Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Strength In Strangeness: The Anchoress’ Favourite Albums

Ahead of a show this Saturday at London's Southbank Centre, Catherine Anne Davies takes us through the 13 albums that have defined her life and work as The Anchoress, from childhood memories soundtracked by The Carpenters and lifechanging encounters with the Manics and PJ Harvey as a teen, to newfound infatuations with SZA and The 1975,

Photo by Roberto Foddai

Be advised that the following article contains mentions of self harm

The Anchoress, aka Catherine Anne Davies, is currently on tour with a new band, playing her acclaimed second album, The Art Of Losing, live. Thanks to the pandemic, the tour was postponed several times since she released it in 2021, and Davies says she’s “relieved and so happy” to finally get it out on the road. Having already played dates in Brighton, Manchester, Nottingham, Hebden Bridge and more, The Anchoress will play London’s Southbank this Saturday, performing at The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the biggest date of her tour so far. It comes just weeks after she released a new single too – a soaring cover of New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’.

In an emotive Baker’s Dozen, Davies tells tQ more about the journey from her working class roots to making it as a female artist in an industry that does little to support those who want their own agency. Davies’ thirteen choices span a wide range of artists who she felt laid the groundwork for her own career to blossom – be it the piano teachings of Fiona Apple, the sonic shapeshifting of PJ Harvey, the wild imagination of Kate Bush or the boundary-pushing Björk, Davies’ choices reflect women who dared to do different in an industry that said they couldn’t.

Davies also speaks evocatively about her early “musical education”, which largely consisted of mining her parent’s varied record collection that contained everything from the Motown of Marvin Gaye to the prog of Mike Oldfield. That collection would ultimately shape and define her eventual musical style on her debut, Confessions Of A Romance Novelist , its follow up, and several other projects that including duets with Manic Street Preachers and an album with Bernard Butler, In Memory Of My Feelings .

Davies tells us too about the moment she discovered the Manic Street Preachers in her teens, and how they became her “surrogate teachers”, leading her to first to study English literature at university and next to unashamedly imbue her own lyrics with manifold literary references. A self-taught musician, Davies reveals how the music of Fiona Apple led her to learning the piano, while the guitar chords she learned from Radiohead songs at university can still be heard in her music today.

From her own childhood to the birth of her daughter, there’s an album here for each moment of Davies’ life – albums that she is revisiting now as she turns towards the creation of her third project. “It was so difficult narrowing the choices down,” Davies laughs. “But these are the albums that I’ve returned to again and again over the years, and I’m still doing so now.”

The Anchoress performs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre this Saturday (20 May). Remaining tickets can be found here.

To begin reading her Baker’s Dozen, click the image below.

First Record

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