Friday, February 20, 2009

20 Feb: Daily Star Article

From the Daily Star.


By James Moore

SHE'S the golden girl of soul who stormed the BRITs. But the story of Duffy's unlikely rise to fame is as amazing as her unique music.

The 24-year-old Welsh wonder swept the board with three gongs at this week's glittering award ceremony and sales of her music have shot up an amazing 450% according to website

Now we've put together the ultimate guide to the sexy blonde chart-topper. From her life and loves to getting locked up for her own good, here's all you need to know a bout how the down-to-earth star made her meteoric rise to fame.


DUFFY'S mother tongue was Welsh as she grew up in the seaside town of Nefyn in Gwynedd, north Wales.

Nicknamed "Chunky" as a child, she didn't have much of a musical background either – only her gran, who played the accordion and danced.

But by the age of six Duffy loved singing and was carrying around a notebook filled with lyrics she'd scribbled.

Yet her rise to chart stardom seems all the more amazing when you learn that she was kicked out of her primary school choir aged 11 because her voice was "too big."

Her childhood was turbulent, too. At nine her parents divorced and she moved to Pembrokeshire in west Wales with her mother Joyce, twin sister Katy Ann and older sister Kelly.

Then, in 1998, aged 13, Duffy was put into a police safe house after her stepfather's ex-wife plotted to pay a hitman £3,000 to kill him.

The plan was foiled but the teen later said: "I was so terrified. I felt so ill."Aged 15 she ran away back to her father's house in Nefyn.

There she hhw orked at the local Spar supermarket. But that big voice was to be the making of her.


DUFFY got into soul music as a kid after watching Whoopi Goldberg, 53, in the movie Sister Act. But she could not afford CDs, so she relied on the radio for her musical education.

She started singing in local bands in Nefyn, then dropped her real first names Aimee Ann at the age of 19 while writing her first album and working part-time in a local second-hand shop.

She came second in Wawffactor, Welsh TV's answer to Pop Idol – even though she called the experience "the unhappiest time in my life".

But music was still her passion and she dropped out of her arts course at the University on the dole, love, and become a singer."

That was the start of a series of odd jobs including working as a part-time waitress in a fish restaurant and a hotel.

But she managed to record a CD in Welsh before fellow musicians introduced her to an agent, who spotted her talent.

Duffy moved up to London – and fame.


DUFFY has a close-knit family – she is set to celebrate her BRITs win back home in Nefyn.

Her dad John still runs a social club in there and she once revealed the song Rockferry is written about the place Rock Ferry on The Wirral, where he is from.

She dated music promoter Mark Durston, 35, for five years. They split after she discovered he cheated on her but remain friends.

Now Duffy says she enjoys being single.

She says: "I have fellas in all different parts of the world." She has also admitted to having a "trail of casualties."

Duffy owns up to smoking "not just cigarettes" during her teens but, though she now has the odd tipple of red wine, says she has given up vices in order not to become a typical celeb.

She prefers Diet Coke and her advert for the fizzy drink debuted after the BRITs were shown on TV.

As a teenager she had her tongue and eyebrows pierced and also dyed her hair red.

She's emotional – Duffy apologised to a New York audience after briefly bursting in to tears on stage, saying that it happens once every 15 shows.

Her favourite way to relax is getting into her gingham pyjamas, putting on an old movie like Breakfast At Tiffany's and cooking a meal.

And she loves boxing. "I'm a massive fan of Joe Calzaghe, " she says. "He's my idol."


DUFFY is still haunted by her parents' bitter marriage break-up, say locals.

The split between dad John, 51, and mum Joyce was so tortured and acrimonious that Duffy, then known by her Christian name Aimee, feared she would have to make a choice between who she should side with.

One villager said: "It's no wonder so many of her songs have a sad thread running through them.

They were terrible times for Aimee and her sisters." Yesterday dad John said: "I'm over the moon. She has slogged away. She looked terrific at the BRITs and deserves the awards for all her hard work."


AFTER teaming up with Suede's ex-guitar player Bernard Butler, 38, Duffy started getting more into soul music.

She invented her own new retro sound and landed a record deal.

Soon dubbed the new Dusty Springfield the husky-voiced star got her first TV spot in 2007 performing on the BB2 show Later With Jools Holland.

She gave her career a massive kick-start when she became the first Welsh woman in 25 years to top the singles charts with Mercy.

Duffy's debut album Rockferry went on to sell 4.5 million copies around the world.

At the 2008 Q Awards she won the title Best Pop Vocal Album for Rockferry at the American Grammy Awards before sweeping the board at the BRITs, winning British Female Solo Artist, Best Album and British Breakthru Act.


On her voice: "I've felt since I was a little girl my voice would take me places. I think it's sexy to be rough. I'm aiming for rough, the rougher the better."

On being in love: "I did have it once with a guy. I wrote Stepping Stone about him. He wasn't a local guy in Wales. I've never told him that the song was about him, he was so out of reach."

On her ideal man: "I want a man who's charismatic and funny and intriguing and dresses well."

On illegal downloads: "You know what? I don't care, because I think the majority are kids. So it's just making music a part of everyone's lives."

On Rockferry's success: "I made a record that was just about music. No dreams, no ambitions, no expectation, nothing. I just made a bunch of songs."

On fame: "I didn't want to be famous – I still don't. It would be easy to become a recluse."


DUFFY accidentally set her hair on fire in her dressing room while performing in Cleveland, Ohio.

Her single Mercy features in video game EA Sports FIFA 09.

She has a daffodil, called the Duffydil, named after her and shares her tiny London flat with a cat called Felix. Her sisters live in the same street.

She got into a tussle with ex-Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten, 53, at last year's Mojo Music Awards when he swore at her after she tried to hug him.

Puts her sexy tones down to smoking cigarettes in old shed as a teenager while telling ghost stories with her mates.

French brasserie Chez Jules in Chester, where Duffy worked for 12 months, has become a shrine to the songbird with fans wanting to eat at the tables she once wiped down. She still has fond memories of working there.

No comments: