An interview with Texas’ Sharleen Spiteri ahead of their comeback tour
The lead singer of Texas sits down with us to discuss playing Hyde Park, their new grown-up sound and the creative freedom behind latest album The Conversation.
You’ve been rather busy over the last few months, how does it feel to be back in Hyde Park?
Amazing. Yeah it’s just one of those things where after such a long time away (and we’re no spring chickens), we think “How are people going to react?” and “What’s it going to be like?” or “Is anyone going to be interested?”
When you’re making the record you don’t think of that stuff, but suddenly when it comes to the reality that you’ve released the album and you think, “Oh shit, maybe people don’t like us anymore! We’re going to seem really naff.” But then people have had such a great reaction to it and especially a lot of younger people. You’re getting 20-year olds saying “I love Texas” and you’re a bit like, “Really? How does that work?” It turns out that they were six-year-olds in their mums’ cars when Texas was at their height, listening to us on the radio.
How does it compare to some of the more intimate gigs you’ve done quite recently?
To be honest, put me on a stage and I’m happy, I don’t really care. But it’s a bit funny doing something like [Hyde Park] because it’s not your own stage and normally when you’re playing big stages a lot there’s a big ramp and you’re 50 miles away from the audience. Here there’s a giant ramp and it’s all wet, and I’m going to make a complete cod of myself here in front of thousands of people. I tentatively head down them as I’ve had a habit of falling recently.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
Favourite Texas song? Probably Say What You Want because it has its ups and downs, and a big melody at the end. Other songs I love playing River Deep, Mountain High by Tina Turner just because its one of the greatest songs ever written. I enjoyed doing Jackson with Richard Hawley; that was fun, when the two of us could eventually hear what we were doing.
Are you looking forward to going out on the road again?
I’m excited and looking forward to it. It’s going to be funny doing three days on, one day off. It’s going to be good. You know it’ll be interesting because we’re going to be doing a few legs and yeah, that’s hard. It’s been interesting because we’ve had festival season all summer. We were in Gibraltar last night actually, got in at 3am, and to be able to put a lot more of the new songs within the set is going to be really interesting. The Conversation has a lot of really beautiful songs so I’m looking forward to mixing them with a lot of the old Texas stuff. There are a lot of people to see, there’s a lot of time, so hopefully we’ll also get some new audiences alongside that as well.
What’s your favourite song off the new album?
I’d have to say Dry Your Eyes, just because of everything it stands for, because it was written during a very drunken night. The inspiration was when one of your mates calls you and goes “I’m coming over with a couple of bottles of wine”, and she sits with you in the kitchen and gives you the news that she wants to divorce her husband, and you go “Ok here we go, it’s going to be a long night.”
It’s not like being 20 or 25 and saying “Ah I don’t love him anymore, I want to move on”, suddenly you get to a certain age in life, like 40-something, where you make decisions in your life that has an effect on your children, your grandparents, the family around 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 any good outcome. A lot of times children adapt and their life is better because they’ve had two parents who want to rip each other’s heads off, it’s making everything right for your kids and making it right for the family, that’s what Dry Your Eyes was written about.
How is the new album different to anything you’ve done before?
We weren’t signed to Universal anymore – we’d finished a deal. I guess they saw that if we ever did make another record that we’d automatically sign back to Universal because we’d been signed there for 26 years. And we just made a record because we really wanted to make it, and having the label was great because there was no deadline. The deadline is always the killer.
We always found they said “There needs to be a collaboration” or “There needs to be this hit”, and you’re just like “yeah yeah”. A lot of the time when you’re making records you end up saying “yeah, yeah, yeah” to everything and doing the complete opposite anyway. When you’re saying all that “Yeah, we’re doing it”, it’s just to keep the peace really.
With this [album] there was no peace-keeping, it was just music, and we worked with a few different people, some of whom are mates and everything just came naturally. It wasn’t costing any money, you know, there weren’t any budgets or someone saying, “You’ll get into this studio and work with this producer”. We’re just making music and it felt like the beginning again, with a whole load of catalogue behind us. So it was nice, it was very nice.
Is there anyone that you’re quite excited to see play today?
I did see a bit of Simple Minds and I’m going to watch Manic Street Preachers. I’ve got some friends here so I’ll go and see them as well. But then I have to go home and make a birthday cake for my daughter, who’s 11 tomorrow. I’ve had strict instructions that I have to do a rainbow cake. I was in Gibraltar yesterday and I received an email with the YouTube link of how to do a rainbow cake. I don’t know how to tell her that I don’t have that much food colouring in the house. I even got a call on the way here saying “Never mind that you’re playing in Hyde Park, when are we going to make the rainbow cake?”
The Conversation was released on 20th May 2013.
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Watch the video for The Conversation here: