Tracey Thorn: It would be a strange decision to reform Everything But The Girl

Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl, who wrote and recorded the original music for the film, arriving for the BFI London
Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl, who wrote and recorded the original music for the film, arriving for the BFI London Film Festival screening of The Falling, at Odeon West End in Leicester Square, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 11, 2014. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Tracey Thorn has said it would be a “strange life decision” to reform hit musical duo Everything But The Girl with husband Ben Watt.

The singer-songwriter and Watt, who married in 2008 after being in a relationship since 1981 and who have three children together, formed the group in 1982 but have not worked together since 2000.

Thorn has also told of how she has lost her desire to perform live after years of dealing with anxiety and stage fright, and would only ever return to it if she was “absolutely desperate” to do so.

Tracey Thorn
Tracey Thorn on Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio 4)

Speaking about the group, whose biggest hit was 1995’s Missing, Thorn told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs: “We don’t work together any more and haven’t done, really, since we had the kids, and that seems the right decision.

“Sometimes I say to people, ‘it was hard enough being a couple and being in a band together, and trying to make that work for all those years, but now there’s another level of our relationship – we’re parents together as well now’.

“People sometimes casually say, ‘oh, why don’t you reform Everything But The Girl? It’d be so great,’ but to us that looks like quite a strange life decision.

“We’d be going back to agreeing to spend every bit of our lives together and make every decision together, all our working decisions as well, and that to me seems like an awful lot of pressure to put on a relationship.”

Thorn and Watt, who had twin girls in 1998 and a son in 2001, have both released music separately as solo artists in recent years.

As the duo, they achieved four top 10 UK singles, eight gold and two platinum UK records, a Brit nomination and worldwide acclaim following the Todd Terry remix re-release of their track Missing in 1995.

Thorn, 56, told Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne that the song’s success took her by surprise, adding: “That mix was done really just for American clubs, no-one was necessarily thinking that song still had a chance of being a hit.”

On her decision to step away from live performing, Thorn said: “I don’t do it any more. I did do it for a lot of years, we toured all through the 80s and for a lot of the 90s, and I stopped when the kids were very small.

“I was sort of saying to people, ‘well I can’t go on tour at the moment, I’ve got three very small kids’, but honestly I think I was very happy to use the kids as an excuse to stop.”

The Q Awards 1996
Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl in 1996 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Thorn said she suffers from stage fright and has in more recent years come to understand that she has a “more generalised anxiety” overall.

“I’ve dealt with it a lot better in recent years, having gone for a bit of therapy and in the light of people talking about it more, I’ve been much more open about it.

“But again, the thing about singing live is, I did it for all those years, even with the anxiety, and if I wanted to do it enough, I would.”

She added: “What I don’t have any more, or at the moment, is the desire. I don’t want to do anything any more unless I’m absolutely desperate to do it.”

Tracey Thorn appears on Desert Island Discs on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4, Sunday at 11.15am.


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