One of my first memories is of my father, who served in Korea, taking me to the Anzac Day parade. I remember loving the bagpipes so much but being scared at the same time, peeking out from behind his legs. Hearing them always reminds me of Dad.
I only ever wanted to be a fashion designer or a famous singer – and I couldn't sing in tune. As a little girl, this song gave me a sense of what I wanted to achieve in my life, which is a bit strange, I know, when you're 9 or 10. I was aware that I wanted to get out there and get on with it.
Years later, I saw an interview with the guy who wrote it. He was sitting on his back step with his guitar on this magic day and it just all poured out. He said it made him feel glad to be alive. That's how I still feel when I hear it today.
Our house was always filled with music. I'd often walk in from school and find ōpera playing. Mum had trained as an ōpera singer and was a great fan of Maria Callas, while my father always made us aware of the wide world out there through music. We'd have great discussions about music and politics, which often ended up very heated.
Malcolm McLaren's version of Un bel di vedremo [on his 1984 album Fans] came out just before I went to Japan for two weeks. I had it on my Walkman and loved it. I was permanently lost and the whole grunge look wasn't my aesthetic at all but I went to some fantastic nightclubs.
One of my great regrets in life is that I never saw The Clash live. I loved everything about them – their music, the way they moved on stage. I was at design school in Auckland and every Monday we'd start making a new outfit for the weekend. You were supposed to go out in black rubbish bags, which was the whole punk ethos, of course, but we were more high fashion. Think Versace punk rock.
The music was just dynamic – bands like The Scavengers, The Suburban Reptiles and The Dentists. We used to follow them around like little bees in our cool outfits.
Dave Matthews Band
My husband, Steve [Cockrane], was a professional water-skier and we were at this beautiful man-made lake in Bundaberg when he came over and said, "Listen to this." He went on to win a gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Colombia and, really, that song defined the next 10 years of my life.
At his last world champs, in Florida, I was recovering from breast cancer. It was 40-plus degrees and I was trying to keep cool in the car with the air-conditioning on because I'd forgotten to take a scarf and didn't want to take off my wig and sit around watching with a bald head. Then Satellite came on the radio – and Steve got another gold.
A very dear friend of mine, Ray Stokes, was Steve's coach when I first heard that song. Unfortunately, he died of melanoma, as a lot of our friends from that era have done. So it also reminds me of him.
My niece Helena has a beautiful voice and was a great favourite with my mother because she was a bit stroppy and one of the few people she couldn't push around. Mum was quite sick for a couple of years before she passed away and Helena would sing this song to her. Then she sang it at her funeral, in front of some very important people who were there because of who my sister is [Dame Helen Winkelmann, the Chief Justice]. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.
Mum always told me to chase my dreams and listening to Songbird during lockdown made me decide to get on with something I'd been thinking about for 10 years. So I sat down and started work on my new range.
- as told to Joanna Wane
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