Kirstie Kay, singer from the Annie Lennox DIVA Tribute band has taken time out to share with us some of her thoughts about the Annie Lennox album DIVA, 20 years ago and how she has connected with the album 20 years later in a different way.
Watch out next week when we have a give away of promo CD’s recorded by Kirstie and her band mate Dave to promote their Annie Lennox and Eurythmics tribute shows.
As I sit here contemplating the right words to use to describe what Annie Lennox’s album ‘Diva’ means to me, I find myself realising this is not going to be as easy as I first thought. The reason? The album ‘Diva’ means more to me now than when it was released. Twenty years ago I was 23 and just loved the music. Now, at 43, I understand it.
DIVA Album Release
When March 1992 saw the release of Annie Lennox’s first solo single ‘Why’, it also coincided with the birth of my first child Natasha and the beginning of an unconscious affinity to the music, lyrics and artistry of the album ‘DIVA’, which I of course dashed out to buy the following month.
I constantly listened to the album often playing ‘Why’, ‘Little Bird’ and ‘Walking on Broken Glass’ repeatedly as I was mesmerised by the vocal sound, instrumentation and production quality of these particular tracks. At that time I hadn’t realised that ‘Diva’s’ producer Stephen Lipson was also responsible for one of my all time favourite hits “The Duel” by Propoganda.
The lyrics to ‘Precious’ perfectly stated my own emotions as a new mother. I remember turning my head to listen more intently to the unusual melodic line and rhythm of the piano intro to ‘Walking on Broken Glass’, ( as a pianist, it felt very different to anything I heard before) . I was also completely captivated by the video for ‘Why’ which I found stunningly beautiful in it’s visual artistry. My favourite track at that time was definitely ‘Little Bird’. That is most of what I can remember about my feelings towards the album in 1992. I was married, had a baby, and an exciting life was ahead of me.
However, here in 2012, I am drawn to very different elements and find myself making emotional connections in ways I couldn’t even conceive in 1992, especially as my life has seen many challenges and changes over the last 20 years.
The lyrics to ‘Little Bird’ have great meaning to me, especially the second verse “For I am just a troubled soul who’s weighted to the ground, give me the strength to carry on till I can lay my burden down..” . We all need somebody or something in our life that gives us strength to complete a task, inspires us to create something new, or to just play a supportive role to keep us going until things get better. I am no longer a troubled soul weighted to the ground, but I have been a few more times than I would care to admit and ‘Little Bird’ reflects how we should continue to want to find our own wings despite everything thrown at us!
In the same way, I completely appreciate and understand the lyrics in Cold “Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me half to death’, and ‘I loved you right from the start.. but the more I want you the less I get, ain’t that just the way things are’. These are very personal and heartfelt statements that cut deep if you allow them to.
I watch the video for ‘Why’ and find myself drawn deeply into the psychologically fragile world of an artist in emotional turmoil as her ‘mask’ is applied. I watch how Annie Lennox skilfully portrays loneliness, hopelessness, fear, sadness, isolation, regret and anger in front of the mirror, then playing the part of the ultimate professional during the photo-shoot itself whilst trying to hide the dark emotions and thoughts behind the mask, as many creative artists do on a regular basis.
I often cry when I listen to ‘Why’ today, but despite the sadness, there is a great sense of inner strength that starts to show through in the final section – this is marked by the Annie singing directly to the camera from “This is the book I never read” onwards, and this marks the start of a healing journey that says, ‘…but it’s OK’ and today, that idea means more to me than anything else. That is why I no longer cry when I sing the song myself.
In summary, ‘Diva’ reflects my own life experiences, thoughts, emotions, fears, desires and personal journey more than any other music recorded in history, and that is why the album ‘Diva’ is so very special to me.