On the strength of a few demos Rough Trade introduced her to Butler and session man Jimmy Hogarth. “Nobody knew what I was capable of - I had never put pen to paper,” exclaims the singer.
And the result? “Rockferry and Warwick Avenue just came out. They were about hanging on for too long and breaking up - it all just unfolded. The moment that I delivered those demos to Jeanette she got quite emotional and told me how amazing they were and… it was fucking great.”
For someone who professes to know little about music or the industry, Duffy doesn’t appear overwhelmed at her rising success, though this too is new to her: “I only feel that now,” says the singer. “At the beginning I was so unconfident, unsure, and very scared. I was battered and bruised from everything I had gone through and if it wasn’t for Rough Trade finding me at that point, I might just have been a washed-up singer who stayed in Wales.” Battered and bruised? “Emotionally. From being in different relationships with men I shouldn’t have been with… Just being a kid I guess.”
And of course now there are the comparisons: Duffy’s mentor and manager Jeanette Lee has already been cast by some as a modern Vicki Wickham, Dusty Springfield’s manager and confidant in her 1960s heyday. But what does Duffy make of being compared to some of the greats she’s only recently discovered? “At the moment, everyone seems to say Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin, but I can’t say I comprehend that.” There’s also something of Holly Golightly, I chip in, immediately wishing I hadn’t. “I’ll check her out,” she quickly answers. “Comparisons are fine - it’s part of our culture. It’s good to create associations and, fortunately, I’ve had great ones. But what I’m excited about is over the next year for people to get to know other songs of mine. There’s no rush,” she concludes. “I’ll be here for a while.”