There are less than two weeks until the Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party on Catalina Island, and OC Music News cannot wait! With so many incredible artists on the bill, and at a beautiful location like Catalina Island, you can’t help but have an amazing time.
We have spent the past two months talking with the artists and we have enjoyed the educational and entertaining stories they have shared. Our conversation with Annabella Lwin covered a wide range of topics; animals, veganism, Ukraine, politics, songwriting, and marriage. Lwin is polite, asks insightful questions, and leaves you feeling hopeful. When we scheduled the interview, I mentioned my son getting his wisdom teeth out the same week. When our interview began, after the hellos, she asked how he was feeling. It is that attention and concern for other that makes her such an amazing person.
Most of us know Lwin as the talented front-woman for Bow Wow Wow, the band that gave us “I Want Candy,” “Baby, Oh No,” “Aphrodisiac,” “Go Wild in the Country,” “Chihuahua,” “C30, C60, C90,” and “Do You Wanna Hold Me?” In the present, Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow will take on Catalina on Memorial Day weekend.
Perhaps I never knew, or simply forgot, but I was surprised to find out Lwin was just 13 when the band was launched. Lwin was working at a dry cleaner near her home for spending money. “My mother was a nurse and single parent with four children, so I was not receiving any pocket money,” she explained. With three older brothers sharing their music collections, Lwin was exposed to a variety of genres. “My three older brothers had different tastes in music, but it was all good – Stevie Wonder, The Brothers Johnson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson. So many great singers and performers.”
Lwin was hooked. “I found music is my first love and passion,” she stated. “I was already singing at home, doing home taping, and making tapes.”
That voice found its way to former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. While Lwin was working at the dry cleaners, McLaren was creating the band. Lwin auditioned for him, winning him over. They signed a record deal, released “C·30 C·60 C·90 Go” (as the world’s first cassette single!), and things took off. I asked if her young age made her scared when fame occurred; she said she was blessed by having McLaren there as a father figure. She also solidified her lifelong passion: “I won’t stop singing.”
Traci: What was the first radio song you can remember loving?
Annabella: Andrew Gold’s “Never Let Her Slip Away.” I bought the single vinyl for 10 pence. (begins singing) “I talked to my baby on the telephone, long distance.” The melody, lyrics, voice, and feelings invoked when you listen. My manager once said you can have the best guitar player, best drummer, but without the voice, forget about it!
Bow Wow Wow released the EP “The Last of the Mohicans” and the single “I Want Candy,” put them on the US charts and that new music video channel called MTV. For the follow up album, “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going,” Lwin wrote all of the lyrics. “Do You Wanna Hold Me?” also ended up on MTV and music charts, proving Lwin had the songwriting talent. Mentored by Matthew Ashman, who sadly passed away in 1995, Lwin continued to improve her writing skills. Since that ‘80s success, Lwin has continued songwriting – for herself and others – and has had a vast amount of collaborations, but singing remains her first love.
Traci: You’ve been doing shows yourself lately. How has it been in this post-lockdown world?
Annabella: Brilliant shows and the audiences are lovely. It is so nice to get back out and do shows with my guys. We did a Cinco de Mayo show with Naked Eyes and Tommy Tutone. They had an amazing set! I think a good time was had by all. (Naked Eyes and Tommy Tutone will also be at the Lost ‘80s Beach Party.)
Traci: Did you perform at Catalina last year?
Annabella: Yes and what a blessing. Such a beautiful place! It is like being in the south of France, but here. I was amazed at the beautiful scenery and I love nature views, Mother Earth, Mother Nature. It is such a blessing to be in that environment. The show has so many wonderful musicians, so many great artists.
Traci: Were you on the road in 2020 when things shut down?
Annabella: Yes, I was playing on a cruise in the Caribbean, a floating hotel bubble. There was talk of a lockdown, but I was not ready! I had not been food shopping and needed to get food for my pets!
Traci: Pets are a priority! Where would we be without them?
Annabella: Yes! Animals are such a blessing and they are our lifelong companions.
In addition to being a vegan, Lwin is an incredible activist for animals, people, and the planet. She has done work for multiple global charities including UNICEF and Save the Children Fund, Buddhist organization SGI, tsunami relief, diabetes, plus multiple dog and cat rescue centers. We discussed the tragic impending extinction of elephants, finding peace and joy in life – no drama! – and what the future may hold for the younger generations. Her spirituality and positivity are truly inspiring, and while we cannot solve all of the world’s problems by ourselves, every person can make a difference. At one point, she said, “I’m hoping I will achieve something great.” In my opinion, she has and she will continue to do so.
The past few years have been hard on so many of us, but music has the power to transport us to a happier place. At the risk of sounding extra cheesy, I truly look forward to Catalina because I know Annabella and all of the artists will bring us joy throughout the weekend.
Make sure you arrive when the party starts to catch a short set with Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow. See performances by English Beat, A Flock of Seagulls, Missing Persons, Dramarama, Oingo Boingo Former Members, Wally Palmar of The Romantics, The Untouchables, Tommy Tutone, Stacey Q, Naked Eyes, Kon Kan, Josie Cotton, Shannon, Musical Youth, Burning Sensations, and Trans-X May 27th and 28th for Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party, with the DJ skills of Richard Blade. Tickets are on sale now for the Memorial Day weekend event, plus you can nab VIP and cabana passes to make it extra special.
In addition to the Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party, Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow will be on select dates of the Lost in the ‘80s 20th Anniversary tour, so make sure you catch her to get some positive energy for yourself!