Interviews & Articles


? (re-printed in Break-Through)
"The Kate Connection"
by Abby Sheffield

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From: rhill@netlink.cts.com (Ron Hill)
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 1992 22:21:01 -0800
Subject: Interview c. 1983 by Abby Sheffield

The Kate Connection

by Abby Sheffield

C. 1983

This interview was printed in BREAKTHROUGH 5, I don't know if it is originally from there or another source.

[Transcribed by Ron Hill, thanks to Jackie Zucconi for supplying me with the interview.]

At the highest level, a transatlantic phone connection can be "the next best thing to being there", and at the worst; a near disaster. Amplified buzzing, humming, and other disturbing effects can put a damper on the most intriguing of conversations. So when Kate Bush placed a song to this Stateside writer, apprehension was being developed at both ends. The anxiety was quickly dissipated, however, when Kate's charming accent clipped through the line, with hardly a disturbance to bother with.

We rapidly adjust to the five hour time difference between us and begin to converse; naturally about her and the music she creates.

"I'm concerned with promoting the music. I'm not really concerned with promoting me." she professes.

The statement is an accurate one. Whatever information is discovered about this 25 year old singer-songwriter-producer, must be learned from interviews, or more importantly, from the music itself.

1978 was an auspicious year for Ms. Bush. Records being played most often on British airwaves, during that time, were mostly banal and inane. The initial reaction to her debut single, "Wuthering Heights" was one of incredulousness. How did this young upstart get to challenge musical stalwarts, anyway? After a couple of listens "Heights" became firmly entrenched in the minds of the record buying public and speedily soared right to the top of the charts. The whirlwind journey of the single, and later The Kick Inside, her album debut, triggered other enticing prospects for the deserving songstress. The star making machinery was in full sing and Kate went 'round and 'round.

"I wanted people to like my music" she recalls. "It was fantastic that people received it so well. My schedule was full, and I had so much to think about. I went to Australia, Japan, Europe. In between from coming back from Japan and going to Australia, I recorded the second album."

The smell of success was sweet, but problems sometimes developed to thwart Kate from her ascension to the top of the heap. Decisions made were not necessarily the correct ones.

Reflecting on her choice to record a second album hot on the tracks of her initial smash, "That's the only time I'd ever been in that situation, though that's how I wished it to be. I feel it's not good to be releasing an album between promoting another album. The success of the first album was so great, that I couldn't ignore the opportunity of pushing that success. When you've got something like that, you can't remain there."

Kate subsequent releases outlined her continued evolvement into new territory. Lionheart, Never For Ever, and most recently The Dreaming, could be compared more to journeying into uncharted waters than following a well trailed path. You won't find this lady altering her style to suit the average Joe. A quick spin through one of her discs will prove this out. What's forcefully apparent is that she refuses to be bullied into playing it safe.

Kate's situation seems to be more the exception than the rule. Many corporate head tend to champion high chart positions and balk at the mention of artistic freedom. To parlay some of that artistic freedom into big bucks may be what some executives dream about, but scarcely expect.

No matter. The connection between Kate and her label is real peachy. A carefully crafted bunch of songs are handed over periodically and are eventually released to the waiting public.

Admittedly Kate has more razzle dazzle success in her native England than in North America. The mass sterilization of today's radio doesn't leave much room for esoteric offerings, however good they are.

What propels the serious music listener to plunk down the cash for one her albums anyway?

"If I could actually pin down the quality that enables me to keep working and keep people enjoying it, I wouldn't worry very much. Whenever I make an album I do everything I can to make sure, within the time allowed, is that every song is as good as I possibly can make it."

There's been many printed works assembled regarding Kate and her career, but The Dreaming becomes the focal point since it's the latest of her releases.

"Many people keep finding new things within The Dreaming," offers Kate. "I'm really surprised that people are letting that happen to them. By the third of fourth time of listening to it, they will hear some of the things that we've pu there in layers. Some of my favorite experiences are listening to albums. When you start listening to it a few times you start hearing things that you've never heard before. It's a great compliment."

O.K., Kate and I have been discussing matters for at least an hour. My editor would be chagrinned lest I omit a much requested matter. We've all been milling about, waiting for something new. When will Kate comply?

"I'm about halfway done," she volunteers. "I'm very pleased with the songs that I've got so far. I think they're different then the last album."

Pressing further on this matter elicits this response. "I'm only about halfway done. The other songs could be dramatically different. I always feel wary about talking before anything is completed."

We'll keep you posted.

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

Reaching Out
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Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds