Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
- You see people who are into the glamour and the ego and really
work's what it's all about. It's not anything to do with ego. Music is like
being a bank clerk. It's still work, only a different channel of energy. (1978,
March, Melody Maker)
I read in many interviews that people call you a sex symbol, how do
you react to that?
- I think it's really quite funny, 'cause it's the last thing in the
world I'd ever have thought, you know, I'd be labeled as. And it's... I don't
know it's incredibly flattering but I can't conceive it, myself.
[Laughs]. It's quite funny.
Do you think there is a certain image about you already
- Yeah, I mean I think that...
What kind of an image?
- Well I can only really interpret it from what other people see it
as. Because they're the ones that see it, I just do it. And I'm not sure, I
think they get a theatrical thing. And hopefully it's just a little more
interesting then if I was just standing. I'm trying to project something that
will say something rather than just flit.
And I think that in our society it's very common to have put
everybody in little boxes. So as you have definitely an image, but what kind of
an image you want?
- Well I suppose I don't really want an image. I just feel that
whenever I preform anything, which is really where the image comes from...
Images do seem to be physical. You don't often get an image from someone's
music, you get an image of them as a person. And for me I'd like that to keep
changing, because I don't think I have an image, I just try to project
whatever's happening in a song at that moment. And every song is different, and
that's how I would like to be - I would like to be different with every song.
Rather than the same old thing, do you know what I mean? (1980, Kate Bush In Concert)
One half of the job is publicity. How do you handle this, it tires
you sometimes? Or its boring for you sometimes?
- I guess out of everything that I have to do, its the thing that I
question the most. Because it was something that I was very aware of when I was
outside the business. You know like, just reading articles of my heroes and
maybe reading something that I thought ``No!", you know, ``They wouldn't do
that.'' And when I started doing it, I realized that maybe half the things I'd
read just weren't true, but I'd believe them. And that worries me to a certain
extent that things that are written down, that maybe have been slightly
misinterpreted, will be totally believed by an awful lot of people. (1980,
Kate Bush In Concert)
- There're so many females that don't fit in any category at all.
There're a lot of people that would love to pin them in those categories. When
an image is created around a person - especially a female - there're so many
presumptions thrown in. There are a lot of female artists who are stereotypes,
and who nearly fall into those niches people talk about, but there're a lot who
don't. When you mention traditional females it sounds as though they have
nothing within them - epitomes of a situation. Any singer is a human being
working inside and letting all kinds of different energies come out.
- The labelling that comes with the creation of an image is always a
disadvantage. When someone has done something very artistic, it won't be let
out when they've been packaged. When a female is attractive - whether she
emphasizes it or not - she's automatically projected with sexual connotations.
I don't think that happens so readily with me.
- When I started, it seemed that a lot of singers were singing as if
they weren't even related to the lyrics. They'd sing about heartbreak, and keep
a big smile on their faces. For me, the singer is the expression of the song.
An image should be created for each SONG, or at least each record: the
personality that goes with that particular music. But I don't think that will
ever be seen by the majority of people who look at the pictures and see the
so-called images come out.
- When I was first happening, the only other female on the level I was
being promoted at was Blondie. We were both being promoted on the basis of
being female bodies as well as singers. I wasn't looked at as being a female
singer-songwriter. People weren't even generally aware that I wrote my own
songs or played the piano until maybe a year or so after that. The media just
promoted me as a female body. It's like I've had to prove that I'm an artist
inside a female body. The idea of the body as a vehicle is... just one of those
things. But I'm someone who talks about music and songs. (1982, NME)
Because there's always in the past been a great distance between
the real ``you'' and that's sitting here and the ``you'' that appears on
records and video. There has been very little in common between the two. It's
been someone else making these records and writing these songs and being in
- I don't know... certainly being in the videos, yes, but I think
there has been a little me writing the records but it's been hidden. It's
another side of you that isn't actually seen in every day life, I would have
- I think you're right, absolutely, but don't you think that's so of
most people who deal in the arts?
It's an exaggeration...
- And sometimes it's quite shocking that the person that makes the
art, that speaks in the art, is not the one that you meet. I must say for me
that's what I find so fascinating about meeting people whose work I like. I
really like it when they're very different from their work. Like when you meet
comedians, it doesn't worry me at all if they're not necessarily funny - in
fact I find it absolutely fascinating if they are very serious. It shows that
very distinct mark that I think is there - I think creative people have this
need to hide almost. Maybe it's because of the fact that what they're doing is
so vulnerable - they are totally exposing themselves in a way that wouldn't
happen in everyday life. Maybe they have this tremendous need to hide at all
the other points in their life.
So you don't mind having this other persona to hide behind because
people probably have a great misconception of what you are about? It's like
they imagine that clint eastwood goes round with a gun tucked in his belt
saying ``make my day'' and krlie minogue is really that person in
``neighbours.'' people actually believe these things and they probably believe
that you are as you appear in these videos, and ``yes that's what she's like
when she's at home at night?"
- Yes, I think that's a very general thing that happens to people. You
can't blame them for that, because that's the information they're given, and
therefore that's what they receive. I think it's only people who are involved
in anything like that who actually understand what goes on, and I think people
in the business aren't really surprised when someone who is very extrovert on
stage can actually be a very quiet person. To someone who has only seen that
extrovert it must be like me a schizophrenic for the first time. They would
expect them to be exactly what they see and I think occasionally people do go
to the effort of projecting that for everyone. I think that's a big danger for
performers, because then there is no time when they are actually themselves and
I do think it's a terrific danger for performers or famous people to completely
They start believing the whole image, they start believing the
press handouts and they start to live that life.
And then it becomes increasingly bizarre and increasingly over the
top, and then they wind up in a real mess.
- Well, it is an incredibly bizarre thing. The whole situation is all
very blown out of proportion, isn't it.
- Phoney? Yes, I think there's such a tremendous amount of false
situations created and that's the problem. I think art in itself is quite often
that - making a record is like creating an illusion, like a
film is making an illusion. You might want
it to look or sound real but it is creating an illusion. You put pieces of this
and that, different pieces of time together to create this one image and that's
a fake, that is not as it happens. I think that's o.K., because with art that's
what you want to create; you want to create a picture or story for people and
in things like live performances that's where you come into see the real person
but then again it's always bigger than life. I think this is what art wants to
be; to say something real, but to get it across it tends to be one in a way
that makes it bigger than life.
So there's no true art that is real?
- Yes, I think there is true art and I think art is dealing with
illusion, so I think it's O.K. that things which are pieced together can be
real art and I think it is real art only in the viewer or the listener's eyes.
That's the great thing about ``art", it's only good when the ``appreciator''
like it. It's a very personal thing and again I think that's what art is; a
very personal communication. (1989, Roger Scott)
- I can accept that people might find my image sensual, [she says
in that little-girl lost voice that makes men want to rush to her side].
But I'm certainly no sex symbol. Why should the way I look have any bearing on
the way I sound? I was 14 when I started composing and singing seriously, and I
never gave image a thought. (1990, Musician)
Cloudbusting / Subjects / Image