paloma faith - interview in event magazine, mail on sunday - 16.02.2014.
The best gig I’ve been to was Leonard Cohen last year at Radio City in New York. I’d read his lyrics and poems and enjoyed covers of his songs like Dance Me To The End Of Love sung by Madeleine Peyroux, but I’d never actually sat and listened to him.
It’s the only gig I’ve cried at. It wasn’t hysteria, it was purely being moved. When you listen to him sing, and reflect on how he wasn’t always the best person he could be, and how we all say and do things we regret, it just breaks your heart.
rest of interview below :
paloma faith the singer thinks Jeremy Kyle’s a bully and Roald Dahl’s revolting... and that’s just the way she likes them
I think Laura Mvula’s absolutely divine, so sensitive and not of this world really, while her music is quite captivating. She came on tour with me and I would listen to her every day before I went on stage. I’d have to switch it off when she came to the dressing room just out of embarrassment.
Nina Simone reminds me of my childhood. Every time the song I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl comes on, my mum Pam reminds me that she asked Nina to play it for her at a gig in the Sixties somewhere, probably Ronnie Scott’s.
The first show I ever saw was The Fugees [right] at The Forum in Kentish Town. Iwas underage but I had an ID card made that said I was 18, even though I looked about 12. I remember shaking in case they figured out it was fake. Iwas so wide-eyed and I couldn’t believe that people I considered to be my idols were actually in front of me.
My favourite author is Hanif Kureishi. In 2013 I made it my New Year’s resolution to try to meet people who inspired me and he was top of my list. After meeting him I’m an even more loyal fan. In books like Intimacy he made me delve into corners of myself that I wouldn’t necessarily otherwise do on a daily basis. What I like is that he shows empathy for his characters, but there’s humour in there, too.
As a child I loved Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl – even then I knew when sections were verging on the inappropriate. I remember a line talking about Red Riding Hood: ‘She whips a pistol from her knickers.’
I used to get my mumor dad to read that over and over again because I thought it was so naughty.
I don’t really watch television, but if I ever do I sit absolutely riveted by The Jeremy Kyle Show. I can’t forgive myself for it, and I even watch it on catch-up sometimes, I’m ashamed to say. I can’t fathom why people want to go on there to air their wares, but I’m more fascinated by him because I think he’s a bully.
As a chil dI was obsessed by Watchdog and the docu-drama 999. I was a worried child and actually developed a fear of getting in lifts because I’d seen somebody get stuck in one on 999. And I also used to tell my mum she shouldn’t buy certain things in the supermarket that Watchdog had warned about – I genuinely thought I was protecting people by getting a heads-up from those shows.
The Paolo Sorrentino film The Great Beauty is so moving. It’s about how often quite beautiful things are staring us in the face but we don’t notice because we take them for granted. It really makes you consider complacency, and whether we go through life with our eyes properly open. The film is a real homage to the director Federico Fellini, but it’s also a modern Italian take on surrealism. I love Italy – I’ve got family there, and I speak Italian too... although really badly.
My all-time favourite film is 2046 by Wong Kar-wei [right]. It’s a sequel to his film In The Mood For Love, in which a couple deny themselves a relationship because they’re both married. In this the man tries to find love again but can’t find a woman he loves as much as the one he lost. I really relate to them, because they’re both so in thrall to their moral stance that they miss out on happiness.
My mum took me to see Sankai Juku [below] a Japanese Butoh dance company at Sadler’s Wells when I was about eight. It was mesmerising and felt really otherworldly. The dancers moved around in unison like creatures. They were painted white, and then they threw bright-red watermelons on the floor. Visually, it was amazing. Recently I enjoyed Punchdrunk theatre company’s show at the McKittrick Hotel in New York. You walk round like a voyeur watching characters, and you can interact or not. Everyone in the audience is masked so you’re robbed of your identity, and that’s how they distinguish between audience and characters.
Interview by Andrew Preston Paloma Faith’s new single ‘Can’t Rely On You is out on Feb 23, and the album ‘A Perfect Contradiction’ is released on March 10