Duffy: an old-fashioned girl who sings and twirls
Duffy is a great example of what the music industry might achieve by letting young artists mature, says Bernadette McNulty
With Amy Winehouse ailing, it was 19-year-old singer Adele who at the beginning of the year was anointed retro-pop's heir apparent with a Brit award. But in the end it is Aimée Anne Duffy who has snatched the crown, notching up the bestselling UK album of 2008 with her debut, Rockferry.
Surveying the crowd at the beginning of her UK tour, you could see why. The groups of well-groomed wannabe-Duffys and well-fed Yorkshire gentlemen old enough to be the 24-year-old Welsh singer's dad are a demographic who still buy CDs rather than downloading from the internet.
Discovered not by Simon Cowell but by the head of an indie record label and sent off to work on her craft for four years, Duffy is a great example of what the music industry might achieve by letting young artists mature. She also belongs to a new generation of female singers who no longer aspire to the light-operatic bombast of Whitney, Celine and Mariah, but look instead to Aretha, Dusty or Etta for a more old-fashioned style.
And Duffy is an unashamedly old-fashioned girl. With her big blonde hair and red lips, she trotted on stage in a black lace mini-dress and twirled as if she was showing-off her hot outfit to a boyfriend before a big date. Sweetly smiling, she has the girl-next-door sexiness the Nolan Sisters used to possess.
At a festival this summer she admitted to the crowd that she couldn't dance and seems instead to have perfected her own "Duffy-semaphore" moves: side-to-side cow-steps, pointing, swishing her microphone lead and arching her back on the big notes. This has worked perfectly for Shirley Bassey, but in the spit-and-sawdust ambience of a modern venue, it doesn't encourage the audience to move, and a strangely static quality fell over the evening.
Which is a shame because her big, high voice works better skipping lightly on newer go-go-grooves such as Rain on Your Parade than funereal ballads such as Rockferry.
Still, Duffy delivered what the fans wanted: every song from her album sung as note-perfectly as on the CD, and with a final rousing rendition of Mercy, she sent them off with another grateful twirl.
Monday, December 1, 2008
1 Dec: Duffy: an old-fashioned girl who sings and twirls
This from the Telegraph today: