Bobbie Watson

Bobbie Watson: vocals and percussion

Bobbie Watson

I left school at the earliest age possible, intent on doing something exciting with my life. Within two months, I had moved first to London, and then, via a friend, to a house in Beckenham, Kent, where RogerGlenn andAndy lived. Music was played constantly in this house – either on the record player, or on instruments, as Glenn, Rog, Andy and Colin were already a band. The Rastafarian contingent visited regularly friends from Brixton, amongst whom was Mike Rose (who joined as flautist), and the now legendary trombone player, Rico. Viewed through a dense fog of “herbal” smoke, these scenes were unbelievably, satisfyingly weird and exciting to a just turned 16 year old. 

I spent the next three years with Comus, until the final split in 1972. Being still relatively young and naive, I had no real idea of how to carry on in music, so turned to my next interest – an ability to draw and a love of fashion. I started at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design, and obtained a degree in Fashion and Textiles in 1976. I then worked in the industry, first as a designer, and then as a freelance fashion and editorial illustrator for national wome’s magazines and for advertising. 

Around 1978, I worked for a short time in an animation studio, cell painting, before computers took over. Some of the films I worked on were Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, where I was rendering, (colouring-in to you and me), and Terry Gilliam’s “Yellow Submarine Sandwich”, a spoof of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine”. 

Moving from London to Oxfordshire in 1981, I spent time refining my illustrative techniques and taking lots of photographs, prompted by the new surroundings. I also daydreamed endlessly about being a backing singer for Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Talking Heads, Bruce Springsteen and anyone else who would have me, whilst teaching myself how to make bread, yoghurt, and hoummous!

At this time I started up a small business making one-off outfits for individual customers’ wedding dresses, suits and stage outfits. Through this I met Gill Allcock, who was then the wife of Maart Allcock of Fairport Convention. This marked the regenesis of my musical life. 

In 1992, Gill and I started a band, Nice Girls Don’t Explode, performing in folk clubs and festivals, doing some trad. folk, and acapella arrangements of our favourite songs by a wide range of artists. Nice Girls went through several incarnations before splitting in 1998, but this had served the purpose of getting me back into singing and performing. 

At a loose end musically, only doing a few BV’s for friends bands, I started going to the local jazz club, learned and performed lots of jazz standards, and started to teach myself guitar. 

Working in the local music shop, in January 1999, I met Jon Seagroatt, whose then band, ambient pioneers B So Global, were looking for a female singer.

A totally new life then began. Encouraged and enabled by Jonny, I started songwriting with him, and partly because of this, B So global transmuted into Drift, who were described as “ambient electro funk”. Songwriting was something I had always wanted to do, but never really had the means, so this was a real revelation and it became my creative life. Jonny and I married in 2003. At this time I also started part-time lecturing on the Fashion course at the local college, obtaining two teaching qualifications, (who me?!) and taking specialist courses at the London College of Fashion. I continue to teach locally, and have taught on a casual basis at De Montfort University and more recently at the University of Northampton. 

After a few years of always being well received but not really going anywhere, Drift petered out, and two years ago, Jonny and I recruited a cracking drums and bass partnership to form the Colins of Paradise, (described as “genre-plundering groove surfers”), with whom we currently gig.

I still have loads of ambitions – to do an MA, and then a Ph D., to sing with a 50 piece orchestra a la Frank Sinatra, to have an exhibition of my drawings/paintings and photography, to turn back the clock and have children with Jonny, and to make a patchwork quilt – oh, and to have another life in which to do all the other things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s