Music has always been something which enriches me and inspires me artistically. My Father was (and probably still is) a musician, one of those amazingly talented people who could just play whichever instrument put in-front of him, without ever having played before. Sitting for hours at his piano or on his saxophone – creating whilst in a smoke filled room necking back whisky after whisky. As well as this romanticism created in my mind as a retrospective of Daddy, his influence included my introduction to certain music and artists. A wide range from Pet Shop Boys to Miles Davis would be played on our various state of the art record players.
On the other side was my Mother who is French and very much into her chanson française, with Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour playing at full blast on road trips around Europe when I was brought on her work trips as a villa contractor. As well as French artists my Mother loved powerful female singers such as Whitney Houston (who we went to see at Earls Court, London when I was a teenager), Tina Turner, Lisa Stansfield and Elaine Paige.
As a child I was encouraged to pursue music, especially piano and clarinet which in all honesty I hated, my only passion musically was to sing and it was something which was an innate ability of mine, praised by music teachers and encouraged to be the lead solo in performances; singing is cathartic and empowers me still.
So… If I were a musical play list – what would I be?
Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
Tori Amos – Precious Things
Prince – If i was your girlfriend
Madonna – Live To Tell
Edith Piaf – Mon Manège A Moi (Tu Me Fais Tourner La Tête)
Charles Aznavour – La Boheme
Sade – King Of Sorrow
Metallica – The Unforgiven
Skunk Anansie – Hedonism
The Cranberries – Ridiculous Thoughts
Red Hot Chili Peppers – I Could Have Lied
Nirvana – Come As You Are
Goo Goo Dolls – “Iris”
Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Sarah Mclachlan – In The Arms Of The Angel
Each of these songs piece together my life – with them conjuring up particular moments in time, certain people, my pain, my blood – with words and musical notes inspiring me to create but more importantly survive.
The lyrics which stand out to me most, which I repeat in my mind are:
And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places.
He said you’re really an ugly girl
But I like the way you play
And I died
But I thanked him
Can you believe that
Sick, sick, holding on to his picture
Dressing up every day
I wanna smash the faces of those beautiful boys
Those Christian boys.
Quand au hasard des jours
Je m’en vais faire un tour
À mon ancienne adresse
Je ne reconnais plus
Ni les murs, ni les rues
Qui ont vu ma jeunesse
En haut d’un escalier
Je cherche l’atelier
Dont plus rien ne subsiste
Dans son nouveau décor
Montmartre semble triste
Et les lilas sont morts.
–When random daysI’m going for a rideIn my previous addressI no longer recognizeNeither the walls nor the streetsWho saw my youthAt the top of a staircaseI am looking for the workshopOf which nothing remainsIn its new settingMontmartre seems sadAnd the lilacs are dead.
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way.
It don’t make no difference
Escape one last time
It’s easier to believe in this sweet madness
Oh, this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees.
Don’t give up
you’re not beaten yet.