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’ says Sharleen Spiteri as she gulps down a cup of tea. It’s just that everybody is a lot better at hiding it these days.’ For the 49-year-old lead singer of Texas it’s a key issue.She stuck to her guns by refusing to ‘dolly up’ and become a pretty pop stereotype, and went on to sell 35 million records in a nearly 30-year career.It is no surprise she recently signed with BMG records, headed by one of the few female record chiefs in the industry, Alexi Cory-Smith. I was in a band, I wasn’t some pop princess, I was a musician.
There were piles of cocaine on desks, gorgeous women as secretaries and men shouting their heads off. ‘I’d seen Scottish drugs like glue and canister gas and the occasional tab of acid washed down with Irn-Bru but nothing like cocaine.
I thought: “I’m going to prove you wrong.” It wasn’t just him. Back then I needed to be signed so I just decided to take the money and make the best record I could.’ Spiteri got her revenge as Texas’s debut album, Southside, went gold and the first single, I Don’t Want A Lover, launched former hairdresser Spiteri as an iconic singer in the mould of Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith.
Behind the scenes she was berated as ‘not being sexy enough’, with executives and stylists ‘constantly trying to force me to wear little dresses and skirts’. I got into music because I wanted to be Joe Strummer.
She was never, however, tempted by the cocaine excesses of the Eighties and Nineties. ‘I saw it, it was very much around me but it was never a road I went down.
I’m not good with anything that makes me feel unbalanced.