happenings this month Sharleen Spiteri: "Looking Forward To Performing In Dubai"
Sharleen Spiteri: "Looking Forward To Performing In Dubai"
Updated on 31 March 2023

Get ready to sing out loud to 'I Don't Want A Lover' or 'Mr Haze' as Texas is coming to Dubai for a one-night-only performance. Ahead of the concert at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Stadium on 28 April, Discover Dubai spoke exclusively with Sharleen Spiteri, lead singer of Texas, about coming to Dubai and Texas new album 'Hi'. 

The group, with Sharleen Spiteri and bassist Johnny McElhone, have been making waves in the music industry since forming in 1986. 

The first ever single released by the group in 1989, 'I Don't Want A Lover', made its way onto the UK Singles Chart as well as the Billboard Hot 100, followed by the release of their debut album in the same year, 'Southside'. 

The group currently has a discography of ten albums, with the latest album, 'Hi' released in 2021.

Read more to find out what Sharleen has to say on the most exciting things about performing in Dubai to what lies ahead for the band.

What can we expect to hear in Dubai, will it be new songs from the album 'Hi' or older albums like 'Southside' and 'Mother's Heaven'?

No, you will hear the new ones and the old ones, it will be all the hits, it will be a really good mix. We will play songs from 'Hi' for the first time, it will be singles from that and the ones that everyone hears on the radio. We always say what is on the setlist on the night, but I think it will just be a really celebratory night of doing all the songs that people know and all the new ones that got to know and really have a good and fun party night.

How many songs will be a part of the setlist?

It depends on how long the set will be, I imagine that it will be around an hour and a half so that is normally around 12 to 14 songs. 

What is your favourite track to perform live?

It depends on the gig, on the audience and on the night. You can never predict how the audience is going to react to a song so it really changes a lot. It will be interesting to see how the new songs go down as well, so that will be fun.

What are you looking forward to the most while performing in Dubai?

The hot weather. You know, a nice warm evening, not too hot. It is so cold right now here in the UK, I am really looking forward to getting some warmth in my bones. There is always such a good atmosphere at The Irish Village, and the audience is always up to having a good time and just always been so supportive whenever we have been there, so I am really looking forward to it.

What are you looking forward to doing in Dubai?

I would love to swim, that would be good to get my body a nice warmth too. We have had quite a harsh winter here, and it would be nice. I would probably scare everybody there because my body is so white, I am Scottish, and we are always blue because we are so pale. It would be nice to get some sun on my skin and just enjoy a bit of swimming.

Which artists did you get your inspiration from at the start of your career, and who is it now?

I mean, it changes all the time because new artists come along, and you hear new music, and does it influence you. When I was growing up, I was very lucky that both my parents were into music. My Mum was very into a lot of blues, soul and jazz music, people like Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Al Green and Marvin Gaye, and my Dad was into bands like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Beatles. When I was growing up, I played Trash and Blondie. I have different genres of music that have influenced me throughout my life, it is weird that I say genres, but I do not see music in that way, I just kind of think oh that record and I have been lucky to grow up with such a mix of music.

There are some great records out there that most people like. I do like First Aid Kit as a band, I know they have a few records, but still, I love to listen to their albums and get very excited about that just because I love the harmonies and country music.

Was 'Hi' a lockdown album or was it in the works before that?

It was actually finished just before we entered the pandemic and the actual record was supposed to come out just before the pandemic, but my Mum took very sick and died the week before the lockdown, and I was actually in hospital for a few weeks. After that, we had gone into lockdown, and we decided against it. The record company was eager for us to put the record out over lockdown but we said absolutely not. People were going through a horrible time, there were people dying and losing family members and friends, and for us it felt disrespectful to put a record out. People need music to lift their spirits but we felt people were listening to older music, that was a comfort to them and I do not think they had the capacity to listen to new music. So we waited till we came out of the pandemic to release it and added a couple of new songs we had written over that time and did some tweaks to the record and put it out that way.

Did the experiences from the lockdown inspire you to start writing new music?

The loss of my mother and being in a situation where it was difficult time for a lot of people, and I do not think anybody has come out of what has happened without being affected by it. A lot of people have changed the way they live their life in a more positive way, and people have made changes in the jobs that they do. Also it forced people to make changes that they may have been too scared to make in their life before and the changes would be better for them. I think everybody was changed by what happened, and that is very influential as a songwriter and influenced me.

What are your plans for the future?

We were supposed to be in Dubai and were supposed to come during the lockdown, and when we were on tour, but because of restrictions, it never happened. We have never played the 'Hi' album in Dubai, so we are coming to play from the old and new. We are about to get the next record out, which is 'The Best Of 1989 - 2023' and that has got new songs on that which will be singles. We are on that at the moment, and it is funny going back a little bit. 

How did it feel to be back on tour after the pandemic?

We were one of the first bands that were out and when we played the first shows of the tour, the audience was still in masks, there was social distancing between the audience and the way people were seated and there were gaps in between everybody. It was kind of strange but amazing as well, people were desperate for a change in scenery and to let off steam and just have a really good time. It was a very special atmosphere. We did tour for 11 months and with the months, things continually changed and changed till we were back to the normal way we played. This year we are doing festivals like Glastonbury and a few festivals around Europe. 

Is it the same atmosphere playing in Dubai as it would be playing at Glastonbury?

Yes, we have always had a really amazing time playing in Dubai, it is a really giddy atmosphere and has been good fun, and there is also good interaction with the audience, which is important to us. Every gig we play is different, and I do not know what it is going to be like when we come this time, and we never know what to expect. When we walk onto the stage, it is that moment where we start and it is up to the audience to decide where to take it. You walk on the stage with the same attitude and head space no matter how many people you are playing to, whether it is a nightclub, a stadium or a festival. You just do not know what you are going to get, but all I know is that I am looking forward to coming and am ready to have a great time and play these songs for you.

Tickets for Texas concert at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on 28 April are available online.

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