Sharleen Spiteri from Texas talks to eFestivals

Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park 2013 interview

By Michelle Owen-Williams | Published: Fri 20th Sep 2013

Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park 2013 - Texas
Photo credit: Tricia Owen-Williams

Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park 2013

Sunday 8th September 2013
Hyde Park, City of Westminster, Greater London, W2 2UH, England MAP
£35, children 3-13 £10 - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 30,000

eFestivals managed to catch up with Sharleen Spiteri from Texas after their blistering set at the Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park. It was quite a strange set up, a few interviewers were huddled together in a little tent, including me to chat to the Scottish lead singer of Texas.

We got off to a flying start by introducing ourselves, there were three journo’s and another one arrived later. Spiteri greeted us with “I don’t know who the fuck you all are but I agreed to the interviews”, fancy that! 

You’ve been rather busy over the last few months, how does it feel to be back? 

It’s one of those things especially after such a long time away, were no spring chickens. You think how are people gonna react and what’s it gonna be like, is anyone gonna be interested.

You know when you’re making the record you don’t think about that stuff because your just making a record, suddenly when it comes to reality you think, Shit, what if they don’t like it?, But then you put the record out and it just feels amazing to have such a great reaction to it, especially with the younger people, even 20 year olds saying ‘I Love Texas’ and you’ll be like ‘Really’ (rubs hands), and it also ends up being like 6 year olds in their Mum’s cars listening to us on the radio, it’s a bit of nostalgia maybe. 

How does it compare to the more intimate gigs you’ve done quite recently?

I think it’s really important being on stage with the band, I think it’s quite funny doing something like that; (referring to the Radio Two set Texas had just played, which was 30 mins long).

Because its’ not your own stage, it was a big stage and there was a big ramp and you’re like 50 miles away from the audience. You think to yourself there’s a big ramp and it’s wet, am I gonna fall on my arse and make a cod of myself in front of 1,000’s of people, But I tentatively went down it, especially as I have a bit of a habit of falling recently. 

Have Radio Two been kind to you? 

They’ve been very kind to us for a long time. If they didn’t like the record they wouldn’t play it out of the goodness of their hearts and that’s an honest answer. 

Radio Two is all about is it right for the audience, is it cool, has it got that buzz? 

Radio Two is like we want good songs, we want songs our listeners are gonna sing to, mostly to Radio Two listeners who are gonna go away and buy the single and buy the album, so for us, a band like us it’s very important to have the support of Radio Two and yeah they’ve been really behind the record, they’ve heard it, they were very up front and they said this is for us. 

That must come as a relief for you? 

It is a sigh of relief for us because if you’re not being played on the radio, you’re more than likely not gonna sell records especially a band like us. It’s very important for us to be on radio, were not a fashion band, being on radio is a very big deal for us. 

Who is your favourite Radio Two DJ? 

What, Who do I like? (After a bit of deliberation Sharleen said) ‘It’s got to be Evans’. Evans put a good show together and I like his enthusiasm and excitement for music still and I think that is important, enthusiasm for playing records is everything and that’s why they are DJ’s; If they’re not playing records they like there’s a big problem. 

What’s your favourite Texas song? 

It’s probably ‘Say What You Want’, as its got a lot of ups and downs and I love playing ‘River Deep, Mountain High’, by (Ike &) Tina Turner just because it’s one of the greatest songs ever written. I enjoyed doing ‘Jackson’ with Richard Hawley today.

We heard you shout ‘Fucking Hell’ during the set and Radio Two broadcast an apology on all the big screens...

(At this point Sharleen covers her mouth in disgust with her hands, Sharleen was mortified, then said) ‘Oh, fuck it, I think I did say fuck didn’t I? (laughter)

Are you nervous about going out on the road again in November? 

No’, it is what it is. I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it.

It’s going to be funny doing 3 days on and 1 day off, its gonna be good, it’s gonna be interesting cause were gonna be doing a full length set.

That’s hard (referring to the set they’d just played – 30 mins) half an hour is like, 3 songs, so yeah, that set we tried to squeeze songs in but it was good fun. It’ll be interesting going out, as its been festival season all summer. We’ve just got back from Gibraltar, last night and we got in at 3am this morning and to be able to put old and new songs in the set it’s gonna be really interesting. 'The Conversation' has a lot of beautiful songs on it, I’m looking forward to mixing it up with a lot of the old Texas stuff.

There’s a lot of people that have seen us a lot of times so hopefully we’ll get a lot of new people in the audience. 

What would you say is your favourite song from the new album?

‘Dry Your Eyes’, because of everything it stands for me, it was after a very drunken night. It was in Sheffield, with Richard Hawley. But, the inspiration was like when one your mates calls you up and says I’m coming round with a couple of bottles of wine. You end up sitting in the kitchen and she gives you the news that she wants to divorce her husband and you’re like ‘OK, here we go, it’s gonna be a long night’.

And that was basically it. It’s that thing of its not like being 20 or 25 and you say I don’t love him anymore, I want to move on. You get to a certain age, you know, like 40 something, like me and my mates are. It’s that whole thing like you make decisions on your whole life, the effect of the people, there’s the effect it has on the children, the grandparents, the family roundabout you. It’s having the balls to make that decision and the time when it’s happening you’re so scared because you can’t see it becoming a good outcome and a lot of times and probably life is better as the two parents wanna rip each other’s heads off and it’s making everything right for your kids and making it right for the family around you and that’s what ‘Dry Your Eyes’ is all about. 

How is the new album different to anything you’ve done before? 

We never had a record deal, we weren’t signed to Universal anymore, we’d finished a deal. If we’d ever make another record we thought we would automatically sign for Universal as we’d been signed there for 26/27 years and we’d just made a record cause we really wanted to and having no label was great because there were no deadlines or restrictions nor was there any.....’Oh, there needs to be a collaboration’, ‘There needs to be this on it or that on it’, it’s just like when you’re making the record you just say to the record company ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’, and you just do the complete opposite anyways.

So much of your time is spent saying ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ were doing that and that, it’s just peace keeping.

Now were just making music and records, we worked with a few different producers including Richard Hawley.   We worked with mates and it happened naturally, it didn’t cost any money, you know there weren’t any budgets, it wasn’t like 'oh we need to work with this producer and that producer', we just made music, it felt like the beginning again.

What is the secret to Texas’ longevity?

To be honest I don’t really know.   I think that the public smell a rat, if there is one.

You write a song and the public know if you mean it and they attach themselves to it in some way.

We’ve not always done things right, we’ve got it wrong a few times, but it’s being able to guess when you love it that comes out and see’s you through, plus the longevity for Texas is we all know our place in the band. There’s no-one trying to be, you know, the superstar, there’s no-one trying to be: I’m the singer in the band that’s what I do. Johnny and I write the songs that’s what we do.

If anyone else comes up and decides they have a good idea we’ll look at it and decide whether they’re doing it wrong.

Ally’s happy to play guitar and everyone’s happy. And we all reap the benefits of that, if the bands successful we all sit back and say that is what we do, keep it real.  

You can catch Texas on tour in November and the album ‘The Conversation’ is available at retail outlets.

interview by: Michelle Owen-Williams

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