Q What happened to the promotion of Voice in France? The potential that this record has in France, especially with Les Amants?
What can you do. Yes there is always the sadness that as the French national that I am… I get no work in France. In truth I think I’d like it mostly for my Dad. He never wanted to raise us in England and as you’ll know we were raised in a very French rural tradition…But it suited me in my early professional years as I holidayed in France, and as long as there were no Brits or Germans…no one knew me from Adam and I did like that very much…and certainly on the beach!!!
I think the major component in my not being brought out there for promo is that it is not really suited to radio (except it seems in Greece…. I love the Greeks!!! ;D) and without blanket play the record companies won’t invest in the expense of exporting you. Advertising is too expensive for them in a vacuum and they concentrate on acts that do get played.
ps My spelling in French is even more rubbish than in English!! x
Q When you’d made your final song selection for Voice…. was there a time afterwards you thought…’Dammit…. I forgot about that one’….? And were there tracks you were peed off that you tried to do but just wouldn’t work?
A Yes I hoped this stuff would work as well as I felt it did live. I think I still have some way to go to perfect recorded singing. A problem I find is that I sing at such a volume when I go for it that I wipe out the level of track coming back at me through the headphones. I haven’t yet managed to find a way that I can handle that properly. Recording Voice, we tried speakers but had the same problem..not being able to have it at volume because of the overspill. Doing this radio programme has taught me something…Phil Ramone will record his acts if they wish on a hand held. Every producer I know has been resistant to that…but I shall push for it next time… I need to physically be in contact with the mike.
We almost did Wild Is The Wind…but dropped it at the 11th hour. Also wanted to try The Man With The Child In His Eyes…but Kate’s people wanted to hear it before they gave permission and that for me was too like going back to seeking record company approval for comfort. It’s what I am determined to avoid…too dangerous anyway because if they knocked it back I would have felt bad and that would have coloured the way I listened to Kate and I don’t want that to happen because I love her work purely and I want to maintain that feeling.
For the record now…. I knew Blackbird wasn’t right but didn’t cut it when I should have and I also under delivered God Give Me Strength…. headphone issue again. I could have dug in deeper and redone them but that wasn’t in keeping with the mood of how we were working or the time frame we had. The wrong call from me ultimately…but there isn’t an album I’ve made where there aren’t those questions….
Q You mentioned that Voice was recorded in two weeks and ready to go – did you enjoy this intense way of recording and would you go down a similar route in future?
A Yes I loved it. I felt like one of those real turns. I do have issues with long bouts of attention…so I loved the quick gratification of it. I like that a lot of the work, getting to know the songs, was done upfront. That I sang as the bass or the piano was going down. So we could feel if we had nailed it rather than piece-meal it together. It was a different thing….this can’t be done with synthesized sounds really…because that is like making a collage and I like that too…but it was a new way for me to record and the difference was for that instance, refreshing
Q Loved the concert. Saw you at the RFH; the atmosphere was really special.
Wondered why you don’t wanna sing your really big hits?
Remembered you saying on the night “I’m going to do one from Alf…don’t get excited it’s not a hit”
A I don’t have a problem with hits…maybe just my hits.
Yazoo’s were mostly good but they are defined by Vince’s sound…I can bring them out to remind us all of younger days but really I need him to do them justice and believe it or not. I am in the mood for doing just that… But my Alf hits were written with Swain and Jolley and they liked for me to sing just above my real range…that’s fine for money notes… but not for a whole refrain…basically the technique is shouting and there’s not enough undulating to rest the larynx…that creates strain…the voice goes and the tour is cancelled…also I have done them so often that there is no joy or anticipation in there for me…I tread water…and you can hear it… I hung on to Only You for such a long time because it is a larynx rester…like those people who exercise lol..and they do those stretches for the lactic acid or what ever it is… Only You works that way on throat muscles… It’s a rest without stopping or getting cold.
I have tried to play around by dropping the key but without that intensity they work less well as songs. They are just not really live-friendly.
For Invisible…I just have a problem with the lyrics now that I am of an age. Grown up Moyet would prefer to kick him into touch.
Q Leaving aside the fact that Hometime took some time to reach the punters, you have had a prolific couple of years: Hometime release (and worthy critical acclaim), Hometime tour, Voice album, top 10 placing, One Blue Voice tour, DVD… Does this keep you vibrating on a creative streak and, if so, will the experience of working with an orchestra and female producer affect how you write and record your next album?
A Yes… I have had a bit of a run and I’m really delighted about that…there is something very demotivating about going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch again every time. Getting on a roll means that you actually get the chance to progress in everyway….learn something and then apply it as opposed to leaving the block – rusty. To become match fit and then actually get a bit of a game.
I don’t intend for the next record to be fully orchestrated…the instrumentation is not the starting point for me…so anything I say now could change radically…I feel a little self-concious to keep using the ‘I’m not in high demand’ argument. Because I think it is often read with a perceived fragility…it’s not that..it’s just fact is fact is fact…so I say it again… I love that I’m on a roll but there is no such thing as perpetual motion and I will have to stop at some point of my own volition or otherwise… but meanwhile I intend for every experience to count and for every learning curve to become a spoke in my chapel ceiling…
I have a nasty feeling that I have gone off topic again… Oh well….perhaps I could implicate this learning curve …LISTEN Noakes!
