In the most recent episode of the PBS animated series “Blank on Blank“, the legendary musician David Bowie opens up about the birth and death of his alter ego Ziggy Stardust in a 1998 interview with music executive Joe Smith for his book Off the Record : An Oral History of Popular Music.
I am a moderately good singer. I am not a great singer but I can interpret a song, which I don’t think is quite the same as singing it. So I was never unaware of my strength as an interpretive performer but writing a song, for me… it never rang true. I had no problem writing something for Iggy Pop, or working with Lou Reed, or writing for Mott the Hoople. I can get into their mood and what they want to do, but I find it extremely hard to write for me. So I found it quite easy to write for the artists I would create, because I did find it much easier having created a Ziggy, to then write for him. Even though it was me doing it. I was able to sort of distance myself from the whole… yeah, well it can become very complicated.