EDIT: Large scans of the actual pages are now available - the scans are very large (about 2.3 MB each) and therefore I couldn't upload them like normal photos. Links to download the jpeg images are below.
- Full article is pasted below.
Flash forward Rough Trade has never signed anyone quite like Wales's Duffy. But then, writes Sarah Boden, who wouldn't want the new Dusty Springfield on their books?
Sunday October 15, 2006 (The Observer
'I'm a virgin to practically everything,' admits Duffy in a ripe Welsh accent of her recent move to London. 'I only went to my first gig a few months ago: Guns N' Roses. I was so excited.'
There's something indefinably affecting about Duffy (in the great pop tradition she's keeping her full name under wraps) and her melting vulnerability. It is a discombobulating trait. There she is, 22 years old, all puppy-eyed and delicate, looking like the sort of shiny pop pin-up that adorns young girls' bedroom walls. Yet her songs - elegiac paeans to heartbreak and treachery, delivered in a voice that has all the gorgeous, aching depth of a seasoned soul diva - bring to mind the dark, sensual performances of Dusty Springfield in the late Sixties.
'I wasn't born with this voice, you know,' she muses over a strong cup of tea in a Soho cafe. 'I've made myself sound like this through sheer determination and passion. But I always knew, I had this itch, I had to do it.'
At 13, growing up near the tip of the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales, Duffy made tapes on a karaoke machine and posted them out at random. 'I'd ring 192 and say, "Can I have the number for a record company in London?" I'd never hear anything back,' she remembers. 'I don't think my voice was noticed when I was younger. I had a sister, a twin sister, a stepsister, another stepsister, two stepbrothers, there was my uncle and then there's my mum and my stepdad, so it was a big house.'
It wasn't until she worked with Richard Parfitt, ex-frontman of the 60ft Dolls, and Owen Powell, the former guitarist from Catatonia, that Duffy found an audience. In 2004 the duo brought her to the attention of Jeannette Lee at Rough Trade, which, given its reputation for working with scuzzy boy guitar acts such as the Strokes and the Libertines, seemed like an unlikely home. None the less the label's co-owner Geoff Travis describes the power of Duffy's voice as 'almost unnatural'.
'Anybody could dress me up, push me on stage and tell me to sing those pretty songs but I think they want longevity from me, and so do I,' she declares.
Five months ago she packed in her shop job to move to London and co-write with Bernard Butler (who's also, to her relish, introduced her to the likes of little-known soul greats such as Doris Duke and Bettye Swann).
Her album is not mooted for release until next year, but contenders such as 'Rockferry', plucked from 30 possible tracks, make the hairs on the back of your neck prickle with their bewitching grace. 'There's a side of me that's trying to hold it together,' she explains. 'But then there's a side of me that just wants to scream and run out on stage and say: "I'm here!"'
Discerning audiences will undoubtedly welcome her with similarly unabashed pleasure.
· Click here to listen to Duffy's track 'Rockferry' (4mins 8s).