Under the stars on Aberdeen beach Scottish singing legend Eddi Reader experienced an “awakening moment” that reaffirmed her love of life… and music.
On a freezing March night in 1992 Eddi, braced against the wind, sat by the warmth of a fire on the Granite City sand.
The pressures of fame with previous chart-topping band Fairground Attraction still lingered.
Suddenly, with her new band The Patron Saints of Imperfection by her side, Eddi was overwhelmed with a passion for life and living in the moment.
That brought Eddi, now 62 years old, back down to earth after the kinetic chaos of fame and life in the public eye.
Eddi will return to Aberdeen when headlining The Music Hall on Thursday as part of a ’40 Years Live Tour’.
She said: “I really fell in love with Aberdeen 30 years ago when I was playing there.
“It was in March and freezing so we built a wee fire at midnight on the shore.
“There was myself and the Patron Saints of Imperfection.
“We looked at the stars and held each other against the wind.
“We were in love with life.
“It was a great time and was my awakening moment.
“I was out of Fairground Attraction and realised that I could still do it.
“That I could still stand on my own two feet even after that success that gives you high expectations.
“I came back to earth on the shores of Aberdeen because I felt the reality of the place.
“I felt everything was brilliant at that time.”
Meteoric rise to fame not ‘perfect’
Eddi’s initial breakthrough was as a backing vocalist for Eurythmics, fronted by Aberdeen-born Annie Lennox.
She also sang with political post-punk trailblazers Gang of Four before joining Fairground Attraction.
Fairground Attraction topped the charts with single Perfect and debut album First of a Million Kisses in 1988.
Perfect earned the band the ‘Best Single’ award at the 1989 BRITs.
It was a meteoric rise. Within the space of a few years Eddi had transitioned from busking in the streets of France to topping charts worldwide.
Eddi said: “Prior to that I liked roaming about the planet in an equal way.
“When that level of success happens you are plucked out of that equality by other people.
“They see you as special and different.
“That’s not an easy place to be for anybody and can lead to you power tripping with your own ego.
“You don’t want that because it never leads to anywhere but hell.
“I had to figure it out spiritually, mentally and physically.
“I had to come to terms with a lot of expectations – to figure out what was important and try to keep true to what I believed in the first place.
“That was being as natural as possible and enjoying the moment with the other people in the room.”
From busking to the top of the charts
Since Fairground Attraction split in the early nineties Eddi has released a host of acclaimed albums including 2018’s Cavalier.
Earlier this year Eddi released Light Is In The Horizon, a collection of songs that didn’t make it onto recent albums but deserved their own exposure.
The Aberdeen show is a celebration of more than four decades performing.
Eddi said: “I decided to put a pinpoint in the time, because time is irrelevant as you are only in the here and now.
“It was the exact moment that I remembered I was the same girl as I was when sitting on the side of a river in the south of France four decades ago.
“That was when I made a decision to come home and try to apply the abilities I had to give me a living.
“I had been busking on the streets of France which is quite a hard way to sing to people.
“To just pick up a guitar and start singing to people on the street.
“It’s a great skill to learn as long as you are in good company and safe.
“But there were moments when I wasn’t safe.
“There were moments when I couldn’t be bothered doing it and I noticed I didn’t enjoy doing the very thing that made me feel alive.
“I had to go from there to a place where I could use the ability I had.
“That seemed to be quite substantial as I could harmonise very quickly and could make people pay attention with singing.
“I came home and the first thing I did was found a job in a factory in Irvine making knitted golfing jumpers.
“I answered adverts in music papers and got with Gang of Four. They took me to America which was my first time on a plane.”
I’ll be on for one song very early .. then driving on to Aberdeen. My heart and love goes out to all on both sides caught in this insane ego power play https://t.co/H0rXn49TVS
— Sadenia Eddi Reader (@eddireader) April 18, 2022
‘I wanted to be as natural as possible’
Over the past four decades Eddi has collaborated with a host of stars across a myriad of genres.
A musical chameleon Eddi has performed in folk, jazz, pop, world, punk and classical genres.
On what Aberdeen fans can expect, Eddi said: “It is a bit free-flowing. I go with instinct first.
“Being relaxed has come with time and is something that I have aimed for in every situation, even back in the day.
“I couldn’t be bothered with the fuss.
“The record business used to make a real fuss about everything.
“You know, big beautiful cars to pick you up and flashing lightbulbs.
“I hated all that because it made me panic about what I was doing which was being very natural.
“I wanted to be as natural as possible and not try to sell some kind of fake image.”