Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit, better known as Shakespears Sister, chat with Kevin Cooper about their recent reconciliation, their career highlights, the release of their EP and their forthcoming tour of the UK.

Shakespears Sister is an English pop-rock act, formed in 1988 by singer songwriter Siobhan Fahey, a former member of Bananarama.  Whilst initially a solo act, in 1989 the American musician Marcella Detroit joined to form a duo.

Together they released two top ten albums and had a string of top forty hits, including the 1992 hit Stay which peaked at number one in the UK for eight consecutive weeks.  Detroit was sacked from the band in 1993, leaving Fahey as the sole member again until she ended the project in 1996.

Fahey revived the Shakespears Sister name in 2009 and in May 2019, it was announced that Fahey and Detroit would reunite on stage later in the year.  A UK tour, titled Shakespears Sister Ride Again, was announced during the same month, and is scheduled to launch in Nottingham on 31st October 2019.  They released their new single All The Queen’s Horses on 15th May, with an accompanying music video.

This will be followed by the release of a compilation album, Singles Party, in July 2019.

The duo performed Stay on The Graham Norton Show on 10th May 2019; their first TV performance together since 1993.  They are currently recording a new EP which is also due out in 2019.

Whilst busy preparing for their UK tour, the release of their EP and compilation album, Singles Party, Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what they had to say.

Siobhan (Fahey) Marcella (Detroit) good morning, how are the two of you today?

SF. I’m good thanks Kevin, I’m sorry that we are a little behind schedule, but we have just been speaking to Chris Evans which is a good way to start a Monday, together with speaking to you of course (laughter).

MD. Hi Kevin I’m pretty good thank you. How are you this morning?

I’m very well thank you and before we move on let me firstly thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

SF. That’s okay, no problem.

MD. It’s a pleasure.

I know that we have got to talk about the Shakespears Sister reunion together with the forthcoming tour and album, but I have a couple of questions for both of you if that is okay?

SF. That’s not a problem.

MD. Sure, fire away.

Marcella, you and I spoke last July in relation to your then forthcoming residency at Boisdale of Canary Wharf, how did it go?

MD. That’s right we did, well let me tell you, I did the residency at Boisdale and I have to say that considering it was the very first time that I had performed a real show, it was a show which enabled me to highlight the songs and artists that have inspired me throughout my entire career, and it really was a great learning experience for me.

Siobhan, taking you back to 2017 if I may.  I was fortunate to photograph Bananarama here in Nottingham when the three of you finally toured for the very first time…

SF. Oh really, go on (laughter).

Did you enjoy it?

SF. Oh god yes, I had a great time every night on that tour. Every night was joyful, the audiences were great, and it was so much fun for the three of us to celebrate what we were and what we had done together.

The burning question is, will the three of you ever work together again?

SF. That is not where my head is at currently. I am firmly involved, concerned and excited about Shakespears Sister, the forthcoming tour and the new album (laughter).

What can you tell me about the new album?

SF. We are currently half way through recording the new album which I have to say, is sounding at least as good as the others that Marcella and I have ever recorded together. These really are inspiring and exciting times for the two of us.

The last time that I spoke with Marcella the two of you had just had your first meeting after almost twenty-five years.

MD. That’s right, when I spoke to you last year Siobhan and I had met in May and then I came over to the UK in July and we had another meeting. It was at that meeting that we started talking about the fact that perhaps we should try to write something together and see if there was still some magic there creatively.

Now that you have cleared the air, is the past firmly behind you?  Is that magic still there?

SF. It is amazing. There was always a very easy and natural flow whenever Marcy and I wrote together and recorded together, and I have to say, that hasn’t gone away. Having had twenty years apart, and being able to compare other situations, it really is like an amazing union.  I think that creatively we are now making some of our best music ever really.  I really cannot wait for the release of the EP which we are halfway through recording.  The songs are all written, and they are killers.  This is a whole new era and a whole new relationship really.

MD. I would totally agree with that. Siobhan and I have finally got all the misunderstandings out of the way and we are both communicating far better than we did when we were younger. There now is nothing around us to stand between the two of us.  We are both having a great time being creative together again.

Well I have been listening to your new single, All The Queens Horses for a couple of days and I have to say that I think that it is fantastic.

MD. That’s brilliant, thank you so much for saying that.

SF. Thanks for that, Marcy and I are proud of that track. Have you seen the video yet?

Not yet?

SF. Well let me tell you that you are in for a treat (laughter).

Please don’t shout at me because it is just my humble opinion, but I personally feel that All The Queens Horses would sit well on the soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie.  Would you agree?

SF. Absolutely. That track was inspired by the likes of Ennio Morricone and the music which he put together for the early Spaghetti Western movies and that of course is Tarantino territory, so I would love it if he was to hear that track.

MD. That is what a lot of the music people are currently saying so let’s just wait and see if anything happens (laughter).

I saw the two of you performing the new single on The Graham Norton Show.  Were there any pre-performance nerves?

MD. Are you kidding, it really was so emotional waiting in the wings to come out onto the stage and take our places to perform. When I took my place on the stage I was so overwhelmed with emotion. In fact at one point I thought that I was going to cry.  It really was quite an overwhelming moment for me.  I was literally shaking all throughout the performance which is unusual for me.  It was raw and it was real.

SF. It really was a special moment for both of us I feel.

We have spoken about the current single, All The Queens Horses; what else is going to feature on the EP? 

