To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
From: email@example.com (ronald hill)
Date: Mon, 01 Feb 93 21:01:21 PST
Subject: Evening News interview, Feb. '18, '78
Evening News Interview by John Blake, February 18, 1978.
Sexy Kate sings like an angel
by John Blake
Kate Bush was a wistful, wide-eyed 14 year-old schoolgirl when she first realised she was destined to become a star.
By the time she was 16, EMI Records had released it too and they advanced her L3,000 to live on while she developed her prodigious song-writing and singing talents.
Now, at 19, her first record - a plaintive, tormented song, "Wuthering Heights" - has just been released.
The record has jumped into the top twenty and I'll be astonished if it doesn't make No. 1 by the middle of next month.
Yet the song is merely the tip of a whole iceberg of talent.
And, having listened to Kate's album, The Kick Inside, and been charmed by her company I'm convinced she is the most important girl singer to have emerged in Britain for at least ten years.
She's beautiful too and very sexy - al huge brown eyes and long, tangled auburn hair.
"But I'm not going to fall into the trap of doing the whole female thing, being a sex object," she says.
"I think a lot of woman are conditioned to want to look like that when they are young.
"But it's so dangerous to come on all sexual because straightaway you are label as a woman instead of an artist."
"I'm very interested, though, in people's emotions and their relationships. I'm intrigued by the way women use their power over men.
"They can use their bodies and they can use the obviously sexual way to get through but I just think that's wrong.
"That's relying on something that is fading and something that is purely material anyway - it's not really anything."
Kate's fascination with relationships prompted her to write "Wuthering Heights".
It is a strange, almost mystical song which is based around the part of the novel by Emily Bronte where Cathy wants to take Heathcliffe's soul so they can be together in the spiritual world.
"I developed a kind of fascination with Cathy after I saw the last 10 minutes of the television series where she was at the window and cutting herself with the glass. It always stuck in my brain.
"It was probably a lot to do with the fact that her name was Cathy - and I was always called that as a child.
"My feeling about it was so strong that it kept coming back to me again and again.
"Then I read the book and discovered that Emily Bronte had her birthday on the same day as me, July 30, and I really, really wanted to write a song about it all."
She is the daughter of a general practitioner and was brought up in a middle-class home at Plumbstead, in Kent.
"I have two older brothers and they were both very keen on musical instruments so I just grew up with music all around me," she says.
"When I was about 11 I just started poking around at the piano and started making up little songs.
"It was just an easy way to release all the energy I felt inside me. I never played Beatle songs or anything like. I was always just exploring the instrument.
"Then, when I was 14, I started taking it seriously and i began to treat the words to the songs as poetry. I'd always been keen on poetry at school and it was lovely to put the poems together with the music."
Her brothers were astute enough to realise that here's was a quite exceptional talent - but no record companies were interested when they were offered tapes of little Kate singing and playing the piano.
Eventually, via a friend of a friend, Dave Gilmour, Pink Floyd's millionaire guitarist, came to hear about this strange little girl who sang like an angel.
"I was really nervous about meeting Dave but he was so nice and kind," she says.
"He told me to go into a studio to make a finished demo tape and then to select the three best songs and to offer them to a record company.
"Dave took me into AIR London studios and put up the money for everything. It must have cost a fortune but he didn't want to get anything out of it.
"He's done the same sort of things with a couple of bands. He just discovers them and tries to help them. Since then he's always kept in touch and made sure everything is going OK."
EMI jumped at the chance of signing Kate up when they heard the tape.
"But," she says, "I was only just 16 and then and - though everyone had been telling me for a couple of years I was going to be a star I wasn't really capable of handling it. I needed time."
So, spared from the drudgery of having to work by EMI's generous advance, Kate first studied mime under Lindsay Kemp - David Bowie's old tutor, then moved on to work at the Dance Centre, in Covent Garden.
"I couldn't believe how hopeless I was," she giggles.
"I went on thinking: 'Oh well I'll have this off in a week.' But after a year I realised that I didn't know anything - ten years and I might just be starting to get good. It really is so very difficult."
During this period she moved from her parents' home to a flat in a house owned by her father in Lewisham.
"It was good for me to be independent," she says.
"I didn't leave home because we were having home troubles. I did it because I wanted to maybe grow up a bit, to find out about the world - to be myself and not have the influence of my parents all the time.
"In fact my father owning the flat is a great situation because both my brothers have flats below me and they are always there when I need them."
She composes now on a honky-tonk piano she bought from a second-hand show in Woolwich.
"I feel as though I've built up a real relationship with the piano," she says. "It's almost like a person. Like, it's really comforting just to sit down and play it.
"And the piano almost dictates what my songs will be about.
"If I haven't got a particular idea I just sit down and play chords and then the chords almost dictate what the song should be about because they have their own moods.
"Like a minor chord is very likely to tell me something sad. A major chord tells me something a little more up-tempo and, like, on a more positive level of thinking.
"If I ever made enough money I'd like to get a piano that sings: a great big singing beast like a Steinway."
On stage, though, Kate is very aware of the need to have a band with her and is busy lining one up. One dead cert member will be her 25-year-old brother Paddy - who plays mandolin on her album.
Though her name is cause a huge stir in the music business -with such luminaries as Steve Harley and Dusty Springfield constantly singing her praises - she still has no manager.
"I know so many people who have almost been destroyed by having amateur managers chained around their necks.
"I couldn't afford to have someone to tie me down like that. And not having a manager has been great because I have been able to personally deal with people and so I have learned a lot about the business side.
"I've had quite a few offers recently from people who want to manage me - but I'm thinking it all over very carefully before I make my decision.
Not merely a beautiful young lady, but a clever one too. Surely an unbeatable combination.
To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds