Born in Southeast London, Kate grew up in a family immersed in music, art and literature. She learned to play violin at age 11 but didn't like it; she began to set her poems to her own chord formulations.
She started playing the piano a lot by age 12 to accompany her brother Paddy's fiddle playing and to generally let out her frustrations. By age 13 she had written many songs, some of which would later appear on her first 2 records.
At age 14 Ricky Hopper, a family friend with connections to the music business, took her tape of 30 songs to all major record companies, with no success (her music was deemed too morbid and uncommercial). Kate seriously considered a career in psychiatry or social work, while Hopper took the tape to an old friend from Cambridge University, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Gilmour was impressed, and by age 15 Kate was recording demos in Gilmour's home studio. Again there is no interest from the record companies. Refusing to give up, Gilmour put up the money for a three-song demo done to full professional standards. This did the trick and EMI signed her a short while later. In an unusual move, EMI paid Kate to take a series of lessons to improve her already inventive songwriting as well as singing and dancing. Finally in 1978 "Wuthering Heights" was released and went straight to #1 in the UK. This made her an overnight sensation and sent her subsequent album, The Kick Inside, to #3, selling over 1 million copies in the UK.
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