WHILE some artists write songs that sound good in the studio, Paloma Faith always thinks first about how they will sound live. A performer at heart, the singer and actress always balances the slow heartfelt numbers with the upbeat showstoppers.
“You need light and shade,” says Paloma, 31. “Gigs are full of light and shade.”
She’s in Liverpool for two gigs in June at the Empire, followed by a date at Delamere Forest in July.
She says: “I’ve been (to Liverpool) before, but this time I think it’ll be really special.”
She says she’s looking forward to coming to Liverpool for the shopping. Ever glamorous, she famously said about slumming it at festivals – “Anywhere you can’t wear stilettos just isn’t worth going”.
“I stand by that 100%,” she laughs. “My feet are full of broken veins and they’re always sore, but I can’t give up my high heels. What would I do? Wear those horrible hippy flat shoes? No, I just couldn’t do it. I don’t care if my feet get gnarled, I’ll wear stilettos every day. They’re what I’m most comfortable in.”
There is one Liverpool fashion she’s not sure about though.
“What’s going on with the not wearing a jacket thing?” she asks. “Nobody wears a coat in Liverpool. You go into a club and the cloakroom is empty, even in winter. I understand you wouldn’t wear your day coat with a nice outfit, but you don’t just need one coat. Buy an evening coat, something fabulous. It’s an excuse to go shopping – that’s too good to miss.”
Paloma takes her fashion influence from days gone by.
“My biggest inspiration is probably Marilyn Monroe,” she says. “Or Marlene Dietrich, or Coco Chanel – I love the way she dressed – Bjork and Grace Jones. I love Dolce and Gabbana, I keep wearing them, Alexander McQueen I think is incredible, I love all the high-end stuff like Jean Paul Gautier. As new designers I think Piers Atkinson and Victoria Grant are amazing.”
Talking about Bjork, Paloma recently worked with Nellee Hooper (who produces for Bjork and Madonna) on her album. What was it like working with him?
“I learned new things every day,” says Paloma. “It was amazing working with him. We were a match made in heaven, as he’s really into visual things and so am I so I suppose he’s the first producer I worked with who understood my language as I sort of speak in pictures. My old A&R from my record company left and this guy called Colin Barlow took over the record label and I told him what I was after and how I didn’t really know who to approach and he suggested Nellee. He said ‘I’ve got a really strong feeling about this, and you’ve got to trust me’ and I did, and I met him, and I thought he was brilliant.”
As well as the music, Paloma has continued her love of acting, appearing in the BBC adaptation of Blandings as a character called Jordan.
“She was basically a 1920s version of me!” says Paloma. “She’s a London cabaret performer and is a bit playful, and quite cheeky. I had an audition – I don’t think they even knew I was an actress. I went to an audition and they said that they liked my interpretation of the character and I said ‘I’m just being myself!’.”
She’s already appeared in the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (“he’s awesome, a legend,” she explains) and in the St Trinian’s film as Andrea the Emo. It’s a step up from her previous job as a live ghost on a ghost train ride at the funfair.
For her last album, Fall to Grace, she took a more cinematic approach, describing it as the soundtrack to her life.
“It was a conscious decision but it wasn’t really that I wanted to combine it with my love of acting, it was more that I wanted to combine it with my love of film as a viewer,” she says. “I watch a lot of films all the time so I wanted to somehow cultivate the atmosphere of films into this whole album and everything we put out.”
It’s been a busy few years for Paloma, but she says she always feels grateful for how lucky she’s been.
“It’s unbelievable sometimes when you just take a minute to think ‘actually, there’s loads of people who could be wearing the exact same shoes that I’m wearing’,” she says.
“It makes me feel grateful for what I’ve got and what I’ve achieved – obviously I’ve worked bloody hard for it but I think there’s a certain combination of hard work, perseverance and a little sprinkling of luck.”
Paloma Faith plays the Liverpool Empire on June 3 and 4 and Delamere Forest on July 5. For details see www.palomafaith.com
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