On 21st May 2015 Annie Lennox collected the BASCA Fellowship.

The Fellowship is the highest honour BASCA bestows. It is peer recognition of the enormous contribution a particular songwriter or composer has made to the British  musical landscape.

Originally commissioned to appear in the award ceremony programme, music journalist Mark Sutherland, profiles the songwriter’s remarkable career:

At the launch of her latest solo album in London last year, Annie Lennox was very clear about one thing: she is not a celebrity.

“My name sometimes gets put in the celebrity category and it freaks me out,” she said as she launched her latest collection of cover versions, Nostalgia. “I’ve never seen myself that way and I find it diminishing. What I am is a musician and a communicator.”

Lennox, of course, is famous; one of the most recognisable performers of the last 40 years, in fact. But if her point was that her renown has been built upon genuine achievement as a superb singer and songwriter, then it was a well-made one. There has been little of the modern day celebrity stuff and nonsense about her career in The Tourists, Eurythmics and as a solo star – no reality TV appearances, fragrance launches or glossy at-home magazine spreads. But there has been an awful lot of convention-defying and mould-breaking – and an avalanche of great music.

After some initial success as new-wavey pop group The Tourists, Lennox and her musical partner Dave Stewart formed Eurythmics, who went on to be one of the biggest groups of the 1980s. Built on Lennox’s soulful voice and eye-catching image as well as bravura electronic pop songs such as Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), Here Comes The Rain Again and Who’s That Girl?, Eurythmics achieved enormous international success and broadened their musical palette to incorporate rockier songs such as Would I Lie To You? and soul stompers such as Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. But, after eight albums and tens of millions of record sales, Lennox decided to launch a solo career.

Her big-selling solo work, beginning with 1992’s Diva and consisting of five subsequent albums, has long given full rein to her voice, songwriting and visual imagination and she has also, as Nostalgia proves, become a brilliant re-interpreter of other people’s songs.

But there has always been much more to Lennox than her music: her tireless activism and philanthropy for a wide range of causes saw her awarded an OBE in 2010 to display next to her Grammys, Ivors and a record number of BRIT Awards for a female artist. Now her BASCA Fellowship can join that collection, the latest well-deserved accolade in a career that might not have made her a celebrity, but has certainly seen her become one of the UK’ most-beloved musical figures.

Mark Sutherland (c) 2015

www.annielennox.com