We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest #rebelleboss is Skye Edwards, singer of Morcheeba and all-around woman extraordinaire.
A few months back, lucky Pra was able to snag tickets to the Morcheeba concert at the Dubai Opera while they were finishing up their 2018 world tour. The group has been around for 25 years but they still out on such a show! Singer Skye Edwards completely entranced everyone with her gorgeous and unmistakeable voice, the music transporting Pra back to the days when she used to play “The Sea” on repeat. (In fact, she still has Morcheeba on her playlist and plays them regularly.)
Never one to miss an opportunity with a potential #rebelleboss (or be afraid of being told “thanks but no thanks”), Pra reached out to Skye to see if she’d do a Q&A. It turns out that not only is Skye beautiful, talented, and someone who’s performed on stage in front of thousands alongside other major names in music, but she’s also humble, gracious, and ridiculously down to earth.
A #rebelleboss? We definitely think so! She embraced jumping on board our modest yet growing movement and also had zero hassle in locking herself away in her closet away from the family to churn through our videos. Respect!!!
Read on for more from this fabulous singer-songwriter who makes angel wings for her daughter to wear in the school play in between rocking the stage on a world tour.
Ed. note: some answers have been edited for clarity
Please provide a brief background and career to date
I’m the singer of a group called Morcheeba, started by two brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey. We formed in 1994/95 and released our first album “Who Can You Trust” on April 1, 1996. Our music was known as Trip Hop along with bands like Massive Attack, Portishead, and the singer Tricky.
In 2003, I split from the band and released my solo album (I have four solo albums) and Morcheeba continued with a few different singers. The brothers asked me to come back to the group in 2009. After releasing two more albums together, Paul left the group and in 2018, Ross and I released the 9th Morcheeba album “Blaze Away”. We toured all over the world to places like South America, Australia, China, all over Europe, South Africa, Eastern Europe, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
What’s your purpose – why was Skye put on this planet?
Gosh, I’m not sure how to answer that one. Does there have to be a reason to be on this earth?
What makes you a #rebelleboss and why?
Hmmm…let me think…
I’m good at writing songs, I’m good at making clothes, I’m good at making children, too – I’ve had four. I’ll be 47 in May and I’m fitter now than I was 10 years ago. I’m not afraid to pat myself on the back and say what I’m good at. I like who I am. I’m proud of me.
What’s been the biggest reward to date in your musical career?
My son Jaega joined the live band in 2014. This is all thanks to Ross for suggesting it. We needed a new drummer and Ross said, “What about Jaega?”
I thought it was a crazy idea as Jaega had only been playing for three years. But Ross said, “I was 18 when I started in this band, the same age as Jaega. Let’s try it, give him a chance”. So after a month of playing through all the songs in the garage with Steve (bass player) and two warmup shows, Jaega played at his first festival with us in front of ten thousand people. He nailed it. I was pregnant with Jaega when we recorded the first Morcheeba album back in 1995 and to be able to say he’s now our drummer is incredibly rewarding. I’m so very proud of him.
And the biggest challenge?
Being in a band with my son was quite a challenge, to begin with. For the first few months, I couldn’t look at him whilst we were performing together on stage as I was worried that I’d distract him. Plus it was quite surreal having my son on stage in the band. Another challenge was changing roles from being his mum to being his band mate to being his boss. Learning to not worry (too much) if he stayed up late partying when we had a big gig the next day!
The biggest learning lesson since you got into the industry?
“If you want to evolve as an artist, you have to risk in order to gain. In order to go to another level, to evolve, you have to be willing to lose.” – Linda Perry
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in their careers (particularly those in the music/entertainment industry)?
Sex sells, but you don’t have to sell sex to get ahead. I’m not saying don’t be sexy, it’s awesome to be comfortable in one’s own skin, and to ‘work it’ and ‘own it’ but why not keep it classy, keep your legs together. Let it be your voice and songs and lyrics that get you noticed, not your tits and arse.
Has fear stopped you from trying out an idea where you ended up missing an opportunity?
He would like to take some photos of me with lions. I’m excited and petrified by the idea. I could get some absolutely wonderful photos but my fear might just stop me. Or on the other hand, I’ll get over my fear, but I might not live to tell the tale!!
Tell us about a time someone said you couldn’t do something and you proved them wrong.
In 1996 someone told me that a tour bus was no place for my 9 month old son and in 1998 another person said that I shouldn’t be on tour with my three-month-old daughter. Both those people were women. Anyhow, I ignored them and brought all of my kids on tour up until they were school age. And after that, they came as often as they could during their school holidays.
Being on tour, my kids have traveled all over the world, they’ve meet new people, experienced different cultures and foods and spent time with both parents (my husband plays bass in Morcheeba). How could anyone say that’s not a cool thing to do?
One key tip that has served you well in the music industry?
I was at a party and I was saying how terrified I was every time I’m about to go on stage. And this guy said to me, “Don’t worry, you’re amazing at what you do and it’s not brain surgery. If you make a mistake, no one will die”. I felt embarrassed and empowered all at once. He was right. Whilst on stage I’ve forgotten the words to songs. I’ve fallen over in my ridiculously high heels. I’ve lost my voice. I’ve had wardrobe malfunctions and audio break downs. And, yep, nobody died, the show went on.
What are your secrets for staying fresh and healthy when on the road?
Moderation is the key! You can’t drink heavily every night and get away with it (white wine or Patron is my tipple). I used to think, “Ooh no show tomorrow” and stay up late. Now I think, “Day off tomorrow, I’m not going to drink tonight then I won’t be hung over and waste the day off in a beautiful city”.
I make sure I walk for at least 50 mins. everyday. I do 20 mins. of yoga twice a week.
I give myself at least two hours to get ready for the show – giving myself more time means less stress. (I do my own makeup and hair and wardrobe.)
I try not to snack on the backstage nibbles – there’s nearly always crisps and chocolate and nuts, even when we don’t request it. I try not to eat late after a gig. We make sure we have plenty of coconut water back stage and I always drink it!
I use NIOD products and follow a regimen to keep my skin in check.
We heard that you studied fashion design and even make the clothes you wear on stage! Do you think you’ll ever switch gears and focus more on fashion? Perhaps a Skye Edwards clothing line? 🙂
I went to the London College Of Fashion over 25 years ago, where I studied fashion design, pattern cutting, and embroidery. Now, I make my own stage clothes. I absolutely love sewing; it’s hobby that I find therapeutic. I have a wee sewing room, with rolls of fabric, ribbons and scissors and pins. I close the door and listen to my iTunes or a TED Talk and get into the flow of creativity.
I wouldn’t turn sewing into a business, I think it would be way too stressful being in the fashion industry. Plus, I like wearing outfits that are one-offs and nobody else has. I’d be up for a collaboration with a designer though, that could be fun.
When the going gets tough, you…
I go for a walk. My husband and I like walking and talking through whatever is on our minds. It is the best therapy ever. Talking through ideas and plans or any family issues. We live in the countryside and it’s so good to be outdoors among nature. Even if it’s cold, we wrap up warm.
It’s health maintenance for the mind and body. There are even TED Talks about the benefits of walking and talking. The mental health charity MIND say that walking in the countryside could help reduce depression and anxiety. I believe it. I always feel better after a walk and talk.
A healthy work/life balance is different for everyone. What does balance look like for you?
We did close to 100 shows in 2018, that’s including radio, and TV and in-store performances. It was an amazing year – travel intensive – but still very enjoyable. It’s certainly a juggling act trying to balance family life with work, between bringing the kids on tour and making sure we have enough weeks and months at home. My eldest two kids aged 23 and 21 told me recently that they had an amazing childhood. So I’ve stopped beating myself up about missing the occasional school play and birthday. We have lots of quality times together.
Your favourite travel destination and why?
I absolutely love Cornwall. It has some of the most stunning sandy beaches in England. As a child, I came every year with my parents, so I have lots of fond memories of eating big soup in the beach hut, exploring rock pools, and jumping over the waves holding my dad’s hand.
Last August, we had a chance to go on a holiday. It was a proper holiday, with no gigs attached. We had been touring steadily since March and the last thing I wanted to do was get on an aeroplane. So we decided to drive to Cornwall, car loaded to the brim!
Bucket and spades – check! Fishing nets – check! Kites, colourful beach towels, rain macs and welly boots (this is England after all). I was so excited to be returning to Cornwall. My youngest daughter is nearly four and this was her first proper holiday, one she will remember.
Some of your favourite live music venues around the world?
Talking of Cornwall, Lusty Glaze is an amazing venue, set on a privately owned beach in a beautiful cove. The stage faces the sea, so I get to watch the sun set whilst singing to our gorgeous smiling audience. We played in South Africa for the first time, in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens [in Cape Town]. It was pretty spectacular.
One woman in business who deserves a shout-out and why?
I’d like to give a shout out to my friend, Betony Vernon. She lives in Paris and creates these beautifully hand-crafted pieces of erotic jewellery that double as sexual aids and massage devices. I first met Betony at the Life Ball in 2003 when we shared the catwalk for Missoni. I bought several pieces which I wore on the cover of my 2nd solo album called “Keeping Secrets”.
Not only a designer of jewellery, she’s also a sculptor, an interior and furniture designer…oh and did I mention she is a sexual anthropologist and author. Her book “The Boudoir Bible” is part of her life’s mission to educate people about their bodies. She teaches the therapeutic benefits of letting go and accepting pleasure, and believes this is the “secret to achieving sexual wellbeing and peace of mind, as well as more loving behaviour towards one another”.
Betony is also a certified medical hypnotist which she practices with her ongoing research and transformational work overcoming the detrimental effects of sexual abuse and trauma. In other words, she’s freaking awesome!
Any rising stars in music we should check out next?
Hyyts. Two young lads from Scotland, Adam and Sam. I saw them whilst I was in Dundee at Clarks On Lindsay just a few weeks ago. The lead singer Adam plays guitar and keys, he’s got beautiful falsetto tones, but equally capable in the mid and low range. Sam does BV’s and electronics. Their voices together create a gorgeous dynamic. Adam is a great performer, genuine and from the heart. Check out their song “DWY”.
Áine Cahill from Ireland. I first saw her at the Reeperbahn Festival when I was a judge for the Anchor Awards. Four out of the five judges loved her and we wanted to pick her as the winner, but she wasn’t entered into the competition. She did a super lovely acoustic performance at a show hosted by Ray Cokes. Very honest songs and down-to-earth girl. And she’s funny, too. Check out her song “Beauty Is A Lie”.
Your life mantra
“Everything Happens For A Reason”
Perhaps it’s not clear at the time. And maybe only years later will the reason become clear.