If You Like Kate Bush, You Have To Listen to These 6 Artists

Kate Bush burst onto the scene at just 19 years old with her 1978 debut The Kick Inside. This album featured the legendary song “Wuthering Heights,” which has gone on to become a cult favorite. Her 1985 album Hounds of Love is likely her most well-known and notable, featuring hits like “Hounds of Love,” “Cloudbusting,” and “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” which gained renewed popularity on the charts thanks to Stranger Things.

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There’s no one quite like Kate Bush, as she’s proved time and time again with her unique vocal talent and lyricism. However, if you’re looking for a similar contemporary sound, this collection of artists might suffice.

[RELATED: The Fidelity Test Within “Babooshka” by Kate Bush]

Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast—AKA Michelle Zauner—has a whimsical lightness reminiscent of Kate Bush. The song “Paprika” from the 2021 album Jubilee in particular feels Bushy, from Zauner’s high-pitched vocals and the plucky brass solos to the use of strings and gradual build-up of sound. “Be Sweet” is also one of those that emulates Bush’s sound. It’s simple lyrically, which Bush usually isn’t, but sonically “Be Sweet” creates an overall vibe that calls the 80s to mind, when Kate Bush was at her peak.

Caroline Polachek

Kate Bush constantly creates a sense of anticipation in her songs, like something is coming after every verse. Caroline Polachek does something similar with songs like “Door” and “Pretty In Possible.” Vocally, Polachek usually sings in a bit of a lower register, but she has these warbling notes that climb into biblical angel territory. Polachek isn’t a perfect match for Kate Bush—really, who is?—but she has something Bushy about her that comes out when she goes for broke and hits those high notes.

Aurora

Aurora emulates Kate Bush in her lyricism most often, as her songs usually include narratives and draw upon myths. Vocally, Aurora hits the higher register easily in songs like “Running With the Wolves” and “Artemis.” Strongly rooted in storytelling, she weaves songs together with shimmering vocals to create a tapestry of narrative and imagery, similar to Bush’s “Wuthering Heights.”

Bat For Lashes

Bat For Lashes—AKA Natasha Khan—possesses a haziness in her vocals that can occasionally be found in a Kate Bush track. Khan composes a little bit slower than Bush, ambling through her songs with meandering vocals like on “Kids In The Dark,” but there’s an ethereal quality to a Bat For Lashes song that slots its edges against a Kate Bush song like puzzle pieces. Essentially, it feels like walking through fog on a hill.

Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom is a special case—just as no one can be a perfect match for Kate Bush, so too with Joanna Newsom. Playing the harp, yodeling and warbling through 16-minute songs that read like pure poetry, Newsom stands with one foot firmly planted in Kate Bush’s footsteps, the other dangling over the precipice of obscurity and abstraction. That said, their vocals styles are eerily similar, ranging into octaves only dogs can hear. “Sawdust and Diamonds” might as well be a religious experience in the same way that hearing “Cloudbusting” for the first time is also.

Holly Herndon

Finally, Holly Herndon is a bit of a stretch stylistically, but she emulates Kate Bush with her experimental nature. Herndon deals in abstract concepts, creating wildly innovative tracks using strictly synth and computers. There’s a touch of “Hounds of Love” and “Hello Earth” in Herndon’s songs, and while they don’t utilize typical vocals or lyric patterns, Kate Bush has the same experimental, innovative nature that produced Hounds of Love.

Featured Image by Chris Moorhouse/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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