Kate St John

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Kate St John
Birth name Katharine Elinor Margaret St John
Born (1957-10-02) 2 October 1957 (age 62)
Origin London, England
Instruments Oboe, accordion, saxophone, piano, cor anglais, vocals
Associated acts The Dream Academy
Website katestjohn.co.uk

Katharine Elinor Margaret St John (born 2 October 1957, London)[1] is an English musician, vocalist, composer, record producer, and arranger. She plays the oboe, saxophone, accordion, piano and cor anglais.[2]



Kate began her career in the Ravishing Beauties, an early 1980s group with Virginia Astley and Nicky Holland.[3] The band released no records, and St John left in 1982. In the mid-1980s, she was a part of The Dream Academy, with Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel.[1] The Dream Academy's biggest success was its 1985 song "Life in a Northern Town", a tribute to 1970s solo artist Nick Drake. The band, after being unable to keep its standings in the charts, broke up in 1991. During her time with The Dream Academy, St John also worked with Tears for Fears, Steve Nieve and recorded with Julian Cope, Julia Fordham and Kirsty MacColl.[4]


During the nineties, St John worked with Van Morrison, Richard Wright, Nigel Kennedy, Joe Boyd, Jools Holland and Egberto Gismonti. In 1992, she made The Familiar, a collaborative album with Roger Eno.[5] Also that year, Eno and St John, along with Bill Nelson, Laraaji and Mayumi Tachibana, created the supergroup Channel Light Vessel, which released two albums.[4] She also contributed cor anglais to Morrissey's cover of The Jam song That's Entertainment and oboe, cor anglais and soprano saxophone to Starshaped by Blur.

She has worked with her old Dream Academy colleagues at various times, including Nick Laird-Clowes on a track for The Invisible Circus soundtrack, and Gilbert Gabriel on the unreleased album Angels and Fools by The Believers; and on the track Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, a cover of the song by The Smiths.

St John performed on the soundtrack of the Noël Coward play – based movie Easy Virtue, in 2009.

In January 2010 she was the musical director for Joe Boyd's The Songs of Nick Drake concert at the Barbican Centre in London. She played oboe, cor anglais and accordion and sang backing vocals. The band also featured double bass player Danny Thompson and singer/guitarist Neill MacColl.

St John played piano, accordion, and cor anglais on the 2011 album Tim Robbins & The Rogues Gallery Band.

St John has released two solo albums with All Saints Records: Indescribable Night (1995) and Second Sight (1997).[5]

Production and arrangement

St John has worked for various artists, including Aquarium with Boris Grebenshchikov and HaLo. She has also produced music for the comedian Harry Enfield for his early sketch shows Harry Enfield's Television Programme and Harry Enfield and Chums.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Strong, p. 307
  2. Bessman, Jim (1997) "St. John's 'Sight' Covers the Globe", Billboard, 25 October 1997, p. 12, 16, retrieved 2011-01-21
  3. Strong, p. 207
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bessman, Jim (1995) "Channel Light Vessel Member to Tour", Billboard, 17 June 1995, p. 16, 20, retrieved 2011-01-21
  5. 5.0 5.1 Unterberger


  • Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
  • Unterberger, Richie "Kate St. John Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2011-01-21

External links