Kate Bush plans comeback. The influential singer plans to release her first album in 12 years in March

By Gary Susman
December 27, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

After a long absence, the reclusive Kate Bush is suddenly popping up everywhere — in an interview with OutKast’s Andre 3000 last month, in which the rapper says he’d love to record with her; in the title of John Mendelssohn’s recent novel Waiting for Kate Bush, which opens with the protagonist threatening to leap from a tall building unless the ”Wuthering Heights” singer promises to release a new album within six months; and now, in her own announcement to her fans that seems to answer the Mendelssohn character’s plea. In a letter to her fan club, the 46-year-old singer writes that her new album, her first since 1993’s The Red Shoes, is finished and will be out in 2005. London’s Sunday Times reports that the album may be out as soon as March.

Bush, who could cite Tori Amos, Björk, and Polly Jean Harvey (along with OutKast’s Dre) among the singers she’s influenced, wrote to fans, ”I’m so pleased with everyone’s work on this record. There are some lovely performances and I hope you will all feel it’s been worth the wait.” Her collaborators on the disc include the late film composer Michael Kamen and bassist Mich Karn of ’80s New Wave band Japan.

Why so long? One reason is perfectionism; the ”Running Up That Hill” singer has been working on the record since 2001. Another reason is that Bush took time off for motherhood. She and her partner, guitarist Danny McIntosh, had a son, Bertie, in 1999. ”She?s being a mum and loving it,” friend and sometime duet partner Peter Gabriel told the Sunday Times. ”So music?s gone from being full-time to being part-time, so that slows you down.”

Even when the album does come out, don’t expect Bush to perform her new songs live. She hasn’t toured since 1979.