Friday, November 30, 2007

Introducing Duffy MTV interview

Interview by MTV. Here it is, pasted in below.
Introducing Duffy
We interview our tip for 2008 who says: “I’m just a girl from Wales. Can I survive this?”…

“I’ve always wanted to be a singer,” says Duffy at the start of revealing interview. “I’d go to hang out at gigs and try to get into studios but not tell anyone- It was torturing me.”

The pretty 22 year old is not only disarmingly honest during her chat with MTV News but also talkative, funny and very cute.

Duffy is the latest young British soul diva to hit the music scene, following Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone. Her voice is already as big and we’re predicting her career will go the same way.

But coming from a small North Wales community her life could have been different: “The record store was three buses away I’d tell people at home I wanted to make a record and they would laugh.”

“When I moved to London I had this amazing introduction to music. I was lucky to meet Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee (Rough Trade supremos), I was just a kid they believed in me. If I hadn’t met them I might be washed up in Wales.”

Working with Rough Trade as her management and now signed to major label A&M (“I thought ‘you only live once’,”- she says), Duffy was teamed up with producer Bernard Butler. The former Suede member has worked with The Libertines, The Cribs and Aimee Mann.

For Duffy he’s recreated a 60’s influenced classic sound influenced by Dusty Springfield, Northern Soul and big band numbers. The vocalist herself was listening to Bowie, Dylan, Arcade Fire, Scott Walker, Candi Staton and Betty Swan while making her debut album.

Lead single Rockferry, out now, showcases her style: “It’s a song about struggle- Rockferry is the place everyone is trying to get to in their life. It took me about six or seven months to be able to listen to it back.”

Otherwise many of the pretty singer’s tracks are about moving from Wales to London- aside from her next excellent single Mercy which is ‘about something quite sexual.’

Although Duffy freely admits she’s not the most experienced person when it comes to love she can still write about romance. “I’m a young girl writing about love… I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic but I don’t really know love.”

The young star dominates the stage when performing live but in reality she’s a sensitive slightly unsure twenty-something: ““My family have never heard me sing live and now I’m being revealed and I feel vulnerable. It’s a bit scary.

“I’m just a girl from Wales, I mean can I survive all this? There’s a part of me that gets frightened but the artist inside of me is just glad people enjoy my music.”

Duffy adds: “I’m understanding myself more and more every day.”

Singing Sensation Duffy Shows Her Emotions

Article in Welsh newspaper. Pasted below. Also this.

Singing sensation Duffy shows her emotions

Having been compared to the likes of Dusty Springfield, much is expected of Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy. Steffan Rhys finds her intriguing mix of open emotion and cautious anticipation the basis for some absorbing songs

SITTING in London’s Hilton Hotel drinking endless cups of tea and smoking cigarettes, Duffy is taking a break from recording her latest music video.

After three years, she has finally finished recording her debut album, which will be released in the new year.

The open – if vague – way she bears her feelings with a soft North Walian accent that is slowly being betrayed to a London lilt makes her instantly endearing and goes some distance towards explaining the intense emotion in her songs.

Despite her appearance on Jools Holland’s Later show last weekend, Duffy is not yet a star but, without a trace of arrogance, she sees her own potential and is already slowly adapting herself to what could soon become a probed life.

“I’m more cautious now about people wanting to get in touch,” says the 22-year-old.

“A lot of people I’ve been on dates with don’t have my number or know where I live.

“It’s odd to think that people are going to want to know all about me and I’m a little scared.

“Everyone has a bit of baggage in the past. I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of – everything you do is a chapter of your life. But there are things you take for granted about who you are, and parts of your story suddenly become a story for everyone else.

“I was thinking the other day that I’ve been working with my band constantly for several months but I speak to journalists who know more about me than my band does.

“They want to know all about you and you have these intense conversations with people you’ve never met. And when you open up, you open up old wounds.”

Old wounds?

“I did everything I could to get where I am now and I want to be the best. When I was younger I wasn’t as worldly and probably got myself into situations I wasn’t comfortable with.

“I had to compromise and sacrifice a lot and they are the wounds I often have to open. Now that I’m sitting in the Hilton smoking a cigarette and having a cuppa, it’s easy to forget there was a time I didn’t have a penny, and there were once people who bullied me to do what I didn’t want to.”

