Sharleen Spiteri interview: Why I turned down Smokey Robinson duet

Sharleen Spiteri: I could not believe these words were coming out of my mouth (Picture: Julian Broad)

‘There’s a few people who tried but I don’t think anyone has captured what Texas has,’ says Sharleen Spiteri as Texas release their new album Hi – inspired by… Texas.

The new collection came together after the band – founded by Sharleen and Johnny McElhone – were asked to release a 20th anniversary edition of White on Blonde, the band’s best-selling and arguably most adored LP.

Instead, they discovered a handful of unfinished songs which were ready to finally see the light of day.

More than 20 years after forming an unlikely duet with Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man, Texas have reunited with the hip-hop collective on the seductive single, Hi.

Like the rest of the new album, its distinguishably Texas. But with their uncanny knack to transcend through genres and collaborate with the unexpected – from hip hop heavyweights to heavy metal giants Rammstein – what Texas’ definitive sound is, is hard to describe.

That is, however, what has always set them apart from anyone else. Over the last 30 years, Texas has stayed true to whatever Texas is through countless trends, musical fads and changes in the industry.

‘Someone said to me a few years ago Texas is one of the only bands that can literally put out a rock record and then make a record with the Wu Tang Clan if they feel like it and move with in parameters no other band can move within,’ says Sharleen.

‘To be honest, I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s because we’re completely delusional.’

There’s no greater proof of this than on the new record, which jumps from country to disco to sprinklings of Bob Dylan and Duty Springfield.

‘We’ve always tried to make a record sound current and what’s around at the time but we’ve never been, “let’s make a record we’ve already made.”

‘It’s always been that natural evolving to where we’re at now. But there’s always been a definite idea of where we are and what we’re doing.’

Even in the earlier days of their career, Sharleen knew what was right for Texas when record labels would have other ideas. On paper, a 90s Scottish rock band teaming up with the Wu Tang Clan would seem unimaginable – more so, perhaps, in 1997 when their single Say What You Want arguably took the group to an entirely new level of popularity.

‘My daughter sent me a video the other night at the pub and it must have come on and everyone was just singing it. I was thinking, “whoever lives near by the pub won’t be happy. My name will be dirt.” That bloody song!’

The bloody song is undeniably the most anthemic Texas track and, in hindsight, it’s no wonder Wu Tang’s Method Man and RZA agreed to be featured on it.

The following year after its release, Texas were asked to perform at the Brits back when the ceremony was renown for pairing unconventional artists together for a duet.

Organisers were prepared to go all out for Texas.

‘They wanted me to sing with Smokey Robinson and to this day I still can’t believe I said it, I went, “Erm… nah.”. And they were like, “What?” I could not believe these words were coming out of my mouth.

‘That’s what people would have wanted us to do – it’s boring, it’s predictable.’

Sticking to their guns, Method Man was flown over the London where the two artists ended up performing one of the most memorable Brits performances in the ceremony’s 44 year history.

I could not believe these words were coming out of my mouth

To this day, few artists with such different musicality have come together to make such a seamless collaboration. It created something new.

Texas’ friendship with the rappers will in part be explored in an upcoming documentary where they’ll look back at that time.

‘RZA said to me, “Oh my god no one had done this and you guys really took a chance.”

‘I burst out laughing because I said, “I think you guys maybe took the chance!”

‘For me, they’re such trail-blazers and the Wu Tang don’t take any prisoners.

‘I understand why they did it now because as people they are fans of music and RZA has this unbelievable ability to do things that are different.

‘He thought this is something different and new and musically, in his head, it worked and I could see why it did work – it was honest and real and there was an interest in each other.

‘When you hear that record now you think, “f**k that’s good.”’

Texas’ new album Hi is available to download and stream now.

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.

For more stories like this, check our entertainment page.

Follow Entertainment on Twitter and Facebook for the latest celeb and entertainment updates. You can now also get articles sent straight to your device. Sign up for our daily push alerts here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts