6 Apr 2024

The return of Beth Orton

From Music 101, 2:15 pm on 6 April 2024
English musician Beth Orton

English musician Beth Orton Photo: Supplied

English singer-songwriter Beth Orton brings her otherworldly sound to Aotearoa this month for two special shows.

Best known for '90s hits like 'She Cries Your Name' and 'Stolen Car', Orton's sound has been shapeshifting for over 30 years.

Critics described her latest album Weather Alive – which Orton will perform songs from here –as the BRIT Award-winner's best work to date.

Beth Orton performs at Auckland's Powerstation on 20 April and Wellington's St James Theatre on 21 April.

On singing for others:

"I just really enjoy and get behind the kind of openness and lack of … this is deeply sincere and possibly slightly embarrassing sometimes but you know, fair play, I mean every word of it. So I just sort of enjoy inhabiting those moments."


On the "true" creativity of the London music community:

"There's like a real lack of pretension in what's happening right now in London, this is very true musical endeavor of making beautiful music is at the forefront, rather than it being a scene. [You can see the] meetings of minds and hearts of the people who are coming together right now, I think. It's [about] a similar intention and a similar desire to create rather than hanging on a genre of any sort or a movement or a scene."


On her precious old piano from Camden Market:

"The guy in the shop was like 'you don't want that one. That's the granny piano'. I did buy it and he was a lovely man. He's an interesting guy. He used to literally get pianos and take them to Mozambique or just take them to much farther-flung places in Africa, places where people didn't have pianos. He'd get pianos to places in the world where otherwise people wouldn't have them. A lot of his pianos were old-school pianos. This one was a bit beaten up and I just thought it had the most beautiful sound. That was the one I wanted and I got it home. I had it tidied up - which I sort of regretted for a minute, then it settled and it was fine."


On waking up to the "gift" and craft of songwriting:

"My curiosity is just piqued. I'm like 'Oh, hang on a minute'. It's like I woke up and remembered what it was I could do or found out I could do what it is I do. I just hadn't really tweaked. I always used to have this sort of magical thinking like it had to come out of this ethereal place. Now it's like 'No, I can actually dig and find this and craft this. I do feel particularly excited to have woken up and to be like 'What a gift, what a wonderful thing that life has given me, which is the ability to put so much of what I don't know where to put otherwise into music."