Thursday, March 19, 2009

19 Mar: Singapore article about Duffy

A new article from here. Thanks Succo!
Duffy, the distant dreamer

SINGAPORE: For the record, we’re not saying Duffy’s puffing the magic dragon.

You know these artistic types. When they’re composing their music and writing their poetry, they are prophetic bards casting flickers of illumination along humanity’s shadowy journey towards enlightenment.

But when they’re in the real world, people think they’re airheads. Just ask Yoko Ono.

To start off, Duffy had us begging her for mercy. The British singing and songwriting sensation postponed her phone interview with us a grand total of four times.

But we’re an understanding bunch. It takes time to find a good spot on the mantelpiece for her Best Female Pop Performance Grammy and her three Brit Awards for Best Female Solo Artist, Best Breakthrough Artiste, and Best Album.

She was also getting ready to commence her tour, which, happily, includes a stop at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

The 24-year-old, who was born Aimee Ann Duffy in the tiny Welsh seaside town of Nefyn, is known for her big, mellow voice and her retro sound.

Her debut album "Rockferry" sold 60,000 copies in the United Kingdom on its first day of release, outselling the rest of the Top 10 combined. The single "Mercy" shot to No 1 on international music charts based on digital downloads alone. Most impressive.

When Duffy finally did find the time to give us a call, we braced ourselves for the brassy, assertive voice we hear in her songs - only to be chirpily greeted by a voice as light and fluffy as a meringue.

“I’m not normally great with words. Words and communication have never really been my thing. So I suppose I express myself through music, you know,” she said, breezily, in between wondering what to expect at her own concert and waxing lyrical about her bed.

As it turned out, Duffy did seem a bit baffled by our questions. But not as baffled as we were by her answers.

“My music is a private part of who I am,” she told us. But she immediately followed that up with: “It’s hard to deny that this record is my words and my life written on the wall.”

We scratched her head; she scratched ours.

That said, we really like Duffy. Despite her huge success, she’s friendly, unassuming and charmingly childlike. It was when we ended the conversation by saying that we looked forward to seeing in her in Singapore that her voice perked up.

“I’m really excited to go - I’ve never been before!” she exclaimed. “Yeah, I really can’t wait. What’s it like? What should I expect? Hot and rainy? Oh no, so weather like Wales? (Laughs) Nice!”

Can you describe yourself in five words?
Describe myself in five words ... Well, I’m not cheating here, but if I could describe myself in five words, I’d be a very lucky woman. So I won’t even attempt to because I think it’s nearly impossible.

Does that mean you’re still trying to find yourself?
Absolutely. If I knew myself at 24, I think I might as well retire.

Do you have some idea which direction you might be heading in?
No. I surprise myself every day. We all do. It’s the beauty of life, isn’t it?

What’s the best thing about being Duffy?
Being Duffy.

Okay... what’s the best thing about being Duffy
Umm ... My bed. I have the best bed in the whole wide world. It’s very cosy and comfortable. Sometimes I wake up and think. “Oh, I can’t wait to go home and be in my own bed!” The best thing about me right now - my bed.

What can we expect from your show in Singapore?
Umm ... What to expect ... (Long pause) I don’t really know what to expect. What would you expect? I’ve never expected anything, so I’d say... Don’t expect anything!

What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever done at your show?
Er... I think crawling on stage with a leather jacket that was way too small for her. Her arms... she had this leather jacket on and she was trying to get on stage, but she didn’t have much give. And I thought, she’s struggling, she can’t get up! So I had to go over in my short mini dress and drag this woman by her leather jacket onstage. She desperately wanted to get onstage. I know! It was hilarious!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on stage? Any wardrobe malfunctions?
When you’re on stage, I kind of lose myself. I get lost in the moment. So I can’t really say that I do feel as though I’ve had any moments that I regret. Sometimes I can’t remember anything after I’ve come offstage. ’Cos you go to a different place in your mind.

Could you describe that place?
I can’t really describe it. I think if I understood it, it would ruin the mystery. It’s just a part of what you do, you know? You start singing, and you suddenly feel that you’re transported to a different emotion, a different sense of existence.

You’ve mentioned that you travelled the country playing your songs to old ladies (while you were recording your album). What was that like?
It was a really special time in my life. I was travelling a lot from Wales to London. Nobody really knew about me, and I was striking up conversations with all the lonely people that were travelling on the train, you know? It was quite special. A lot of them were older ladies. And I’d be playing them my music. To watch an old lady with an iPod is quite an unusual sight.

Catch Duffy - Live in Singapore! on Sunday at 8pm at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Tickets from S$78 to S$168 from Sistic.

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