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Music Interview

Paloma Faith

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Paloma Faith
Before the release of her debut album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful last year, DS got on the phone to 20-something soul songstress Paloma Faith for a quick natter. With the album since going gold and Paloma poised to release fourth single 'Upside Down', we gave her another call to chat about being labelled "kooky", missing out on a Brits nod and how she felt about appearing on The Xtra Factor last year.

How do you feel about your album making the top ten?
"Really pleased. But with success, once you achieve a certain level - which might be beyond anything you've ever known - the bar goes up again. I want more now and I want better!"

You've said before that you need to sell half a million to break even - are you anywhere near that?
"No, it's about 200,000 I think."

Do you think that will affect whether you stay on the label?
"I think they'll keep me for this next album, but if I keep making losses for them of course they'll just drop me."

Are you tempted to break away from the album/tour cycle?
"I'm old-fashioned. I think I've broken the back of it now and done a lot of groundwork. I feel quite excited about the possibility of working on multiple albums. There's something really iconic about having a catalogue featuring a lot of albums and I'd love to have that legacy."

You've admitted that you were upset to miss out on a Brit nomination - is that type of recognition important to you?
"I just felt that, given the other people that were nominated, I deserved to be nominated too. I'm not devastated though and to be honest I think it's better if I don't keep going on about it! I was a bit miffed rather than upset. People just blow it out of proportion and make out that I'm unable to get out of bed and eating biscuits and crying all the time, which I'm not!"

I was surprised to see you on The Xtra Factor last year...
"When people say it surprised them, I always say, 'If you had an album out and the opportunity for 14 million people to see you and realise you exist, you'd probably go on it as well!' It's one of those things - like Twitter and Facebook - where we're forced to be part of something that maybe we're not naturally inclined to be involved with."

Is that type of thing unavoidable now?
"Unfortunately for us the music industry now is completely run by television. Anything that's on television as often as someone on The X Factor is what's successful. That doesn't mean that I condone that or think that it's right. To be honest, I'd be the first to say I think it's a shame. But if that's the way it is then that's the way it is."

Would you have considered going on that type of show?
"As a contestant? No way! I don't have a competitive bone in my body, so the last thing I want to do is be competing with people. I'm quite happy doing my own thing and hoping people like it."

You've been given the 'kooky' label in the press along with Marina and Florence. Does that annoy you?
"I don't get annoyed about being bundled in because that's the way humans operate. We don't necessarily understand anything unless we can group it together. It's the same as talking about art - like the Renaissance or postmodernism or whatever."

Do you think you're strange?
"I have a mild issue with the expectation of me being this crazy person because among my friends I'm one of the most grounded and in control of what I do. I think what makes me different from the average Joe is that I feel free to be myself and express myself in the way that I want. If that makes you mad, we're living in a world of dire straits. If anything it makes you more sane."

With your persona as an artist, do you want the truth or something beautiful?
"I always want to give something beautiful and I don't want to harp on about the truth. In interviews I'm always myself because I don't have the energy to put on an act all the time. I don't know how certain acts do that - it must be really tiring."

Paloma releases new single 'Upside Down' on March 15 and tours the UK this spring.
Additional reporting by Philippa Warr

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