About Bat for Lashes
Natasha Khan , known professionally as Bat for Lashes, is an English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She has released five studio albums, Fur and Gold , Two Suns , The Haunted Man , The Bride , and Lost Girls , receiving Mercury Prize nominations for Fur and Gold, Two Suns and The Bride. Khan is also the vocalist for Sexwitch, a collaboration with the rock band Toy and producer Dan Carey.
Khan was born to an English mother, Josie, and Pakistani father, squash player Rehmat Khan. A member of the Khan family, she is the granddaughter of squash player Nasrullah Khan and the niece of squash players Jahangir Khan and Torsam Khan, and the stepdaughter of singer and actress Salma Agha and half-sister of actress Sasha Agha. The family moved to Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, when she was five years old. She attended many of her father's and her uncle Jahangir's squash matches, which she felt inspired her creativity: "The roar of the crowd is intense; it is ceremonial, ritualistic, I feel like the banner got passed to me but I carried it on in a creative way. It is a similar thing, the need to thrive on heightened communal experience." After her father left the family when Khan was 11, she taught herself to play the piano, which became "a channel to express things, to get them out".
Khan was subject to racial abuse during secondary school for being Pakistani, played truant, and was suspended after swearing and throwing a chair at a teacher. She told The Daily Telegraph: "I was an outsider at school. When I came back from being suspended they had told the small group of friends that I did have there that they weren't allowed to talk to me because I was a really bad influence. Then it got quite lonely." After completing her GCSEs and A-Levels, Khan took a job in a card-packing factory where she would work while listening to songs she had made. She said: "My internal imaginary life was really fruitful at that time. I remember packing cards and just listening to songs that I had made the night before on my mini-disc player. All day long just listening and dreaming, while counting the cards to be packed." With money saved from the job, she embarked on a three-month road trip through the United States and Mexico.
After returning to the UK, Khan settled in Brighton in 2000 to study music and visual arts at the University of Brighton, where she produced sound installations, animations and performances influenced by artists including Steve Reich and Susan Hiller. After finishing her degree, Khan completed an NVQ in play work and childcare, and worked as a nursery school teacher, dedicating her spare time to developing songs, recording demos and gigging in Brighton.
Khan's debut single, "The Wizard", was released digitally through Drowned in Sound records and on seven-inch vinyl through Khan's own imprint, She Bear Records. In 2006, she signed to Echo, a record label owned by independent publisher Chrysalis Music that acted as an incubator for artists before "upstreaming" them to major labels. Echo released her debut album, Fur and Gold in September 2006. In 2007, Bat for Lashes and Echo signed an international licensing deal with Parlophone Records, which re-released Fur and Gold the same year. A limited vinyl version was released by Los Angeles indie label Manimal Vinyl in May 2007. Fur and Gold reached number forty-eight on the UK Albums Chart and has since been certified gold by the BPI for sales exceeding 100,000 copies. In 2007, Khan appeared at the Glastonbury Festival and toured the United States.
Fur and Gold received critical acclaim, including a five-star review from The Guardian. It was shortlisted for the 2007 Mercury Prize, losing out to Klaxons' Myths of the Near Future despite being a favourite of British media to win the award. Also in 2007, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers awarded her their Vanguard Award and chose her to perform at their "ASCAP Presents..." showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. In 2008, Khan was nominated for British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist at the Brit Awards.
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