SAT in the lounge of a North London studio, Paloma Faith is discussing juggling motherhood and music.
“I don’t usually write music and tour at the same time but I think everyone is worried that I might have another baby soon and so they’ve got me working extra hours!
Paloma Faith is currently juggling music and motherhood, while being on tour[/caption]
“ ‘Quick, get as much out of her, she’s suddenly getting broody’,” she says letting out her famous cackling laugh.
With her pink hair and oversize Givenchy sunglasses, Paloma Faith isn’t your average working mum.
Her flamboyant style makes her hard to miss but it’s her live shows and the success of her latest album The Architect — a No1 album in November — that attention is focused on.
The summer belongs to Faith, 36, who is in the middle of a 21-date tour which includes shows at festivals and racecourses.
Paloma’s latest album The Architect hit the number one spot in November[/caption]
Faith says: “The shows have been great so far. They’re always multi-generational; kids love it, their parents love it and then their parents love it too.
“It’s almost like harking back to old times with a variety show. It’s a family thing, there is something in it for everyone.”
The Architect is set to give Faith her fourth double-platinum album and was the London-born singer’s first No1.
It was also her most critically acclaimed release, with songs about politics, immigration, war feminism and toxic masculinity.
“And do you know what? My record label is still worried about it. They say, ‘Could you start writing about heartbreak again please?’ ” she laughs. “I tell them, ‘I’ll bloody write what I want to write!’
“But I’m really moved by the fact that people are listening to the lyrics because they’re so important to me. When I see thousands of people mouthing the words, they’ve obviously listened.
“There is one on the album called WW3 and I always say, ‘This one is dedicated to Donald Trump’ before I sing it, the first line is, ‘What kind of man gets a thrill from the life he’s taken?’
“Everyone is singing it back to me, hands in the air. I feel this is important.
Paloma’s record label may want songs about heartbreak, but she’s more interested in writing about politics and war[/caption]
“I also just wrote this song for my child about apologising for the world that I’ve brought them into, I’ve only just written it and am calling it This World Is Not Good Enough.
“Of course, a song isn’t going to change the world but if you can gradually drip into the folds of society and somehow influence people or get them to listen or look in a different way, then your work is done as an artist I think.”
The album has already produced four singles in Guilty, Til I’m Done, Make Your Own Kind Of Music (also the theme to the Skoda TV ad) and Crybaby, a song Faith wrote after thinking about men in power.
“I wonder if there would be less conflict in general if men in power dealt with their emotions better?” she says. “I wonder if they’d send people to war as much. Sometimes it almost feels like a consequence of pent-up frustration.”
Paloma has written a new song for her child, titled This World Is Not Good Enough[/caption]
Forthcoming single Warrior was a song written by Australian artist Sia and came about after Faith had watched coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis.
She says: “Seeing the footage of those people walking for miles, with children and families being separated, well my heart broke.
“The analogy I give is like if someone cut a leg off of mine and I knocked on someone’s door and said, ‘Please can you help me’ and they said, ‘No, sorry’ and shut the door. That’s what I feel like we were doing.”
Faith, who is half Spanish, adds: “Everything culturally that this country was built on is about immigration. I’m a product of it.
Paloma wrote the song Guilty in the week of the EU referendum about how many people voted Brexit and then later regretted it[/caption]
“That was at a time when there wasn’t enough nurses and doctors and my grandmother came over to be a nurse.
“And when I had my baby on the NHS, I wasn’t treated by anybody who was English. The treatment was amazing.”
Guilty is a song Faith wrote in the week of the EU referendum and is about how many people voted Brexit and then later regretted it.
“It’s about being sold an idea then regretting it. I heard people on the radio saying this.”
Along with her music Paloma is also known for her quirky fashion sense[/caption]
Another theme on The Architect is kindness, in particular on the song I’ll Be Gentle, Love Me As I Am. “That came from just looking at the internet and the way people are so abusive,” says Faith.
“I get it, you know directed at me, and I find it quite hurtful. I’ve had really awful things said to me on social media.
Somebody once said I should be raped and skinned alive, I think because of something I’d said about Brexit.
“Is it predominantly directed at women? You don’t see people going on the internet saying Boris Johnson has put on weight do you? These keyboard warriors. Imagine if it became socially acceptable in everyday life to speak like that.”
Paloma revealed that ‘somebody once said I should be raped and skinned alive’ over her comments on Brexit’[/caption]
We hop into a waiting car and drive to the singer’s East London home so Faith can be there for the bedtime of her 19-month-old baby with partner, French artist Leyman Lahcine.
