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The beguiling combination of Horse androgynous looks and sensuous
voice propelled her to fame in the 90s but much has changed since the
Scottish singer first made the scene. In many ways, being an artist—espe-
cially a female artist—is more difficult than ever.
The current tabloid culture of celebrity worship, youth culture, reality TV
and instant internet fame certainly seems out of sync with what someone
like Horse represents. Her ninth studio album may be called Home, but
when effortlessly demonstrating an incredible vocal range (with the likes
of Careful and Ghost), she proves that talent is timeless
AJ: Last year was the 25th anniversary of your breakthrough album The
same sky. What’s the secret to Horse’s longevity?
Horse: Making The same sky was thrilling and exhilarating a real life
changer. I ’ve never, ever, lost that sense when making music. It brings me
great joy. I understand, with hindsight that from teenage years to now, my
music has developed from within me by way of osmosis and an absolute
heart not from my head. It has quite literally saved me. It has been my sol-
ace and comfort, a companion and a great healer. My ideas of success and
longevity have completely and utterly changed over the years I have been
making music. Because I put so much of myself into my music, it’s obvi-
ous why I would take it personally when commercial ”success”, or rather,
the widely held view of what “success” is, may have eluded me. However,
I reached a place personally and professionally long ago of being happy
with my success. The great sense of achievement and pleasure from still
making music and having a true and positive impact on people is incred-
ible. I feel very lucky.
AJ: It’s easy to forget now what an impact being openly gay had
back then. Even your record company were marketing you “ Horse.
What is it—a man or a woman?” Do you feel this helped or hindered
Horse: I know that going through all of those times was also part of me
”finding” myself. I was never closeted. Like most kids, I had no idea who
I was and it was not just my peers but the adults who, also, could be very
I grew up in a town where I felt ostracized I was cast out for being gay
and became very lonely. To then be exposed in public on a grander scale
was a little like being dragged backwards to that situation where I ran the
gamut of the bullies, the ne’er-do-wells, and the town fathers—only this
time there was no escape. Capitol didn’t know what to do with me and I,
myself, had no idea either—I was just trying to be myself. I felt very hurt
when I saw the flyer in a club we were playing in, saying “ Horse. What is
it—a man or a woman?”
The biggest lesson I learned, being signed to two major labels, was that
you were a commodity, something that was being sold. We just want-
ed our music to be heard and naively hoped for that platform. Today’s
Stonewall tag would’ve been perfect—I am ... whatever ... get over it.
One of the Saturday Kids TV producers said she couldn’t play our vid-
eos to children—I wasn’t appropriate, I was offensive. I was so hurt and
embarrassed to think someone thought me dangerous for children.
AJ: Your music is very personal. You put yourself out there and on the
line. You give a lot of yourself. It’s one of the things that’s made you pop-
ular with your loyal fans. Are there any risks with that? Do you still feel
vulnerable when you get up and perform?
Horse: I always get nervous or wound up before I perform. Whether
to one person or a thousand—it’s just how I am. I care about what they
think. After all these years I don’t think I could ever feel distant from my
audience. I get a real buzz from performing—it’s a two-way thing. I quite
literally feel supported because they have come to hear me sing and for
that I will always be grateful. I meet people after gigs; I have done for
years. I think the only down side is that after performing for up to two
hours it can take a long time to meet everybody so I get a bit tired.
After all these years of performing I find that the most powerful place
in the room is on the stage with the microphone. I am now more open
than I have ever been. The risks from doing that are so much less and the
rewards are sublime.
AJ: You have shown a great deal of appreciation for your fans. Were
there any life lessons you gained along the way to encourage you to
never take the fans for granted?
Horse: I think as time has gone on I realise how important the fans have
THERE IS NOTHING MORE
LIFE AFFIRMING THAN
TO FIND, THAT THROUGH
SHARING YOUR OWN
HELPED SOMEONE ELSE.
16 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
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