NEW YORK – Cher's concert stand in Las Vegas may be the ultimate representation of Sin City: it's decadent, glitzy, oversized, over-the-top and a thrill-a-minute experience.
But when she leaves the Colosseum at Caesars Palace at the end of her performance, the 62-year-old singer leads a lifestyle quite opposite from the kind that Las Vegas has come to represent: She stays out of the casinos, refrains from drinking, doesn't smoke and stays away from the all-night party scene.
"I like to go out, do my work and then come home," says Cher, who likens her time away from the stage to living like "a nun."
Unlikely words from a woman who has represented quite the opposite over her nearly five-decade career (as the barely there outfits she dons in her show reflect). But while she puts on an eye-popping extravaganza in Vegas, Cher likes to keep her home life decidedly more low-key.
In a recent interview, Cher — who kicks off the second phase of her concerts at Caesars Palace this month — talked about her show, life in Vegas and why she finds herself in Target stores.
AP: What was the first season of shows like in Vegas?
Cher: The schedule is a dream schedule. The only thing that I kind of didn't anticipate for some reason, I don't know where my brain is, but I didn't anticipate the dryness getting to my throat the way it did. ... So when I'm there, I have to kind of live like a nun and not talk during the day, but that's the only unusual thing.
AP: How do you not talk during the day? Is it hard?
Cher: Yeah. ... It's so hard for me, I just really have to think about it and just not speak, but I have to remind myself about 100 times a days, because I'm not the kind of person that doesn't want to talk.
AP: Do you text people?
Cher: (Laughs) Oh yes, I do text people — I text, I e-mail, which is kind of the only saving grace.
AP: What's the best part of getting back to Vegas?
Cher: Look, performers love to perform — that's the thing that we do. I think one of the best things was being able to imagine anything that I wanted, anything that I came up with we could do, because this theater is unbelievable. I come home twice a week, so I'm kind of at home. ... I'm not there that much, but it takes me 40 minutes to get home (in the Los Angeles area), it's like doing a show from my bedroom.
AP: What's your upcoming movie with Johnny Knoxville about?
Cher: I can't really talk about it yet. I just can't.
AP: What kind of sound will your new CD have?
Cher: It's hard to put a label sometimes on songs, but it's a little bit more guitar-oriented, a little bit more like "I Found Someone" feeling, and there's some stuff that's still sort of guitar-oriented, but it's got a Southern feeling to it. You know, I just find songs that I like and then I do them and hopefully they make something cohesive.
AP: Have you considered doing one of those exclusive marketing deals?
Cher: I think it's a good way to market things. ... I happen to actually think Target's pretty fabulous. On the road, when you're in some teeny little town, I must tell you, I've been to a lot of Targets. I know there are a lot of Targets and a lot of stores called Michaels in the United States. We had a thing where we do painting and we would have these big Teamsters painting a little teapot for their mom. ... I would be running to Michaels and getting paintbrushes and stuff like that.
AP: What do you do when you're not working on your music?
Cher: I have a school in Africa. I just got back from Kathmandu (Nepal) and I'm working with some Tibet children there, and I just got back from (the Los Angeles) city hall ... to try and save the life of this elephant Billy in the L.A. zoo. I just don't want this elephant to die ... he has so much anxiety. He's been alone there forever. ... Elephants should not be in zoos. Elephants don't live in zoos, they die in zoos.