Kate Bush is an English singer-songwriter born on July 30 1958 in Sidcup, London. She began writing songs after teaching herself to play violin aged 11. Her family produced a demo tape of 50 of her compositions but record labels weren’t interested. The tape found its way to Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, who helped the then-16 year old to create a more professional demo tape.
That tape impressed EMI executive Terry Slater so Bush was put on retainer at the label for two years. She began recording her debut album in August 1977. ‘The Kick Inside’ was released on February 17 1978 and featured Bush’s debut single, ‘Wuthering Heights’. The track rose to the top of the UK Official Singles Chart, making Bush the first female artist to have a self-written Number One single.
EMI convinced Bush to record a quick follow-up album to capitalize on ‘The Kick Inside”s success. The results were ‘Lionheart’, which Bush subsequently expressed dissatisfaction with. It reached Number Six in the Official Albums Chart and has been certified platinum in the UK.
Bush co-produced her third album ‘Never For Ever’ with Jon Kelly. The record was released on September 5 1980 and was her first album to reach Number One. The feat made it the first album by a British female solo artist to top the UK chart and the first album by any female solo artist to debut on the chart in the top spot.
The singer produced its follow-up, ‘The Dreaming’, entirely by herself, allowing her to experiment as much as she liked. It was released on September 13 1982 and peaked at Number Three on the Official Albums Chart.
For ‘Hounds Of Love’, Bush came up with a solution to paying high fees for hiring studio space and built her own private studio near her home. When the record was released, it knocked Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ off the top of the charts. It also earned Bush four nominations at the 1986 BRIT Awards, including Best Female Solo Artist, Best Album, Best Single and Best Producer. The following year, she won the award for Best Female Solo Artist.
Bush continued to write more personal tracks, as exhibited on 1989’s ‘The Sensual World’. The album went on to become her biggest selling record in the US, selling over 500,000 copies in four years. It reached Number Two in the UK charts.
Her seventh studio album, ‘The Red Shoes’, was released on November 2 1993 and featured a number of high profile guests, including Lenny Henry, Prince, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and more. After its release, Bush disappeared from the public eye, intending to take a year off but not releasing another album for 12 years. She gave birth to a son, Albert, in 1998 and was given the honour of Classic Songwriter at the 2001 Q Awards. A year later, she was awarded Outstanding Contribution To Music at the Ivor Novellos and performed ‘Comfortably Numb’ at David Gilmour’s Royal Festival Hall gig.
Bush’s next album, ‘Aerial’, finally appeared on November 7 2005. It was her first double album and mixed many genres like folk, reggae, classical, flamenco and more. The wait for the follow-up was shorter, with ‘Director’s Cut’ released in 2011. It featured reworked versions of material from ‘The Sensual World’ and ‘The Red Shoes’.
Some months later, on November 21 2011, released a new studio album, ’50 Words For Snow’. It clocked in at 65 minutes long and was characterised by jazz piano and experimental touches. It reached Number Five in the UK Official Albums Chart and has been certified gold.
In August 2014, Bush played her first concerts for 35 years, taking up residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. The 22 dates were a rare instance of the musician performing live, having only undertaken one tour in her career, having not played live since. Tickets for the gigs sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale.