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The Voice of Glitterbox: Barbara Tucker

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Barbara Tucker is without doubt one of clubland’s all-time biggest and most successful vocalists.  Her golden tonsils have impacted on Dance music around the world on both a mainstream and underground level, best associated with legendary House label Strictly Rhythm but also gloriously tied to imprints King Street, Azuli, Positiva (EMI), suSU and Soundmen On Wax. 

Where her voice has reached beyond the realms of underground House to other scenes, especially the emergent EDM one, it has always delivered soulful, emotive balance and ensured the varying, energetic productions beneath it actually mean something.  In a world dominated by the DJ and producer, Barbara Tucker is a rare example of the singer holding her own and ensuring top, quality billing.

Last night Barbara performed several of her biggest hits, including ‘Beautiful People’ and ‘Most Precious Love’ – to an ecstatic Glitterbox crowd. But what does she make of Ibiza in general?


Barbara, tell us about your experiences of Glitterbox so far this summer?

I’ve felt honoured to be a part of it.  It’s a wonderful party which a lot of people on the island have been talking about.  Me?  I’ve been performing there with DJ Q and mixing classic songs up, and that has been very well received.  Crucially, we get to be free.  It’s a fairly unique situation and great to see Ibiza, such an important Dance scene, supporting vocal, soulful house again.  I’m thrilled.

So what is your take on Ibiza today?

I live here every summer and this year is my 15th season on the island. In my opinion, the truly passionate people will always find a Glitterbox experience here if they really want to. Those amazing experiences are here but you have to look.  Otherwise, yes, there are always commercial parties around.  DJs you’d never heard of five years ago are now, suddenly, major names receiving up to 70,000 Euros a gig.  And these younger guys always have a team around them, marketing and preparing them.  It’s like baking a cake, a formula for driving forward new stars and, ultimately, financial gain.

Criticism of Ibiza’s commercialism has increased this summer – is the White Isle in trouble?

From a musical perspective, as I say, the great parties will always exist but the focus on business is stronger.  There are some fantastic new DJs but they also need a production outlet otherwise they don’t ever stand out.  A lot of the big new DJs only have one-hour sets into which they rigidly squeeze Top 10 hits and their own back catalogue.  That leaves no room for creativity; it’s all formula.  Some of these guys are not playing from the heart which is a shame.  When I perform with Q, we’ll bring a different set of ideas to each and every gig, and those might change again when we feel the audience.  Of course, giving people an emotional, spiritual experience is most important.

Do you have a view on your career thus far?  Is the impending anniversary occasion to reflect?

It was easier back then...when the labels were more artist-driven.  Today, there’s social networking and our industry is driven by fame not talent.  From a technology point of view, records are made by simply pressing buttons and looping - the emotions won’t come out like that.  I like to think I’ve maintained my own quality throughout my career.  I’m fairly unique, too, in being Strictly Rhythm’s longest serving House artist.  I’ve always been committed and will carry on that way.  When I retire I need to have a legacy to awaken and inspire future generations. I’m still on a mission.

So you feel there’s a lot more to do?

Yes.  And as God gives direction I will get there.  Some of these artists today are making huge amounts of money but they’re not nurturing the next generation, they’re focused on themselves.  That’s a short-term outlook, they’re likely to disappear as quickly as they arrived.  An artist like Frankie Knuckles, he nurtured and supported other artists in everything he did.  That’s why he had a street named after him and why he has been honoured in so many ways.  He has a powerful legacy and that’s worth far more than any money.

Buy your tickets for Glitterbox at Space Ibizaand feel the vibe of David Morales, Joey Negro and Ultra Naté, among other artists, next Friday August 7th

Last modified on Saturday, 01 August 2015 10:36

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