Annie Lennox says her songwriting days are over

Scots star Annie Lennox has received eight Brit Awards, four Grammys and an Oscar. Picture: Getty
Scots star Annie Lennox has received eight Brit Awards, four Grammys and an Oscar. Picture: Getty
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ANNIE Lennox, one of Scotland’s most ground-breaking musicians, has revealed that her songwriting days are over.

The Aberdeen-born singer, who has sold more than 80 million albums since her breakthrough with Eurythmics more than 30 years ago, has called time just months after being honoured by her industry peers.

Lennox, whose last album of original material was released eight years ago, said she now regarded her songwriting as being “in the past tense”.

She has spoken of the pressures involved in retaining a passion for the music industry, saying: “I need to feel I have a purpose in life that’s more than just having a job.”

Lennox left Aberdeen at the age of 17 to take up a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London to study flute and piano.

She was working as a waitress when she teamed up with long-time collaborator Dave Stewart, first in The Tourists and then Eurythmics, before launching a solo career in 1990.

Lennox, who turned 60 last year, has received eight Brit Awards, more than any other female artist, picked up four Grammy prizes and won an Oscar for the song Into the West from the soundtrack to The Lion King.

Her career, and her work as a humanitarian campaigner, was charted in a major exhibition put together by the Victoria and Albert museum in London, which later went on tour to Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

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Lennox, who was made an OBE in 2011, received one of the biggest honours in the music business in May when she become the first woman to be awarded the fellowship of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca).

Sir Elton John, who presented the award, hailed her as “one of the finest singers this country has ever produced.”

During her acceptance speech, she revealed she had drawn her original inspiration to be a singer-songwriter from the work of the only two female role models she knew of in the industry - Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

She said at the time: “I don’t know what I would have done with my life if I hadn’t become a singer-songwriter.”

However, in an interview published on the Basca website, Lennox spoke of the pressures she had felt during her career.

She said: “Songwriting has been a deep, deep passion for me. I needed it because I was tuned into it. I was deeply committed to that whole way of life.

“But there’s a lot of sacrifice in it, as a woman specifically. It’s a hardcore lifestyle and it’s not for everybody.

“A lot of young men and women haven’t made it because it is hardcore. I’m not necessarily talking about songwriting, but the whole nine yards: writing, recording, touring, making videos, being a public person. It can destroy you.”

Lennox dedicated a “huge chunk” of her Basca award to Stewart, who co-wrote hits such as Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Thorn In My Side, It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) and Here Comes The Rain Again.

She said: “Artists can be very self-critical. But if you’re working with a great collaborator, you bounce off each other. So much depends on perspective, so when you have a great collaborator, they will be like, ‘No, that’s a great idea’.

“You run with that confidence or [otherwise] you might be very quick to kick it out. Everyone’s always looking for this formula and I don’t think it’s to be had. Because the great songs are serendipitous. They are like chemistry, it’s mercurial.”