Eddi Reader is from Glasgow, and as well as her solo career, also enjoyed success with Fairground Attraction. “My whole life is involved in trying to attract the next best feeling or thought, and at all times being okay with whatever comes.”
She plays Everyman, Cork, on February 14.
Best recent book you’ve read: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Best recent film you’ve seen: I adored Yesterday, which I saw recently. I’ve been recovering from a virus which floored me after Christmas and new year so I’ve been binge watching and Yesterday really cheered me up. The movie allows you to hear The Beatles songs sung as if for the first time.
Best recent gig you’ve seen: I saw Paul McCartney last January which I’m still reeling from. And I heard a bin-man, with his headphones on, unconsciously singing a Frank Sinatra song, late one night when I walked home down the Great Western Road. I had to stop and listen, then shake his hand. He was better than Frank.
Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): To get me into a better place I listen to Ella Fitzgerald. Or I pick up the guitar. I’m learning the fiddle so Shenandoah is my constant companion. It’s a killer melody.
First ever piece of music that really moved you: My mother singing while I was in her womb - every time I hear the song ‘Friendly Persuasion’ by Pat Boone all my senses shiver. It was her song to sing when she was 22 and I was a baby. She adored songs and singing, and she sung like Ruby Murray. I associate song with her level of happiness. It was the only way to cheer her up and think I inherited her larynx.
The best gig you’ve ever seen: Bob Dylan live at the Barrowlands. A smallish venue for the bard. But the gig was all the better for it. He sung with us while the Barralands didn’t need any microphone for him to hear us. I think he was buzzing with how intimate the gig was. The enormadomes are good for the flash, band wallop. But I like the smaller gigs. They feel more authentic.
Tell us about your TV viewing: I binge watch comedy. Larry Sanders and Curb Your Enthusiasm are favourites. Therapy and The Comeback are both Lisa Kudrow (Pheobe from Friends) creations and I’ve been rewatching them. I like crime drama too and I used to love political debate programs but I avoid them now because they spoil my mood.
Radio listening and/or podcasts: I love the Blind Boy podcasts and In our Time by Melvin Bragg.
Your best celebrity encounter: When I was eight months pregnant with my eldest son, I was invited to see Buddy Hollies Crickets at a function Paul McCartney was presenting in London. Paul, Linda and the hoi polloi were there. I was only recently in the charts so I felt starstruck all through those late 80’s events. Standing behind Paul and Linda in the queue for veggie lunch, both said hello and Paul leaned into my very big lump shouting :- “Step into the light!! Step into the light” at my unborn son. I was a rabbit in the headlights and nearly fainted when later, from the stage Paul said:- “coom on Ginge!” For me to get up when they were encoring with ‘Rave On’. My son is now 31 and tells that story.
Stand-out memory from the time ‘Perfect’ went to number one? Finishing our support set with Deacon Blue at the Glasgow Barralands and at the start of the set everyone in the audience were restless and uninterested until the end of the first song and the whole audience were captured.
By the last song the roar of appreciation was so enormous it frightened me. The loud applause continued while we left the stage. I said to the boys at the curtain:- “what did we do??” We went to number one in the next two weeks.
You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why?
I’d see Billie Holliday singing in Harlem in the 30’s, then shoot over to hear young Edith Piaf at Guerneys, in Paris. I’d like to party with Louis Armstrong in New Orleans or on a paddle steamer in the 1920’s. Or I’d sneak into Poosy Nancy’s pub in Mauchline 1785 to hear the trad session and chat with Robert Burns.
You are curating your dream festival – which three artists are on the bill?
Elvis, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong
Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?
Yes - I found out in 2012 that my grandfather’s brother was the Scottish commander of the IRB in Glasgow between 1914-1934.
You are queen of the music biz for a day — what’s your first decree?
All children learn the beauty and magic of songs before the age of 8 and before everything else. I did and it served me well.