Kate Bush is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer. She is known for her eclectic and experimental music as well as her idiosyncratic performances.
Let’s see some fun facts about her!
1. Catherine “Kate” Bush was born 30 July 1958 in Bexleyheath, Kent (now part of the London Borough of Bexley).
2. Her parents were English medical doctor Robert Bush and Hannah Daly.
3. She was raised as a Roman Catholic in their farmhouse in East Wickham with her older brothers, John and Paddy.
4. Bush came from an artistic background: her mother was an accomplished traditional Irish dancer, her father was an accomplished pianist, Paddy worked as a musical instrument maker and John was a poet and photographer. Both brothers were involved in the local folk music scene.
5. John was a karateka at Goldsmiths College karate club and Kate also trained there, becoming known as “Ee-ee” because of her squeaky kiai—the loud verbalization preceding a martial arts attacking maneuver.
6. One of the instructors, Dave Hazard, later noted in his autobiography that her dance moves seemed to owe something to karate.
7. Her family’s musical influence inspired Bush to teach herself the piano at the age of 11. She also played the organ in a barn behind her parents’ house and studied the violin.
8. She soon began writing her own tunes and eventually added lyrics to them.
9. Bush attended St Joseph’s Convent Grammar School, a Catholic girls’ school (later part of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s School, Sidcup), in Woolwich Road, Abbey Wood, south east London, in the mid-1970s. During this time her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels.
10. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more saleable to the record companies.
11. Three tracks in total were recorded and paid for by Gilmour.
12. The tape was produced by Gilmour’s friend Andrew Powell, who would go on to produce Bush’s first two albums, and sound engineer Geoff Emerick. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater. Slater was impressed by the tape and signed her.
13. The British record industry was reaching a point of stagnation. Progressive rock was very popular and visually oriented rock performers were growing in popularity, thus record labels looking for the next big thing were considering experimental acts.
14. “Every female you see at a piano is either Lynsey de Paul, or Carole King. And most male music—not all of it but the good stuff—really lays it on you. It really puts you against the wall and that’s what I like to do. I’d like my music to intrude. Not many females succeed with that.”
15. Bush was put on retainer for two years by Bob Mercer, managing director of EMI group-repertoire division. According to Mercer he felt Bush’s material was good enough to be released but felt that if the album failed it would be demoralising and if it was successful Bush was too young to handle it.
16. For the first two years of her contract, Bush spent more time on school work than making an album. She left school after doing her mock A-levels and having gained ten GCE O-Level qualifications.
17. In 2005, Bush stated in an interview with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 that she believed EMI signed her before she was ready to make an album so that no other record company could offer her a contract.
18. After the contract signing, EMI forwarded her a sizeable advance which she used to enroll in interpretive dance classes taught by Lindsay Kemp, a former teacher of David Bowie, and mime training with Adam Darius.
19. Bush also wrote and made demos of close to 200 songs, a few of which today can be found on bootleg recordings and are known as the Phoenix Recordings.
20. From March to August 1977, she fronted the KT Bush Band at public houses around London – specifically at the Rose of Lee public house (now Dirty South) in Lewisham. The other three band members were Del Palmer (bass), Brian Bath (guitar), and Vic King (drums).
21. She began recording her first album in August 1977, although two tracks had been recorded during the summer of 1975.
22. Bush first came to note in 1978 when, at the age of 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single, “Wuthering Heights”, becoming the first female artist to achieve a UK number-one with a self-written song.
23. She has since released twenty-five UK Top 40 singles, including the top ten hits “The Man with the Child in His Eyes”, “Babooshka”, “Running Up That Hill”, “Don’t Give Up” (a duet with Peter Gabriel) and “King of the Mountain”.
24. She has released ten studio albums, all of which reached the UK Top 10, including the UK number-one albums Never for Ever (1980) and Hounds of Love (1985).
25. She is the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at number-one, as well as the first (and to date, only) female artist to have top five albums in the UK charts in five successive decades.
26. Bush has been nominated 13 times for British Phonographic Industry accolades, and in 1987 she won a Brit Award for Best British Female Artist.
27. During the course of her career, she has also been nominated for three Grammy Awards. In 2002, she was recognised with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Bush was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music.
28. Bush is married to guitarist Dan McIntosh and they have a son, Albert, born 1998, known as Bertie.
29. Bertie featured prominently in the 2014 concert, “Before the Dawn”. She previously had a long-term relationship with bassist and engineer Del Palmer.
30. Bush is a former resident of Eltham, southeast London.
31. In the 1990s, she moved to a canalside residence in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, and subsequently moved to Devon in 2004. Bush is a vegetarian.
32. The length of time between album releases has led to rumours in the media concerning her health or appearance.
33. In the past, stories of weight gain or mental instability have been disproved by Bush’s periodic reappearance.
34. In 2011 Bush told BBC Radio 4 that the amount of time between album releases is extremely stressful noting: “It’s very frustrating the albums take as long as they do … I wish there weren’t such big gaps between them.” In the same interview Bush denied she was a perfectionist in the studio, saying: “I think it’s important that things are flawed … That’s what makes a piece of art interesting sometimes – the bit that’s wrong or the mistake you’ve made that’s led onto an idea you wouldn’t have had otherwise”, and reiterated her prioritisation of her family life.
35. There was a twelve-year gap between Kate’s 1993 album ‘The Red Shoes’ and her next full-length release, ‘Aerial’. Kate’s epic silence generated a feverish level of expectancy – it even inspired a novel, John Mendelssohn’s Waiting For Kate Bush, which concerned the inhabitants of a boarding house in which a group of obsessive Kate fans whiled away the time while awaiting their heroine’s return to public view. One of its characters is a Bush obsessive who sent the singer two thousand unanswered e-mails.
36. Kate has a whole host of celebrity fans. Lily Allen attended her comeback show and Andre 3000 once said: ‘Kate Bush’s music opened my mind up… She’s so off the radar.’
37. In November 2016, Bush released a tranquil video for “And Dream of Sheep,” which promotes her new triple-live LP, ‘Before the Dawn.’