Duffy’s parents divorced when she was 10 and she moved, with her mother and two sisters, from the small, close-knit village of Nefyn, near Porthmadog, to another village near Fishguard.

She kept secret her burning desire to be a singer from a very early age.

“I knew I wanted to be a singer when I was six. But it wasn’t like prancing around the house in pink and a bowler hat and a karaoke machine. I was never into pageants or carnivals,” she says.

“I was thrown out of the school choir when I was 11 because my voice didn’t fit and no-one ever held my hand. I had to work my arse off for everything, even money for the bus. But I would never bear grudges. Life is too short and you have to do things for yourself. It just made me hang on a little tighter.”

In her late teens, Duffy – whose full name is Amy Anne Duffy – toured Europe struggling to make ends meet before returning home “battered and bruised”.

“I felt lost and that I had sacrificed so much. My friends were finding boyfriends, getting drunk, taking exams and passing driving tests but I was striving for this,” she says.

She was spotted in Cardiff in 2004 by Rough Trade, the name behind some of Britain’s biggest cult acts, like The Smiths and Antony and the Johnsons.

They pointed her in the direction of Bernard Butler in London’s Crouch End, and the fruit of their labour was Rockferry, her debut single, which was Jo Whiley’s “Pet Sound” on Radio One earlier this month.

“They found me just when I was losing hope. I had done nothing for about three months, which is massive for me because I used to do something every day,” she says. “But I was happy. I was working as a waitress and had a fan base in a soul and blues bar in Chester. It’s funny how things start to happen when you’ve reached a happy stage.

“It took me a while to trust [Rough Trade’s] Jeanette Lee after everything that had happened. People had been trying to sell me as a singer but with Jeanette I found a haven where I could relax and that encouraged me to write.

“If I hadn’t met them it might all have been different. I don’t know what I would have done. Maybe be a washed-up singer with one record.”

With the intensity of the spotlight slowly growing, Duffy is, for now, in little danger of being the washed-up singer, and with what appears on first impressions to be a sea of emotion inside her, she should be able to draw on substantial reserves of material.

Still, she won’t whole-heartedly throw herself into being the wounded female characterised by country music or folk songs.

“I don’t write self-indulgently about my feelings. There have always been highs and lows but I’m a positive person. All I can do is tell my story but I can do it with a smile on my face. And this reflects in my songs,” she says. “All the songs show a different side to me and I can’t wait until people have the whole record and can see them all.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

29 Nov: Early Local News Article about Duffy

Nefyn singer Duffy aiming to be top of the pops

A SINGER from Lln has hit the big time and been featured on national radio and television.

Aimee Duffy, 23, of Nefyn, performed with her band on Later with Jools Holland on BBC2 on Friday and her new single, Rockferry, was record of the week on the Edith Bowman show on Radio One last week.

The singer, who performs under the name of Duffy, has been compared to Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield and is set to take the national charts by storm when her album is released in the new year.

This week, her proud dad, John Duffy, spoke to the Herald about her achievements.

He said: “It’s great to see how well she is doing. She has worked hard at it and writes all her own songs.

“Everybody is talking about her, people come up to me on the street to say they saw her on television.

“She really is putting Nefyn on the map, this is where her heart is.

“Growing up in this area means she will also keep her feet on the ground, I just tell her to keep working hard.

“It was magic to see her on Jools Holland’s show. She telephoned me afterwards and was more worried about the band than her own performance.”

John runs the Constitutional Club in Nefyn, where a young Aimee got her first taste of performing.

He said: “She has been singing since she was around four years old.

“On a Saturday morning she used to come to the club with me and get up on the stage and sing. I used to say to her ‘you’re going to be a star,’ – look at her now.”

One of her former teachers at Ysgol Nefyn, Glenys Williams, also remembers a little performer nurturing her talent.

She said: “I remember Aimee well, she was a sweet girl but quite shy.

“I remember she always enjoyed singing and playing instruments at school – she is obviously musical.

“But I remember her dancing the most. She would lead the other girls to create a little dance during play time.

“Everyone in Nefyn is very proud of her success.”

After leaving primary school, Aimee lived for a short while in Pembrokeshire, before returning to Lln.

