Saturday, June 21, 2008

SHARLEEN SPITERI | An Idol From My Youth

One of the senior department managers at the office is a big fan of Cliff Richards and Olivia Newton-John. Punks that we are, we snickered at her love for what we called, "old-fart music". We felt no guilt about it, because trust me – she has no qualms about laughing at us for whatever reasons.

If karma has its way, this is going to come back to haunt me. I am at the age where the artistes I adored in my youth are gradually moving into similar "old fart" terrority.

The artistes of my lost youth might also now be washed-out drug addicts or alcoholics - but not necessary so. Some of them moved on to other careers, or they are now mothers who want to concentrate on raising their children. Not that it's a bad thing, wanting to raise your children - but is that why Sleater-Kinney is no more? *sob*

The music industry is brutal, especially to women of a certain age. Not everyone has the ability to reinvent and renew their appeal like Kylie Minogue or Madonna. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I found out recently that Sharleen Spiteri has her first solo album, Melody, coming out this year. Spiteri has been the frontwoman and poster-girl for the Scottish pop group, Texas for the past 20 years. Now at 41, she is finally venturing into a solo career. Some might argue it's a little late - but I like to think she has not gone gently into the night.

I was full of glee and I was full of anticipation for the July 21st release. (I hope I can get my hands on the album before I leave though) Like a geek,I googled Sharleen Spiteri for news and preview streams of the new album. That's when I read the unkind piece that showed a picture of an obese Sharleen Spiteri, and described how Spiteri was snubbed by a younger artiste when she asked for his autograph – at her own birthday party.

I despise the person who wrote that story. How dare you.

Sharleen Spiteri is an icon. She showed all the tomboys out there that you can swagger in your Levis, boots and leather jacket and still rock sex appeal. Beauty isn't defined by a skirt or a dress - it's about your style. Her Scottish accent and great voice also helped. A lot.

Here's Sharleen Spiteri and Alan Rickman (yes, Severus Snape himself) in the music video for "In Demand". If you fast-forward the music video, you get to see Spiteri and Rickman do the tango:

This is the official music video for the single, "All The Time I Cried" music, on Youtube (The MTV was shot by Olivier Dahan, the French movie director who made La Vie En Rose. Yes, the guy who made the Edith Piaf movie) Spiteri has gone for a more retro tone to her solo album, a little Nancy Sinatra, a little Dusty Springfield at times:

For fans of Sharleen Spiteri: a bootlegged Live/Acoustic version of Spiteri performing "It Was You". It's stripped down, Spiteri with just two back-up guitarists. There is no 2-hour hair and make-up styling. Just Sharleen Spiteri in jeans and an old sweater, her hair tied up, with the occasional stray wisps around her face.

I am biased, but I like the austerity of this little bootleg. That she is sex symbol, icon, star - but take that all away she is still a singer gifted with a great voice. Even after all the success she has enjoyed, she is still capable of buklcing down to work hard to produce music that people respond to. That is the real reason she is still around after all these year

Melody, out in stores July 21st, 2008.

Join Sharleen Spiteri on Facebook


Carl V. Anderson said...

Ah...Olivia Newton-John... Even now if I watch Grease the old schoolboy crush returns!

I certainly wouldn't consider what she is doing at 41 too late either...I'm 39 and am only beginning now to do some of the things I want to do. More power to us 'old farts'! :)

Anonymous said...

I love the video with Alan Rickman and remmeber the first time I saw it. I have had a crush on him for years, not quite sure where it stemmed from but I definitely need to go back and watch Robin Hood Prince of Thieves again!

Heartwing said...

Thank you for writing what you have about Sharleen Spiteri. I've followed her career and feel a bit like we've "grown up" together. The cruelty that the media sometimes has shown her is unnecessary and it feels like someone has attacked a friend. Her voice has never been better and she is very beautiful. But, even if it weren't so, it's still bad manners and reveals a soulless reporter. I despise the writer of the article as well.