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.

4 thoughts on “Bobbie Watson

    1. Hi Malcolm,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Bobbie said; Thanks so much Malcolm, very kind of you to say so! Bobbie

      Like

  1. absolutely adore your music.Love to hear you’re playing at another festival now it’s possible.If you make it to New Zealand, we’d lap you up.

    Like

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