SF. Right, it is a five track EP, and the exciting thing for us is that it is going to be released on vinyl. It really is going to be a beautiful thing. Other tracks on there will be See You Next Tuesday, Dangerous Game, When She Finds You, Time To Say Goodbye and of course All The Queens Horses.  Thank god for the resurgence in vinyl; I really do wish that it had never gone away.  I really did hate CD’s.  I feel that everything sounds so much better on vinyl, that’s why I have always been a vinyl junkie (laughter). 

MD. It really is a wonderful thing.

Have you given any thoughts as to releasing the EP on cassette?

SF. Are you taking the piss (laughter). Let’s just say that I do not have a very good history with cassettes (laughter).

MD. I personally feel that we should stick with vinyl for the time being (laughter).

Are you two of you looking forward to finally being back out on the road together?

SF. Yes we are, and I have to be honest and say that I am really excited about that. We will have time for some proper rehearsals before we get back out on the road. Plus, we have such a great wealth of fantastic songs to choose from.  It is going to be hard for us to decide just what will make it onto the set list. 

I was going to ask you if there is one song that you are both looking forward to performing live?

SF. It’s funny you are asking that because it was only this morning that I said, “I can’t wait to perform Emotional Thing live on the tour” (laughter). And having been thinking about it today I really can’t wait to perform Moonchild live on the tour.

MD. From my personal point of view I feel that there are so many songs that were so much fun to perform live, and without giving away too much of what will make it onto the set list there is another funky song called Are We In Love Yet which I really do hope fits in with everything else on the set list.

SF. We will just have to wait and see. There are so many great songs for us to choose from.

It must be a nice position to find yourselves in?

SF. Yes, it is, it really is. It’s a far better position for us to find ourselves in rather than having to pad out the set list with covers of other bands.

The tour kicks off here in Nottingham at the Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 31st October which if my memory serves me correctly is Halloween.

SF. Yes we are (laughter).

MD. That’s right it’s Halloween (laughter).

Without giving too much away, just what can we look forward to?

SF. Well hopefully the audience will all be dressed suitably ghoulish. What will you be dressing as Kevin?

I have absolutely no idea yet, but you will be the first to know (laughter).

MD. Good man (laughter).

I know that it is still early days yet, but are the two of you thinking that you are in this for the long haul and that Shakespears Sister will be here for a while longer?

SF. I think so, I absolutely think so yes. I also think that after such a long hiatus there is an awful lot of creativity bursting to come out and both of us absolutely love performing live. I think that both of us really hope that we can tour the new songs for the next couple of years and take them all over the world whilst at the same time we are able to unleash some great and new material. 

MD. That would be wonderful if all of that actually comes to fruition.

Are the two of you always writing?

SF. What I will tell you is that Marcy and I are two very different people when it comes to sitting down and writing. For me I go through phases where I feel inspired and bursting with ideas. I will constantly be jotting down ideas.  But having said that I will also find myself going through some fallow periods.  I get confused about the great variables in life (laughter).  That tends to happen whenever I am going through a lot of other crap in my life which tends to add risk to the mix. 

MD. For me, writing tends to rely upon how I feel when I get out of bed in the morning (laughter). I find that sometimes I will have an idea that has been brewing in my dreams overnight, and it is then that I will think ‘I can’t wait to get up’ and I will forego having breakfast and the gym to get myself into the studio and get all of these ideas down onto paper and the computer. I really do love being creative.  I think that is when I am the happiest. 

You appear to feed off each other when you are writing.  Is that the case?

SF. Yes, we do, and I think that we have got some very complimentary gifts when it comes to song writing.

Has it made you feel good when you see everyone with a smile on their face because Shakespears Sister are back?

SF. It’s been fantastic and what can I say, if they are happy then we are happy.

Now that you are back working within the music business once again, what do you think to the current state of the music industry here in the UK?

SF. (Laughter) to be honest with you I don’t really think about it. I don’t tend to spend much of my life contemplating the state of the music industry.

MD. Quincy Jones and both said around five years ago now that there simply is no more music business. They both agree that the industry is quite fractured, and were worried about just how we nowadays get the music out there to the people. Unless you are quite savvy on social media or you can afford to hire someone to do it for you, it really is difficult for artists to get their work out to the masses.  As you know I have been in the music business for many years now and let me tell you it is quite a different animal nowadays. 

Do you have a favourite Shakespears Sister song?

SF. Oh god, where the hell did that come from. Here we go; my current favourite is Time To Say Goodbye. We haven’t recorded that song yet, it is just a demo at the moment, but I tend to live in the now and I have to say that I really do love that song.  All The Queens Horses makes me cry whenever I hear it or sing it.

MD. Oh gosh. No pressure there then Kevin (laughter). I love Hello (Turn Your Radio On) from the Hormonally Yours album.  I have always felt that was a beautiful song and very poignant.  When it comes to the new songs I feel that I love them all equally but there is one called Dangerous Game which is rocky and snarling and I absolutely love it (laughter). 

What was the highlight of your career before the breakup?

SF. For me personally that would have to be supporting Prince at Celtic Park back in 1992. That was amazing. I used to go and see Celtic play with my dad when I was a kid and so for me to be playing at Celtic Park supporting Prince, that really was a special moment for me.

MD. For me that would have to be jamming with Mick Jagger around a dinning room table at a friend’s house. That really was cool. Also, for me to perform at Glastonbury really was pretty special too.

On that note ladies let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, its been special.  Take care and I will see you here in Nottingham.

SF. Thank you Kevin, you are more than welcome, and I will see you on Halloween. Remember that we are expecting you to dress appropriately (laughter). Bye for now.

MD. Thank you once again Kevin, it’s always a pleasure. You take care and we will see you in Nottingham.