Q I have been thinking for a while about your live performances especially on the OBV tour and your ability to inspire and move an audience, now my question…..is there a particular song of yours or one that you have covered that gets/moves you and takes you to another realm so to speak when you perform it ?
A There have been a couple of times when I have felt my bottom lip go – when I have had to concentrate very hard not to cry… sometimes it just comes up on you……. I remember it on You Don’t Have To Go and Momma Momma.. even shockingly on Only You once when I really don’t associate that song with pain… There have been times when I have been out on tours that have coincided with personal trauma when songs that you have never been so moved by before suddenly present you with a lyric that is very significant to your situation… you are in a heightened emotional state anyway and it jumps up and catches in your throat…. but a physical reaction is one that I am looking for when I choose a song to sing so I am often grateful for that intense feeling.
Q As someone who nowadays does what the hell she pleases and not what record company men expect her to do (god Im such a crawler), I just wanted to know what you thought of bands in the charts today, do you have any favourites and who do you dislike. It would be greatly appreciated if you could bitch a bit in your response.
A I am so glad I slept on this one..LOL…I wrote a reply with cutting swipes to a few acts but chose to sit on it before I posted…Now in the cold light of day when I am not feeling feisty I have decided to moderate my response and not bitch LOL…
Thing is, its all very well to spout off your dismissals of other people’s work and feel very smart and clever…and yes justified…and knowing you’ll raise a smile… but ultimately (and I’m not trying to paint a saintly picture of myself) It really distresses me to think that I might cause someone pain or humiliation… and on the off-chance that some scabby cheap remark that I may make at someone else’s expense might get back to them… I would feel low down and dirty…and yes! stew over it for far too long….and I wouldn’t feel clever then. Yes.. I shout at people on the telly and wish they’d sod off out of my living room… there are performances when in the heat of the moment I would happily take the turns legs off.. but at the end of the day a human being is a human being… and I believe in Karma.
So! what do i like….dunno really… I like the SugaBabes angry little faces… as well as their records…of the current crop…I can in turn enjoy Scissor Sisters, Franz Ferdinand…. still loving Coldplay…have I said that already or was that a part of the post that got dumped…here’s something…. I prefer Madonna to Kylie…there! its out there…
Liking Madonna as an older turn….not getting Kylie… (now we’ll find out how many of you come here for me or for the talent! LOL) …and yes, that will make me feel bad later….but on the whole… I couldn’t tell a star from his roadie. Look at the charts sometimes and even the band names are not recognisable as band names let alone knowing what they do. I am less than interested in youth and it’s culture to be frank.
Q I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts on here. You seem to have a talent for writing. Have you ever thought of writing or attempted to write a book?
A Yes. LOL…and thank you for that. Funnily enough I had recently a request to do a biography…not sure because all the dark cupboards LOL
I am used to exposing myself (mostly) but my life story is not mine alone and not everyone enjoys showing their soft underbelly.
I have long wanted to do a book of nursery rhymes.. but the current glut of otherwise unemployed turns turning their hands to children’s literature has dampened my ambition somewhat.
Q What inspired you to audition for Chicago…when you are in a musical show like this I think it feels a lot ‘safer’ and would you consider doing it again and if so what musical would tempt you?
A I didn’t think I was auditioning!
I was getting agoraphobic again. Crying a lot. Deb couldn’t get anyone to pick up Hometime and I was without a deal to record again and no aces up my sleeve. I had no fight left. (lol sounds like a bad book)
Nick, who I had worked with as my plugger at Sony and who had become a close friend had contacts at Chicago and punted my name. He knew I was in trouble. They were very interested and wanted to see me but Nick knew I wouldn’t go unless I thought it was a given..so he told me there was no audition..it was my choice…the rest is history. I did it because I needed to be with people again and I’m really glad I did.
Reading back I don’t think I explained myself well. He told me there was no audition…but he was a big fat liar!!! That was the history bit x
Q You mentioned (on tour) that you found God Give Me Strength an absolute bugger to sing. Then you pulled out a gob smacking performance straight from the Magical Moyet boots and I wondered what it was that troubles you about it?
A Thank you for that. The gittish thing about GGMS is that it goes from my bottom of bottom range to my top full voice range. Its tough cos you need to be loud in your monitors for the low bit and much quieter for the loud bits or I’m wiping out my band mix again… Monitor engineer needs to ride me through the whole thing (so to speak, missus)…just slightly out and you can’t hear to pitch your bottom notes…and there’s always the danger that you won’t hit the top one as you spiral towards it.
Also the melodic intervals are not straight forward ones… its not a song you can coast.
Q How does it feel singing at a venue in Essex, do you feel that your roots are there or elsewhere and does it bring back any specific memories?
