ME: What kind of music did your parents listen to around the house when you were growing up?
Vashti: My father had a great collection of 78 rpm classical records and a huge old radiogram. I have never been able to put names to the music or the composers, just very clear – sometimes note for note -- memories.
ME: Was there a particular person in your life early on who particularly nurtured your love of music?
Vashti: My father – although I’m sure it wasn’t something he tried to do. Watching him conduct his imaginary orchestra with a look of such pure happiness on his face maybe had an effect. My brother also – who was ten years older than me and went to college for a year in USA, returning with LP records and a suitcase full of all the bits needed to make up a deck for playing them on. Fascinating to a 5 year old.
What was the first bit of music you remember hearing that inspired you to write yourself?
I haven’t thought about it till now but I remember this piece of music I loved from when I was about five sung by Kathleen Ferrier that began ‘flocks in pastures green abiding.’ Hmm.
When did you start playing guitar and writing songs? How did you learn to play?
My first year at art school, I was 17; my friend Jenny had a guitar and a Bert Weedon guitar book– with the chords for songs like "When the Saints Go Marching In" and others. I fell upon it. I’d had violin lessons before and so I learned very quickly. It wasn’t long before we both started writing mournful love songs.
It sounds like you were a shy person starting out in music-- yet it must have taken an incredible amount of courage to seek a label and record tracks. How did you manage to put yourself out there?
Yes, I often wonder how I did it. I was shy around people but I did believe in my own songs. I’ve always been amazed at my youngest son, who was a very shy kid until he got on to a basketball court where he suddenly became tall, confident and sure-footed. I felt like that in a recording studio.
Can you recall the feeling of "Swinging London?" Any particular memories from this time that stand out?
I remember with rebellious pleasure – tinged with guilt -- the way that the older generation were so upset by us all. They had tried desperately to protect us from the hardships they had been through and so unwittingly they gave us minds of our own – and then we flew the nest in ways they could never have dreamed of.
When you were first starting out, what artists in particular struck you?