The seismic impact of Kate Bush on the scope of popular music is impossible to understate. For example, the parallels between the world’s current most prominent star, Billie Eilish, are impossible to ignore. However, the ever-humble Bush believes that David Bowie, rather than herself, is the most influential artist of all time.
It only takes a glance at the chart to see that the influence of Bowie is still alive and well. Look at the rise of Yungblud, for example, who has clearly have drawn inspiration from the feminity that ‘The Starman’ exuded. In contrast, other artists thriving in contemporary culture, such as Lana Del Rey, wear their love of Bowie more discretely and primarily through their music rather than aesthetics.
Bush herself was a Bowie disciple. The biblical first time she ever heard his celestial tones would be an illuminating experience that opened her eyes to the possibilities that could be unlocked through the power of music. “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,” she added. “Soon I was to hear that track everywhere, and Bowie’s music became a part of my life.”
As a starry-eyed teenager, she attended the now-iconic farewell concert to Ziggy Stardust at Hammersmith Odeon and let Bowie place her in a trance for the entirety of the show. The brave ingenuity that Bowie tirelessly exhibited throughout his career – and his constant reinventions – made him the ultimate pioneer. For Bush, while she appreciates the brilliance of his music, it was his wild imagination that she finds most awe-inspiring.
Shortly after his death, Bush told The Guardian: “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.”
A few months later, Bush delved into further detail about the dynamic way he inspired her. She told i-D: “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.”
Bush then was probed about if she believed Bowie broke down barriers between genders in music and, interestingly, she responded: “I think when I’m working creatively, I don’t really think of myself of writing as a woman. I just think of writing as me, as a person, if that makes sense.”
Bowie’s influence is scattered in every thinkable corner of music, with each incarnation of his persona continuing to live on through others, and it’s incomprehensible to fathom a time when that will change.