Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

3. Jeff BuckleyGrace

If I could have swapped voices with anyone it would have been Jeff Buckley’s. Such incredible power, control and range, emotionally and musically. It’s not just the voice, it’s the whole shebang. Sometimes you find an artist where it makes entire sense for you, you know what I mean? His inversions that he picks, the way he plays the guitar, his voice, his songs, it was all totally right. He’s such an odd artist in so many ways, really macho and rockist but super sensitive and vulnerable too. If he had lived to make his second record I really think it could have entirely changed the face of music. Like many Buckley fans I developed quite a hefty obsession with him when I was around 16, and spent a whole load of time genuinely grieving for him, even though he’d been dead for five years and I’d never met him. Like no other artist I know, he was totally unafraid of pulling from any tradition, any artist of any race or sex, time or place. It’s obviously incredibly hard to be a pioneer, but it’s also hard to be a great synthesiser and not end up sounding derivative. Grace never sounds derivative and is a brilliant artistic statement from a true master of synthesis. And I would literally swap voices with him, in an instant, if I could. God rest his soul.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Arooj Aftab, Mark Radcliffe, Let’s Eat Grandma, Morrissey
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