The Argotist Online

Home       Articles       Interviews       Features       Poetry       Ebooks       Submissions       Links

 

Kate Rusby


Kate Rusby is an English folk singer and songwriter who has headlined various British national folk festivals, and is regarded by many as one of the most celebrated English folk singers in contemporary folk music.  After learning to play the guitar, the fiddle, and the piano as a child she played in many local folk festivals before becoming the lead vocalist of the all-female Celtic folk band The Poozies. Her breakthrough came in 1995 when she collaborated with her friend and fellow folk singer Kathryn Roberts for  the album,
Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts.


In 1997, with the help of her family, she recorded and released her first solo album, Hourglass. Since then she has gone on to receive acclaim in her home country and abroad. In 1999 she was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and is the recipient of four BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: in 2000 she won Folk Singer of the Year and Best Album (for Sleepless); in 2002 she was awarded Best Original Song (for ĎLullabyeí); in 2006 she was nominated for Best Original Song (for ĎNo Namesí with Roddy Woomble from Idlewild) and for Best Album (for The Girl Who Couldn't Fly) and she won Best Live Act for that year, also.


Her albums are: Hourglass (1997), Sleepless (1999), Little Lights (2001), 10 (2002), Heartlands (2003), Underneath the Stars (2003), The Girl Who Couldn't Fly (2005), and Awkward Annie (2007).

 

   

 

Q: Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?

 

A: Yes I do. Especially when I see them written down. I donít know how they would work as spoken poetry, but they might hold their own.

 

Q: Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?

 

A: I have to say yes, I think it is important to me, but I know not everyone will agree. I find it more comfortable listening to songs that rhyme, and there is also a feeling of, (for want of a better word) closure at the end of a phase or verse, as if to say, that was one thing, now hereís another. I donít mind in spoken poetry though, I seem not to have the same need to hear rhymes, donít really know why that is.

 

Q: Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised song structures such as clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can also be like free verse?

 

A: Surely itís up to the individual. I donít think song lyrics ďmustĒ be any specific way. I always write in the choruses and refrains style, but I never ever have middle 8s, for some reason they just annoy me. I tend to just have the verse-chorus rule for myself, but every one is different, there are only rules set my individuals.

 

Q:  When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to the music you enjoyed?

 

A: I recognised it when reading Shakespeare at school, the way a story is told using rhythm and rhyme.

 

Q:  Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?

 

A: Well I see all songs as poetry, and I have lots of old ballad books which I look through to find songs to sing. And I am heavily influenced by traditional song, so therefore poetry in books has been a huge influence.

 

Q: Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?

 

A: Ha Ha, they just donít realise that all songs are poetry. As for spoken poetry being not as popular, oh tough question, and I donít think I have an answer. Perhaps itís to do with greater coverage in the media of songs rather than spoken poetry, perhaps to do with the availability of recordings? Perhaps due to the added music making it more accessible, I really donít know, sorry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

copyright © Kate Rusby