“I DON’T rehearse and I don’t have set lists, so it’s basically a musical experience,” says Eddi Reader of her current tour which comes to The Glee Club in Cardiff next week.
The Scottish-born singer songwriter, once famed for her work with acoustic pop quartet Fairground Attraction is happy to be spontaneous at her concerts.
“It’s quite raw actually,” she continues. “I didn’t realise how unusual it was until my husband, who’s also a musician said, ‘You know I don’t think there’s any musician who goes on stage as unprepared as you are.’ I always go for the ‘in the moment’ thing.’”
Although Eddi’s approach may be in the moment, she knows exactly where she wants to go with her performances.
“I’ll rely on songs that I know work, certain songs that I’ll throw into the mix. It’s all dictated to by the last song that I sang. If I sing you something like Burns’ Ay Fond Kiss, a beautiful song of unrequited love, then I’ll want to be cheering you up a wee bit afterwards, something a little bit lighter and a bit more cheeky.”
Eddi’s approach to what works musically goes back to her childhood, and attending parties at her grandfather’s home where everybody joined in and sang. Her passion for music then grewinto a career. She says: “I had folk clubs and busking and working, singing the odd vocal backing vocal or advert just to make a living. I was singing with The Gang of Four, Alison Moyet and the Eurythmics just as they were hitting the charts.”
In 1987, Eddi joined Fairground Attraction. A year later, the acoustic feel good tones of Perfect topped the charts; the success was followed by the album A First of a Million Kisses.
However, Eddi recalls the bands success was tainted with the music press keen to cast them off as “a bunch of session musicians”.
By 1990, Fairground Attraction had disbanded and Eddi began embarking on her solo career. Her first LP, Mirmama, displayed Eddi as natural and spontaneous.
“I decided to call on a few things; I used to sing in folk clubs and started trying to write on the spot which is what I do. Roy Dodds from Fairground Attraction helped me to get that together.
I’m very proud of that album, The Cherry tree Sessions. It was called that because I had a cherry tree inmygarden and we recorded in my garden,” she says.
In recent years, Eddi has worked on musical projects closer to her heart including a Robert Burns-themed album, saying:“When I was doing Burns I was determined I wanted people in Spain, America, Manchester and Cardiff to understand it. I’m not interested in Burns because he was Scottish, I’m interested in Burns because he spoke a universal truth and his universal truth for me was a egalitarian and a fair one and one about howbrilliant men and women can be.”
Eddi was made an MBE for her services to music in 2006 and will shortly receive three honorary degrees. It’s her passion for communication of language through music that comes through though. She adds: “My philosophy is if you introduce children young enough, they will be good at languages, they will be able to adapt. I think kids that belong in a multi-cultural society should have exposure to song.”
Eddi continues these sentiments as we close the interview: “Give my love to Wales. Please teach us how we teach our children our native language because we need to learn howto do it in this country.”
●Catch Eddi Reader live at Cardiff Glee Club on October 22. Call the box office on 0871 472 0400.