Interview
Judie Tzuke appeared on Radio 2
on the Richard Allinson Show

[transcribed by Sue Haley ~ apologies if I misheard!]

Radio 2 Jingle followed by Stay With Me Till Dawn..

Richard Allinson: Bang! That was one of the most requested songs we ever used to play on Pillow Talk when we first started this show. Judie Tzuke and Stay With Me Till Dawn 'cos it saves all those chat-up lines doesn't it? {stifled laugh from Jude in the background!} You just put that on and you might get lucky, you never know? Judie Tzuke is with us tonight - Hi!

Judie Tzuke: Hi!

Richard: 'cos you giggled..

Judie: Yes!

Richard: Welcome along.

Judie: Thank you

Richard: I was going to say, what have all these women got in common.. I was going to say Shawn Colvin, Joan Baez, Joan Armatrading, Jewel, Dar Williams, Sarah McLachlan and Julia Fordham, because they're all top singer/songwriters and they've all sat in this very studio and now.. we can add your name to that list.

Judie: {gulp} Yup

Richard: Congratulations. You've brought your band with you aswell.

Judie: I did. Can I introduce them?

Richard: Is this.. this isn't the whole band?

Judie: No - this is the.. ABBA version of our band. {laughter from Bob & Jude} This is Mia over here on vocals - Mia Silverman; David P. Goodes on guitar over there; Brandon Fownes on piano and sings a bit; and me.

Richard: It's very good to see you and congratulations on releasing a new album called Secret Agent.

Judie: Thank you

Richard: 'Cos it's all your own work, and I mean that entirely..

Judie: Yes

Richard: ..because it really is absolutely everything.

Judie: Yes.

Richard: It's your own label, it's your own everything!

Judie: It is that! It is! It's hard. It's hard because we don't actually put it in the shops either, I don't know if you know that, but you can't get this anywhere but us.

Richard: Well how do we get to "us" then?

Judie: You call me or you go on the Internet and put in www.tzuke.com and you'll get to my website, which is fantastic.

Richard: But there's this Amazon Books, this place in America, the website, you buy books on the World Wide Web..

Judie: Oh yeah..

Richard:.. and they did a couple of million dollars in the first year..

Judie: Mm

Richard: They've only been going a few years and now they're doing squillions and squillions of dollars!

Judie: Well, we're not doing that yet! But.. No! {giggle} I think really it's just getting people to be aware of it and that's the problem that I've got and the problem is not actually giving supplying it, it's just making people realise they can just pick up the phone, call us and we'll send it to them. And they'll get it the next day and they don't even have to go down the record shop.

Richard: I like that!

Judie: Yeah, I do too!

Richard: If people want to listen to a few tracks, and you're going to do a couple of songs from it tonight, we just played one of your biggest, probably the biggest hit you ever had; Stay with Me..

Judie: The only hit I ever had {laughs}

Richard: I was talking it up Jude!! How does the new album differ from that?

Judie: Well I think it's.. Well.. you'd really have to tell me that because I can't tell. I think it's pretty different but I think it's also.. it's still very much me and that's hopefully what runs through everything that I do and that's what makes it consistent. But I think that the music on it's a bit different and I've been writing with all different people on it; I've written with Dave over there and.. I love this album but I can't be objective about how it's different, you'll just have to..

Richard: It's your baby..

Judie: Yeah, I mean it is like that! And I love it.

Richard: 'Cos I think you've written songs and it sounds like you haven't had anybody looking over your shoulder.

Judie: No I haven't

Richard: So like there's the big record company in the old days that used to probably say ''Well do a bit of this..''

Judie: Yeah!

Richard: ''.. and maybe rock that one up a bit'' and this sounds entirely personal which is good.

Judie: It is! And it is how I mean to go on.. if I get chance to go on {laughs}

Richard: Alright. Talking of going on - let's go on and do some live stuff. You're going to play two tracks - which one would you like to start with?

Judie: We're going to do Girl I Want To Be first.. and you're going to give me the lyrics just in case I forget them {explosive laughter from Bob} as I tend to do when I'm nervous sometimes.

Richard: Girl I wa.. Gril I.. the well know tryphon error!

Judie: I won't be able to see it though it's such small writing.

Richard: And we've got the late night lights on so it's dark!

Judie: I won't even look at this, honestly.. it's just there for reference.

Richard: This is Judie Tzuke bluffing on {laughing} Radio 2. The Girl I Want To Be



[Was Judie nervous or was she holding back - I can't decide. She didn't belt it out like she does onstage! Maybe because it was a small studio?]


Richard: You won't find that version on the album..

Judie: {laughing} No

Richard: ..I suspect. The Girl I Want To Be - one of twelve new songs on Judie Tzuke's new album called Secret Agent, which you have to order through the website and we'll give you details about that a little later on.

Judie: Or the telephone call if not, if you could give it to people?

