Writer, author and TV presenter, Lesley-Ann Jones has many facets to her personality. She has not only written extensively about music working along sides of legends like Elton John, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and bands like The Rolling Stones, Queen and Jethro Tull among others. The author has also written books on legends like singer, songwriter Freddy Mercury of Queen and English guitarist, singer-song writer, poet Marc Bolan.
We caught up with Lesley, who is in Mumbai to conduct workshops as part of Tata Literature Live! When quizzed about the pressures of writing about modern legends like Freddy, she was candid: “I didn’t feel any pressure at all. It’s very interesting. Since I grew up listening to them, I already knew about their work. But having said that I had to do a lot of research. The thing is writing about them brought me a lot closer to them.”
Lesley says that she always tries to give her writing a personal touch, and relies heavily on the works of people she is writing about, especially songwriters. “Their work tells you a lot about them and where they come from,” she says. Speaking of Freddie, who, besides his music, has a huge fan following in India, because of Indian roots, she says that Freddie wasn’t very keen on exploring his Indian connection. “He never talked about it. He never claimed India to be his home. After he left the country, he had moved on,” she says.
But doesn’t writing about Rock legends like Freddie always prove challenging —what with the excess baggage, and perceptions among people, which when questioned create problems for the writer? “I write the truth. So, I never bothered about challenging set perceptions. Besides, most of the people I have written about didn’t want it to be a white wash. At the same time, it’s important to go about personal things with compassion and not be judgemental,” she added.