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Book review: Fiona Horne – ‘The Naked Witch’ (Music Insight)

Fiona Horne is probably best known by Music Insight readers as the lead singer for electro-grunge rock band Def FX, who were widely renowned on the touring circuit in the 1990s. While many may be fascinated with the purely music side of her story, Horne divulges plenty more in her new autobiography The Naked Witch.

Horne doesn’t sugarcoat anything, making the nature of her life story clear right out the gate. She is who she is, and despite admitting she had wanted to give up writing this book many times, thankfully she didn’t.

The Naked Witch chronicles Horne’s early days as an isolated and misunderstood youngster, and follows her through the adrenaline-fuelled adventures of Def FX. She moved to Los Angeles, wrote several books about witchcraft, hit rock bottom and found redemption as a pilot delivering humanitarian relief in Africa. You read that right.

Horne’s story serves as an important reminder to make the most out of life, while giving an insight into the huge range of industries she turned her hand to.

Her writing style is instantly captivating; it doesn’t feel like you’re being spoon-fed. She’s confident and happy with where her life has ended up, and that translates onto the page. It feels like you’re sitting in her home and she’s telling you the story over a cup of coffee. She tells it straight and simple, and it’s a style that really works.

There are plenty of tough moments, such as her experience being the only female member of Def FX – an isolating time for her. There’s a touching anecdote about meeting fellow female rocker Gwen Stefani at a gig in Tokyo, just when No Doubt had taken off.

The celeb appearances don’t end there, though.

Horne opens up about some surreal encounters in Tinseltown, including a friendship with Marilyn Manson, meeting Gene Simmons and a bombshell about Tom Jones (whom she called a “generous lover”).

One of the highlights of this book is its delving into the nature of fame, which Horne has achieved in many forms. But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing – she pulls no punches when describing her more troubling times.

An addiction to alcohol led to a major epiphany and proved cathartic in finding her way as a commercial pilot – the toughest thing she ever did, but also the most rewarding.

Horne wrote this novel while journeying back and forth from her work in Africa to her home in the Caribbean, taking time for it whenever she could. For someone who has done so much, to finally be in a place where she is happy speaks volumes.

A strong message of positivity emanates from the pages, and that seems to be the driving force behind this book. She has lived a crazy life, experienced much, gained a lot, lost a lot, but never gave up on herself.

If you’re a fan of Def FX, or just a fan of music in general, you should check out this book. If you are looking for an autobiography with a twist, you should check out this book. And if you love stories that challenge and inspire, then you should check out this book.


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