Willcox and other musical stars lined-up for Here
Toyah was edgy, vibrant and outspoken in the
Eighties and, youll be pleased to know, she
is still as feisty as ever.
multi-talented singer, actor, television
presenter and author, now 51, was a pleasure to
talk to and she cant wait to come up and
perform in Whitehaven as part of the star-studded
Here and Now concert.
will be new territory for me, I have performed in
Ambleside and Carlisle before, said Toyah.
and Now is incredibly successful around the
world. It is hit after hit of pure nostalgia.
the audiences are getting younger and younger
because Eighties music is so popular, the
audience is always smiling from beginning to end.
what makes it appealing to a younger audience?
I think that teenagers have discovered
Eighties music for themselves. People have
knocked the Eighties and thats done nothing
but make them want to know more about it. It was
written for teenagers, by teenagers. It was a
decade of image and the songs were very strong,
as was the fashion - for men and women.
do think that the songs were made for stadiums
and because of that the open-air arenas work very
well with this music - its very anthemic
and very personal.
Eighties career was phenomenally successful,
resulting in hit records including Its A
Mystery and I Want To Be Free. In fact, she has
had a total of 15 Top 40 singles and four gold
and platinum albums.
was a fabulous time, she says. When
you are young and have that kind of fame, it is
everything that you want. It is extraordinary
because you could not go anywhere without being
mobbed. There werent many women doing what
we did then. We were on a crest of a wave, we
were making women strong and opinionated.
was brought up in a middle class family and was
public school-educated. I was told to get
married and have children and that was the most
terrifying message, she said. What
someone like me did for women was to say go your
own route and seek out your ambition.
remembers Toyah as the petite powerhouse with a
distinctive voice, flame-coloured hair and
striking make-up. For me, a way of being
remembered was to have very distinctive hair
colour and I used that to effect. I lived it, it
was totally me, I did it 24 hours a day, it was a
statement of individuality.
who is married to international guitarist Robert
Fripp, has always come across as open and honest
and she rarely shies away from talking about a
subject. I asked Toyah whether her having a
facelift was down to the pressure of keeping
young in a world of celebrity.
is very personal. People constantly tell you that
you are the wrong height, you have the wrong hair
colour, but I dont hear it. You do
something for yourself, you are the holder of the
purse strings. I dont believe in this
I know is so strong-minded that you cannot tell
them how to look. Having said that, I think that
it is utterly wrong that the fashion industry
only uses a certain size of woman.
talked openly about plastic surgery in her book
Diary of a Facelift. People are dishonest.
People who are astonishingly rich have plastic
surgery as a statement, to hold themselves apart
from the rest of the world and then refuse to
admit that they have had it. I think that
this is stupid because all it allows is bad
plastic surgery to be carried out. I thought,
well lets talk about it, I was one of the
first people to be honest about it. I do believe
in honesty. I do a lot of speeches and I could
not stand up there in front of women and lie.
Women are lied to so much, they need to know we
are equal. I cannot see people turned into
an underdog and I hate people to be undermined -
men and women.
in cult classic film Quadrophenia, Toyah has been
in more than 10 feature films and appeared in
more than 30 stage plays. She also stars in ITV
drama Secret Diary of a Call Girl, in which she
plays Billie Pipers mother, and she is
about to tour this year with hit stage show
Vampires Rock. In a nutshell, she has never
stopped working and doesnt intend to.
I like working, she said. The
bottom line for me is that I have something to do
the next day. I cannot bear having nothing to do.
If there is not enough acting going on, I make
sure I am writing music. I see myself as a
cottage industry, I am an acquired taste which
gives me a comfortable kind of fame. I like being
creative. In the nineties, I was almost
exclusively presenting TV. Im much happier
when Im writing music, creating something
unique. When I am acting, that is very
satisfying. I keep thinking I have to earn a
living. I love acting and it suits who I am
today.Toyahs latest music project is
The Humans which she describes as slightly
avant-garde. Its like film noir
of music - dark and secretive. Its a pure
spiritual project, it is not a Toyah project.
She has teamed up with Bill Rieflin of REM and
they recently played in Estonia at the request of
the president and first lady. Bill and I
went out there and wrote on the spot. When we
went out we hadnt sold a ticket, but then
within four hours they were all sold.
everything Toyah has achieved over the years,
there is still much more to be done. I have
no intention of retiring, I am in a job where I
cannot wait for the next project. I havent
achieved what I want to achieve. What I achieved
for music in the eighties I achieved then. Now,
as a woman in her fifties, I see so many doors of
opportunity that are not being exploited. I want
to act 24/7 around the world, there are countries
I want to go and perform in, I am still very
driven, I like having new adventures and all my
successes have come from having that attitude,
energy is infectious. Shes still quirky,
she is a champion of people and is thoroughly
charming. One thing is for certain: we can expect
to see plenty more of her.