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Barbra Streisand explains why she hates singing in public

Streisand opened up in a new interview about why a certain aspect of performing "feels odd."
/ Source: TODAY

Barbra Streisand has a love-hate relationship with live performances.

Though she's given showstopping concerts for decades, she's also been vocal about her stage fright, and has more than once pledged that she was done with singing in public forever. But her reasoning behind stepping away from the stage might surprise her fans.

Barbra Streisand
Streisand is not a fan of dress fittings.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

As Streisand, 79, explains in a new interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1, it's at least in part about the wardrobe.

"I don't like (singing in public)," she says. "It gives me the willies. ... I said if I could just sit on a stool and sing, that I could do. But to have to have dress fittings, then I never change my clothes enough."

She adds that she loves "beautiful clothes," but "I don't want to have fittings. I don't like fittings. ... I don't want to be a clown on a stage walking and everybody's below me. It feels odd."

That might explain why doing "Carpool Karaoke" with James Corden in 2018 was easier on her.

Barbra Streisand in special "Color Me Barbra"
Streisand in her 1966 TV special, "Color Me Barbra." CBS via Getty Images

But on top of clothes changes, Streisand can be her own worst critic, and has a hard time getting out of her own head onstage. "It's more about (my expectations)," she said. "That's why when I get off the stage after doing some concerts, I always go, 'I cannot do this again.'"

Fortunately, she's got a lot of other projects in the works, including "Release Me 2," a new collection of 10 previously unreleased studio performances that will be available Friday. She's also finally finished her long-in-progress memoir, she said. How did she manage to get it all done?

Turns out pandemic quarantine was a very fruitful time for the "Memories" singer.

"(Quarantine) gave me a solid bit of time, which is about a year, to finish my book that I started many, many years ago and never really found the time to finish it," she said.

Barbra Streisand performing in Chicago in 2019
Streisand in 2019, performing at the United Center in ChicagoKevin Mazur / Getty Images for BSB

And while the whole pandemic was not something to cheer about, she did find pleasure in being forced to dial back her social calendar. "I love that time," she said. "I loved not having to go anywhere, not to have to go to events that I'm invited to."

Not only that, she loved something we can all identify with — not having to go to regular doctor appointments. "That's what I've just been doing the last few months," she said. "I was surprised, I was even thinking I had cavities, but I don't have any cavities. So it was really great."