Morcheeba’s signature rich, mellow music became the soundtrack to suburban homes and recreation rooms of the late 90s and early 2000s. The trio – brothers Kent Paul and Ross Godfrey and Londoner Skye Edwards – formed in 1994 and went on to make some of the era’s most definitive records, including Who Can You Trust? Big Calm, with his hit The Sea; and Fragments of Freedom. Now touring as a duo, Skye and Ross are releasing Blackest Blue: The Remixes next week.
This photo is from our first actual shoot – we were under the Westway, near Portobello Road in London, and it was taken by Danny McLewin who did the artwork for our first two records. Back then, we were doing everything I always wanted to do as a kid – get in a van with friends and play gigs.
I thought Skye was really cool when I met her at a party. She had a shaved head with a bleached flower on top, and I thought, wow, she looks quirky. We shared a joint with my friend Justin and hit it off straight away. She and I formed Morcheeba, and she had two children with Justin. As the fateful meetings went, it was up there.
Many of the band’s early days were a complete blur. I was 18 when things took off, and marijuana was a big part of my life. There are whole tours I can’t remember, but there are moments that stand out – like playing our first Later… With Jools Holland. Paul Weller was on. Then he came and asked me if I had any weed. I was like, yeah! So I got on his tour bus and smoked a joint. It was amazing to be left in this other world. Breaking into the industry and living in London – the capital of cool – was impressive.
We weren’t interested in being famous, though. I hated the idea of us being too recognizable, and in the 2000s we were almost getting to that point, so it kind of freaked us out. We registered people’s births and holidays in Thailand. We were also called the “coffee table group” and I never knew if that was offensive or not. What’s wrong with coffee tables? I think the press was annoyed that we were the antithesis of the Britpop era with its high energy and characters.
In 2003, my brother asked Skye to leave the band – a decision I didn’t really agree with. It was a chaotic time, we were all exhausted after so many tours and just needed a break. It was more about personal transitions than deep disagreement. Even though I was not happy, it benefited us to have some time apart. Skye and I finally saw each other again, and we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for this time. It’s like having a partner: you separate, then you meet again, you get married and you have children.
Now our friendship is much deeper. When you are young, you are obsessed with yourself. You don’t think about feelings and commitments. But these days, I really appreciate it. We’ll have a Sunday lunch with our families, and we’ll have lots of fun – whether it’s renting a boat and going out on Lake Geneva, or diving from the top of the cliffs. Recently, we did a private show for this multi-billionaire at a hotel in Monaco. After the concert, I stayed with Skye and her husband by the pool to chat. Out of nowhere, she pushed us both. She said it was “just too tempting to resist”. I had to pick up a seven o’clock taxi, soaking wet.
Despite this, Skye and I trust each other completely. We were both very introverted people. For this type of personality, it takes a long time to form a bond – 25 years later, it’s stronger than ever.
The dress was from Camden Market – I knew I wanted the picture to be bright and colorful. I was mostly trying to hide my stomach; I was five months pregnant so I had to hold a guitar in front of the hump!
The day we signed our first recording contract, I was wearing a baggy T-shirt because I thought the label wouldn’t want to invest in a band with a pregnant singer. My main goal was to make sure Ross and Paul knew that I wouldn’t let them down, that I would keep Morcheeba alive. I was in the studio until my due date, and my son Jaega came on tour when he was eight months old. He would hang out on the “junk bunk” where the bags would normally go. It wasn’t very kid-friendly, but as long as I could, I wanted to be one of the boys – the one who had a kid with them.
I first met Ross in 1994 at a party in Greenwich that my best friend, Julie, invited me to. She called and said, “I’m supposed to meet this guy Danny McLewin – make sure you get there at 11 p.m. because I don’t want to be there alone.” I said, “Of course!” I arrived at 11 p.m., but Julie didn’t come for an hour. The only other people present this early were Ross and his friend Justin. Ross was skinny and had long hair tied in a ponytail; he was quite cute, and his friend was tall and handsome. I thought, who are these cool guys? I went to ask them for skins and we just started chatting. I got both of their numbers and started dating Justin.
It was Justin who first told Ross I could sing. I was like, ‘Why did you do that? I can’t sing! He persuaded me to go to Ross’s in Dalston with my guitar, and I played some songs I had written. Ross said “I can’t hear you, can you sing louder? I said no! That’s how I sing!”
When things started to take off for us, we toured for months. I was taking the herbal remedy valerian before playing because I was getting so nervous – and I still do now. Once I walked offstage in Los Angeles to find George Michael in our dressing room. He was a fan and did a Tape Loop cover that unfortunately no one heard. Madonna came to one of our concerts in the United States. She said she wanted physical tickets so she wouldn’t have to stand in line and say, “I’m on the guest list, my name is Madonna.”
We had a lot of fun, but we also had our moments, shall we say. In 2003, they decided to leave me. It all sounds very Spinal Tap! But for seven years, Ross and I didn’t talk. Morcheeba continued with different singers, and while my husband [bassist Steve Gordon] continued their career, it was too weird for me. Like seeing your ex with a new woman.
Then in 2009, by chance, I saw Ross across the road in Shepherd’s Bush. I yelled, “Okay, Ross!” and gave him a huge hug. Later, my manager called to say that Ross and Paul wanted to meet. “I was like, why would they want to do that? They hate me? I hate them?” He said, “Actually they don’t hate you, they would like to talk to you. Ironically, we had our meeting at a restaurant called Julie’s in west London. thought, let’s try again. Paul eventually left because he didn’t like touring, but Ross and I have been together ever since.
Compared to the 90s, Ross is softer; happier and calmer. But the main change for me, looking at these photos, are my breasts. They look a little different. Breasts from first pregnancy compared to breasts of four children later, at age 50. There’s nothing left of them!