Richard: Easy! Yeah, we'll do that later. I was reading some stuff on the website actually, picked off the Internet,; The songwriting process for the album Wonderland was a little unusual for you because apparently for the first time you actually went into the studio, with a keyboard player, and you wrote.. right, I'm going to write a song a day..

Judie: Every day! We wrote, I think in the end we wrote 21 songs in 23 days of which some.. there's one on this album aswell actually.. Oh no it's not it was on the last one {giggles} I get confused. But, basically, we used most of them.

Richard: There are 12 songs on here, is it like you're writing songs because they come to you or you're writing songs to put on an album?

Judie: No - they come to me and that was the fantastic thing {let me take these headphones off, sorry} about writing like that was that.. I'd always struggled over words and I used to spend weeks and come back to songs and kind of perfect them and try to make them cleverer and I did still mean them but I used to spend a lot of time on them. When I did the Wonderland thing I discovered that if I just thought about what I wanted to write about I'd just - instead of trying to be clever or - I'd just think well how would I say it, you know, and how would I feel it? And I wouldn't actually even spend any time I'd just write it.. And most of this album, the songs were written in, like, twenty minutes, I mean a couple of the songs Dave and I wrote, we talked all afternoon, thought we weren't going to write anything and then wrote a song in, like, twenty minutes from start to finish! It's true isn't it Dave? {chuckles} {Yes, from the background}

Richard: That guy shuts her up!

Judie: Looking at me funny!

Richard: Start playing. She'll stop talking and start songwriting. So how do you know when it's finished then? 'Cos you keep, you said you keep on going back.

Judie: No, I don't now! I don't now, I finish it. I finish it there and then because to me if you don't finish it there and then you never get back to the same feeling.. as you have when you do that.

Richard: And now you are in charge of your own record label?

Judie: Mm

Richard: How does this work with your own albums 'cos presumably all the other companies that you were signed to over the years still own your own songs?

Judie: Yeah.. we have Wonderland back. But we are trying to get back the first few albums in fact and I have big hopes that we will get them, the Rocket ones. And we're just trying to find out whether it's a possibility at the moment.

Richard: 'Cos that was Stay With Me Till Dawn.

Judie: Yeah.

Richard: Now that was Elton John's company..

Judie: Yeah.

Richard: ..and he was also running Watford at the time, I think.

Judie: Yeah

Richard: What was he like as a record company boss? I mean, was he a hands on sort of a guy?

Judie: Well, I don't think he was particularly hands on in the company as far as I could see 'cos I.. I wasn't there either really but I did go on tour with him for three months. So I spent quite a lot of time around him then and he was really good to me.

Richard: {pause then laughter}

Judie: {laughter} He was!

Richard: It's that funny face you pulled.

Judie: And I want my first three albums back, thank you very much!

Richard: Reg! Just hand them over, please! Judie Tzuke is with us. Which album is this? This must be number eleven now?

Judie: I don't remember..

Richard: I'm losing count..

Judie: ..it's eleven or twelve, I don't know either!

Richard: It's called Secret Agent.

Judie: ..I haven't even got them all that's the ridiculous thing.

Richard: No, because the old record companies have got them.

Judie: No, but I haven't even got a version of them!

Richard: You're joking!

Judie: No. Some of them I haven't got.. I've got most of them I've managed to get but I haven't got all of them.

Richard: Who's got all your old tapes then?

Judie: I don't know. Well, Rocket have lost Stay With Me Till Dawn. 'Cos there's been quite a few people who've wanted to actually, Yeah, the original version of that so they could remix it and stuff and they've lost it. Apparently.

Richard: Oh great!

Judie: Maybe they'll find it now?

Richard: Mrs Sinatra will probably walk into a record company somewhere - Oh sorry! That New York, New.. lost that! Can't find that one. Have another swig and give us another song. What's it going to be, the next one?

Judie: Oh God! I'm not ready yet! Secret Agent. Hang on..

Richard: This is the title track of the.. do you have to retune?

Judie: No! It's just that I get - I don't get nervous talking actually, if we were just talking I'd be fine. But when I'm singing I get really nervous so doing the two I get all dry and sort of funny and..

Richard: What is it you do for a living again? {Jude laughs} Oh, you're a singer!

Judie: I know!

Richard: Judie Tzuke is live, very live, on Radio 2 tonight and this is the title track from the new album which you can get on the telephone or on the computer, details coming shortly, it's called Secret Agent.


[After a deep breath, Jude's performance this time was really strong!]


Richard: Judie Tzuke on Radio 2 and Secret Agent. Is there somebody listening to this who should be feeling guilty now?

Judie: No. {chuckles} Well, yes!

Richard: Curses!

Judie: But they don't know who it is, but yes, I suppose there is really. {chuckles}

Richard: You're touring at the moment. How's that going?

Judie: Oh, it's going great! It's going really well, we've done four, this is my day off, and then we're going to do.. oh we've got loads actually starting Wednesday.

Richard: 'Cos one thing I noticed, 'cos last year was a terrible year for you, and you had to take a lot of time off, but the gigs you did do were the ones in the Bahamas..

