Kate Bush: ‘I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want’ – Music News

Kate Bush talks to Emma Barnett for a world exclusive interview with BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and thanks her new fans for taking her song Running Up That Hill to number 1, 37 years after it was first released.

Kate Bush reacts to her song Running Up That Hill reaching number 1 in the UK charts, after it was featured in the popular Netflix series, Stranger Things:

Kate Bush: ‘Well it’s just extraordinary. I mean, you know, it’s such a great series, I thought that the track would get some attention. But I just never imagined that it would be anything like this. It’s so exciting. But it’s quite shocking really, isn’t it? I mean, the whole world’s gone mad.’

Emma Barnett: ‘You know, 37 years is the longest time I believe a song has taken to get to number one. And it’s also in America, it’s your first ever top 10 hit in the US, which I didn’t know.’

Kate Bush: ‘Yeah. What’s really wonderful I think is this is a whole new audience who, in a lot of cases, they’ve never heard of me and I love that. The thought of all these really young people hearing the song for the first time and discovering it is, well, I think it’s very special.’

Emma Barnett: ‘It’s a discovery by a new generation. There’s lots of people of course who have held you dear to their hearts for a long time, probably feeling quite protective at the moment, especially when some of their children are saying, ‘Have you heard of Kate Bush?’ They’re saying ‘Er yes, very much so.’ But in terms of this song, and for those new audience members, for those people discovering you now, what’s it actually about, Running Up That Hill, if you were to explain it to a new audience?’

Kate Bush: ‘I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want. But originally it was written as the idea of a man and a woman swapping with each other. Just to feel what it was like, from the other side.’

‘I think for me, this is still called A Deal With God.’ – discussing the title of the song, she reveals it wasn’t originally going to be called Running Up That Hill:

Emma Barnett: ‘It wasn’t originally called Running Up That Hill, was it?’

Kate Bush: ‘No, it was called A Deal With God. I think they were just worried, the record company, that it wouldn’t get played on the radio. That people would feel it was a sensitive title.’

Emma Barnett: ‘So is that still how you think of it as opposed to Running Up That Hill? Because when you’ve originally named something and these are all your creations, you can stay wedded to it, can’t you?’

Kate Bush: ‘Well, yes and no. Some of them have had very strange titles that you kind of have a working title that you quickly forget. But yeah, I think for me, this is still called A Deal With God.’

She says she hadn’t listened to the song in ‘a really long time’, and doesn’t listen to her old music:

Emma Barnett: ‘Now lots more people, new people as well are getting into the song. It’s so widely listened to across social media platforms as well, never mind streaming platforms. Have you listened to it again with new ears? Do you listen back to it?’

Kate Bush: ‘I never listen to my old stuff. But then you know, when things like this come along, I’m normally involved in something like you know, maybe doing an edit or revisiting the track for some kind of other reason, I’m working on it. So yeah, I hadn’t heard it for a really long time.’

Emma Barnett: ‘I was imagining people also watching the video for the first time it’s such a beautiful video and you’ve of course trained as a dancer. It’s just wonderful for people to see again, of course, in this context with Stranger Things which I know you obviously signed off on how the song was going to be used. Was it important for you that it’s a song that helps a female character, that it helps Max?’

Kate Bush: ‘I think they’ve put it in a really special place. I mean, the Duffer brothers created the series and actually we watched it from the first series onwards, so I was already familiar with the series. And I thought what a lovely way for the song to be used in such a positive way. You know, as a kind of Talisman almost really for Max. And yeah, I think it’s very touching, actually.’

Kate Bush reflects on the 1980s, but says ‘it’s an incredibly exciting time we’re in now’:

Emma Barnett: ‘I was also thinking about why you signed off on it and why you were drawn to Stranger Things – interesting to hear you’re a fan. Is there a nostalgia there as well for the 80s? A lot of people loving the show love the fact that it’s set in that era.’

Kate Bush: ‘Yeah, I think it was a great time. I mean, there was some great music in the 80s, but I think it’s an incredibly exciting time we’re in now I mean, okay, so it’s an awful time on a lot of levels for people. Very difficult. But it’s also a time when incredible things are happening. Technology is progressing at this incredible rate. That’s pretty overwhelming, really. But, you know, there’s so many advances in medicine and there are positive things, you just have to look a bit harder to find them at the moment, I think.’

Emma Barnett: ‘I did also want to check do you know about WitchTok, a subset of TikTok? It’s inspired by Babooshka and your look in that video. There’s a whole load of people very dedicated to you in that space. Do you know about that?’

Kate Bush: ‘No I don’t [laughs]. It sounds ridiculous.’

And she discusses her love for the series, and thanks her new younger fans:

Kate Bush: ‘Our friends kept saying have you seen Stranger Things when the first series came out. So eventually we just thought OK let’s just watch it and we’ve binge watched it and then saw every series ever since. It’s lovely because in a similar way to Harry Potter, where in those early films they were just little kids, and then as the film has progressed, it becomes heavier and darker. And those little kids turn into really talented, young, adult actors. And you have a different connection with something that’s moved through years really of watching them grow. Have you watched it?’

Emma Barnett: ‘Yes. It’s actually prescribed watching in my house. My husband is completely addicted to it and he already loved you but was very excited to see that cassette go in and also have the memory of the Walkman that we both remember very well. I was also thinking, what did Kate Bush do during lockdown? Perhaps you were binge watching your favourite TV shows like the rest of us. Was that was that the order of the day in the bush household?’

Kate Bush: ‘Who wasn’t? That and gardening’

Emma Barnett: ‘And a bit of kitchen disco? Are you still into the moves?’

Kate Bush: [Laughs] ‘Gardening is my thing now.’

Emma Barnett: ‘Well, Kate Bush, it is absolutely lovely to talk to you. Let me just read you one final thing. I did mention some of your original fans, you know, thinking about this new generation finding you and one person wrote ‘Kate Bush did not go through Wuthering Heights run all the way up that hill to make a deal with God, shout Babooshka for you all to be finding out about her in 2022’. What do you make of that?’

Kate Bush: ‘I just want to say, thank you very much. Thank you to everyone because it’s just extraordinary what’s happening. And it’s very exciting. And thank you Emma, thank you for giving me the time to say thank you to everyone. And you know – hooray!’

Woman’s Hour is on Radio 4 weekdays at 10am and on BBC Sounds

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