Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of Scottish pop/rock band Texas, has a personality that is infectious and engaging.
But that’s not surprising, not if you have listened to her endearing vocals on classics such as Say What You Want, I Don’t Want a Lover, and more recently, on Let’s Work it Out.
Sharleen and her band are no strangers to Dubai, and the Dubai Tennis Stadium for that matter, having played here in November 2015.
As they head back to Dubai following an exhaustive European tour, she spoke to Gulf News tabloid! over the phone from France, sharing her thoughts on making great music, longevity, passion and on her turning 50.
Excerpts from the interview follow.
What is the best thing about being a musician? What has kept you going for close to 30 years?
Enjoying it! We love what we do. It has always been about the music. I don’t really care what I look like it’s not about me it’s about the band, the songs that we make. It’s about leaving a legacy of songs. I have no desire for anyone one to remember me. It has always been about the songs. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do, to write songs that touch people and I try to achieve it every time. Maybe that’s why we’ve lasted for such a long time.
What has the journey been like?
I love it and am still enjoying the moment. I’m sitting in Limoges, France right now and it’s been almost 30 years since we made our first record. But it still feels like we just started yesterday. It’s been such an adventure and such a pleasure to be able to still do it.
You have a new studio album out, Jump On Board. It sounds so refreshing.
Yes, it has done so well and that feels so good, because you know you cannot be at the top all the time, but to put out a record and see it in the Top 10 all over Europe is an amazing feeling. It’s been No 1 in France and 5 or 6 in the UK. I still feel stunned and amazed when we get a record out and it does well.
How important is it to be a hit maker as well as to remain resilient, like yourself?
My natural instinct is that every time we write a song I want people to like it. That’s who I am, I write songs to become hits. But that is not always what happens. From day one that’s what I wanted to do, to make hit records and I still have that fire inside of me to try and make a hit record every time I write a song.
The lead single, Let’s World It Out, is so infectious with its smooth soul and dose of disco?
Glasgow has always been so special and was very influential in the making of that record and the white soul funk that we were trying to go after. Obviously, being of a certain age and having grown up in the disco era, that element is there as well.
I particularly like the way you guys settled into your grove on this record. What was the writing process behind the songs? Was there any pressure to deliver a hit record?
The pressure I suppose came from ourselves — to come up with something really good. But I have to say, this was a very enjoyable record. Sometimes you make record that can be difficult, emotionally, and even physically, for whatever reasons. That could be because of whatever you’re going through in your life at the time. It can have a massive influence on your song writing. That’s why music touches people. That’s why as songwriters we write songs that allow people to make their own scenarios about them. They tag their lives to what is being said in a song after that record is made and when it’s out there it becomes their record, it becomes their song, their story. I do that with other artists as well, because there are songs that touch you emotionally. You make the story what you want it to be to suit your life and that is so unbelievable about music.
I hate to bring this up, but I believe you turned 50 last month. It’s a big milestone, but will it change anything for you?
You know a lot of people have asked me that question, sort of gingerly. I think, ‘Oh my God’. But I feel fantastic about turning 50, because my life is in such a good place at the moment. You know I have a happy family, I have a healthy happy child [Misty Kyd Heath], who is now a teenager. Life is good. We’re still making hit records, we’re selling out tours — so I go to bed at night with peace of mind and that for me is a great luxury.
The electronic music genre has gained popularity. Is this a good or bad thing?
It’s such a strange time in music with most of the sounds played out of digital devices. I think there are a lot of young artists who are coming through because it’s very easy and very cheap to make music these days which means there are way, way more people making it. The problem within the music industry is the big record industries. They are so arrogant. They expect things to be done to suit them. But the rebellion is starting among the young musicians who do not need the big labels anymore and they are fighting against it. The sooner that the music industry learns to respect the musician and the songwriter once again, the music industry will be a better place. I like how everyone talks about streaming. But the problem is the record companies who have given people everything for free. That’s the problem, not the bands.
I agree, I’m pretty old school myself and grew up with vinyl. But the physical format is gone, everything is available online. Will vinyl discover its heydays again?
Again, it’s a bit about that movement of independence, the thinking, the independent shops. The big stores were so powerful. Basically, every musician would bow down to what the big giant record stores wanted. The great news is the independent stores will come back even if that will take time. Vinyl is big again. If you wanted to make money right now, buy a vinyl factory. You know we even released Jump On Board on cassette and it sold out in a day. My 15-year-old daughter is into vinyl and she buys most of her music on the format. That’s a good sign for vinyl.
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