Interviews & Articles


"Kate's Great!"
by Shirley Stuff
September 22, 1979

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Kate's Great!

(How to become a superstar the Kate Bush way)

IT'S taken less than two years for Kate Bush to slide silkily into the top ranks of British performers. It was in the cold January of '78 that the public first heard of her via the Bronte-inspired debut smash 'Wuthering Heights'.

But this was no potlucky, one off single. Kate's career really began when she was 16 years old, four years before the single was released.

In the intervening time, she was under carefully monitored wraps, courtesy of recording giants EMI.

But the story begins before even then . . .


Born into a family whose musical tastes were many and varied, by the time she was 11 Kate had taught herself to play piano and had written her first songs. Quietly convinced she had talent, Kate worked at her craft studiously.

When she was 16 she met David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame . . . he liked what he heard and seeing the potential in the wispy teenager, ensconced her into London's Air Studios to lay down some tracks.

The results were quick and decisive; a fully produced demo and a contract with EMI Records.

But instead of rush releasing the single and pushing Kate on a round the country tour, the vinyl magnates decided to bide their time.

During the interim, Kate concentrated on perfecting her trade.


To explore and develop her musical techniques she concentrated on writing. To expand her abilities and to find a better method of expressing her highly imaginative songs, she took lessons in dance.

She studied with the best teachers in the land, including the master of mime, Lindsay Kemp.

Learning many aspects of visual communication and movement, she cleverly adapted them to her songs. Believing that a live performance should be a multi-level affair, Kate wanted to incorporate music, dance and poetry into hers.

She wanted Kate Bush concerts to be something no one would forget. The beginning of 1978 and the time was ripe. EMI released the first single, sat back and waited for the storm they knew would break.

Reviews were mixed. Some likened her voice to that of a drowned cat. Some couldn't bear the screeching. But some predicted that this young lady was going to be the brightest star to emerge that year.

The single hung around the bottom of the charts for a few weeks, as if the public were just getting used to this strange, new sound. Suddenly it shot to number one and Kate Bush had the important distinction of having a debut, chart topping single. From then on, it snowballed.

The single hit number one not only here but in Europe, Japan, Australasia, Canada and South Africa, too!

She collected a clutch of awards including the Tokyo Music festival Silver Prize, the coveted Dutch Edison award and a heap of Best Female Singer / Songwriter Awards from the press. Kate Bush had arrived.


Her debut album 'The Kick Inside' stayed in the top twenty for months and a few more top singles cemented her position as one of our foremost entertainers.

After the second album 'Lionheart' Kate Bush had another unique distinction. She was one of the premier record sellers in the country . . . yet she had never played a live date here.

March was chosen as the month for her tour, and preparations for it were shrouded in a secrecy which put the Kremlin to shame!

But the concerts were well worth waiting for. Kate sang, danced and performed her way through a two hour show.

Now it's September and a live EP taken from those shows sees Kate Bush back in the charts again.

Her rise to fame has been a shrewd, calculated manoeuvre, built on the solid foundations of her immense talent.

The long period between the signing of her deal and the first single was a joint decision taken by various EMI heads and Kate herself. They wanted her to concentrate on her songwriting: to write less songs, but stronger ones.

At 21 she has achieved more than most performers twice her age. And the frightening thing is that this is still the early days of her career.

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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

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