In April of 1992, at the Freddy Mercury Tribute concert for AIDS awareness, Bowie sang “Heroes” and “Under Pressure” with Annie Lennox. The concert was televised worldwide to an estimated audience of one billion viewers.
Inspired by the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 “Black Tie White Noise” was released. This is also the year he married supermodel Iman Abdulmajid, who he met in 1990. He wrote 5 songs for the wedding, and used 3 on the album. The versions used at the wedding had no drums or bass, but rather, cerebral keyboard pieces.
Bowie declared that the steady companionship of Iman cultivates an environment of creativity and investigation, which in turn creates good art. In 2000, they had a daughter, Alexandra, and Bowie likes to bring his family on tour.
They live in downtown New York, finding it a place they can live normally without it feeling overly cosmopolitan and sophisticated. Bowie finds that downtown people are not so involved with appearances, and that he doesn’t have the intrusion of press.
In his youth, Bowie wanted to be either a painter or a musician. But he found that money was to be made more quickly in music than painting. Bowie is drawn to primitives, confusion and the puzzling aspects of our lives. This is why he likes working with artists on the fringe of society. Still involved in bringing new things through his music, he was the first major artist to release a song, “Telling Lies”, that was accessible on the internet.
Bowie was the first artist who allowed interviews by email. He jokes that he’s a Sunday futurist. Although involved in the latest technology and bringing new mediums to fans, he doesn’t spend much time involved with the latest gadgets.
In 1996, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the eleventh annual induction ceremony with Madonna and David Byrne as his presenters. The 1990’s was a time when Bowie’s music took on a British jungle and jungle ‘n’ bass sound. “Earthling” received strong, positive reviews and he had success with a remix of “I’m Afraid of Americans” with Trent Reznor.
Bowie made the soundtrack for video game “Omikron” and made an appearance as a character, along with his wife Iman. “Hours” was released with sound clips from the video game, which shifted Bowie from the electronica sound of the 1990’s and back towards instruments. The winner of Bowie’s Internet competition “Cyber Song Contest” was included on this album.
In 2003, Bowie and Iman appeared in ads for Tommy Hilfiger.
Bowie also released “Reality” the same year. While he was on “A Reality Tour” he suffered from chest pains while performing and was admitted into the hospital, which confirmed a minor heart attack. What was thought to be a pinched nerve in his shoulder turned out to be a blocked artery and an emergency surgery was performed. Bowie had planned to continue touring, but instead recuperated in New York. In 2004, a DVD was released of the tour which included songs from his whole career, but the focus was on his more recent albums. While recovering from his surgery he worked on two songs for Shrek 2, “Butterfly Boucher” and “Changes”.
In 2005, Bowie returned to the stage with Arcade Fire for the televised “Fashion Rocks”. He was also in a commercial with Snoop Dogg for XM satellite radio. He also shared lead vocals with Kashmir, a Danish group that Tony Viscoti produced. In 2008, Bowie did background vocals for Scarlett Johansson’s album of Tom Waits covers “Anywhere I Lay My Head”. Bowie also released a new compilation called“iSELECT”. This was comprised of Bowie’s favorite songs, and was a free gift only available in a British newspaper “The Mail On Sunday”.
Throughout his career, Bowie has always remained true to his image, always breaking new ground. A constant chameleon in our changing culture, no matter what his age, Bowie pushes new boundaries in both fashion and music. His impact can be found on the catwalks in both men’s and women’s fashion, where, coming full circle, he often wears what he helped influence.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.