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TEXAS (JUNE 23, 2021)



Iconic figure of Scottish pop, Texas is still standing after 35 years of career. To top off this success, singer Sharleen Spiteri came to present the band's new album to Music Waves.
DARIALYS - 04.08.2021 -
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35 years of career, and now a tenth album for Texas! While the Scottish pop band has nothing left to prove, it signs a return to the front of the stage with the record "Hi", full of spirit and passion. In the middle of a very busy French promotion, Sharleen Spiteri, emblematic singer of the band, granted an interview to Music Waves in which she came back on the genesis of this album.

We like to start our interviews with the following question: what is the question you've been asked too many times and are tired of answering?

Sharleen Spiteri: Oh my God! You know, I've been in this business for 35 years so I've gotten all kinds of questions, like "so what is this album about?". "Can you describe the album for me?".

Yes, normally the reporter is supposed to know the answer if he or she has prepared the interview?

Sharleen: Yes, it's not my job. But then, it's normal to be asked the same questions over and over again, I don't mind. What bothers me is when I have to answer the questions in writing. I don't like it when I'm asked to summarize an album either. I am not a journalist!

Your new album, "Hi", was originally intended to release songs that had never been released before, I think?

Sharleen: No, I'll tell you what happened. Originally, we were going to release a reissue for the anniversary of the release of "White On Blonde". The Universal label asked us to release versions of the songs on that album that people had never heard before. Drafts, as it were. We were working on it, and we came across demos of songs that never made it to the album. We were like, "Oh, you remember that song, it was really good. So we thought we'd rehabilitate those songs, finish writing them, and they could be bonus tracks for this album reissue. The first track of them was 'Mr. Haze'. We had to write a chorus and a bridge for this album. When we were done writing that song, we thought we had to keep writing more songs, that it was more than just a re-release that we had to do. It inspired us to write a full album.

You have partly answered my next question. Is this album a kind of return to the roots? Is there a kind of nostalgia for the past?

Sharleen: I'm not trying to go back to the past. It's part of my DNA, it's a part of me. These are just songs that were unfinished and we wanted to finish. We weren't supposed to write a new album, we were just supposed to do a re-release. We were supposed to find versions that had never been heard before. I don't know why we didn't finish them at the time. The label wanted us to release these never released versions, we wanted to do something else, that's our style! I joined this band because I didn't want any rules. I didn't want to get up and go to a job where they tell me what to do all day. I wanted to be creative, make albums, play music. I was hoping one day to write a song and have someone come up to me and say, "That song touched me, it gives me chills!" And 35 years later, I'm still making music! Not all the bands have had such a long career, especially the ones where it's a woman who sings. There are very few of them.

Indeed, there is also The Pretenders.

Sharleen: Yes, Blondie also for example.

And precisely, your name is as known as Blondie's when you play in a band. The other musicians like Ally McErlaine and Johnny McElhone who have been playing with you for 30 years, how do they live the fact of being more or less in your shadow?

Sharleen: You say they are in my shadow, but I don't think that's the case. The reason Texas has lasted as long as it has is because everyone in the band knows what to do. Johnny and I write the songs. The two of us created Texas, and then the other members came in.

Yes, but in the media, when they talk about Texas, it's more about you. That's why I'm telling you this.

Sharleen: For my part, I've always worked to make Texas a band, I'm not a solo singer. We make choices as a band.

On this album, there are songs like 'Heaven Knows', 'Had To Leave', or 'Mr Haze'. They sound like a tribute to Motown. Is it the case, and if so, why?

Sharleen: Because I love Motown, I've always loved it! Many people think 'Mr. Haze' sounds like an Abba song, I love Abba too! Motown music makes me happy, it makes me want to dance. So what you say, I take it as a compliment. If we sell as many albums as Motown or Abba, I'm fine with that!

On the track 'Look What You've Done', there are influences from The Pretenders. Does this band mean something to you? And in particular the singer, Chrissie Hynde?

Sharleen: It's funny because she's a friend of mine! I love her. We didn't care to be known, both of us. That's not what we're looking for. If people never saw my face on TV or anything, I wouldn't have a problem with that. It wouldn't bother me. For me what matters is our music. When I die, I want people to say, "She was a really good songwriter!

Moonstar' is very country. Is it a tribute to your first single 'I Don't Want A Lover', with that slide guitar?

Sharleen: That's my favorite song on the record. But no, we don't do tribute songs. To pay tribute is to go back in time. I don't want to pay tribute to myself. This music is part of me. Here, it's more of a Bob Dylan folk song with a touch of gospel. "Hi" is probably the most cinematic album we've ever recorded.

You also featured on the track 'Hi' with the rap group Wu-Tang Clan!

Sharleen: They are a hip-hop band from New York. We met RZA totally randomly, it just clicked. We've been friends ever since. We had a lot in common and we understood each other very well, even though we're not from the same place. RZA came to Glasgow and he understood the philosophy of this city, he understood that there was a working class area and a more romantic area. It spoke to him because he comes from a similar place. I think that's why it worked so well between us.


You are a Scottish band. Clare Grogan who is also Scottish and who sang in Altered Images is featuring on your track 'Look What You've Done'. We also find Tommy Flanagan in the video of 'Mr Haze'. Is it a way to show your commitment to Scotland?

Sharleen: When we made this album, there were no rules. We wrote what we wanted to write, so there's everything. I've known Tommy since I was 14! We needed someone to play Mr. Haze and we thought of him. He was very happy to play the part. We played a few shows in Glasgow a few years ago and Clare came up on stage with us. We wanted to do something special for our audience. We are very proud of where we come from and the history of Scottish music.

It's an album with very good vibes, but there's one track that's a little bit different, 'Falling', which is a little bit darker, as if it was written maybe during the confinement?

Sharleen: I don't remember if I wrote it before or after the lockdown. We actually finished writing the album in late 2019. And then I went home to Scotland in January 2020. My mom wasn't well, and she passed away a week before the lockdown. So from January, I put music on hold, I had to be with my family. Nothing else mattered. And then we went into lockdown, we had no idea how long it would last. I didn't want to talk to anyone, just listen to the birds singing in my garden. Two months later, it was getting better. We listened to the album, we wanted to get the ball rolling again, but with all the deaths around the world, we didn't feel very legitimate to release an album at that time. We took the opportunity to polish the album. We wrote three new songs because there were things I wanted to say after all that had happened. When we were reconditioned, we recorded the duet with Clare (Grogan, from Altered Images). We ended up releasing the album, when we felt it was time.

We started this interview by asking you what question you had been asked too often. Instead, what would you like me to ask you?

Sharleen: (Thinking). I always have a lot to say! I'm passionate about it. I think that's one of the reasons Texas has worked. People know I'm authentic. They know that I don't care about fame, they know my passion for music.

Thank you so much!

Sharleen: My pleasure!

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