Tuesday, April 15, 2008
15 Apr: Toronto Star Article
This today from Canada's Toronto Star newspaper....
Small-town performer poised for big time
ANDRE PAINE BILLBOARD
As a music lover who grew up in the tiny Welsh coastal town of Nefyn, 23-year-old U.K. chart phenomenon Duffy admits she’s still struggling to comprehend her sudden popularity. “There were more people in the South by Southwest audience at my show than there are in my town,” says the former Aimee Duffy, whose hometown has a population of 2,550. Duffy is gearing up for her U.S. launch on the back of impressive success at home. In the United Kingdom, her debut, Rockferry, which marries her rich voice to a fresh take on classic soul and the ’60s girl group sound, enjoyed the biggest firstweek sales so far this year when it moved more than 180,000 copies after its March 3 release, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co. “That was mind-blowing,” she says. “I’m not going to pretend it isn’t strange. You really do have a new life overnight.’’ In conversation, Duffy has a guileless quality that Bernard Butler, one of her producers and collaborators, attributes to her isolated Welsh upbringing.
Nefyn was a bus ride away from the nearest record shop, which only stocked the top 40.
That store has doubtless been doing good business with “Mercy,” which spent five weeks atop the British chart.
Now the upbeat, string-laden track is spearheading her U.S. campaign, where the album will be released May 13 via Mercury. Duffy is due to play Coachella and the Roxy in Los Angeles at the end of April. She will be back in the United States in May, including a slot on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
Duffy is quick to dismiss press comparisons to Dusty Springfield — “For me, that’s so far removed from where I am sonically, it couldn’t be more wrong” — while Mercury president David Massey shuns parallels with another U.K. soul singer, Amy Winehouse.
“We haven’t been marketing Duffy’s personality, although she is starting to cross over and become a celebrity,” he says. “She’s the girl next door: very natural and innocent and fun.’’