Wednesday 22 November 2017

A 'Perfect' songstress

Eddi Reader is perhaps best known for her Brit award winning song with Fairground Attraction, Perfect, but as she tells Sinead Healy, there's many more strings to her bow

Over the past 30 years she has gone from busking on the streets to the bright lights of major venues, as well as working with some of the biggest artists in the world.

And there is no sign of slowing down for this Scottish-singer.

With nine critically acclaimed solo albums, three BRIT awards, and an MBE in tow, 2016 welcomed the release of Eddi Reader's first career spanning album; The Best Of, featuring material from her impressive career.

"Where did the time go?" says Eddi remarking on her career. "It's gone so fast but I am enjoying reflecting on it, it is great that I've got something to look back on."

Having played in the Hawk's Well Theatre on numerous occasions, Eddi returns on February 12th as part of her ninth consecutive nationwide tour.

People can expect a lot from the night as Eddi describes both herself and the performance as spontaneous. "I don't know what song I will sing until it's ready to be sung nor do I know what song is next until it comes a 'knocking," adds Eddi.

After all these years she approaches her music with a laid back attitude.

"I don't make effort, it just is. It is great that I've managed after 30 years to maintain a level head while also allowing a part of me to fly off and create."

Her method of making music is unique as she strives to find poetry within things that do not look poetic, adapting characters from stories while singing.

"Someone once said it is like finding jewellery in a junk shop of life," she says laughing.

With many changes to the music industry throughout the years Eddi has allowed her music to adapt with the times.

"There was quite a lot of work and experimenting with the songs, harmonies and themes. In the 2000's I went on to explore cultural background in music mixing with that a traditional and pop genre."

Approaching negative experiences in a creative way, Eddi turns to music. She allows it to open up a part of the mind and shape her perspective on life. "That's what music is all about," she explains.

With an impressive list of collaborations under her belt, from big-name artists like Annie Lennox and Alison Moynet she's stuck for words when I ask who she wants to sing with next: "I need to make a list oh, there are loads mostly with those who are long gone, Frank Sintra would have been great!."

With a career spanning over 30 decades, the highlight after all these years still remains her first number one with Fairground Attraction and their song 'Perfect' which also went on to win best single at the 1989 BRIT Awards.

Eddi was born with music in her DNA. Growing up in a house of music, her father was an Elvis fan and her mother sang 50's songs.

"We all grew up listening to records, there was music on in every room and it was a small 2 bed house so you had no choice but to listen!" says Eddi laughing.

"The people I would have grown up listening to were my aunts and uncles singing. Uncle Frank would sing 'You make me Love you' and my Uncle Matt would sing Dean Martin songs.

"Listening to my family singing was my biggest musical education. I was passionate about having a good time. It was a good gift and it taught me how to enjoy myself with music. I thought it was something everyone did with music but it's not always the case."

The eldest of 7 siblings, Eddi was the first to fly the nest, something that was difficult for her parents.

"I had to do it in an aggressive way, my parents were not used to it and it hurt them more than I intended. It was a scary time. I wasn't in school or college and there was a period I spent busking.

"There were rough times, but it all turned out well in the end," adds Eddi.

Having paved the way for her younger siblings, some shortly followed suit. Her brother Francis also became a singer with Scottish band The Trashcan Sinatras while some of her other siblings sang on the amateur scene.

The Best Of compilation by the singer features material such as the popular acoustic 1988 chart topper 'Perfect' right up to her 2015 versions of the classic Moon River and a rendition of Amy Winehouse's 'Love Is a Losing Game.'

So what's in the future for Eddi Reader? She is already fresh from the recording studio having complied more than 14 songs in just 5 days.

"In the first period you look back at what you did and ask what can you make better. Within the next phase it new doors can open for new songs.

"I'm attracted to other people's stories. There is one story of a princess that has to hide from a barbaric king and I am going to bring her back to life through music.

I love taking old stories and trying to resurrect them through song," explains Eddi.

Eddi will play in the Hawk's Well Theatre on Sunday February 12th at 7.00pm. Tickets start from €20 and are available from the Box Office on: 071-91-61518.

Sligo Champion

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