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Music Interview

Rumer interview: "I'm not good at bulls**t"

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Rumer


Big things were predicted for singer-songwriter Rumer, but the success of debut album Seasons of my Soul was greater than most could have anticipated.

With her new album Boys Don't Cry - a record of '70s cover songs by male singers only - out this week, we met up with the star to find out how she's coping with international fame.

Your debut LP Seasons of My Soul was a huge success all over the world. You must have been pleased?
"I was pleased. I'm just pleased that it just exists really - that people like it and it connected. What do you like about it?"

It's a very chilled-out record without being boring.
"That's good. I think I made the album to chill myself out. I was thinking to myself, 'I'm really stressed out. Let's try to imagine a beautiful sounds'."

You recently said you suffered with depression whilst touring with the LP. Was it strange to feel so low at such a high point in your career?
"I think I'm an up and down person anyway. I just think some of the things that happened mirrored from my childhood. As human beings we want to feel safe, and to feel safe you need to have a bit of control. When you're on a fast-moving schedule, you don't even have control over when you eat your breakfast. You no longer follow out your intuition - you just play out your schedule. I was also someone that hated making plans."

Did your label assume you would simply handle the pressures of fame?
"I don't know what they expected. They seem to think that if the thing moves along quickly enough that I won't notice and they'll get what they want. The speed at which they operate takes away any time for questions."

So they weren't particularly supportive then?
"The problem is I'm no good at bulls**t. Because I've been lied to in my past about who I am, I'm very sensitive to it. I can't bare to be lied to or people talking about me behind my back. I'm in the wrong job really - there are men in suits who will talk about me all day and I'm not allowed to go to the meeting in case I get upset and have to go on TV later that day. I can spend a lot of time trying to figure out who's lying to me."

Is that why you've opted for a covers album rather than a follow-up to Seasons?
"I like to think that in some way the songs on the album tell the story without me having to. I used those narratives when I couldn't find the words myself. The creative process is a long one, and I haven't had enough time to go through what's happened in the last couple of years."

Rumer


Why did you choose to cover songs only by men that were released in the 1970s?
"I'm not sure completely. There's a lot of music out there, a lot of genres and sounds. It's like doing a dissertation - you narrow your study so you can go in depth. I chose a specific time so that the record felt consistent and had a sound. I didn't want it to jolt the listener into a different cultural landscape. The song 'Long Long Day' by Paul Simon is from a film in the '70s that wasn't even successful, but I loved it. It was that which made me want to do a whole album of songs from that period. I actually know very little about '70s music, I'm just starting to learn!"

How far off is your next record?
"I'm writing my next record. I've written bits and pieces. I know what it's going to sound like and feel like. I don't know what the songs will be. It will probably be a bit more upbeat as I move out of the tunnel and into the light. I feel like the next record will be much, much brighter."

Album sales are at their lowest in 16 years. Do you feel any pressure to make sure this album is as successful as your debut?
"Not at all. I'm not the least bit competitive! I'm interested and I watch the numbers, but I'm not that bothered. I'm more keen on making an album that's special, that has a lasting impression, has feeling and soul. If it sells, then that's great. If it doesn't, I know there are a core amount of people who will like it. No-one is going to make money from this record - I can't even tell you how much it's cost to do it and I'm not even going to tour it - I'm just so happy that I was allowed to make it."

What do you think is the solution to poor record sales?
"People deserve a brilliant record when they hand over their hard-earned money. How many times have we bought an album off the back of one song and the rest is complete s**t? I've wasted so many tenners on CDs that have two good songs on them. The solution is to make better records - ones that are worth the money and have brilliant, thoughtful artwork."

Rumer's new album Boys Don't Cry is out now. Watch the music video for the record's lead single 'P.F Sloan' below:

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