The George Michael interview ‘Steinway to Heaven’ was published in Record Mirror, vol. 31 no. 52 on December 22, 1984.
WHILE MOST of you are stuffing your face with Leslie Crowther, overdosing on Brenda of Buck House and generally spewing over with good ol’ Yuletide spirit, George Michael will be working. Wham! will be playing Wembley on 23, 24, 26, 27 December — that leaves them just enough time to unwrap their Christmas presents, before thinking about work again.
Here in ever charitable, stocking fillin’ RM, George Michael gives the low down on his attitude to songwriting, work and success. Remember folks, there are only five more festive days before you go back to work … so enjoy what you do!
Alright, you’ve made it big, but in what terms do you see success?
“Selling records and writing better songs. That’s the thing about being in any creative field — there’s so much to do. Someone like an entrepreneur works solely towards making money, but when they become very rich what is there left for them to do? We’ve got our security — I mean money is not what we’re in it for now. You have to keep going for creative reasons … there’s always a better record to make or more records to sell.”
You’re very thorough about things. Are you a workaholic?
“We’re both workaholics in that we don’t let everything go by — I don’t believe there’s one band in this country that have worked as hard as we have this year — that’s partly why we’ve sold so many records. If people think we don’t deserve success and that they should be getting the same success as us, they should try working a bit harder.”
Can you improve your songwriting through hard work, or is it just a gift?
“You improve it not through hard work, but by scrutinising it. The songwriting hasn’t been hard work this year — it’s been doing all the promotion and recording. I do very, very little work on songs — I must be the least prolific writer of all the successful bands at the moment — I write an average of eight or nine songs a year.”
You seem to write more love songs now, whereas when you started your songs were more sorta throwaway commentary. Any reason for this? Are you in love, perhaps?
“No, neither of us are in love — it’s all for a very, very basic reason. It’s very straight forward. The songs that we originally wrote — we were in some position to talk about our age group and things that were happening around us. But I think once you’ve moved into the ‘pop star’ bracket, y’know, who wants to know. They might wanna watch you looking healthy and wealthy. They don’t wanna know about your lifestyle — what are you gonna write about? What a terrible photo session and interview I’ve had today? Popstars lives aren’t interesting — apart from the highs, playing live, making records. It’s very difficult to relate that to people — apart from that it’s just work like everybody else. We don’t have very much in common with our age group anyway. When you write about relationships — relationships bring everyone down to the same level. So you’re still writing something everyone can relate to.”
Would you ever consider ditching performing and just operating as a songwriter?
“Oh, eventually I would imagine so. At the moment I’m too excited with the idea of something I write to give things to other people. Eventually the time’s going to come when I’ve satisfied my ego, I suppose.”
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