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Mandy Watson talks about her Kate Bush tribute group Cloudbusting

British songstress Mandy Watson chatted about her Kate Bush tribute group Cloudbusting.

Mandy Watson as Kate Bush in Cloudbusting
Mandy Watson as Kate Bush in Cloudbusting. Photo Credit: Rob Dixie
Mandy Watson as Kate Bush in Cloudbusting. Photo Credit: Rob Dixie

British songstress Mandy Watson chatted about her Kate Bush tribute group Cloudbusting, and her love for the iconic British rock and roll superstar.

Cloudbusting is the longest-running and most universally applauded performance tribute to the music of Kate Bush.

Background on Cloudbusting

Formed in 2012, well before any suggestion that Kate was ever going to perform live again, Cloudbusting is a group of UK-based musicians whose passion is to bring the songs to life on the live stage by performing the songs as faithfully to the original recordings as possible with no hint of pastiche or impersonation.

“We have been performing for 10 years now,” she said. “The media interest has been phenomenal. As Kate Bush fans, we have always been here and loving Kate since it all began. Across the pond, it is equally quite exciting.”

Cloudbusting’s stage production features back projections that really add insight and depth to the drama of the songs, some of which have never been heard played live before. “We formed the band 10 years ago purely for the love of Kate Bush’s music,” she said. “As musicians, you get together and play. When we first started to play, it was for 20 to 30 people and then it started to build, and it has gone from there. It has been amazing.”

“My friend, Michael Mayell, asked me to join because he knew I was a Kate Bush fan. He asked me if I could sing a few songs, and I told him that I knew them. I am sort of living my dream job right now. It is my favorite,” she said.

Kate Bush’s music resurgence thanks to ‘Stranger Things’

There was a recent resurgence of Kate Bush’s music thanks to the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Her smash hit “Running Up That Hill” catapulted to No. 1 on the UK charts, and it even peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. “The fact that it is being played on the radio again consistently is brilliant,” she said.

British rock singer-songwriter Kate Bush is back on the charts thanks to her song “Running Up That Hill” being featured in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.” “The last few weeks have been really crazy,” Watson said, about “Running Up That Hill” skyrocketing back on the charts.

Watson discovered Kate Bush’s seminal breakthrough album “The Kick Inside” in her parent’s record collection as a young girl, and she fell instantly in love with its haunting melodies, unusual lyrics, and Kate’s voice. “I have been a Kate fan since the age of 10,” she admitted.

“Even at the age of 19, Kate was a pioneer out there who stood her ground,” Watson added. “I think Kate is not only a huge influence musically but in terms of how she carved her own path really. She is a musical genius.”

Since then, singing “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” into a hairbrush in front of the mirror has evolved into performing in front of thousands of fellow Kate Bush fans across all corners of the U.K.

Watson sees her role in Cloudbusting as paying homage to Kate’s music rather than trying to “be” her.

Favorite Kate Bush songs to perform live

She listed “Cloudbusting” as her personal favorite Kate Bush song to perform live. “I love how uplifting it is at the end of the show when we sing it. That’s our finale song, and prior to that, he sing ‘Running Up That Hill,’ which is such a powerhouse tune,” she explained.

“I also love ”The Saxophone Song’ from her debut album, ‘The Kick Inside.’ It is such a beautiful song,” she said.

Kate Bush tribute group Cloudbusting performing live
Kate Bush tribute group Cloudbusting performing live. Photo Credit: John Rinaldi

On being an artist in the digital age, Watson said, “Kate Bush has posted about four times in the last few weeks astounded by the meteoric rise with this song. It’s Gen Z that is pushing it forward. I hope they are able to explore Kate’s music further and discover more of her catalog.”

“We see a lot of younger people coming to our shows because now they are young adults whose parents got them into Kate Bush’s music and they have passed it on,” she said.

Watson acknowledged that these days are more of a singles-driven world, as opposed to one where people can check out entire albums. “Our attention span these days has gotten smaller and smaller, hasn’t it?” she said.

On the title of the current chapter of her life, responded, “It’s surreal. It’s a wonderful journey at the moment.”

Watson listed Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel as her dream duet choices in music. “I would love to sing ‘Don’t Give Up’ with Peter Gabriel. My ultimate fantasy dream would be to do a duet with Kate Bush, I would start a song and then I would love for her to come on stage and take over. I would be happy to do backing vocals for her, that would be wonderful,” she said.

She defined the word success as “getting the music right” and “having the trust of fellow Kate Bush fans when we are performing.” Also, being able to move her audience on an emotional evel is success for Watson.

Watson concluded about Cloudbusting, “I want people to leave our shows wanting more of Kate Bush. I want them going back out into the world and talking about Kate Bush’s music and playing more of her music and passing it on to other people. That’s what we are about. Sharing the experinces.”

To learn more about Cloudbusting: The Music of Kate Bush, check out their official website, and their Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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