s:.‘.. ._ Q‘s:
After a while. what originally came from the heart and soul starts coming from the mouth and hands. Tori Amos. on the one hand. can tour and tout her psych-out catharses till the cows come home; as a result. this autumn her proﬁle in America has ﬁnally caught up with her proﬁle in the UK. Now. everyone knows Tori‘s got a bowling ball in her stomach and a stew of weird ideas about Vikings and ghosts.
‘I’m trying not to edit myself. I’m trying to get to a place inside myself, when I’m writing, that’s really calm and strong.’
Liz Phair. on the other hand. gets the screaming heebeegeebees at the mere thought of playing live. the sexual burly-burly of her songs remains crystal-clear and ice-cold on her album; she‘s cancelled an entire tour. she shirks the media. so her songs and herself remain her own.
The logistics and realities of a life on the road. it seems. might make more room for the person. the pop star. fronting the song. but leave little room for the person. the artist. behind the song. ‘The worst thing for me is that I don‘t want to resent the music.‘ says Sarah McLaehlan. ‘1 want to keep
loving it as much as I did when l made it. Being on the road so long starts to make my soul feel really old. I have to shut down so much of myself to to get by. to exist. Then it starts getting weird . . .‘
Ho hum. art v commerce. truth v beauty. and all the jazz. Sarah McLaehlan has pondered these long and hard. Long enough to be sufﬁciently forearrned to deal with a third album. Ftonbling 'loirarzls Ecstasy. that has sold nearly a million copies in North America.
Aged seventeen and still in school. McLaehlan was fronting a New Wave band. The October Game. in Halifax. Novia Scotia. McLaehlan didn‘t write the songs but she shared the band‘s love oflapan. Kate Bush and The
Cocteau Twins. The band‘s set included
a cover version of the Cocteus‘ ‘lvo‘ -— ‘which many people consider sacrilege!‘ Leading Canadian label Nettwerk thought not and offered her a deal on the spot. Under advice from her mother — ‘music‘s a dead-end and irrational.‘ quoth Dorice McLachlan — she turned them down. Two years later and in art college Nettwerk came back and offered her a ﬁve-album deal. McLaehlan still hadn‘t written any songs but her voice was enough.
Seven years and three albums on, her songwriting skills are well-founded. ‘This latest album is the most honest thing that I‘ve done. And it‘s a road to
Sarah McLaehlan: close to the edge self—discovery. the songs are very
E therapeutic to me in writing them . . .‘ j humbling ’l‘owarrls history. the ﬁrst of
her albums to receive a full UK release.
takes this life-as-art method and slips it
‘ unobtrusively into songs that combine the melodies of Fleetwood Mac. the lyrical ease of Carole King. and the
natural ambience of Glasgow‘s Jerry
; Burns. lt‘s polite. sometimes too polite.
but sung seductively and keenly~felt. ‘l‘m trying not to edit myself,‘ she
. says of her songwriting technique. after ; a year of performing an album that is i only now coming out in this country.
‘Being on the road so long starts to make my soul feel really old. l have to shut down so much of myself to get by.’
‘l‘m trying to get to a place inside myself I guess. when I‘m writing that‘s really calm and strong — when I‘m there. what comes out is really honest
and real. For those reasons. sometimes
later I‘ll look and think. that sounds kinda hokey. But no. it came from a really good place.‘
Some place like a soul that. despite the pressures. remains resolutely young at heart.
Sarah Mr'lxlt‘lllatt plays tlte ()lrl Athenaeum Theatre. Glasgow on Fri 28.
1 Steven Osborne ' there are CXCIllng tmngs happening at the RSNO. Chief Executive Paul Hughes is now in the midst of his ﬁrst winter season and the results of his fresh direction and imaginative flair are bearing quick fruit. One initiative (which starts to be realised this issue) is Hughes‘ policy of introducing audiences to young artists.
On 27 and 28 October.
; the 23-year-old Scottish pianist Steven Osborne makes his debut with the orchestra in Shostakovieh's Piano Concerto No 2 and the Mozart Concert Rondo K382. Born in Linlithgow j and educated at St Mary‘s Music School in Edinburgh from the age of ten. Osborne has a formidable talent. but is delightfully unassuming. A recital at Peebles in : February is mentioned in the same breath as January‘s tour of Japan I and appearances in Lisbon in November. Osborne ﬁrst really captured the public‘s attention in 1988. when he and fellow St Mary's pupil David Horne ' both reached the piano ﬁnals of the BBC‘s Young Musician of the Year. Home has now diversiﬁed I more into composition. but Osborne. although admitting to liking ‘simple composing‘. is quite deﬁnitely a performer.
Winner of the 1991 Clara Haskil Competition and currently based in Manchester where he has just completed a Masters Degree studying the different approaches of jazz pianists Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett at the University of Manchester. he says. ‘Most of my time is spent practising.‘ On his practice schedule is, of course. the RSNO repertoire. the Mozart living up to the acknowledged difﬁculties of the composer's deceptive simplicity. ‘The Shostakovich is absolutely amazing.’ says Osborne. ‘but the Mozart is really hard. It‘s difﬁcult to make it sparkle.‘ Somehow. you know that he will. (Carol Main)
RSNO with Steven Osborne play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thurs 27 and the Usher Ila/l. Edinburgh on Fri 28.
The List 21 October—3 November I994 33