So, who is Kate Bush? And why isn’t she widely recognised as a musical icon? You may know her track ‘Running Up That Hill’ in the Netflix hit, Stranger Things. But beyond that, we’ve unknowingly grown accustomed to the sounds she evolved and just how much her influence has broken boundaries for women in music.
Where it began.
Kate Bush is a singer, songwriter, and musician who has been captivating audiences with her unique style and cutting-edge sound since the 70s. By 17, Kate released a demo that landed the attention of EMI who took the plunge to sign Kate at a time when the British music industry was generally stagnant. Genres like progressive rock and experimental acts were being considered as a means of revitalising the industry — and it worked.
By ‘78, Kate was topping charts with her hit single “Wuthering Heights,” crowning her as the first female artist in the UK to reach number one with a self-written song. Her 4th studio album also broke records as she became the first female artist to reach number 1 in the album charts while achieving artistic independence in the process – an uncommon phenomenon in the 80s.
Powerful storytelling and the exploration of contentious themes over experimental sounds are only some of the traits embedded into Kate’s artistic identity. Her revolutionary use of the first digital keyboard sampling station, the Fairlight synthesiser, and the headset microphone onstage (a brand new invention at the time) show just how much Kate’s music was inspiring a fleet of kindred artists along the way.
Billie Eilish, FKA Twigs, Stevie Nicks, Grimes and Sia are just a few artists who evoke the unconventional spirit of Kate Bush in their work. Whether it’s her avant-garde and experimental production, distinguished stage presence or dramatic vocals, Kate’s influence in music extends beyond genre and decade.
37 years after its release, ‘Running Up That Hill’ has now been streamed almost 500 million times and featured in 2.7 million TikTok videos introducing a new legion of young devotees who have discovered the seminal artist for the first time. Despite never winning a grammy, you won’t find Kate begging for the limelight. Her influence speaks volumes about why she should be recognised as a force in the music industry. Her authenticity has proved how running up that hill isn’t too bad once you’re at the top.
We highly recommend checking out her work and exploring elements of her sound in your own music. You can learn ‘Running Up That Hill’ on keys, pads, and drums with Melodics. From VI VII i pop chord progressions, to unequivocally 80s drum rhythms and synths.
Play it today and experience the unique and magical world of Kate Bush for yourself.
Happy International Women’s Day!