In 2011, Tyler appeared on Swedish TV show Kvällen är din (“The Evening Is Yours” in English), singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with Swedish singer Niklas Paulström. Tyler also performed “It’s a Heartache.” She also made a guest appearance in the music video “Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind),” a parody of the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys song “Empire State of Mind” for the BBC‘s Comic Relief charity. Also in 2011, Tyler won an award at the BMI London Awards for “It’s a Heartache” gaining over 3 million airplays on US television and radio since it was first recorded in 1977. She also appeared on the Ukrainian version of X Factor as one of the three British guests, alongside Kylie Minogue and Cher Lloyd. She performed “It’s a Heartache,” “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero.” In December 2011, a portrait of Tyler by Rolf Harris, owned by Cathy Sims, was appraised for £50,000 on BBC‘s Antiques Roadshow.
On 26 September 2011, Sony Music released a compilation entitled Best of 3 CD, which featured two new tracks; a duet with French singer Laura Zen entitled “Amour Éternel (Eternal Flame),” and “Under One Sky,” a song written by Paul D. Fitzgerald, the main songwriter on Tyler’s 2005 album Wings. The compilation reached No. 36 in France and No. 48 in Belgium. It was first released to French radio stations on 29 August 2011.
2012–2014: Rocks and Honey and the Eurovision Song Contest
In early 2012, Tyler began working on her latest album, Rocks and Honey. She travelled to Nashville, Tennessee in search of material for the album. It was recorded at the Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and produced by David Huff. Tyler sent the album to the BBC ahead of its release for feedback. After hearing the third track “Believe in Me“, they asked Tyler to represent the United Kingdom with the song at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Although she was initially reluctant, Tyler accepted, describing Eurovision as “great publicity for my album.”
Tyler was announced as the United Kingdom’s entrant on 7 March 2013, and was met with a mixed reaction.“Believe in Me” was released on 13 March, and peaked at number 93 in the United Kingdom. As a member of the “Big Five”, the United Kingdom automatically qualified to the Eurovision Grand Final on 18 May. Tyler finished in 19th place with 23 points. Reacting to the results, Tyler stated, “I did the best that I could do with a great song,” adding, “I’m so glad and so happy that I did it because it was an incredible experience. It was like the Grammy awards all over again.”
Following the Eurovision Song Contest, Tyler became the first representative for the United Kingdom to receive a Eurovision Song Contest Radio Award. She received the accolades for Best Song and Best Female Singer.
Rocks and Honey was released on 6 May 2013 in the United Kingdom, and peaked at number 52 on the UK Albums Chart. The album was titled in reference to the contrast between Tyler and Vince Gill‘s voice on their duet “What You Need from Me“, which was likened to “rocks and honey”. “This Is Gonna Hurt” and “Love Is the Knife” were released as the second and third singles in August and September 2013 respectively, though both songs failed to chart.
In 2014, Tyler released “Miserere” on Rhydian Roberts‘s album One Day like This, and “Fortune” on Spike‘s album 100% Pure Frankie Miller.
2015–2016: Greatest Hits Tour and upcoming album
In June 2015, Tyler performed “Circle of Life” from The Lion King on Die schönsten Disney Songs aller Zeiten, a German TV show celebrating numerous popular Disney songs. In September 2015, she appeared on the live NBC show Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris performing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Holding Out for a Hero”, featuring vocals from Neil Patrick Harris, Nicole Scherzinger and Alec Baldwin.
Tyler contributed vocals to Frankie Miller‘s album Frankie Miller’s Double Take, which was released on 30 September 2016. In October 2016, Tyler embarked on her Greatest Hits Tour in Germany. While promoting the tour, she announced that she will be travelling to Nashville in December to record some new music with John Carter Cash. In February 2017, it was announced that Tyler would be releasing a new single called “Love’s Holding On” with German heavy metal band Axel Rudi Pell.
Born into a musical family, Tyler grew up listening to a wide range of musical genres. One of Tyler’s earliest musical memories was listening to her mother singing opera music in the family home. Tyler attended church until she was sixteen years old. Her first ever performance was singing “All Things Bright and Beautiful” in church. She was also exposed to the music of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles and other 60s bands due to her siblings’s musical tastes. Frankie Miller was the first live act that Tyler saw, and she later recorded duets with him.
Tyler’s two biggest influences from a young age were Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. She cites “River Deep – Mountain High” as being her all-time favourite song. Other artists that influenced Tyler in her youth include Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett,Meat Loaf, Joe Cocker, Dusty Springfield and Tommy Steele. She has also expressed admiration for contemporary artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Anastacia, Toni Braxton, Duffy, and Eminem. She has also expressed interest in collaborating with Adele, whom she describes as “a great song writer, singer and performer.”
Tyler’s music contains elements of country, rock, pop, blues and Celtic. Her voice has been likened to Rod Stewart and Kim Carnes as a result of her vocal nodules operation in the 1970s,sometimes even being referenced as “the female Rod Stewart,” and, after her collaborations with Jim Steinman, “the female Meat Loaf.” Soon after her operation, when recording her second album, Natural Force, the studio band complemented Tyler’s changed voice. Reviewers from AllMusic have described Tyler’s voice as “inimitable,”“wonderfully gritty,” and an “effective instrument” for drawing notice to her first managers, Ronnie Scott and Steve Wolfe.
In a review of Rocks and Honey, OMH Media described Tyler’s vocals as being “good for only one thing and that’s belting out gravelly vocals,” suggesting that she sounds like Johnny Cash in his later years when she “tries to restrain [her voice].” With reference to her modern voice, The Yorkshire Times wrote that Tyler’s vocals have “still got what it takes to make you tingle.” Jim Steinman told People magazine that he wrote “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as a “showpiece for [Tyler’s] voice.”AllMusic said that Tyler’s voice “produced the perfect type of “desperate lovelorn” effect to suit the romantic lyrics.”
Though songwriting has never been a significant part of Tyler’s career, she has co-written a handful of B-Sides and other tracks. “Gonna Get Better,” a B-Side to the 1980 Japanese single “Sayonara Tokyo,” was written with her brother, Paul Hopkins.
In 2001, Tyler co-wrote four songs with Gary Pickford-Hopkins on his GPH album, and duetted with him on the track “Loving You Means Leaving You.” Tyler was also involved in writing several tracks for her 2005 album Wings, including its singles “Louise” and “Celebrate.”
Main article: Bonnie Tyler discography
Tyler has participated in a number of charity recordings. In 1986, she sang on The Anti-Heroin Project’s single “It’s a Live-In World”. In 1987, she contributed vocals to the closing chorus of the UK No.1 single “Let It Be” for the Ferry Aid ensemble. In 1990, she recorded a solo in “Sailing“, which was released with the group Rock Against Repatriation. She also featured on a 2007 charity album called Over the Rainbow. The event was filmed and shown on the British TV series Challenge Anneka, in which presenter Anneka Rice was set the challenge of putting together a thirteen-track compilation album made up of songs from musicals in five days and organise a promotional concert for the release of the CD. The proceeds went to the Chase Trust disabled children’s charity. Tyler selected “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from one of her favourite musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2013, she re-recorded “Holding Out for a Hero” for the 2013 Children in Need appeal.
On 1 November 2009, Tyler joined artists including Escala, Joss Stone and Bananarama in a charity concert in support of breast cancer research. It was held at the Royal Albert Hall as a fundraiser for Pinktober. The following year, Tyler headlined in a New Zealand charity variety show alongside Leo Sayer.
In November 2012, Tyler donated a diamante-studded denim jacket to help raise funds for the at-the-time missing five-year-old April Jones. For the 2013 BBC Children in Need charity appeal, Tyler re-recorded “Holding Out for a Hero” for two promotional clips, with the motto ‘Be a Hero’ to encourage the public in the charity’s fundraising campaign.
In Portugal, Tyler was named as the patron of the Guia-based AAG (Animal Charity Association), which helps injured, hungry and distressed street animals through the likes of feeding programmes and veterinary care. In 2014, she endorsed the BUAV‘s campaign to make it mandatory for animals in testing laboratories to be re-homed.
In Wales, Tyler became a supporter and ambassador of Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre in the 1990s. On 11 June 2013, she nominated the charity for the Pride of Britain Awards. She supported Swansea Bay being named the “City of Culture 2017” in November 2013. As the patron of The Noah’s Ark Appeal (raising money for the Children’s Hospital, Cardiff), Tyler attended the Coral Welsh Grand National in Chepstow, Wales on 28 December 2013. Tyler performed at a tribute event marking a year since the passing of singer Gary Pickford-Hopkins. The event was held in Swansea on 19 June 2014, where Tyler performed alongside her brother Paul Hopkins.
Tyler married property developer Robert Sullivan on 14 July 1973. They have no children; Tyler miscarried when she was aged 39.
Through her husband, Tyler is related to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and attended her wedding to Michael Douglas in 2001.
Since 1988, Tyler and her husband have owned a five-bedroom home in Albufeira in the Algarve. Tyler had recorded one of her albums there in the late 1970s, and the couple had spent the better part of the year there. In 2005, Tyler was filmed in the Algarve for a short Polish entertainment TV show called Zacisze gwiazd, which explores the houses of actors and musicians.
Tyler and Sullivan have invested in real estate—as of a 1999 interview, they owned farmland in Portugal and New Zealand, 22 houses in Royal Berkshire and London, and 65 stables offering horse boarding services. In a 2013 interview, Tyler stated that the farm in New Zealand had been converted to a dairy farm twelve years after they purchased the land. In the same interview she also stated that she and Sullivan also own a quarry.
Awards and recognition
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Bonnie Tyler
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “It’s a Heartache” have estimated sales of over 6 million units each, and are among the best-selling singles of all time.
Tyler’s 1976 breakthrough with “Lost in France” led to her nomination for Best British Female Newcomer at the 1977 Brit Awards. In the 1980s, she received nominations for two more Brit Awards, and three Grammy Awards. In 2013, she was presented with the Gold Badge award by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).
In 1979, Tyler won the 10th World Popular Song Festival with “Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean”, representing the United Kingdom. Tyler also became the first and only representative of the United Kingdom to receive a Eurovision Song Contest Radio award in 2013.She was also one of the first western artists to tour the Soviet Union.
In addition to her music awards, Tyler has received local honours in Wales; including being named freeman of Neath Port Talbot in 2011, and an honorary degree and doctorate from Swansea University in 2013. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. In 2016, she was honoured by the Lord Mayor of Swansea for Services to Music.