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How David Bowie inspired Kate Bush

If it wasn’t for David Bowie, the world would appear far more soulless. His maverick attitude towards everything he put his name next to was infectious, and countless adoring fans were drawn in by his mystical ways.

Bowie has touched every generation of artists, even 50-years on from the creation of Ziggy Stardust, it only takes one look at pop stars ranging from the likes of Harry Styles or Yungblud to see that his influence still lives on. Of course, not every artist has been so overt in wearing the influence of Bowie on their sleeve, and artists like Kate Bush have taken inspiration from the Starman in a more nuanced fashion.

Kate Bush, on the surface, is a completely different artist to Bowie. However, they share the same pioneering DNA, one which bled into the many creations that both artists have released. The duo never worried about what other people were doing and, instead, ploughed on regardless to ensure they were leading from the front.

When Bush first heard the music of Bowie, she was awestruck immediately, and there was something about his expression that the singer couldn’t quite place but, of course, she was enamoured. “I was sitting in my bath, submerged in bubbles, listening to Radio Luxembourg when I heard David Bowie for the first time,” she once recalled. “‘There’s a starman waiting in the sky’. I thought it was such an interesting song and that he had a really unusual voice. Soon I was to hear that track everywhere, and Bowie’s music became a part of my life.”

She added: “Everything about him was intriguing. When I saw him on Top Of The Pops he was almost insect-like, his clothing was theatrical and bizarre; was that a dress? No one was sure, but my conclusion was that he was quite beautiful. His picture found itself on my bedroom wall next to the sacred space reserved solely for my greatest love — Elton John.”

She was there in attendance for the final ever Ziggy Stardust show at the Hammersmith Odeon. That same venue is where Bush would perform a 22-date residency in 2014, 35-years after her last tour, which also finished at the Odeon.

Although Bowie’s music holds a special place in her heart, it’s how he became the master of reinvention and created something bigger than himself which endeared him most to Bush. “He created such staggeringly brilliant work, yes, but so much of it and it was so good. There are great people who make great work but who else has left a mark like his? No one like him,” she mourned after his death in 2016. “He was one of my great heroes when I was growing up. He was such a brave artist, so unusual, and I loved his music…But I just sort of admired what he achieved creatively.”

Kate Bush has always been her own artist and has never suffered from an identity crisis. She’s always been brave, unashamedly unique, and growing up seeing Bowie dazzle by existing on his own solar system helped Bush build the courage to do that herself.

Despite having posters of David Bowie and Elton John on her bedroom wall, Bush never imitated their art but, instead, adopted their cavalier artistic approach. It’s questionable whether anyone will ever match Bowie’s creative achievements; however, Kate Bush’s legacy places her firmly in the pantheon of British musical trailblazers.

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