FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Kate Bush’s influence on her cousin


She’s Kate Bush’s cousin, and you’ll be able to hear the influence when Australian singer Beck Siàn performs for the Festival of Chichester.

Currently living in Lancing, Beck will be joined by her musical collaborator Jonathan Kershaw to offer haunting ballads and Celtic themes.

The Kate Bush connection is something she is hugely proud of.

“It’s the situation where we have met on numerous occasions,” Beck says. “I am in touch occasionally, but I don’t know her very, very well. I grew up in Australia and only moved here in the last ten years.

“My family is a branch of her family that shot off to Australia. I only really saw her when we came back here throughout my childhood. We came over a few times.

“But I went to her concerts last year. I was quite hands-on in the background. Kate included me as part of it, but I was not performing. I was just pleased to have behind-the-scenes involvement.

“But she is certainly one of the biggest influences on me. Certainly my desire to sing and dance was sparked by her. I was so proud of that connection, and I still am.

“I am always very excited to tell people about it. It’s interesting to be able to say it to people. My Irish grandmother and her mum were sisters. We have both got the Irish connection.

“I think what Kate has given me is courage as a singer. She was such a courageous writer and performer and also such a good businesswoman. She called the shots. She decided the way she wanted her work to be performed. She didn’t follow what was going on commercially at the time. She very much forged her own path, and that has been a great influence on me to be fearless, to do it my way, to sing, to be passionate about it.

“You just hope that people will find you and relate to you. Obviously she has had huge commercial success, and that is not something I would aspire to. It is just important to me to make the kind of music I want to make.

“I have got a bit of a cult following, which is lovely. There are people that were buying what I was doing before I even came to the UK, and they are absolute darlings, buying anything I put out, and I think I have got Kate Bush to thank for that, the connection I have got with her.”

As for Jonathan: “We are sharing a house and living together in Lancing. That’s our musical base at the moment. We met at a festival in West Sussex, in Findon actually. That was the year before last. We have been working together ever since because we decided that our solo music complemented each other so well that it would be fun.

“It’s hard to describe. There is a Celtic threat. There is a gothic element, but not gothic as in 1980s make-up. I mean gothic in the Victorian and Edwardian literature sense, the ghost stories, the vampire stories. A lot of my lyrics are about ghost stories and old haunted places.

“Jonathan tends to write a lot about mythology. We just felt it all seemed to go very well together. The style of the music is a little bit folky, a little bit Celtic and quite a lot alternative!”

Beck and Jonathan offer Beautiful Ghosts and Bizarre Tales in the Chichester Inn, 38 West Street, Chichester on Thursday, June 18 at 8pm.