Musicheads Essential Artist: Kate Bush

Kate Bush
British pop singer Kate Bush signing her album 'Never Forever' at London's Virgin Megastore. (Chas Sime/Getty Images)
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Musicheads Essential Artist: Kate Bush
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March is Women's History Month. To celebrate, each weekday this month we'll be spotlighting a different artist with special coverage on air and online. For Thursday, March 26, we're shining a light on Kate Bush.

Kate Bush is important because she forged her own path, both musically and commercially, at a time when many artists struggled to gain agency over their own careers.

In the mid-1970s, a 16-year-old Kate Bush's demo found its way into the hands of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and Gilmour helped Bush find a way into a supportive relationship with EMI, who developed her for two years before releasing any music.

When her debut album, The Kick Inside, did drop, Bush was already known for her commanding control of her career, and she demanded that her label release "Wuthering Heights" as the first single. Inspired by the 19th century Emily Brontë novel of the same name, the song was an unlikely hit, but a hit it was.

It became the first song to hit number one in the U.K. that was written by the same woman who was performing it. Kate's spectacular soprano performance was matched with equally impressive theatrical routines on the tour she mounted in support of the release.

As much of the music world turned their eyes toward the simple and raw delivery of punk rock, Bush remained a searching, complex eccentric whose otherworldly music attracted her fans across the world. After taking her act on the road inc the early part of her career, Bush declined the opportunity to tour and focused instead on releasing records and creating stunning visuals for the then-new world of music videos.

Songs like "Cloudbusting" and "Babooshka" were musical and visual worlds unto themselves, elevating the four-minute pop song into a narrative that had more in common with a full dramatic theatrical production. After a decade-plus-long break from releasing music, Bush returned in the mid-2000s, releasing a string of celebrated records, soundtrack appearances, and even a handful of live performances in her native England.

Still active today, Bush is the consummate artist: relentlessly dedicated to following her muse to every corner of the world, independent of a commercial mandate to stay in one lane.


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