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Scottish-born songstress Sharleen Spiteri has been the driving force behind rock band Texas for over thirty years. Aided by her trusty black-and-white Telecaster, a choice that was inspired by one that The Clash’s Joe Strummer used to play, Spiteri has stormed the world’s largest stages and amassed a tally of over 40 million albums sold worldwide.
Ever since the band first performed in Cape Town, straight after Apartheid came to an end, they’ve been eager to return to play a full show and finally, after a few years of unrequited attempts, decided to take matters into their own hands.
Spiteri’s thick Scottish accent is jubilant on the other side of the line and, after a short lineage discussion sparked by the pronunciation of my name, keen to talk about being back in the spotlight.
Tecla Ciolfi: Texas has had a career spanning 30 years now – how great does it feel to release your ninth album and still get such an incredible response from critics and your fanbase?
Sharleen Spitari: It feels emotional. I get this warm fuzzy feeling. I mean, you don’t always make the records that people are ready for but this record was a very easy record to make, which isn’t always the case. This is a very easy, upbeat, positive record and it was fun to make and the main thing is that everyone – the media and the public – have felt that from this record. That’s a very satisfying feeling, when people can see clearly what you’re trying to do.
TC: You’ve always been such a force for women in music and rock – who do you think are some of the current artists that are flying the flag high for women and equality in the industry?
SS: A lot of people have asked me has the equality situation changed at all. I think it’s a problem not only in the music industry though. Lets not kid ourselves, it’s a still man’s world and we have to dig deep and fight hard. Personally there are a lot of things I can do, I can be very outspoken and quite outrageous sometimes with what I can get away with because I can manipulate certain things as a woman. So there are pros and cons of anything.
But when you look at the record sales of the biggest-selling artists in the world – they’re women. You’ve got Adele, you’ve got Beyoncé, you’ve got all these women that are shifting mass units – someone like Adele is such a great songwriter and she’s just got a great attitude for me and she says it like it is.
TC: And because of that she’s incredibly relatable.
SS: Exactly! She makes music that she wants to make. People ask me how have we had such a long career and it’s because we only care about the music and only want to make good records and that’s the legacy. The legacy is not us personally, it’s not about being famous, it’s not about who you’re fucking or what brand you’re wearing. We care about records.
TC: You’re touring “Jump On Board” but fans are suckers for big hits so what can we expect from your setlist?
SS: We would not go onstage and not play the big hits. The great thing about Texas is that we’re very proud of our big records. It’s all about putting on a show, entertaining people, making sure that people go away thinking, “Bloody hell! When are they coming back?”
Trust me, we’ve fought hard to get into South Africa. It’s always been, “Oh it’s too expensive to go,” or “You can’t go because there’s not a demand,” – blah blah blah.
We’ve taken things into our own hands, jumped a few queues and said, we’re coming! It’s taken a long time but we’re coming and we’re hoping that after doing these dates, you’ll invite us back.
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Listen to “Jump On Board” below on Deezer.