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German superstar Nena heading to U.S. for first American concerts

99 Luftballons singer Nena is heading to America for her first ever U.S. concerts.
The star, who hit the U.S. charts with both the German and English-language versions of her 1980s song, aka 99 Red Balloons, never cashed in on the success by playing in the States, partly because she disliked the alternative version of her song and didn’t like performing it.
But now, more than 30 years after the track became a global hit, Nena has decided it’s time to hit the stage in America.
Now a 56-year-old grandmother-of-three, the singer, who only performed a handful of promotional gigs when 99 Luftballons became a big hit in America, will perform shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
Nena, real name Gabriele Susanne Kerner, tells Billboard, “I’m so excited. Some of my band is American and they always say, ‘Nena, when are we going to play in our country?’ Somehow I felt it was the right time. I make my decisions not with my mind but with my heart.”
But U.S. fans shouldn’t expect her to sing her biggest hit in English: “I would never have done a translation, since I love the song in German, but we got someone to translate it. Although, Americans always say they prefer the German version.
“English is a nice language – in my first band we had English lyrics because in 1979 it was not popular in Germany to sing in German. It’s when you translate from German to English – that’s what I don’t like so much.”

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