Paloma Faith has just released a special edition album ahead of her visit to the Brighton Centre in November and Absolute got intimate with the flamboyant singer-songwriter
Paloma Faith doesn’t abide by the pop star stereotypes. Cloaked in retro attire as she articulates her profound ideas through her East London accent, she appears more comfortable singing with a jazz pianist than in the spotlight of the pop world.
She has spoken before of her shyness as a child and how important acting in school plays was to helping her emerge from the introverted character she once was. Yet, despite the flamboyant style and immense voice, she still finds herself slipping back into old habits.
“The last two weeks I’ve had quite a lot of depression and I didn’t realise why; it took me a while to process it but I feel really vulnerable and I felt like that introverted version of myself was rearing its head,” she admits. “I was becoming a bit agoraphobic and not answering the phone. So I see it’s still there but it’s buried. I have to get dressed up and go out and do this – it becomes me then.”
[one_half]Faith was brought up by her mother after her parents divorced when she was just two and, while she did know her Spanish father during her childhood, she has not spoken to him for six years. She refuses to go into details but loss and abandonment issue are still certainly prevalent in her music. They are themes that heavily influenced her second album Fall To Grace, which she admits was recorded during a time of pain.[/one_half][one_half_last][/one_half_last]“I was quite sad and a bit lost,” she explains. “Sometimes when you write sad songs you write them in a moment when it’s like therapy, but then when you’re singing them 18 months later it’s like picking off a scab.”
However, Faith, whose first two albums both went double platinum selling more than 600,000 copies each in the UK, is now in a much better place and reflects this in her most recent album A Perfect Contradiction.
“Now I’m a bit happier. I made this album while in love and I’m still happy in that relationship. I feel like it really influenced the music. There’s some heartache but it’s got a hopeful vibe to it. And I’ve returned to my soul roots, working with people I’ve admired for a long time,” she reflects.
To celebrate the success of A Perfect Contradiction the former magician’s assistant is now releasing a special deluxe two-disc edition of the album featuring four new tracks and a live recording of her headline night at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The special edition release will be available from November 10th under the same title and, she says, its evocative title was formed by a chance meeting.
She says: “I mean ‘perfect contradiction’ in terms of the last album, because that was melancholic, but also in everyday life. You can’t have real joy without real sadness. It extends to a conversation I had with Pharrell (Williams). He was asking me about myself and I said I feel an affinity with people who are a perfect mix of contradictions. And he said ‘do you think you are?’ and I said ‘yeah’ and then he told me I should call my album that. I went home and mulled it over; I decided it was a really good title, because it meant a lot of things. It’s to do with accepting difference within ourselves as well as other people and our experiences.”
Faith worked with a host of names on A Perfect Contradiction including the likes of Raphael Saadiq, John Legend and Diane Warren but it is inevitably the collaboration with Pharrell on recent release and the album’s hit single Can’t Rely on You that is of most intrigue.
She says: “He approached me at a party to work with me and we wrote a couple of songs together, and as we got to know each other through that time he said that he had this song that he’d written that he’d been sitting on for ages. He said he thought it would suit me, and did I want to hear it. I was like ‘of course’, and I loved it. It totally had my name on it.
“Pharrell is very nice, humble, and so likeable. He works very hard and throws a lot away because he only wants the best to come out.”
Faith is arguably as well known for her sense of style as she is for her music, and her appearance is a vital component of the entire songstress/fashion icon package.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve had it drummed into me that presentation is important. My family is full of women who really make an effort. I’ve never been around people who just wear jeans and t-shirt,” she explains.
“In fact, the other day I was walking around Brick Lane with my mum, my aunt and my cousin. This girl came up and said ‘you four look like brilliantly dressed women; can I take a picture for my art project?’ She later wrote to me on Twitter to say ‘sorry, I had no idea it was you!’ It was so funny.”
The former shop girl for Agent Provocateur is currently at the beginning of her worldwide tour to promote A Perfect Contradiction and as part of the tour will be playing at the Brighton Centre on November 21st. So how is she finding it after the emotional strain of touring the previous album?
“If anything, performing more up-tempo songs has exhausted me more,” she confesses. “It’s a lot more challenging on tour because there are a lot of high notes and jumping about simultaneously, whereas in the last one it was quite a deeper range and had less moving about. I am less likely to get sick when I tour the old album but I am having a lot more fun and a lot more giggles with this one.”
Paloma Faith will be performing at the Brighton Centre on November 21st and for more information or to book tickets visit www.brightoncentre.co.uk
The repackaged version of A Perfect Contradiction (Sony) was released 3 November 2014