She studied at Coleg Menai and did a computer course at Menter Aelhaearn before starting an art and music course at Chester University.

Duffy’s first step on the road to stardom was in 2003 when she took part in the S4C talent programme Waw Ffactor, when she was runner up.

One of the show judges Owen Powell, guitarist with the indie band Catatonia, and ex 60 Foot Dolls member Richard Parfitt put her in touch with the Rough Trade record label.

Through the record label she has struck up a working relationship with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, who has been a lynchpin of her latest work.

John Duffy added: “I have taken her all over the country for her music and she has spent some time in Geneva recording her album.

“She came back to Nefyn two or three months ago with some people from the record company and they were doing photo shoots in Porthdinllaen and the local area.”

She has a twin sister Katie and an older sister Kelly. Her mother Joyce lives in Pembrokeshire.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

28 Nov: 'Little Noise' Gig supporting Keane

Tonight Duffy supported Keane at the "Little Noise" gig at Union Chapel, Islington. Read about the gig here.

Some pics by Trix are below.

Friday, November 23, 2007

23 Nov: Duffy on Jools Holland

Duffy was on 'Later With Jools Holland' tonight - excellent show.

There's some kind of backstage gig going on below which is a !web exclusive' of Rockferry featuring Bernard Butler. It is an excellent version of the song and is available in MP3 here.

The BBC also have this backstage interview, which I am presuming is from 23rd Nov since it references Duffy's first time on the show. (ignore the BBC's starter image as it is one from a later show! LOL)

Now the actual Show.....
Below is the Mercy performance.

Below is the Warwick Avenue performance.

23rd: Duffy Interview: a voice straight out of Muscle Shoals circa 1967

This article was posted today by the Clash music website. (Pasted below)

Duffy Interview

...a voice straight out of Muscle Shoals circa 1967

Type: Interview / Written by: Robin Murray

Date Posted: Fri, 23/11/2007 - 16:33

Duffy comes from North Wales but has a voice straight out of Muscle Shoals circa 1967. The young singer has her fantastic debut single “Rockferry” released on December 3rd, and it's got a great Southern Soul groove.

Produced by Bernard Butler, you can watch her in action on Later With Jools Holland tonight (November 23rd). With an album due out next year, and an extensive UK tour in the pipeline, 2008 may well belong to Duffy. Clash caught up with her for a quick Q&A just after she had finished filming her performance.

Jools Holland tonight, an appearance on mainstream TV with stardom awaiting. Nervous?

I am actually yes! That was probably the scariest thing I've ever done. Nothing prepares you for that. You wait your whole life for something like that to happen, then you go through it so soon into your journey. I wasn't emotionally prepared for it and it was really overwhelming but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Back to the beginning – when did you first start singing? From an early age or were you a late developer?

It's always been a part of me but I'd never really announced it, I kept it quite private because I was growing up in the middle of nowhere in Wales. For years and years I never told anyone, until I was about sixteen and my friends started encouraging me. We'd go and bunk off lessons, being naughty and having a cigarette in the toilet, and they'd want me to entertain them. There were things in my life that made me feel I couldn't tell anyone, so while its always been around being able to sing was something that I kept quiet.

You have a very unique, gritty style. Was this something you have worked on to develop, or did it come naturally to you?

My voice has always been there but in the past two years I've had to understand it a bit more. The truth is I have a different range that I can sing in and I think it comes through on record. I don't think I stick to the one aspect of my voice, though – sometimes I'll use a different part of my voice. I've come to understand my voice more, cutting away the rough edges if you like – though its still rough!

You've been compared a lot to Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield, both giants in their field – is this something you feel intimidated by?

Yes. I find it absolutely, mind-blowingly frightening! They're just massive: for me, they're the best of the best. Its just scary, I mean I'm at the start and they've had so much experience. If people say that in ten or fifteen years time I might be able to enjoy it, and feel that I'd earned it. But how could I ever live up to that right now?

Soul music is obviously a huge influence on your voice. How were you exposed to soul? Parents' records collection?

No not at all! Blues isn't really part of our culture in Wales, its more classic, in the sense of singing competitions. I didn't really enjoy that, I got kicked out of the choir, you know - because I didn't fit in – and that made me a bit more private about what I do. I obsess about soul, I love listening to obscure soul, where the delivery is quite painful and the song is deep and emotional. But I'm always learning about soul music, someone could play me an Aretha Franklin or Supremes song that I'd never heard before. For me, that's quite exciting because I'm always listening, always learning.

The single “Rockferry” was recorded with Bernard Butler. Were you familiar with his music at all?

You know what – when I met Bernard I didn't know who he was! He was just some guy in the office at Rough Trade, and the label introduced us. I had the song “Rockferry” and he fitted chords to it, and the more we worked together the more I thought “oh my God this guy's amazing!”. My admiration for him has just grown out of appreciation for what he's done for my life.

There's been a long gestation period for this album, apparently it took over two years to write and record. How did your ideas change in that time?

Well at the start no one knew I was a songwriter, so I was having songs written for me which just didn't seem right. It wasn't until I was encouraged to write my own material that we really found out who I was. At the beginning we were searching to find out in what capacity I was going to make a record. Then we struggled a little geographically since I was living in North Wales, so a year was spend just trying to get things together. But about a year and half ago I moved to London and that time has been really, really productive.

I write alone sometimes. I write melodies, and sometimes the song, and sometimes go into the studio with the song fully written. Or sometimes I'll just go in and we'll have no idea, we'll just try to see what happens. So there's never any preconception before we go into the studio – though nine times out of ten I'll have something up my sleeve.

There's a clip on Youtube of yourself and Bernard rehearsing, with you singing the same line over and over. A personal technique, to get into the character of the song?

We wrote that song two years ago and we couldn't remember it! We were at Edwyn Collins' studio and of course we have to get it right first time because we were recording straight to tape. I couldn't remember it and Bernard was trying to remind me, so we were both just humouring each other. And of course, in the end, the first take was was the one that made the record – so it was very much of the moment. I couldn't even remember I'd recorded it!

“Rockferry” is a great single. What more can we expect from the album?

At first it felt un-natural to sing in a studio, but I focused and relaxed and in the end enjoyed the experience. I was working closely with Rough Trade, and at first I had little confidence, maybe a bit untrusting due to my experiences in the past. At eighteen I felt quite battered and bruised, I had done everything I could to get to where I want to go. But when I started working with Jeannette (Lee) I began to relax, and went on a journey of discovering music. I had never fallen in love, really, and had to discover what love was. I think North Wales is my version of Southern soul, because its really green and slow-paced which influenced a lot of my earlier songs. But as I got to the city, my tempo was upped and I felt a bit more strength in some areas. My songs became more about society. “Syrup and Honey” is about how people who love each other, family or otherwise, can't find the time to be with one another. No one song defines me – the whole record does. I can't wait to develop as an artist.

From what you've said the Rough Trade influence has had a profound affect on your career. How did this relationship come about?

Well Jeannette Lee heard me singing on some demos, then I went to the pub with Jeannette and Geoff Travis. They got me down to London, and I wasn't sure who Rough Trade were! I didn't know who Bernard was, I didn't know who Rough Trade were, I didn't know all this great music. We sat and hat a chat and it was an instant connection, really. I came down and did some recording, and it felt as if Jeannette wrote each song with me, she was so supportive. Some of the most special times in my life have been the days when I've phoned Jeannette and she told me she loved the song. They've supported and encouraged me so much that without that I don't think I'd be the person I am today.

Are you set for a tour next year? Any Scottish dates?

We'll be doing loads! Actually, I've just got my diary through its amazing, we're going to be so busy! We're starting in January and doing a residency at the Pigalle club, in London. Last year me and my friends stumbled onto Prince's backing band playing there, and I was swear it was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It was like Detroit in 1958! The band were amazing, people were on stage it was mind-blowing. Ever since then I've been desperate to play there, its the closest thing to Detroit in London.

Finally, favourite soul singer?

Bettye Swann. So sensitive yet so strong, the perfect combination.

23rd: Welsh article about Duffy

Article in the Daily Post (Welsh newspaper) from here.

From Nefyn in awe

Singer Duffy says she’s a writer not a pop star

A TALENTED singer from Nefyn is rapidly becoming a shining star in the music business. Duffy – whose real name is Amy Anne Duffy – is already a hot property among Radio One DJs and sings on Jools Holland’s acclaimed TV show tonight.

