Alison Moyet released her debut album Alf in 1984 the fact that it shot to number one in the UK was a sign of success to come. In a career spanning over twenty years Alison has become one of the most successful British female artists of all time.Now after a five year wait she returns with her new album The Turn and she took time out to chat to me about her new album, music career and her success in the theatre.
The Turn is your first album of original material for five years. Why did you leave such a lengthy period of time between records?I released Hometime in 2002 and promoted and toured it. Then immediately I went into the studio with Ann Dudley and recorded a collection of classic song called Voice which was a top 10 album. I promoted and toured that and recorded a live DVD One Blue Voice and then went straight into rehearsals for a Play called Smaller with Dawn French and which was directed by Cathy Burke and ran for 7 months finishing with a run at The Lyric theatre in the west end. I also wrote three songs for the play which I have recorded for The Turn.At the end of the play I had 4 months writing the material for The Turn with Pete Glenister and we recorded it in three...which takes me to this September. I've had a six day holiday this year and I'm knackered. Ha ha. Of which period do we speak. And don't tell my managers or they'll fill it in more next time.
What can we expect from the new album?The Turn is an album of crafted song. We started building it from a core of Chansons, the shapes of Roy Orbison that grow from a gentle place to an impassioned climax. It is about melody and intelligent lyrics. We let it fray outwards from there. It is in turn progressive and reflective.
The release of The Turn sees you on a new record label W14 Music why did you decide to leave Sanctuary?
John Williams bought the rights to license my last 2 albums for Sanctuary. It was he that developed the label into what it was and with whom I had the working relationship. He moved to Universal and created W14 and I followed him.
Is there any particular meaning behind the album title The Turn?
There are three really. A Turn is an old derisive term given to a variety performer. It is also a magical term that is used when something ordinary is transformed into something extraordinary and it is my monica to my online fan base.
You returned to the music industry in 2002 after an eight year absence why did you decide to return?
I never left an industry. I never belonged to one. This idea of 'coming back' always seems to imply that you have stopped working at your craft when really all it means is that no one has been taking your picture and publishing it for all to see.. I was having legal wrangles which prevented me from recording. I am a singer and a writer. It is what i do.
Why did you leave Sony?
Because the relationship after 18 years was over. All the people that were with me at the beginning had retired, or moved on or had been sacked. It had run its course and I didn't want the kind of career they wanted for me. After many years of my asking them, they finally agreed to release me.
How do you balance your career with being a mother?
It is tough. You have kids and they have to be prioritised. I scaled down my work considerably for the many of the last 20 years. My eldest are at university now and my husband stopped work to be the prime carer for our youngest.
Now she is in senior school and he works close by, it will be easier for me to put in some longer hours for a while. There are months when I'm up to my neck in work but I sort it that I'm home more often than not.
You have also gone into theatre with your critically acclaimed performance in Chicago. Why did you chose to branch out into another area of performing arts?
I like to be challenged. It was during a protracted period or record company disputes that the opportunity arose. I signed up and it was a great experience. It also worked well in terms of audience numbers. It became a policy then to invite 'celebs'. Had I known that was where it was heading, i would have steered clear. As it was, i took it on because i thought it would be an unusual thing to do.
The role of Matron 'Mama' Morton is very well known how was the whole experience?
I loved not being the star. I loved working in a team and i liked having a working routine for the first time in my adult life. It also really put an end to a great deal of fearing the unknown.
How did your music experience prepare you for the role and how did theatre compare with you music career - do you have a favourite?
It prepared me in that I knew what standing on a stage in front of an audience would feel like, that I was not unduly afraid.
It was different knowing what you are supposed to be doing and where to stand every minute of the performance.That lessens the danger and the spontaneity. I like being master of my own show and following my own impulses. They are completely different disciplines.
I like doing them both but musical theatre is not something I watch. If I did another play, I would choose one without songs. I prefer to sing songs from my own perspective.
Have you any plans to return to the theatre?
I get lots of offers but I am primarily a recording artist and that is where my focus is at the moment.
I read that you are about to go on tour with Annie Lennox - are you looking forward to getting back on the road?
I'm not going on tour with Annie Lennox but i am going on tour in January and February. It is great going on the road and being in your own mini world for a while. It is always interesting trying to figure out how you're going to put it together.
You have become one of the most successful female artist that this country has produced. What is the secret to your longevity? And why have you stayed in the industry so long?
I believe it has to do with being more than a singer and never out staying your welcome.. It is about not going to the opening of a paper bag or saying yes to every opportunity. It is as much about what you wont do as what you will.
Alison's new single One More Time is out now and her new album The Turn is released Oct 15.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw
Tagged in Alison Moyet