Gwen Stefani, who celebrates her 29-date This Is What the Truth Feels Like tour with a concert on the Today show July 15, tells EW what to expect from the production.
HER SHOWS WILL PACK AN EMOTIONAL PUNCH
“It’s not huge sets, but it’s huge emotion,” Stefani, 46, says of the production, kicking off July 9 in San Diego. “I don’t really feel like this period of my life is about big production.” Instead, she says, “I wanted to do something that is reflective of the story. I want these songs to just be sung.” Which isn’t to say the presentation will lack panache: Longtime collaborator Sophie Muller, who began working with No Doubt more than two decades ago (“We just bought each other matching rings for our 20th anniversary!” Stefani happily recounts), shot a series of visual backdrops for staging. “They’re basically mini-videos,” Stefani explains. “The feelings of the songs come alive with whatever is on the screen.”
SHE’LL PERFORM NEW TUNES — AND OLD-SCHOOL FAVES
Stefani’s set list will focus on her excellent solo album that dropped in March — but fans of 2004’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and 2006’s The Sweet Escape won’t feel left out, either. “I’m definitely going to play every single,” she says. “I don’t care about myself, I want people to come and get what they deserve!”
SHE’S DELIVERING A FULL-ON FASHION AFFAIR
Stefani enlisted the help of star stylist duo Rob & Mariel — who work with Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, and Lily Collins. “I used to put so much pressure on myself to be so involved,” she says. “But with them, all I do is give them a vibe and they come back with something incredible. The costumes are ornate and sparkly, yet have a relaxed, masculine vibe.”
SHE’S IN FIGHTING SHAPE…
How’s she prepping for the rigors of a nearly two-hour stage show? “I was on the treadmill this morning for the first time in, like, five years,” Stefani says, laughing. “I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve got to get in shape!’” Those sweat sessions will certainly help, but the endorphins are already paying off. “I feel really empowered,” she says of her newly minted fitness routine. “I have not had a great five years, but I feel like I’m getting myself back to the place that I want to be.”
…FOR HER HIGH-ENERGY CHOREOGRAPHY
While the Harajuku Girls are on indefinite hiatus, Stefani won’t be alone on stage — a crew of eight dancers will join her, choreographed by industry legend Fatima Robinson (Michael Jackson, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige). “I’m so blown away by the interpretation of my emotions,” the singer says of Robinson’s routines. “She’s the first choreographer I’ve ever worked with.”
DOWNTIME IS FAMILY-ORIENTED
There’s one thing she won’t leave home without: “My kids,” she says of Kingston, 10, Zuma, 7, and Apollo, 2, her sons with her ex, Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. (The two split last summer.) “I’m trying to make it fun for them. Every place we go we’re going to do something on the days off.”
SHE’LL POUR OUT HER HEART AND SOUL, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT
“I give away my heart through the music, and my intention is to give [people] the greatest night they can remember,” she says. “But I’m getting back the same. That exchange is so powerful, especially in a time of [my] life where I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can climb back up this crazy mountain that I’d fallen off of.”
This article originally appeared in the Entertainment Weekly print issue #1422, on stands July 15.