Soundtrack Of My Life: Bat For Lashes

The first gig I went to

Michael Jackson at Wembley Stadium, 1988

“My mum took me to the ‘Bad’ tour when I was nine. We were so far away that Michael Jackson was the size of a pin-head, and I remember being overwhelmed by all the screaming fans. But I mean, it’s imprinted on my brain – like, this tiny stage miles away, and then the roar of the crowd. Maybe that has something to do with why I perform now?”

The song that reminds me of home

James Taylor – ‘Fire And Rain’

“It’s kind of hokey but it makes me cry. Me and my sister used to love watching Running On Empty, this ’80s film with River Phoenix, which has this scene where the family all dance around the kitchen to ‘Fire And Rain’. That’s what me and my family used to do when I was growing up: we’d dance around the kitchen to Chaka Khan, George Michael, James Taylor, Elton John and Neil Young. We had one of those houses where the kitchen door was open and there was always a neighbour popping in for a cup of tea.”

The first album I bought

Radiohead – ‘The Bends’

“I was working as a Saturday girl at a hairdresser, so I had my own money for the first time. I remember going to buy Radiohead‘s ‘The Bends’ one week and ‘Siamese Dream’ by Smashing Pumpkins the next. When I was a teenage girl, my parents got divorced and it was quite messy. My godfather knew I loved horses so he paid for me to hire a horse for a year. I can remember riding through the forest listening to ‘The Bends’ on my Walkman and feeling like it was very special. It’s a very formative album for me.”

The song I wish I’d written

Sinead O’Connor – ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

“This song is the perfect encapsulation of a feeling and I love the storytelling. Prince’s lyrics in the verse really take you through somebody’s life – ‘All the flowers that you planted in the back yard / All died when you went away.’ And then the chorus is such a simple sentence that says it all. Sinéad O’Connor‘s version is the ultimate. What’s so great about her performance is the interplay between this absolute fragility and the obvious fire in her belly.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Mtume – ‘Juicy Fruit’

“It’s definitely a slow jam but it’s so, so good. I love dancing fast but I can keep going for longer if the DJ plays slow jams because I don’t run out of breath! I love to put on the extended version of this song, close my eyes and just get lost in the music. It’s so sexy.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Kate Bush – ‘Moments Of Pleasure’

“This is a really beautiful song filled with snapshots of people from her life. When you think of someone you love, you see them doing something – like the guy in the song ‘dancing down the aisle of a plane’. That’s what makes it so perfect for a funeral. And when she sings, ‘And I can hear my mother saying, “Every old sock meets an old shoe”‘, it gets me every time. Oh god, don’t let me start crying now!”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Rae Morris – ‘Banana Bread’

“I think this song is about when Rae Morris left her label and went out on her own. I did the same thing when I left EMI Warner after five albums. This last week, it’s been 11 years since [my third album] ‘The Haunted Man’, which was a struggle to make because there was so much label interference – they really wanted me to have a mainstream hit. I know they had the best intentions, but they sort of ended up crushing my confidence.

“Rae’s song captures that whole experience so well, especially when she sings ‘Shе has universes inside her head – so really the problem is you instead.’ Luckily, it sounds as though she still taps into those creative universes – the way I do. I fought really hard to put out ‘The Haunted Man’ the way I wanted it, so I’m still really proud of that album.”

The song that changed my life

Tori Amos – ‘Precious Things’

“My cousin took me to see her live when I was 12. We sat really near the front and it was just her singing and playing a grand piano, which was absolutely amazing. I went home and listened to ‘Precious Things’ on loop and it became the first song I taught myself to play by ear. I remember working so hard to figure out how she moves between black and white notes in this really complex way, but once I cracked it, I would play this song all day. Something about the grandeur and drama of Tori Amos‘ piano playing really opened a doorway for me. It made me realise, ‘I can write songs like this.’”

Bat For Lashes’ illustrated Oracle Deck in collaboration with London wellness brand She’s Lost Control is available now

The post Soundtrack Of My Life: Bat For Lashes appeared first on NME.

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