"what are your influences?"

10th February, 2010

This is a question I find very hard to answer. I suppose the most comprehensive answer would be, “everything I’ve ever heard and seen, and everything that’s ever happened to me”. I’m not really conscious of specific influences when I write or perform. Although obviously, being classically trained with Celtic roots those are the more evident, immediate, wider influences.
Often I will write a song and seemingly, it comes flowing out readily and easily, but I suspect it’s just that the song has been subconsciously growing and then one day I write it down.
We are just as influenced by things that affect us negatively as by things that affect us positively. This is as true of music as it is of life. I’ve heard and played music that has moved me to tears. I remember when I was 19 playing Michael Tippet’s “A Child for our Time” and I was so moved by the depth of feeling and grandeur of the last spiritual, that tears were streaming down my face as I sat on stage. I also remember a few years later rehearsing Elliot Carter’s “Symphony of 3 orchestras.” I was so upset and disturbed by what I was playing that I was in floods of tears after one rehearsal and I was a nervous wreck for weeks.
Just because I love someone’s music or someone’s voice doesn’t necessarily mean that they will influence how I write or perform, although they may be inspirational. I adore Ella Fitzgerald, for example, but that’s not how my voice works. When I was at school I didn’t have the kind of voice that worked singing along to pop songs. That is…until Kate Bush came along