Hi! Sharleen Spiteri: Glasgow Music Walking Tours Guest Blog
If you’re looking for a blithe summer soundtrack to accompany the gradual easing of Covid restrictions, allow us to suggest Hi, the new album by Texas. These Scotpop stalwarts formed in Glasgow 35 years ago but there’s nothing creaky about their intuitive blend of disco, soul and pop influences.
Anyone who has seen Texas live (if you can remember that far back) will know that frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri is an expert mistress of ceremonies with bottomless reserves of Glasgow patter. We were delighted to catch a chinwag with her recently to talk about the new album, surviving lockdown, rekindling old friendships and retaining that rebel spirit. But the first thing on her mind was the personal sadness of bereavement. Here is Sharleen…
On losing her mum Vilma to lung cancer
My mum died very unexpectedly the week before lockdown, it was quite a shock to the whole family. The one thing I would say is that we were very lucky, my sister and I, that we were able to be with her for the two weeks she was in hospital.
That’s why I went into lockdown in a very different headspace because I was very aware that people were dying and I know what that feels like. Some of my friends lost their parents to Covid – they just got taken away in an ambulance and they never saw them again, so I felt like one of the lucky ones because we were with my mum. It was very strange because it feels like yesterday and it feels like a lifetime because so much has happened in that space of time.
On her lockdown respite
I missed my sister and my dad because they were in Glasgow and I was in Wales and you weren’t allowed to move. But just to be with my husband and daughter after this was really amazing. I’ve never had that time and to have it at that moment when that had happened was really good for me, because I would have been out on tour and would probably have crashed and burned.
On delaying their album
I got asked to do a lot of things and I said no. I didn’t want to put a record out, it was the last thing on my mind. I don’t think Texas are going to cheer the world up. There’s people dying – do you think music’s going to change it? So Johnny and I agreed on delaying the album, but what we did do was write another three songs. I got to the point after a few months – there was things I had to let go of, things I had to say and we wrote three songs in that time and put them on to the album.
On the joy of sampling
We found a couple of tracks that were unfinished and we knew how to finish them. Mr Haze was one of those songs – we added the Donna Summer sample to hear what it sounded like and it just took the song to a whole different level. We were lucky that we already had a relationship with Giorgio Moroder when he did a version of Summer Son for us many years ago and the Donna Summer estate gave us the clearance for the sample. We wanted to use it because it makes you feel so bloody good.
The album is very up. You see a smile on people’s faces, it makes them want to get up and dance. You’ve got the big Motowny disco thing, you’ve got country, you’ve got soul, you’ve got ballads. It goes all over the place but works as an album.
On working with the Wu Tang Clan again on their single Hi
I really think it took the song to another place but it was great to show the relationship, the friendship and the respect between us and the Wu Tang is still there. There’s such a connection from the first time we met back in ’97, and RZA saying ‘I’ve been to Glasgow, I played Barrowland with Public Enemy’.He spoke about Glasgow and we had been out to Staten Island where they are from and I get the connection – we’re from a big city, but it’s like you’re just on the outside. Everybody looks to London and, being a Scottish band, from the very beginning when we signed to our record company Universal, we always felt like outsiders.
On her rock’n’roll philosophy
The reason I joined a band was because I didn’t want any rules, I didn’t want somebody telling me what I could do and what I couldn’t do, and I’ve always stuck by that. The music industry more than ever tries to put you in a box but I think there is an amazing time coming. I can see young bands and young writers taking control of their own destiny and I just think record companies watch out. Back in the day when we were first making records you had to have that big amount of money to get in the studio. Nowadays we can make records on computers, we can put it up on streaming media, so watch out folks!
Hi is out now on BMG. Texas play the Hydro, Glasgow on 4 Mar 2022