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South Dubliner ‘running up that hill’ with stunning Kate Bush book

A South Dublin graphic designer whose business collapsed during the pandemic is producing a stunning picture book on 80s superstar Kate Bush – from his garden office.

Knocklyon native Michael Byrne, a diehard fan of the English singer/songwriter since she rose to fame in 1978, fell into the project by accident.

Now it has sparked interest across the world.

“When the business fell off a cliff because of Covid, I went from not having enough hours in the day to waiting for the phone to ring,” said father-of-three Michael, who founded design agency Zest Creative with Marius Herbert – his collaborator on the book.

“I started to listen to music again, especially to Kate, I’d go out to my garden office, pull up the lyrics and got a deep interest in what she has done and how she created music, and an idea started to form in my head.

“Because work had gone so quiet, I just kept ploughing away with the concept and eventually, I thought ‘I might have something really good here’.”

By last month, Michael and Marius, working remotely, had the foundations of a large, coffee table photo book, ‘Finding Kate’, about the reclusive star, whose mother was Irish.

They are hoping an ambitious crowdfunding drive to complete it will be a worldwide hit with the Wuthering Heights singer’s fans.

The friends have signed up to Kickstarter, a platform designed to support creative projects and have already pre-sold copies to fans in Ireland, the UK, US, Australia and Japan. Others have handed over cash and asked for nothing in return.

With 125 supporters, Michael, 58, needs 250 to ensure the hardback sees the light of day – with plans for further book projects if this one takes off.

“There is nothing out there like this book, it is ambitious and it is costly as well, buying the image rights from Getty (photographic agency),” said Michael.

“This is a real labour of love and it would be brilliant if more like-minded people who are passionate about music and creativity, get behind this project.

“I’ve picked 35 of her songs across five decades and we’re illustrating the story behind them.

“Different people get different meanings about the songs and I give my own personal interpretation, as well as factual information such as where it was recorded and how it charted.”

English singer Bush – whose late mother Hannah was from Waterford – had Bill Whelan (of Riverdance fame) write and arrange all the Irish arrangements on her hit albums ‘Hounds of Love’ and ‘Sensual World’ and the tracks were recorded in Windmill Lane.

The songs feature uilleann pipes, tin whistle and other Irish instruments and were played by musicians including Donal Lunny of Planxty and John Sheahan of the Dubliners.

“I have loved her music since she emerged in 1978.

“There’s something about her, especially how she approaches creativity, which is something I can really relate to.

“She didn’t go chasing commercial success, everything was about the creative process and getting the record right.”

People who buy the 100-page book, priced at €58 including delivery, will be named as supporters inside it and with €10,500 raised so far, another €12,000 is needed to complete it over the next five weeks.

There are different price pledges, the more expensive offering extras including posters, specialised covers and the chance to feature in a photo spread alongside Kate Bush.

To buy it, or simply back the project, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1903980768/finding-kate-a-visual-celebration-of-the-music-of-kate-bush?ref=c96i81

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