Liverpool Echo. August 1987



SOMEWHERE in Liverpool a Rose is growing. There are no thorns on this Rose and the only climbing she hopes to be doing is in the pop charts.
Her name is Gayna Rose Madder. An unusual name, but these days what is in a name? "My name came to me in a dream actually," says Gayna. The Rose Madder that is, "My Mum called me Gayna but in this dream I saw myself being called Gayna Rose Madder and, when I woke up, it was still there in my mind and I liked it so that was it." It is a name that is making the moguls in the music world sit up and take notice.
Ask any woman who has tried to make it to the top in the male orientated music world and she will tell you that getting noticed is half the battle.
For the music industry is still almost a closed shop to women. Yes, there are women superstars - Madonna, Whitney Houston and even groups like Bananarama and Mel and Kim and Samantha Fox.
But examine their careers closely and you will find that they have been guided, manipulated and moulded by men.
Whitney Houston, for example, was signed up by a major record company and allowed to spend a year recording her debut album - an unprecedented amount of time - before being "discovered".
And women controlling record companies or involved in the senior levels of the business are almost unheard of.
Of the recent crop of women in the charts only Suzanne Vega can claim to have made it on natural talent through the strength of her songs and music. And yet she had to struggle to get her songs heard.
Gayna knows the problems only too well.
"I had a record deal under another name a couple of years ago - I was a Flo then - but it was really hard because most of the decisions are taken for you by."
She sings and writes her own songs. They are usually written by the large window that floods light into the upstairs room of one of those imposing Georgian mansions deep in the heart of Liverpool.
"I like to write there. I still love Liverpool. I was born here. The roots are still strong," she says and hopes to remain here even though the music business revolves around London.
"Record companies just expect you to live there although, thankfully, the independent companies like Uglyman mean that you can make records and live in Liverpool. If I do sign to a major label then it will have to be on my terms.
' I don't know whether people realise just how difficult it is for a woman in the music world. Most women have to sell their image on sex. I find that sad really."
She has already found out the hard way just how tough it can be playing in public.
"At some of the venues you get heckled. There's always someone trying to be clever, making comments, y'know the sort of thing ...It's like 'Gerremoff girl'. I take no notice."
Her songs usually win over the toughest audience. Onstage she can be tough enough to see it through. Offstage she is gently quiet and almost shy about talking about herself and her music.
The songs she writes come from the heart.
"There really is no other way. My songs are personal statements but it's not like they are a big confession time for me," she says laughing softly.
Her songs are not especially for women but she feels women will probably be able to relate to her songs more than men.
"I am not a rabid feminist but it is still hard for any girl to make her way these days. Especially in music. Everything does seem stacked against you. I know a lot of girls around Merseyside who have given up. Their confidence has not been able to take it. That is a real shame. The thing is that I have shown you can do it - if you are determined enough."
Gayna started out as one half of a Liverpool duo called Shiny Too Shiny.
She then went solo as Flo Sullivan - it just seemed a good name at the time" - but decided to change the name when she became interested in astrology and numerology.
"The numbers in my name added up to a very unlucky number. I decided to change it to a lucky number and that was when I had that dream and the name was there. When I woke up the next morning and added the numbers in the name up it was my lucky number so I really believe that fate took a hand there."
And she adds: "The weird thing is that I now sign my name as G. Rose Madder which is 'grows madder' and that's fate doing its bit again."
Since the name change she has gone from strength to strength and recently released a debut single called Are You In Pain? which is out on the independent Uglyman Records label and earned some excellent reviews.
The reviews are welcomed but Gayna knows that her success has to be earned.
"You can never take things for granted. Still I hope to be Gayna Rose Madder for a little while.