Faith has never publicly revealed the name or sex of her child and has said she is raising her baby as gender neutral.
“I respect my child as a person even though they’ve not even arrived at the future person,” she says. I have a responsibility for my child.
“They’re not in control of their life when they’re a child.
Paloma has a 19-month-old child with partner, French artist Leyman Lahcine[/caption]
“They’ve not decided they want any attention and it’s sod’s law they’ll probably want to be in the limelight but if they did I wouldn’t be using my connections to help them there.
“I’m glad in a way that at first, I was like, ‘As a feminist I shouldn’t give my child my partner’s surname’ but then I was
glad because there is no association with me.”
Faith admits she has an up and down relationship with fame — she enjoys time with fans and being on stage, but values her privacy.
“I love what I do and love writing and performing but I’m also still a normal person,” she says.
The couple have never revealed the sex of their child and are raising them gender neutral[/caption]
“I go to the post office to collect my parcels and I go to Sainsbury’s to do my weekly shop and people come up to me and ask what am I doing? I say, ‘Buying my mince!’ ”
Like a lot of new mums Faith says she lost confidence when it was time to return to the spotlight.
She says: “I felt really worried.
“I thought, ‘What if no one wants to listen to me any more because they think she’s washed up, she’s had a baby, she’s put on a bit of weight and she’s got nothing of worth to say?’
Paloma says she lost confidence when it was time to return to the spotlight after becoming a mum[/caption]
“I went through that and it lasted until recently, but having a child makes you stronger.
“You’ve done that, you’ve survived something so difficult and you’ve become so strong.”
Faith says her relationship with Lahcine has also got stronger since becoming parents.
“I’ve got way more respect for him,” she says smiling. “He’s decided to take 12 months off work to look after childcare. He felt a lot of pressure from me because I was struggling with childcare.
Paloma says her relationship with Lahcine has also got stronger since becoming parents[/caption]
“It was all on my shoulders and I was so upset by it. He’s taking responsibility for a big chunk of the pie and I’ve got respect for this man that has done in my view, the manliest thing he could do.
“I always say to people like being a feminist doesn’t just affect women. I know a lot of male feminists and most of them are looking after their kids.”
Faith adds: “And I didn’t have a dad when I was a baby — my parents split up.
“So, I’m pleased for my child to have a kind, good father and also a father who is teaching them a language because he’s French-speaking. I feel really lucky.”
In 2016 Paloma was a coach on ITV talent show The Voice[/caption]
In 2016 the Brit award-winner was a coach on The Voice — was it an experience she’d like to repeat?
“There were good bits and bad bits about it,” she says. “I don’t know if that is the right context for me because creatively I found it a bit stunted.”
With a degree from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds and an MA in theatre directing from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, Faith says she gets annoyed when people don’t take her seriously because of her chatty and bubbly personality.
She says: “I think what’s difficult for me and what I struggled with even when I was going through the academic structure that I went through, was that it feels like people don’t understand the intellect without lack of pretentiousness.
Paloma says she felt creatively ‘stunted’ during her time on The Voice[/caption]
“I think that’s nonsense, it’s an oversight. I’ve had some journalists, especially male ones, undermine my intelligence. Or dismiss my views on things like toxic masculinity. They think I’m naive.”
Faith also worries that the demands of her music give her less time to work in other creative outlets.
“I feel the longer I have a career, the more anxious I get as the further I am from having options.
“I’m further away from my master’s degree and I’m further away from having my finger in many pies. Now I’m slowly becoming just a singer and it feels scary to me to be reliant on just one thing. But I’m trying to stay creative.”
Paloma says she’s keen to start her own clothing line and would even do a collection for babies[/caption]
One area Faith is keen to explore is fashion. With her own unique style and look, she says she’d love to get involved in designing an adult or baby line.
“I’d love to do a collection,” she says. “I have been doing it but I haven’t had the opportunity for anyone to use it yet. I do that in private just in case one day someone asks, so I’ve got it all ready.”
In the meantime, Faith is focused on the rest of her tour.
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“It is hard work — touring with a baby. It’s much more tiring but I think in the long run it’s better for relationships.
“The reason I perform is that every gig is different and I get so much from it. I feel totally elated by it.
“So, I’m tired but I’m also euphoric because this really is the best job in the world.”
- Paloma Faith plays Vivary Park in Taunton, Somerset, tonight and Stadiwm Zip World in Colwyn Bay, Conwy tomorrow. Go to palomafaith.com/tour for more dates.
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