Love Letter To A Record: Iluka On Patti Smith’s ‘Horses’


Written by Iluka on March 20, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Iluka – Patti Smith’s Horses

To my love,

I was given a scratched CD after school one afternoon by a friend who swore she was forever changed after listening to it. She was a full blown stoner so I was unconvinced by her apparent revelation. I took the CD anyway. I continued home, putting the CD into my CD player and what I heard was something I had never heard before.

You weren’t pretty. At first I didn’t actually know what to make of you. You were so alien to everything I had heard before but there was something inside that urged me to keep listening.

Over and over again I played you. I would lie awake at night with my ears pressed against the CD player speakers hungry to pick up every word, every groan, every breath. I felt this longing growing inside of me. This longing to understand you. To know you. Your shamanistic chants and visionary mysticism. The free verse poetry full of UFOs and shining lights and parallel worlds and other dimensions and black funeral cars and angels and sex and God and sperm coffins and prophets.

I loved the music yes, but there was something in the poetry that shattered me open to reveal a whole new way of thinking and a whole new dedication to my own art and music. I fell in love with philosophy and William Blake and Rimbaud and the free verse poetry of the Beats because of you. I fell in love with the messy and the ugly and the unconventional life of the artist living forever on the edge of society, forever in a state of flux and transformation.

Patti, you are my priestess, you are my rock n’ roll queen and you are the reason I am on the path I am on. Thank you.

Yours and forever.

Iluka xx

Watch the video for Iluka’s latest single ‘Closer To You’ here. Iluka and her full band will play in Sydney this Thursday March 21st as a part of Cobra Club’s free ‘Rooftop Series’ on the rooftop of the King Cross Hotel.


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