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Kate Bush is a radiant young woman.
She is also extremely talented; possesses a hauntingly-beautiful voice; is extremely articulate; writes mystical but spellbinding songs; brings out the most in her piano; and is the most original artist this writer has heard this year, and in a long time, as a matter of fact.
Kate Bush is all of 19-years-old.
But you would never know it.
"I honestly don't think of myself as 19," the petite songstress admits. I don't think of age as such; I find it hard to start relating to it because I don't."
Although this interview was not supposed to dwell on the fact of Kate's age, some interesting points about the rock press and public came out because of it.
"I've had problems; that's what got me thinking about the fact that I am 19," Bush confesses. "Some interviewers made a point of it, to the point where they were saying that my music was alright because I was 19.
"But I'm not into that at all, because I feel that the music should be treated at its own level and have nothing to do with the age of the person doing it."
Kate Bush's music stands alone. When you clear your head of the fact that she is beautiful and young, her incredible singing and songwriting on her debut album The Kick Inside can engulf you and take you on a musical journey.
Kate Bush has never been called a child prodigy, or all the other titles that usually walk hand-in-hand with talented young people. And there is a reason for it.
"I was never called any of that," notes Bush. "There's a line between a child prodigy and someone who's just doing their own thing. I think the reason why child prodigies don't come through is because they're being led through something. They're not actually going through it themselves; they're not directing their destiny. It's either their manager or their parents."
Kate Bush is not being led through anything. Music seemed to be part of her life since birth in Kent, England. Her two brothers were heavily involved in bands, which resulted in Kate admitting "I just grew up with music all around me."
At the age of 11. Kate began "poking around at the piano and making up little songs." However, Kate did not play the standard Beatle and pop tunes. She became more involved and was "always just exploring the instrument."
Three years later, Kate began to take a serious approach to her composing and piano playing.
"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 music." remembers Bush.
Bush's 'poems and music' become, when blended together, solid, well-structured tunes. And although the music is interesting and new, it's her incredible lyrics that rivet you to your speakers.
"My writing's a very personal thing to me, but it's not necessarily about myself," concedes Bush. "I treat it very much like a complete involvment. When you're writing a song, you have to get right into it. There's no point in being outside it. otherwise it wouldn't be an emotion. And I think that's what music's all about: it's an emotional process."
Her uncanny writing ability impressed many, including Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who was so knocked-out by Kate's ability that he put up the funds for a demo recording session at a London studio.
EMI Records heard the tape and were equally floored. After picking themselves up, they quickly added Kate to their label. But because she was still so young, only 16, it was decided that the next few years should be dedicated to developing her already incredible talents.
Lindsey Kemp, who tutored David Bowie in mime, did the same with Bush in mime and modern dance. Later, Bush began dance classes at London's Dance Centre.
She kept on writing, singing and playing until last summer. when she recorded The Kick Inside. Although ready for release last fall, the LP was not unleashed upon the market until this year.
And perhaps the best factor about the album is that it is so difficult to classily.
"The best way to monitor that is by the letters I get," Bush says. It has really amazed me, because the people I'm getting feedback from are so widespread. I'm getting letters from kids of five and six: teenagers of 15 and 16 all the way up to men of 30 to 40 years old. For me. that's the best thing I can do, because I'm not concerned with reaching a specific area. I want people to choose me, because I can't choose them, they're the people who listen to it and hopefully like it. I want to reach everybody, the more the better."
Upon first listen to The Kick Inside, one is immediately stunned by the high-pitched and unique vocal work of Kate.
"For me, it's not particularly unique." notes Bush, who lists her main influence as David Bowie, although she admits to be knocked out by Billie Holiday. "The first time I realized that maybe hitting people that way was when they would say 'You can't pronouce something like that. you've got. to pronounce it this way.'
"When I first started singing I didn't have a voice at all. I could sing in tune, but what I did for years was work. with a piano, always with a piano whenever I sing. And I think both my piano technique and voice developed together. Maybe it's a psychological thing and I'm trying to sound like the piano. I think had I been writing with a guitar, I might well have a completely different voice."
Kate Bush is now being touted by many, including myself, as one of '78's new stars, as well as an extremely promising talent.
But does Kate Bush ever wish to be just an 'ordinary' 19-year-old?
"As far as I'm concerned. I'm ordinary," she admits. "It's just that my work is extraordinary because it's an extraordinary business."
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