West London’s Paloma Faith on juggling motherhood with being a singer and why, while she might not get much sleep, she can’t wait to tour her new album, The Architect, next spring
Words: Neill Barston
Lead image: Paloma Faith (courtesy of Chuff Media)
Becoming a parent is just about the biggest event in anyone’s lives. For Paloma Faith, the experience of being a new mum may have left her wondering where her next night’s sleep is coming from, yet it’s brought a renewed sense of purpose and focus to her music.
‘I’m trying to juggle being a mother and a singer. I have no idea how I am managing, but I am somehow,’ she laughs, recounting her whirlwind existence recording her fourth studio album.
The 36-year-old Londoner has already amassed an enviable career over the past decade that has seen her become the only female artist beyond Adele to have three double platinum recordings to her name. While it’s been a road requiring plenty of hard graft, her artfully soulful sound and quirky style have undoubtedly played their part in propelling the London-born star to success.
The singer’s latest offering, The Architect, follows boldly in its predecessors’ footsteps, showcasing her distinctive powerful vocals that have earned comparisons with everyone from 60s icons such as Etta James and Billie Holiday, through to the late Amy Winehouse.
As she admits, she’s hoping her latest work, partly recorded in America, might yet crack the elusive holy grail of top slot in the album charts. If the slick, yet lyrically reflective lead single Crybaby is anything to go by, then the signs are indeed looking promising.
It seems the singer is enjoying a comparatively settled phase of her life living with French boyfriend Leyman Lahcine in west London, and it’s apparent that starting a family has directly influenced her music.
Growing up in Hackney, I was surrounded by lots of different types of music – from my mum, I remember listening to plenty of revolutionary music from the 60s such as Bob Dylan, while my dad was really into jazz
‘I do feel my approach to music has changed since I’ve become a parent. With difficult things that are happening in the world, you feel protective of your family.’
As she recalls of her childhood in east London, the half-Spanish artist says that she always had something of a creative streak. But her initial studies were at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
‘Growing up in Hackney, I was surrounded by lots of different types of music – from my mum, I remember listening to plenty of revolutionary music from the 60s such as Bob Dylan, while my dad was really into jazz, which is where my interest in all that comes from,’ she says.
‘Later, when I was studying, I got into R n’ B dancehall as well, and originally I wanted to be a dancer. Then I did my musical theatre, and I think that music just chose me.’
From her early CV that spanned everything from being a life model, cabaret dancer and bartender, to a gig as a magician’s assistant, her rich experiences have offered plenty of tales and adventures to fuel her inventive songwriting.
Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful? blazed a trail into the top 10 and proceeded to lodge in the album charts for the next 100 weeks.
By her own admission, trying to sustain a fanbase and avoiding the trap of merely recreating a formula for previous hits has offered plenty of challenges. But she is not one to rest on her laurels, and ‘likes to mix things up a bit’, which is certainly the case with her latest material.
Her down-to-earth manner is a breath of fresh air in an industry awash with egos, and her willingness to give something back was seen with her time on The Voice. Beyond being a vocal mentor, she was determined to help those under her wing with additional songwriting classes.
With a Brit Award to her name (‘It was amazing to win’), there has been plenty of hype surrounding her latest release, The Architect, bolstered by notable additions including an appearance from Samuel L Jackson and a duet with singer songwriter John Legend in the mix.
The Architect tour kicks off in March and is destined to feature some of Faith’s trademark self-designed sets to spark the tone for a hit-packed series of shows.
‘The only reason I do what I’m doing is because I love touring. When I’m out there I am excited and feel that I’m in the right place.’
Paloma Faith’s new album The Architect is out now on RCA Records. See palomafaith.com