Sally Oldfield
Spirituality Infuses Flaming Star
 More of this Feature
• Part One
• Part Two
• Part Three
  Related Resources
• Fusion
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Sally Oldfield: Official Site

Paula: Just listening to Flaming Star, I feel such an atmosphere of spirituality coming out of the music. I am wondering what role spirituality has in your songwriting.

Sally: I would say it's my greatest passion.

Paula: When you are writing a particular song or working on a piece of music are you specifically thinking of a particular spiritual tradition as such, or do you sort of meditate on it and let yourself be guided by your own spiritual muse when you are composing?

Sally: You make it sound wonderfully spiritual and peaceful when in fact it is the opposite in a sense. I suppose my entry into spirituality came more like a volcano than a nice, peaceful thing although the end result, and when I've actually created the song, it does become a more peaceful thing. But I had quite a blinding spiritual revelation about twenty years ago when I was a student at Bristol University in England and I was reading English philosophy and I had no, really spiritual at least nothing very powerful had happened in the way of interest in spirituality as I now understand it. I had what I now understand in retrospect to have been a - have you heard of near death experiences when people go into operating theatres and their hearts stop? I think NDO is the popular terminology - a lot of people now rite about this or speak about this and I use this as an example because it is one of the more popular idea of spirituality as opposed to the very esoteric Buddhist tradition. When I had this experience I wasn't actually in an operating theatre but I was walking on the beach. It was a beautiful day and I had a kind of what many people describe as a peak experience, but then it kind of took off and I will probably have to write a book on this one day, but it was such a turning point in my life because after I had had this kind of light experience, I went home that evening and picked up my guitar and music literally flooded through my consciousness. It was the first time I had actually written music. My whole life changed and I just knew from that point I had to be singer. I mean, obviously I was a singer before that time, but I wasn't what I would call a creative singer - I didn't write my own songs. All my music since that time has been spiritually inspired, and since that time again I have studied all sorts of mysticism and Buddhist and Eastern, Sufism . . . I studied them but I didn't come to them from an intellectual interest - it was this explosive personal revelation. I didn't have a clue what happened to me that day! But it was so overwhelmingly positive that it did change my whole attitude to death and all these kinds of subjects, and has been my inspiration ever since.

Sally Oldfield Paula: How do, if at all, different musical cultures come into play in your work?

Sally: In a kind of roundabout way to answer that question, the way that Flaming Star came about was my interest in club culture. I did a remix of my hit single "Mirrors." It wasn't a hit in America, but it was in a lot of different parts of the world. Club culture, to me, is very much human beings trying to get back to this tribal togetherness. You were speaking of bringing different sorts of music together and I think this is what we are trying to do with people in clubs. It is often a very tribal atmosphere: people feel very much together and are very friendly and open. Music brings them together. My co-producer on a lot of tracks on Flaming Star is Asian and a very, very gifted percussionist - he's played tribal drums in clubs. This is a way on this album for us trying to bring together my kind of overlayed vocals, which I do all myself, and then he's playing this tribal rhythm behind it. I've had the freedom to work with whoever I wanted on this album, probably for the first time in my career, and it's turned quiet a lot of chill-out, spiritual . . . I don't know what you call it, but a lot of people in the clubs when they are coming down from their wild weekends, they quite like to play Flaming Star.

Paula: It's interesting that you mention the club scene because I understand that you plan to release some club remixes over the next few months.

Sally: Yes, I actually had a club hit with "Mirrors" in Spain. That was quite an exciting thing for me, to have a club hit. It was top five in Spain last summer and I spent a week promoting it in all the Spanish/Mediterranean clubs. We're hoping to release that in the UK and America over the next few months, perhaps a different version with a different DJ doing that. That's another one of my interests, is to collaborate with club remixes. Maybe we'll find somebody in Canada. It would be great because every country has its own style.

Next page > More With Sally Oldfield >