Kate Bush's eclectic musical and idiosyncratic vocal style have made her one of the U.K.'s most successful solo female performers of the past 30 years.
Her family's musical influence inspired the young Kate to teach herself to play the piano at age 11. She also played the organ in a barn behind her parents' house and studied the violin. She soon began writing her own tunes and lyrics.
While Bush attended St Joseph's Convent Grammar School in the mid-1970s, her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family.
Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded. The tape was produced by Gilmour's friend Andrew Powell, who would go on to produce Bush's first two albums. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater, who was impressed by the tape and signed her.
For the first two years of her contract, Bush spent more time on school work than making an album. EMI forwarded her a sizable advance which she used to enroll in interpretive dance classes taught by Lindsay Kemp, a former teacher of David Bowie, and mime training with Adam Darius.
Bush also wrote and made demos of close to 200 songs, a few of which today can be found on bootleg recordings and are known as the Phoenix Recordings.
From March to August 1977, she fronted the KT Bush Band at public houses around London – specifically at the Rose of Lee public house (now Dirty South) in Lewisham. She began recording her first album in August 1977, including two tracks recorded during the summer of 1975.
At age 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights," becoming the first woman to have a UK number-one with a self-written song. She was also the most photographed woman in the United Kingdom the following year.
After her 1979 tour—the only concert tour of her career—Bush released the 1980 album Never for Ever, which made her the first British solo female artist to top the UK album charts and the first female artist ever to enter the album chart at No. 1. In 1987, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Solo Artist.
Kate Bush has released ten albums, three of which topped the UK Albums Chart, and has had twenty-five UK Top 40 hit singles including "Wuthering Heights," "Running Up that Hill," "King of the Mountain," "Babooshka," "The Man with the Child in His Eyes," and "Don't Give Up" (a duet with Peter Gabriel)—all of which reached the Top 10.
In 2002, Bush's songwriting ability was recognized with an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
In 2005, she released Aerial, her first album in 12 years. The album earned her a BRIT Award nomination for Best Album and another for Best Solo Female Artist. During the course of her career, she has also been nominated for three Grammy Awards.
In early 2011, EMI Records also announced an upcoming re-issue of four of Bush's albums (The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes) under the name of her own label, Fish People, now that Bush has regained full control over these records.
Bush released Director's Cut on May 16, 2011, which contains reworked material from her albums The Sensual World from 1989, and The Red Shoes from 1993.
In May 2011, Bush said she was working on an album of new material.