Paloma Faith assures fans she’s not selling out
Indie singer Paloma Faith assures fans she's not selling out with her latest gig as a judge on The Voice UK
Paloma Faith doesn't come across as your typical ditzy pop star.
The first question she had about Singapore was about our political background.
Faith was speaking to M on the phone from her hometown, London, last week. She will perform here for the first time next month at a special showcase for the BNP Paribas WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Finals.
"I've never been to Singapore..." she said in her lilting Cockney accent, before temporarily catching us off guard with the question about our political status. We were expecting her to chat about Marina Bay Sands or chilli crab like most showbiz stars are wont to do.
On hearing we are an independent ex-British colony, Faith, 34,asked the question that could make her an honorary Singaporean: "What kind of food do you have?"
One would expect nothing less from the half-Spanish, half-English soul-jazz indie singer who has cooked with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and makes "really good paella (Spanish rice)".
Of course, she admits she isn't perfect in the kitchen. She once cooked a meal of lamb kebabs for fellow British singer Adele and talk show host Alan Carr - and gave them food poisoning.
"It was the bad supermarket meat I bought that made them ill," Faith explained. "Fortunately they weren't too sick, but they were slightly annoyed!"
Faith, whose stepfather is Chinese (her parents divorced when she was two), added that she is very used to Cantonese flavours and loves dimsum, though she's not adept at cooking Chinese cuisine.
But enough about food. We wanted to know more about Faith's music career, which has been on the rise since the release of her debut album, Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, in 2009.
Born Paloma Faith Blomfield, she worked as a burlesque performer and singer before getting her big break with her first single, Stone Cold Sober.
In February, Faith won the Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist after being nominated three times previously. She also performed her biggest UK chart hit to date, Only Love Can Hurt Like This, at the awards ceremony.
Faith's soulful crooning, which has been likened to Amy Winehouse and Duffy, combined with her theatrical costumes and music videos, has always held a more niche appeal.
But there are signs of her going mainstream.
She was recently announced as a coach-judge on the upcoming fifth season of reality TV singing competition The Voice UK. She joins Boy George, will.i.am and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson on the panel, a move that surely cements her status as a mainstream pop artist.
But Faith is quick to dismiss that she's selling out.
'NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE'
"None of my friends watch commercial TV... They aren't even interested in The Voice. I know some of my fans are a bit worried that I'll stop being creative after being on the show. But I can still be my entertaining and creative self while working on The Voice. The two aren't mutually exclusive."
It's a sentiment echoed on her latest album A Perfect Contradiction, which was released last year.
"I thought the title described me perfectly. I don't like to be put in boxes, and I don't believe you can easily categorise people because they're complicated."
For example, while she does not believe in marriage (she divorced New Zealand chef Rian Haynes after four years of marriage in 2009), she also wants lots of children in her life.
"I'd like to have five kids, but I'm getting old. I guess I'd like to have as many as possible, nature permitting," said Faith, who isdating French-Algerian artist Leyman Lahcine.
And as a sartorialist known for her colourful personal style, Faith describes her look as "classic, old-fashioned and modern at the same time".
A perfect contradiction indeed.
What: Singapore Tennis Evening at Marina Bay Sands - The Show featuring Paloma Faith
Where: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands
When: Oct 30, 8.30pm
Tickets: $89, $109 and $139 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)