RICHARD GREEN: Let's have a chat now with a wonderful lady who's got some brand new music coming out. She's been doing the business for many years, probably more years than she cares to remember! Hi, Toyah!

TOYAH: (on the phone) Hello! I think I've been doing it for more years than your audience have been born for!

RICHARD: Well, I don't know so much about that but listen – you've got a brand new album -


RICHARD: Perhaps you can clarify this for us. It's called “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” but it's partly new and partly re-working of old. Can you just explain for us?

TOYAH: OK. It's not that old, the songs began their lives around 2007 and only the fans that come to see my shows knew these songs. And then on my 60th birthday last year, which was May the 18th, they downloaded everything to number one in the charts. At that time I was an unsigned artist and politically to get radio play and presence you have to be on a label

So a label called Demon Records said "we have to release this because there's an audience who desperately want it". So the first song of the album, “Sensational”, did start its life around 2009. It became the theme for Weight Watchers so it was on telly all the time

The other songs have all been used in movies and the entire album has been used in a London stage musical called “Crime And Punishment”, four years ago. Now we've written five brand new songs. The last to be finished in January was “Dance In The Hurricane”, which is the opening track. So this album has walked back into success -

Wow! That's nice though, isn't it?

TOYAH: Yeah and the fans have made it a huge success already. Two weeks ago in the pre-order chart, which is what happens now and it gives you a sense if something will chart – I went number one across the board in all the rock charts 

RICHARD: Are where are you, Toyah, on that one? I'm just going to pin you down - are you a sort of tactile vinyl person? I suspect you probably are -

TOYAH: Well, it's a very satisfying thing to have back. I had success last year with a release called “Desire” and that just sold out. When the vinyl arrived through the post in my home I thought “oh, this is a really nice feeling!” I feel like an artist again – I've got vinyl!

RICHARD: And of course it feels from the audience's point of view like they own something. If you stream stuff nowadays you don't connect with it the same way ...

TOYAH: I feel the same about books. I like to have a book in my hands so yes, you're right. It's a product and you own it

RICHARD: So tell us then what's going to happen with this album. You said the audience have got it up to number one in the pre-order chart, which is absolutely fantastic. What sort of welled up in your inner spirit when you realised you were going to be number one? That you're going to get good traction on this album?

TOYAH: Yeah ... (struggles to find words) It's taken a while to sink in. Because I play all through the year, I do four shows a week and I have done for the last twenty years and my shows sell out. I'm used to having an audience but to suddenly know there's going to be this presence ... I'm still coming to terms with it because it's going to very different how it was 42 years ago ...

The world has changed considerably and I'm learning every day about what a download chart is, what downloads are, how people can write and respond and comment online. It's still a huge learning curve for me. I feel as if I'm coming to the tip of the tidal wave and learning to surf it

So it's a very exciting time. The whole of my year has live shows booked so we're going to be performing these songs. I'm even being booked into next year so it's going to have a long life

RICHARD: It certainly is. Shall we hear one of the songs from it? The opening single is “Sensational” - which is a good title for a song, isn't it? (laughs)

TOYAH: It's a song of empowerment. It a song that tells people with no confidence that they are miraculous, they are sensational

“Sensational” plays

RICHARD: You've been singing songs of empowerment
that have a sort of oomph to them, for ages ... haven't you, really? 

TOYAH: My songs are anthems. My songs are written for the stadiums where you want a lot of people singing with you -

RICHARD: And how does it go when that happens? I've seen you at the festivals when you do some of the big songs from the past and they'll be singing them back at you -

Yes! (laughs)

RICHARD: That must be an awesome feeling?

TOYAH: It's amazing! “I Want To Be Free” is always the fun one because they always sing along to everything I do but somehow “I Want To Be Free” has an anarchy to it still, so they not only sing along – they shout it along! 

And it's fabulous because I want to remind people of our rebellion because I'm the punk generation. We're the generation that forgot to grow old and still have that element of bravado in us. So when I do “I Want To Be Free” I seem to ignite a passion in people and it becomes quite militant -

RICHARD: It's good that that happens but what about “It's A Mystery” and “Brave New World” ...

TOYAH: Well, they're romantic. People sing along to those because there is a romantic connotation in them but there's definitely rebellion in “I Want To Be Free”. Another one that always takes me by surprise, and I have a similar effect with the song “Sensational”, is the song “Good Morning Universe” because that is a song of inclusion and we open the set with that. The whole audience is dancing and singing it back

RICHARD: It's always good to open with a belter that they know, isn't it?

TOYAH: Yeah and one thing that makes me really laugh is they're doing the harmonies and it's lovely because (Richard laughs) it really helps out! You think “oh, thank you! You're doing the harmonies, it sounds even better!

RICHARD: I know you're doing a Let's Rock (festival) but towards the end of the year you're doing a tour more focused on this album

TOYAH: Yeah. We're playing all through the year and we're going to be doing a lot of the “In The Court Of The Crimson Queen” songs. But end of the year, October and into November we're doing the "Crimson Queen" gigs, which will be Birmingham, The Mill, The Brook in Southampton, Bristol

But we are doing dates throughout the year right up until that point where we're playing the new songs in so I feel the whole year is actually dedicated to the new album

RICHARD: I know sometimes you do more intimate concerts as well, where you're a bit more slimmed down, dare I say? 

TOYAH: Yes, it's called “Up Close And Personal”. I do a lot of those

RICHARD: So how do the new songs fit into that? Bearing in mind this is a album with an electric band?

TOYAH: You've got to bear in mind I've got 42 to years of -

RICHARD: Experience! Yeah! (laughs)

TOYAH: - writing to play. That's about 28 albums. So the acoustic evening starts in the punk movement and works right through to the present day. We play songs that work really well with three voices and two guitars. The show is a huge success, it sells out around the world

The new songs actually work very well. When you're playing acoustically it allows you to work with the harmonics, they just stand out better. It's a very satisfying thing to do. We did a small court room in Otley last Saturday and we had a stage invasion (Richard laughs) It was absolutely hysterical! The three of us on stage in this tiny venue and we had a stage invasion. It has the same energy and the same intention as the band shows

RICHARD: Lovely to talk to you, Toyah!

TOYAH: Thank you so much, Richard!


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