A I was quite nervous about playing Southend. I have only done it once before as a professional – and it was a disaster. Water came through the ceiling and all the house lights had to go up. But on this occasion it was fab. We had a really good stage sound and were well received.
I get really sentimental about my home town…although the people seem so different. I sometimes drive to Basildon to do all the walks I used to do. To my schools and our old council estates. The town centre is very different but the estates have changed little… I went to buy water from my old sweet shop and was accused of being a nutter by that gang of hoody kids outside… I must have looked it..pressing my face through community hall windows and walking in circles. I had my innocent years here…and it’s the innocence that seems so hard to find again.
I have been looking for postings for school fetes at Janet Duke Junior School… Let me know if you hear of any!!
Q I hope that my question is appropriate, but, i always wonder with artists like yourself, artists who are obviously enormously talented, have had huge highs and lows but just don’t get the recognition they (you) deserve. Are you satisfied and happy with your career, fan base etc, any regrets, any particular highs you could share? (notice I put them all in one sentence).
A I did love this tour and felt very grateful for the opportunity to get out amongst you all again. I think maybe there is some sadness that I am sometimes overlooked but then so much talent always is. It is no ones right to universal attention and when it comes down to it I have been blessed to get any at all. Much of my career trajectory has been of my own doing. Good and Bad. I have been lazy…or maybe if the truth be known, sometimes too overwhelmed to put myself out there. I was an odd bod in civvy street and I am no easier company now…with my strange ways. What perhaps I do regret is never having the physical presence to be someone’s muse. I believe I have a great instrument (never take my ability to see my flaws as an indication that I am without confidence in my artistry) and had I been a little shinier…first drafts of great songs would have come my way. Having said that I have had some incredible offers of collaboration over the years but mostly they tended to arrive in my ‘if I don’t answer the phone it will leave me alone’ state of mind. I am very proud of my fan base.. it has raised the eyebrow of those wanting to write me off. They can ignore me but they can’t ignore you. LOL.
Q If you could have written any song, which one do you wish that you had written and why?
A Well…. One of those they play repeatedly on the radio would be nice in a ‘I’m a smart git’ sort of way.
Shipbuilding would be a proud copywrite to own. There are so so many that I know a song will pop up later that I’ve all but forgotten about and could declare it the greatest song…until I heard the next.
Q The Voice/One Blue Voice project seemed a very personal journey, drawing much of its influence from your family: Windmills was a favourite of Doris, Wraggle Taggle is reflective of your brother’s interest in folk music, your sister’s fave is the Brel classic La Chanson des Vieux Amants, your school friend gave connotation to Cry Me A River, Ski you contextualised live as being from the perspective of a protective mother, and your Dad provided the starting point for Bye Bye Blackbird. What was your family’s reactions to your recording of songs that had a particular meaning for them? And does this family aspect make you more fierce in any defence of Voice?
A No funnily enough it was not in my mind at all. It was not until later when I was collating some notes in explanation…because I knew what consternation it would create – me making a ‘covers album’ – that I realised there were that many connections…there were more… I later discovered/remembered that Dido’s Lament had been a piece that I played for an Oboe exam. Songs are like tastes…they take you somewhere and you’re not sure where.. only that they make your heart ache.
I think I created a thing with my family from the start – where I couldn’t bear for my work to be a part of our discussions. None of it.. I hated that it made me stand apart and I didn’t want a new identity in my family. I was Alla and nothing more.. so we don’t talk about it really. I feel I have defended Voice enough. I know what my reasons were and I know that it is really important not to get derailed by your detractors.
One thing I have been meaning to say…I read somewhere that it was noted by someone that I had dedicated Voice to my parents – almost as proof that the album was aimed at the older punter or could not possibly be appreciated by those that really understand taste… The young…or the second aged youth…phumph…there’s a whole new tirade that I could have there but I’ll leave it for another time… anyhow… what I wanted to say about that is… what kind of sad tosser does anyone think I am, that I would avoid making a dedication like that…to a couple who have loved and protected me and helped me and bought me my first mike…and to whom I may never again have the opportunity to say thank you to in such a way.. in order to look cool to some fool that doesn’t recognise where each of us is heading. I will not play those games. When I love, I love and I don’t care who approves or not of my sentimentality…or my choices. That’s my version of cool.
I think I will post this even though it looks like I am being stroppy…but I s’pose I am… came out of the blue xx
Q Your abject fear of doing tours is well documented as is your love of the pre-appearence cognac. Do you feel this has got better as the years have progressed? You look to be enjoying the experience more the last few times you have toured? Or have you upped the cognac dosage?
A I think I have been better since Chicago. That helped hugely. I think it was because unlike your own shows you can’t be certain that you’ll have anyone from your camp watching and on some nights you are very well received and on others they might be indifferent to you. Also teaches you that you can’t opt out when things are difficult and that it is your job to give and not receive if you know what I mean.
I have still been hitting the Cognac pre show but it is less than last time around…I have turned on the whole band to the benefits of ‘brown booze’ before a show but have eased a little as I am fearing for my memory… and am loving Moyet cognac…which yes is made by my distant relatives!
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