How to Be Invisible, a collection of lyrics from across the singer’s 40-year career, will be published in December by Faber
She is famous for incorporating the work of Emily Brontë, James Joyce and Grimm’s fairytales into her music: now Kate Bush will publish her first book, a collection of lyrics from across her 40-year career.
Faber will release How to Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics on 6 December, with a comprehensive introduction from the novelist David Mitchell. Mitchell, who has described Bush as his “hero”, wrote three spoken-word sections of Bush’s 2014 Before the Dawn performances, which took place 35 years after her last tour.
“For millions around the world Kate is way more than another singer-songwriter: she is a creator of musical companions that travel with you through life,” said Mitchell. “One paradox about her is that while her lyrics are avowedly idiosyncratic, those same lyrics evoke emotions and sensations that feel universal.”
Faber has not disclosed which of Bush’s songs will be included in the collection. Bush, who turned 60 in July, is considered one of the greatest lyricists of all time for her command of literature, sensuality, gender dynamics and childlike innocence. In 2002, she was awarded the Ivor Novello award for outstanding contribution to music.
Writing in the Guardian in 2011, Mitchell remarked on her distinguished literary style: “Her songs read like scenes from short stories, or the stories themselves (odd ones). It’s hard to think of a novelist, let alone another singer-songwriter, who takes on such diverse narrative viewpoints with Bush’s aplomb: a foetus during nuclear war (Breathing), a weather-machine inventor’s daughter (Cloudbusting), a suicide bomber (Pull Out the Pin) or a dancer whose partner turns out to be Hitler (Heads We’re Dancing).”
Bush, who tends to avoid publicity, recently released a short tribute to the dancer and mime artist Lindsay Kemp after his death in August. As an 18-year-old, she sought Kemp out for dance lessons after seeing his show Flowers in 1976. He later appeared in her 1993 film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve. “The world has lost a truly original and great artist of the stage,” she wrote. “To call him a mime artist is like calling Mozart a pianist.”
Faber has published a number of collections of lyrics from British artists including Jarvis Cocker, Van Morrison, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and Billy Bragg. The lyrics of Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant are to be published in November. How to Be Invisible is its first collection of lyrics by a female musician.
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