Having fronted a rock band for over a quarter of a century, Skin from Skunk Anansie was bound to have a tale or two to tell about her life, which prompted her to release her new memoir, It Takes Blood And Guts, last month.
The memoir, which she co-wrote with author Lucy O’Brien, began when the pair were at the songs Skin had written and what they were really about. One of the band’s standout early hits was Weak.
Released in 1996, Weak, was the band’s fourth single and as revealed in a conversation with Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, it was actually about an abusive relationship Skin had when she was much younger.
“It was about this abusive boyfriend I had when I was 16 and he was 29,” the singer said.
Listen: Skin talks about why cancel culture is making people fearful to discuss things openly
Skin, who turned 53 in August, revealed exclusively to Thornton that the relationship was much more sinister than she has revealed in her book.
“I didn't quite tell the whole story,” she admitted. “There was a much deeper and darker story to it. I was never wined and died, because he just took me back to the house and just had his wicked way.”
She continued: “Those were my first kind of experiences with men with the opposite sex and sexually those were my first experience and it was all negative.”
Her boyfriend, who was 13 years older than Skin, realised that the young, quiet singer could be easily manipulated.
Finally my book written with my friend @lucyobrien61 is out tomorrow!! Eek! Can’t wait to see what you guys think about it! Lucy and I will be online at our @guardian virtual book launch at 7pm 2moro, before that catch me chatting with the wonderful @laurenlaverne on @bbc6music at around 9.15am ✊🏾🥂✊🏾 Available bloody everywhere ! 🌟#ittakesbloodandguts @simonandschuster @waterstones @amazon @applebooks @audible @guardian
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“I was just a very shy, quiet Christian girl who didn't know how to say no to men because I thought I was being rude,” she admitted, going on to say she was much younger emotionally, and more like a 12-year-old, at the time.
Thankfully, Skin eventually escaped the abusive relationship due to an older friend called Susan, who made her realise she didn’t have to do what he asked.
“She was the one that said to me, 'You know, you don't have to just say yes, and you don't have to take it!'” she recalled. “And that just spun around in my head.”
While the experience was definitely negative, it’s one that the singer doesn’t regret as she fully believes it gave her the courage to find herself and eventually pursue her dreams.
She told Thornton: “I thought, ‘Well, if I can do that and I can get out of that relationship and I can get out of that situation, that means that I'm capable of doing other things in my life’.”
In fact, the Brixton-born rocker believes if she hadn’t had the relationship – and eventually escaped from it – she wouldn’t have become a singer.
“I wouldn't have existed in the same way,” she said. “I wouldn't be the same person. I wouldn't have been in a band. I'd be sitting here with eight kids and I would have been a different person.
“I don't regret it at all because that relationship gave me a choice in life. You know, that was my crossroads. That was the start of me being myself and being Skin and being in a rock band. And if I hadn't had that happen, who knows what would've happened?”