Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Duffy Interview (Artist Direct)

Did you have one cohesive vision for Endlessly from the get-go or did it come together piece by piece in the studio?

I think you have a vision when you create music, but it's like looking at a photograph. The closer you get to the photograph, the image changes. You have an intention, of course. I'm not going to say it was potluck. However, you're open to the creative process as well. You have to see how it goes. If I had to be honest with you and tell you what my intentions were, I really wanted something that was obviously me. It doesn't stray too far from what people knew me for—the songs, the voice and the arrangements. I wanted something further than that; I wanted a sonic crispness that allowed people to know we're in 2011.

Do you tend to read or watch movies while you're writing music? Where does your visual sensibility come from?

It's interesting that you pick up on that visual sensibility. I've been called, "Visual." It's quite difficult being a creative person when you're so visual. From the staging to the artwork, everything is visual. I think I work more in that way. I see the songs more than I hear them. It's quite profound. I can't quite understand it myself [Laughs]. I know I definitely enjoy using my imagination.

Do you enjoy delving into other visual art forms?

I do actually! Cinema is something that I'm quite amazed by. I love the thought of a director capturing something through his vision. I love cinematographers who have a nice charm or identity to their work. I don't know too much about it. I'm still very focused on music, but I am catching up on decades and decades that I missed. I go way back to the 1920s, and I've got a lot of work to do! Equally, I like to pick up movies that people suggest along the way. If I had to say what my favorite is, I really love Cinema Paradiso for those qualities—that visual bliss.

What's the story behind "Well, Well, Well?"

Northern Soul was a movement in the North of England that responded to Black American music 30 years ago. They used to dance in the Wigan Casino, and it's quite a profound dance. It looks like they're doing a jelly dance with jazz hands. Their feet are coordinating with their hands, and it's kind of surreal. They don't dance to the music; they dance to the lyrics. I've always been fascinated by that. They actually dance to what Freda Payne is talking about. My sister—who I very rarely play music for—said, "It's amazing with 'Well, Well, Well,' I listen to what you're saying more than I'm aware of anything else that's going on around you." There was a very big emotion that I had to get off my chest.

If you were to compare Endlessly to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?

I don't know if I could compare it to a movie. However, if Endlessly could be in any movie of my choice, I would put it inBreakfast at Tiffany's. It's that story about a girl longing for love. There's that sense of being alone in a big world and that vulnerability.

What artists shaped you?

I always keep rediscovering Marvin Gaye. There's never a performance that doesn't intrigue me, even if I've heard it a hundred times. I can listen to "Heard it Through the Grapevine," and I'll hear a crackle in his voice that I never heard before. Or, if I listen to "Give it Up," it reminds me of something different every time. It takes me somewhere. I can't ever get enough of his sensuality and vulnerability.

It's like your imbuing your personality into that classic form with Endlessly.

It's like being a chef raised in Italy and then you end up going to cook in L.A. You always go back to the herbs and spices you could smell when you were young. You'd always go back to the way big Mama made the lasagna and you can't help it because it reminds you of something that feels safe. Music from that era makes me feel safe. I know where I stand with it. It's because that music also stands the test of time. I'm being a little a bit naughty. When I listen to old music, I'm just drinking fine wine constantly [Laughs].

Which other movies do you come back to?

I like Breathless. I like stories about a girl. I find those a bit fascinating. Watching Pretty Woman as a six-year-old reminded me so much of what I wanted to achieve—not that I was a call-girl [Laughs]—but I enjoy those stories about success.

Interview from here.

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