The incomparable Yoko Ono won the NME Inspiration Award at tonight’s NME Awards 2016 with Austin, Texas. NME caught up with the legendary artist backstage, shortly after Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore had given her a crystal necklace as an 83rd birthday present.
Congratulations on winning the NME Inspiration Award tonight. How would you like to think you’ve inspired other artists?
“Thank you. I like the idea of doing things that inspire other people. I can’t think of a legacy at this time!”
Your new album is coming out in a couple of days…
“I know, it’s exciting. I didn’t know that the album was going to come out at the same time as this. Those were not planned.”
You’re in your 80s now, but you’re as active as ever – is there a secret to staying creative?
“I don’t know if there’s a secret, but it seems like when you accumulate age, you start to become more loose, and so you can do anything you want. When you’re young, you block yourself, but the block is going away, away, away. It’s great. That’s my experience – it might be that some people get total block, but I think that age does wonders to unblock you. It’s really great.”
Tonight’s awards were dedicated to David Bowie, who you knew personally – what did he mean to you as an artist?
“He was a nice friend. I liked his music, and I think he really did like my music, which is very rare, so I remember it!”
It’s your 83rd birthday tomorrow – how are you planning on celebrating?
“I have no idea. They said this [the NME Awards] is the one that’s important, so I rushed and came for this, you know. And I didn’t plan anything for my birthday! It’s really nice to come here. This is something that I didn’t expect.”