Music

Heidi Klum on Remaking a Shady ’80s Classic With Tiësto & Her Love of Burning Man: ‘I Go Out More at 50 Than Other People Go Out in Their 20s’

There’s no mistaking the opening riff. A moody synth played in a minor key bumps back and forth over a insistent kickdrum before Corey Hart saunters onto the song to sing about wearing his sunglasses at night, so he can “watch you weave then breathe your story lines.”

Today (Jan. 26), the 1983 classic – which spent 23 weeks on the Hot 100, where it peaked at No. 7 — gets a reboot from Heidi Klum.

Yes, Heidi Klum! The German supermodel, television host and noted Halloween-enthusiast has extended her musical catalog with a club-ready remake of the hit with help from her longtime pal, Tiësto.

“Okay everyone get your sunglasses out,” Klum purrs on the opening of the track, which serves as the theme song to the new season of the Klum-hosted Germany’s Next Top Model. But over Zoom, Klum, 50, says that the sync “is not the whole reason I’m doing this; it’s more because it’s so fun to do.”

“I love a lot of different things than just modeling or sitting on America’s Got Talent,” she continues, looking characteristically goddesslike while sitting crosslegged, wearing a flowy white top and pants. “I love painting; I’ve loved designing my whole life, or coming up with crazy costume ideas for Halloween. I’ve always loved being a creative person. And for me, music was always part of that.”

The “Sunglasses At Night” remake started when Klum and Tiësto (who was just anointed as the first ever in-game DJ for the 2024 Super Bowl) were hanging out before one of his shows, and Klum pitched him the idea.

“It was completely natural to want to help her with the production,” Tiësto tells Billboard. Not long after, Klum got in the studio and passed over her breathy, delicate vocals. “It was such a great experience working with not only a friend, but such a professional,” he adds. “You never know how something is going to turn out … and this one I love.”

Debuted during a November Tiësto set at Zouk in Las Vegas (to which Klum wore, naturally, very large, very dark black sunglasses), the track expands her catalog, which also includes the 2022 Snoop Dogg collab “Chai Tea With Heidi” and the the 2006 Christmas song “Wonderland.”

Here, Klum reflects on wearing sunglasses during nights that have turned into mornings, and more.

You’ve traveled the world with your career, so you must have had access to all the best nightclubs. What are your memories of those days?

I never went out a lot because I was always working so much. Traveling, being jet-lagged, I would go to events and then maybe to an after party, but then I was home. When I had my first child, then second, then third, then fourth, I didn’t go out much because I was always super tired. I’m going out more now at 50 than other people go out in their 20s.

Where do you like to go out?

When the kids are with their dad, I love to sometimes go to Las Vegas with my husband. Last time we were in Las Vegas was for Formula 1, and Tiësto’s set started at one in the morning and went until 3 a.m. Then afterwards we went to another party, then another. I wore the glasses that night, and then the sun came up.

That makes me so excited, because I feel like I’ve achieved a night where I stayed out and was not the boring mom in bed at 9:30. I can still do it. It makes me personally happy. There are other people that are like, “the sun is coming out” and they hate it. They’re like vampires. I love it, because I actually stayed awake. For me, this is always an achievement.

After a big night like that, how do you take care of yourself the next day?

Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, and then usually a Big Mac with fries and a Coca-Cola. That is like medicine.

Outside of Vegas have you been to any clubs or festivals that were especially memorable?

I go to Burning Man almost every year … Probably from all the festivals, Burning Man is my favorite. To me it’s the most free spirited. I love Coachella also, but it’s a lot of people very tight together and there’s a lot of Instagramming and social media and taking photos. Even paparazzi is there, so it’s very much out there for people to see what you do. Burning Man is about the arts. Have you ever been?

I have! But tell me about your experience.

So you understand it. You drive on the bicycle for miles, and it’s all of these amazing experiences. People always think that people just go there to party, but you see families there, because it’s a different kind of vibe. You have to kind of be okay with being super dirty. You have all these amazing DJs playing… I have my fishnet stockings on. I always go very sexy — I have no top on, so I’m just topless driving around on my bicycle, and no one gives a rat’s, which I love.

It’s hard to get to, and people really appreciate being there. No one leaves garbage anywhere; people are very respectful of the nature. From all festivals, that’s probably my favorite.

That’s so cool.

We go also to Coachella. I went with my kids, and that’s also fun because they introduced me to people they love that I’d never heard of before. Now I’m like, “What rock was I under?” Kali Uchis, for example, I love Kali Uchis now, but my son has been listening to her for way longer. At Coachella he’s like, “Kali Uchis is at this time,” and I’m like “What the heck is this Kali Uchis person?’ Then we go and it was like, “Oh my god, I love her.”

Heidi Klum & Tiësto
Heidi Klum & Tiësto

What are your memories of the original “Sunglasses At Night”?

I just always remember how [Corey Hart] was so nonchalant in his singing. Like, when you look at the video, he just stands there. It almost feels like he just couldn’t care less. It’s not like, the vocal performance of a lifetime. But I feel like at that time, when people were singing, it was more about having a vibe than having the best vocal performance on the planet.

It was more of an attitude than trying to be Whitney Houston.

Yeah, it was an attitude. And I just always loved the song and the feeling it gave me. I feel like it can give that to a lot of other people too.

You have a lot of different creative outlets: painting, hosting, designing. Does singing provide you with anything that isn’t otherwise expressed?

It’s just a fun thing to do. I love getting ready before going out; I have the music blasting and sing along to it. Then it’s just the idea of hearing something and wishing I could redo it and make it more [modern.] Because of knowing so many people in the music world, I just have the opportunity to connect the dots and make these things happen. Obviously I’m very lucky that I’m surrounded by these amazing, talented people.

Maybe if it was just my voice, coming from the small town I come from, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. But because of where I’ve finagled my way into, where I am today, they say yes to my crazy ideas.

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