.” Her youth fell by the wayside. “I didn’t have any childhood friends, I never went camping, I never went to the discotheque, I never celebrated.” For her there was nothing but music. Before her success as a solo artist, she belonged to the disco trio Arabesque, which was particularly successful in Japan.

In 1988 she went to the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza with her first husband, the music producer Michael Cretu, who also became known with the music project Enigma (turned 65 on May 18). After the birth of the two boys Nikita and Sebastian, Sandra withdrew. “Suddenly there was so much to do: the twins, the house, the family, that was more important to me.”

Small comeback in 2002

In 2002 there was a small comeback with more contemplative tones on the album «The Wheel of Time». Two years later she appeared on stage for the first time in several years. Songs with the Swiss musician DJ Bobo and with ex-Modern Talking singer Thomas Anders followed – and other albums with which she reported back to her fans.

In recent years, Sandra has been drawn to the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Eastern European countries and Russia. In Russia, however, she would “of course not” perform as long as Vladimir Putin is in power, she said. You have a lot of Russian fans. “And the people in Russia can’t help it.”

Concerts planned in Eastern Europe and the USA

This year, Sandra will be visiting Eastern Europe several times: in July in Estonia, in August in Romania and in October in Slovakia. More concerts are scheduled for August in the USA – from New York to Los Angeles, together with Thomas Anders. “It’s going to be really cool for sure.” Only two concerts are planned in Germany: in autumn in Dortmund and Düsseldorf.

She doesn’t know stage fright, she said. “I’ve never been someone who was afraid to go on stage.” On the contrary: you can’t wait to get out.