Friday, February 6, 2009

05 Feb: Welsh songstress Duffy makes journey to Grammy Awards

The Australian Newspaper the Herald Sun has the below article and photo. Thanks to Succo for finding this.

Welsh songstress Duffy makes journey to Grammy Awards

DUFFY may be heading westward for the Grammys this week, but this time two years ago, the Welsh hitmaker explains she hadn't even heard of them. You're heading off to the Grammys -- are you performing?

No news at the moment.

So you're on standby?

Maybe I'll just put my hat down and busk backstage, do a backstage performance

You were nominated for Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Mercy and Best Pop Vocal Album for Rockferry. How did you celebrate?

I know! A trio! I just raised a glass with some family and friends. I was doing a UK tour at the time. It means so much for people. It means a lot for me as well. When I was working in America and touring America I got so much support from the people I worked with there and it means so much to them. I'm a girl from Wales. I only knew about the Grammys two years ago. Can you imagine, all the people who take my records to radio, it's such a big moment for them. I share it with a lot of people. It's quite symbolic in our year-long journey through America.

So the Grammys had never infiltrated your small town in Wales?

No. We didn't have satellite TV or anything. I didn't even know who Tamla Motown was until a few years ago.

When did you realise what a big deal the Grammys are?

I stared to understand pretty fast. As soon as you get to America and you're working in the music industry you're immediately aware of the Grammys. It's so prestigious; people just talk about it in general conversation. It's not even that important to win, just to be recognised, get a nomination.

You're also up for four Brit Awards this month -- Best British Female, Best British Single, Best British Album and Best British Breakthrough Act. Surely the Brit Awards were on your radar?

Of course, I used to watch that every year with my sisters.

Do you get to perform at that?

Fingers crossed. The anticipation is building.

Anyone you want to meet?

David Brent (Ricky Gervais) from The Office. I hope he's there. Kylie's hosting too. I've met her before. She's a lovely person.

These must be ‘‘pinch me moments''. It looks like it's all happened very fast from the outside.

Yes and no. This year felt like yesterday -- the whole thing may as well have happened in 24 hours, that's how quick it's gone. At the same time I spent five years making this record so it's quite a big chapter of my life. It's a nice way to close the chapter.

You've had a few false starts on the way to selling four million copies of your debut Rockferry.

I can't tell you -- I'd be in a middle of a country I'd never been to before talking to 25 people at once. Or I'd go into a big room where we'd do a conference -- it's so out of body. I'm not a public speaker you know, I'm a singer, I do music. All these experiences were unusual for me, but looking back now I'm grateful for all the challenges I went through.

Rockferry was the biggest-selling album in the UK last year. That's impressive.

I went back to see my mum in Wales. I heard the news on the radio, it was amazing -- for my family as well. Again, it's symbolic.

There was a comment on the internet saying because of Rockferry's ‘‘cheap production'' you were ‘‘reaping a small fortune''.

Ha. Who said that?

Some anonymous internet blogger.

Well, that's a good point. But back then that was a lot of money for me to spend. I could have easily have become bankrupt and had to go back to Wales and work as a waitress.

Rockferry's success seems to have given your producer/songwriter Bernard Butler a lot of work.

I think he was always going to go to bigger heights, he doesn't need me to help him on the way.

He gave you an iPod with '60s soul to help you create Rockferry. Did he include any of his work with Suede as well?

I listen mostly to his McAlmont Butler stuff, I love David's voice. The Suede stuff is great, I was aware of them growing up, but I do admit I still return to those McAlmont Butler records for pure pleasure, not homework. It was homework in the beginning.

Will Bernard be on your next album?

I'd like to hope so in some shape or form. We've become good friends. But I'm keeping my secrets about that one.

Are you getting offers for people to work with?

I'm not short of offers. I'm being very vague deliberately.

Is there a deadline?


It'd be your Chinese Democracy . . .

Can you imagine? I'll just see where the wind takes me.

Are you writing songs on the road?

Yeah, I'm at that place in my life again. There's a lot going on around me, it's really refreshing.

Is it true you've filmed a Diet Coke ad?

That is correct.

Have more offers started coming in?

Yes, but you have to be very selective about what you do, you have to believe in it. It has to be something you genuinely use in your life.

You seem to have avoided the fame aspect that comes with success in the UK and the US . . .

I don't dabble with fame. I keep myself to myself. I haven't really changed. You have a choice in life, where you want to live. Honestly, you'd be surprised. If you welcome it in it's there for the taking: if you don't want to play the game it's fine.

Have you heard any covers of Mercy yet?

Many, actually. My favourite is John Mayer's.

You're playing the V Festival in Australia. Are you getting used to festivals by now?

Where I come from in Wales we didn't have that many festivals so I didn't have any festival experiences until recently. But having done everything from the mud of Glastonbury to the hot desert of Coachella. I really do enjoy them.

Rockferry (Universal) out now.
Duffy, V Festival, Melbourne Showgrounds, April 4, $139.90, Ticketmaster. The 51st Grammy Awards, Arena, Monday from noon (repeated 8.30pm).

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