Judie: I know. Funny you should mention that but that was because they wouldn't take cancellation. There was Ronnie Scott's who'd already booked it, put it in all their books..

Richard: In Birmingham?

Judie: In Birmingham. Just focusing on Birmingham.. and then there was Bermuda.. {laughs}

Richard: What's up with the letter 'B'

Judie: ..and then there was Jamaica but all those ones - it was too late to cancel.

Richard: I'll do the Midlands, I'll do the Caribbean but I'm sorry, I'm not going to do anywhere else.

Judie: No, but actually Bermuda was a holiday and we did it for the holiday so.. and they couldn't put it off and it actually was quite good for me, seriously, to do it. And then we did Birmingham and then we did Jamaica and I only actually did two songs in Jamaica.. which was fantastic!

Richard: It's an easy life, Jude, isn't it!?

Judie: Oh yeah.. really easy! Yeah!

Richard: How does this fit in with the family, 'cos how many kids have you got now?

Judie: I've got two - sounds like I've got millions there!

Richard: And do they come along with you?

Judie: No, they come to the gigs that are near, like, they'll be coming February 8th to Queen Elizabeth Hall and they might come.. I think I'm doing Wavendon - You've got the dates there actually.

Richard: Someone's nicked them.

Judie: Someone's nicked them, I shall FAX them to you.

Richard: Queen Elizabeth Hall I have, Jazz Café last year I have and that's pretty much it.

Judie: Well, maybe someone listening at home might FAX you them or are they there somewhere?

Richard: You carry on, I'll find the dates.

Judie: I'll babble on. They do come to the ones that are close enough. If I ever had to go away, like to America or somewhere for any amount of time, I'd take them with me.

Richard: Right. You'd better tell us the phone numbers and the website address again.

Judie: Okay. The website is www.tzuke.com

Richard: and the phone number is?

Judie: 01932

Richard: Where's that?

Judie: Weybridge.

Richard: Oh! Oh love! {chuckling}

Judie: 859472 Where do you live then?

Richard: London!

Judie: Whereabouts in London?

Richard: Camden. {pause} See! Too trendy for you! Can't hack it! No, I can't find your dates, sorry Judie, I got 400 pages of website!

Judie: Well, that's great, isn't it!

Richard: So never go to anybody's website because if you press 'print', whole reams of stuff come off.

Judie: My website you do, there's so much stuff on it.

Richard: So where are you tomorrow night then?

Judie: I'm at home tomorrow night actually. I'm in.. where am I on Wednesday, I'm in Ebbw Vale, near Abergaveny.. I don't know if I'm saying it right.

Richard: And also, are you going to get any more people remixing, because Jazzy B's remixed a couple of your old songs.

Judie: Yes. They weren't that old actually. He did Two Mountains and Parallel Lives but we decided actually that although they were good, what he did, we decided that we'd rather actually start and finish something together, rather than just sort of remix things that have already been done. And when we get some time after the tour I'm sure we will. I'm working with quite a few different people this year. I want to spend this year writing with.. anyone that'll write with me really! For me and for anyone else, just to see what I come up with.

Richard: Is it nice to be able to be selfish? 'Cos it sounds like you can actually just pick and choose and do what you want to do, when you want to do it and it could be the Bahamas and it could be anywhere else.. but I mean you don't really have to rush.

Judie: No, I don't have to rush but I need for myself to keep doing things, seriously, otherwise I do tend to get a bit sad.. if I'm not doing things and coming up with stuff. 'Cos I do write because I get either sad or happy or whatever feelings I have I do need to write. I mean I write fundamentally for myself 'cos I write about the things that are happening around me and the way I feel and if I don't do that it all gets stuck inside and..

Richard: You have to get it out.

Judie: Yeah.

Richard: On disc.

Judie: Yeah.

Richard: Secret Agent is available on the Blue Moon label

Judie: Big Moon!

Richard: {pause} The typing's terrible here isn't it! Good grief! I'm looking at the disc aswell! Big Moon Records..

Judie: Big Moon

Richard: 01923

Judie: 01932!

Richard: 01932

Together: 859472

Richard: or www.tzuke.com

Judie: And that telephone number you can actually find out anything about what we're doing. It's like not just to buy it you can actually ring up and ask where we're playing, what we're doing next, what I had for breakfast if you're interested or anything! It's just a line that has someone on it that can tell you everything.

Richard: I'll phone it and try and find out how to spell 'Big' instead of 'Blue'!

Judie: 'k

Richard: Judie Tzuke, it's been great! Thank you.

Judie: Thank you!

Richard: Thank you band.

Judie: Thank you.

Richard: They're pretty well behaved..

Judie: They were all so quiet - I thought I was going to get heckled but I didn't.

Richard: Oh.. obviously haven't paid them yet..

Judie: No, I haven't actually.

Richard: .. on their best behaviour. Good luck with Secret Agent.

Judie: I thought you were paying them!

Richard: Ah..!




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