KT 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 established?

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 these videos.

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 thought.

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 lose themselves.

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)


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