Saturday, May 17, 2008

17 May: Duffy Interview NewNowNext

NewNowNext ("Gay Pop culture, news and clues served daily") posted an interview with Duffy.

Duffy Interview With NewNowNext!

From waiting tables and recording demos in a village in northern Wales, to producing a debut that spent five weeks at No. 1 in The U.K., to appearing on TRL in the U.S. this week, small-town, 23-year-old Duffy admits overnight stardom is a tad ... foreign.

You've probably heard her lounge-y, soulful - but don't say Amy Winehouse-esque! - single "Mercy" at this point, which is all about pleading for sexual liberty. And if you haven't, check it after the jump ... as well our exclusive interview!

Duffy and I talked about the 'only gay' in her village, performing at New York's Hiro and transitioning from a life inside her own head to one in the public eye.

So you performed at [New York's] Hiro recently? How was the crowd?

They were really lovely! They knew the words. They were fighting me for the microphone! I didn't know whether to hand it over and tell them to sing. And I played last night at the Apollo, which was just amazing as well. So I've had two really great gigs here in New York. In fact, two of my favorites.

The audience is what it's all about. I want people to have a good time at the end of the day.

You know Hiro is gay on Sundays...

Is it? I'm going to be honest with you, I spotted a couple - a couple of couples! - hanging out and ... enjoying themselves. But what a great venue. On a Sunday? I'm going to have check it out if I'm here in town!

You totally should.

Yeah! I'd be twirling on the dance floor. [laughs.]

So how are you feeling about taking on the young U.S. crowd?

It's really exciting to think that hopefully people my age will like my music because ... I like it. I like that sort of genre, and I'm hoping people feel the same in my age group.

I know you grew up in a small town and didn't have access to a lot of music. Did you go to any great lengths to hear something or to go see anyone perform?

I wish I did. But we didn't really have many live venues, so I didn't really do anything like that. But as I got to sort of my late teens, the power of the Internet is amazing: You can just check out any form of music. So in the last five years, I've been really spoiled. I've been doing all these searches of fantastic music that I love. It's a different time really than when I was growing up in Wales, 15 years ago.

Who's inspiring to you music-wise? Who do you love?

Um ... lots of weird and wonderful people. I like Scott Walker from the Wonder Brothers - really beautiful, soft ... it's almost like chocolate. He used to super, super iconic and really stylish; he still is, but he's retreated to be quite an iconic, avant-garde producer. But if you watch the old footage, he was super-sexy.

And then Joy Division, I like. That's my mix at the moment – which is quite dark! Both of them have kind of dark elements, which I like. I like a bit of edginess.

So I'm guessing there weren't a lot of gay people in your town growing up.

Have you ever seen Little Britain?


The comedy. Oh my gosh, you've just got to check it out. Tonight, tonight! You are going to check this out, right? And there's this one sketch called 'The Only Gay in the Village,' and I think every Welsh community has one gay who is really, really territorial, right? And he prides himself in being the only gay – you've got to see this sketch!

So basically, if you watch that sketch, it will completely contextualize everything that goes on in Wales - and it's a Welsh sketch.

Did you know the one gay kid?

Yeah! And he was always introducing a little eccentricity to the town, like with a long jacket or something, you know? Or like ... a weird necklace. And all the girls would love it.

But yeah, there was only a couple. You're dealing with a town that only has about 2000 people in it, so it doesn't really have enough of a community. I imagine the majority of people are quite in the closet ... you know, because we're quite traditional. I mean, being gay is amazing, being free, being true to yourself – but in traditional places, I don't think it's so easy.

Yeah, I imagine it's just hard to feel like there are others like you.

But again, going back to the Internet, it's amazing because now my friends who maybe weren't able to express themselves - and that sounds really quirky – 'express themselves.' [she does that click-click suggestive thing.] No, there are places now that they can share.

So your life has changed really suddenly, right? Is there any aspect of all this you know you'll just never get used to?

I don't think you ever get used to any of it! I mean, people would assume that it feels normal, but at the end of the day, I'm just a girl who's singing a bunch of songs that are, you know, really close to my heart. And I never expected it to transcend to America ... and here I am. And the kind of response is so overwhelming, you know? So it's kind of scary, but lovely at the same time.

But I don't think I'll ever understand it or ever feel as though it's something normal or natural.

So is everything on Rockferry autobiographical? Did you always draw from a certain person or a time in your life?

I don't really know where my songs come from. But I draw them from personal experiences, because music is the only thing I can really be honest with. There's so much ... politics, and contradictions, and hidden agendas with everything in life – everything's got subtext - but music is the only thing I can really be straightforward with. So it definitely comes from somewhere, but I try not to assess it or I'd probably start being an emotional wreck.

But they sort of just come out, and I don't know how.

Do you like to express yourself in other ways as well?

I think I can wear my heart on my sleeve in many things I do, but nothing beats the power of words in music. You can't quite define it, you know? And I think that's where my head's been at for the past four years, just in the songs and in the writing. I never thought of myself as a voice for the past four years, I was just so consumed with the emotion. And when somebody says to me, I really like your voice, I'm like, Whoa! Oh yeah, that's what it's about. I remember now!

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