This endearing 22-year-old singer-songwriter looks and sounds like a young Dusty Springfield and talks like an unassuming, almost girl-like Cerys Matthews. Both Duffy and Cerys have lived in Pembrokeshire.

But Duffy is carving her own niche in the music biz with the lovely Sixties-style ballad Rockferry and a forthcoming CD out in March 2008.

On Jools Holland’s BBC2 programme tonight, she’ll be singing her songs Warwick Avenue and Mercy.

The recorded show also features Sixties’ icon Dion, famous for singing The Wanderer, top British rapper Kano and Blur frontman Damon Albarn.

Duffy said of such company: “Oh my gosh, it’s really mind blowing. It’s a bit of a dream, a bit overwhelming. I don’t think I’m a pop star. I just write songs.”

On Dion, she said: “He was amazing. He was talking about writing with John Lennon. And Jools himself was a sweet, lovely guy.”

On comparisons with former Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews, she says she hasn’t met her and wouldn’t be brave enough to go on the show I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here on which Matthews has canoodled with evicted Marc Bannerman.

Duffy comes from Nefyn but, when she was 10, her parents divorced. She moved to Pembrokeshire but returned to Nefyn at the age of 15.

She started singing in bands and met Richard Parfitt from Newport band, 60ft Dolls. Richard knew the Rough Trade label’s Jeannette Lee who now manages her. She is signed to A&M Records.

23 Nov: Duffy Annouces UK Tour

This article appeared today on 'Drowned in Sound'

Duffy releases debut single, announces tour

Saturday, November 17, 2007

17th: Duffy in Evening Standard

There's an artile about Duffy in today's Evening Standard. Pasted below to read. I agree that maybe her songs will be around for the next 500 years! LOL

John Aizlewood tips a young Welsh singer for stardom in 2008 and congratulates Rik Waller on his upcoming marriage.


Now I know these kind of predictions often involve eggs coming together with faces but remember the name Duffy: she will be the sound of 2008.

The BBC's endearingly weathered Maida Vale studios this week saw the public unveiling of the tiny 22-year-old singer from Nefyn, north-west Wales. Although her first single, the peculiar but beguiling Rockferry, is not released until Monday, the buzz surrounding her means her Maida Vale show will be broadcast on Radio 2 in the near future, while her debut Later ... With Jools Holland airs a week today.

On Wednesday, backed by a sixpiece, multi-racial band, she was so nervous that she introduced her gorgeous song Warwick Avenue as Rockferry, but once she started to sing, everything fell into place. Her once-heard-never-forgotten voice incorporates the aristocratic pain of Dusty Springfield, the showy gravity of Shirley Bassey and the smooching sensuality of Amy Winehouse. One day she will surely sing a Bond theme but for now, a sound which merges classic Sixties soul with a lissom, very 21st-century backing will certainly do.

Amy Ann Duffy herself is a talkative, good-natured soul who toiled in a fishmongers ("after I had to gut a monkfish, I never went back") and sang to backing tapes at local rugby clubs ("a tough crowd, believe me") before her work with Richard Parfitt of 60ft Dolls and Catatonia's Owen Powell led to a deal with Rough Trade and a meeting with Bernard Butler, whose epic-sounding work with David McAlmont she had longadmired.

The pair went for a coffee. She had lyrics and a big melody; he had chords and a big arrangement. They finished writing Rockferry that day.

"She's fabulously talented," purrs Butler. "She can sing the most simple, beautiful thing and it won't sound cheesy. Working with her was fantastically satisfying."

Her album, also titled Rockferry, is due next year. It's been three years in the making as Duffy split her time between waitressing in Nefyn and recording in London.

"I've got a big heart," she trills. "And I know it shows in my lyrics." If the tracks she unveiled in Maida Vale are any yardstick, particularly Mercy, which evokes the classic Sixties girl groups without sounding dated and a harrowing cover of Cry to Me, once tackled by The Rolling Stones, Rockferry should be one of 2008's landmark debuts.

"I didn't tell anyone but even when I was six I knew this was what I wanted to do, so I spent all my teenage years writing songs," she smiles. "This album has come from a good home and the three years I spent making it are nothing. After all, my songs are going to be around for the next 500 years."