Christine Collister: Photocredit Neil KingChristine Collister

Hailing from the Isle Of Man, Christine Collister has become highly respected for her musical attributes. As well as being rated as a solo performer, the guise she appears in at Cambridge, she has also drawn recognition for her work with groups and duos.
Good material selection and a great delivery style have established Christine as an artist at the forefront of folk music. Skills honed working with the likes of Richard Thompson now deliver sharp, stunning solo performance.
I dropped by stage for a quick chat about life, the universe and tattoos.
#C=Christine Collister #N=Neil King

#N You're a native of the Isle Of Man.

#C That's right, I'm Manx, my parents are Manx, their parents were Manx, Collister's a Manx name.

#N Do you think it's hindered you not being on the mainland?

#C I think…I got in by default really. When I was six I knew I wanted to be a singer. I've got no idea why, because my family aren't musical or anything. It was a strong wish, but I sort of forgot about it. I sang at school, I sang at church, then I kind of gave up because I was a teenager.

#N Who were the sort of people that you listened to?

#C I didn't really, I listened to the radio. I was born in 61 and just listened to what was on. Radio Caroline was off Ramsey for a long time, so we were aware of the wider scene. I listened to Manx Radio a lot. I didn't really buy records. The only records I really bought were those awful 50p Top Of The Pops albums from Woolies, that weren't even the real people singing.

#N At what point did you realise that you could make it as a singer, that there was a living to be made?

#C Well actually there isn't a living to be made.(laughs) I left the Island when I was twenty one and by fluke got a job at Radio Piccadilly as a late night singer. They had a programme called Night Beat and I was one of five singers. I would there for two years, two or three nights a week between two and six in the morning. I did five or six songs each night and that gave me a living wage. Apart from that I did floor spots at folk clubs.

#N What songs would these be?

#C It was songs that were played on radio. All the songs that people have no regard for because they were so likeable. "The Circle Game" songs like that. The songs that I went for were the songs that were already hits, the ones everybody did. I just didn't know everybody did them, I was from the Isle Of Man where nobody did them. "American Pie" and all that stuff.

#N How do you choose songs now ?

#C A lot of the songs are brought to me by David, the guy who runs the record company. We've worked together for about five years. He's got a really eclectic taste in music. I'm a bad listener, I'll pick up on one thing and listen to it forever, but I find it very difficult to cram in lot and lots of different things. I sing lots of things. The only way to do it is I get friends to put together compilation tapes. I then choose from that. I hear what my friends like and see what agrees with me. I find it a lot easier to listen to compilations than lots of tracks from one person.