interviews

Rising Star: Global's Ellie Pike

The biz's brightest new talents tell their stories. This week it's the turn of Ellie Pike, Global account manager, brand events. What’s been your best music biz moment so far? “Such a hard question! I’ve been lucky enough to have ...

The Aftershow: Emily Eavis

Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis won the Outstanding Contribution honour at the Music Week Women In Music Awards. Here, she rolls back the years to talk Glasto past, her little known Pyramid Stage debut and the Fyre Festival documentary... The Glastonbury legends slot started… “With Johnny Cash in ’94, in a way, but that was actually on a Saturday. Tony Bennett did the Sunday in 1998 and it has grown in profile and legendary status. There have been so many amazing ones in the past 10 years like Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – and Kylie last year was massive. We’re really happy to have Diana Ross [in 2020] because that’s something we’ve been wanting to happen for about five years.” People love coming to the festival because… “There is a lot of trust that we’re going to do all we can to make it the best possible music line-up. But also, beyond the music, it really is something special. If you took all the acts away it would still be a brilliant, completely unique experience.” Our audience seems to be getting younger… “But the crowd changes every year, so you never quite know. There were moments [last year], especially with Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi, where you looked around and realised a whole new generation is coming through and that can make you feel old, in a good way. I remember watching Pulp in 1995 and those are seminal moments in your life, so it is the best thing when you see them happening for people aged 15 and 16.” Coldplay have been really good to us… “We’ve had a few acts over the years who are loyal to Glastonbury and we’ve become close to, and they are one of them. It makes us proud to see them dominate all over the world, but they don’t forget their roots.” What makes a good Glastonbury headliner is... “When they get into the headspace of what it means to play here. Metallica are a perfect example: Lars Ulrich wanted to understand and experience it – to know what it’s like to be in the meatpacking district of the NYC Downlow, or wherever, at 4am. And those are the things that make it different; it’s not just a gig.” I once performed on the Pyramid Stage... “It was before The Style Council, when I was about five. I’d been practising at the house and someone said, ‘You should go on stage’ and, before I knew it, I was on stage playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which I was quite proud of. I did it so many times because they kept giving me encores! About eight encores in I thought I’d try another tune from my songbook, which was a bit harder, and that was it – no more encores! It put me off for life – I am not a performer, I’m happy in the background.” I watched the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary... “And I just thought, ‘Oh God!’ Obviously it was the absolute opposite of how we do things here – it’s never the best place to start when you’re more interested in the marketing and less in the infrastructure. My husband [Glastonbury’s head of music programming Nick Dewey] and I were watching, cringing, but it was also good viewing.”

Hitmakers: The songwriting secrets behind You're Beautiful

James Blunt has been singing You’re Beautiful to adoring crowds around the world ever since it topped the charts in 2005. Ahead of next month’s arena tour, he explains why he’ll never tire of the million-selling ballad… I was in London on the underground and I saw an ex-girlfriend with a new boyfriend who I didn’t know existed. We caught eyes, but we didn’t stop or say anything. In my mind, I lived a lifetime in that moment. I went home and wrote the lyrics in about two-and-a-half minutes. I used the word ‘subway’ because ‘underground’ is a bit clumsy. I was in the army at the time, based in Knightsbridge. I sat there thinking, ‘How would you say the words ‘You’re beautiful’ with all the meaning that you could?’ Like the song Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, he’s just saying the word how it sounds – [sings] ‘Craaazyyy!’ So You’re Beautiful is sung exactly how you would say it if you really needed to just say, ‘Fuck, you’re the one…’ I was working with Sacha Skarbek and Jimmy Hogarth in Los Angeles, making demos and recording for Back To Bedlam. I had a chorus, melody and all the lyrics. We went out and grabbed a coffee and heard La Cienega Just Smiled by Ryan Adams and, as the intro came in, I said, ‘Mate, I could sing a song over the top of [something like] this, let’s get this home’. I had Elliott Smith’s albums and asked if I could meet [Smith’s producer] Tom Rothrock. We met in a diner and I knew I wanted to work with him. He had the gentlest, kindest soul and spirit and an interest in life and other people. We set up in the studio, listened to the demo and did it in a very organic way. We tracked it in Conway Studios and finished in his house in the Hollywood Hills. That was that. I knew it was my strongest song in terms of commercial potential, but it wasn’t my favourite on the album by any means. I love So Long Jimmy, which has a really cool Americana feel. I loved High, too. Goodbye My Lover was emotional, it’s about a lifetime of remorse, so it was more meaningful. I knew You’re Beautiful had the biggest commercial potential, but I didn’t know what it would do! I didn’t want to set targets like ‘1,000 sales in the first week’, I didn’t know 1,000 people! We went with High to begin with, then Wisemen. The album was in the Top 20 at that point. Then You’re Beautiful came out and I crossed my fingers. I got a phone call when I was in Switzerland about to support Jamiroquai at Moon And Stars festival. My radio plugger Jasper Burnham called and said it had gone to No.1 and so had the album, knocking Coldplay off the top spot. I walked round the hotel room just going, ‘Fuuuck!’, but not in a good way. It wasn’t meant to do that. It was supposed to go to No.2 and life would still have been very cool. With the No.1, things could change in a way I hadn’t necessarily planned for. The band arrived an hour later; we got on stage and then had a really great afterparty. I didn’t tell the crowd, I don’t suppose it would have been very relevant. We went to No.1 a week later in Switzerland, then it did its thing around Europe and the world. What’s weird is that I’m often asked if I’m bored of the song, and what I find is that I’m bored of that question. It’s only three minutes and 30 seconds. People seem to really enjoy it. I haven’t seen how high the sales figure is. YouTube took it down once, so it lost seven years’ worth of views. I focus on the negatives! [Laughs] I got invited to play it on Sesame Street as a duet with Telly Monster, his voice was an octave lower than mine. Instead of ‘You’re Beautiful’, we sang ‘My Triangle’, which was amazing. Elmo was in the audience. It was an honour. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth checking out. All the lyrics are changed to [reference] triangles, ‘Especially the hypotenuse’ is one of the lines… It’s very amusing. Writer’s Notes Publishers EMI Music Publishing, Bucks Music Group Writers James Blunt, Sacha Skarbek, Amanda Ghost Release Date 13.06.05 Record label Atlantic Total UK sales (OCC) 1,200,077

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