Paloma Faith on her new album, life changes and how she curates her iconic style

Paloma in body hero

Paloma Faith, the incredibly talented and powerful voice behind heartbreak anthems ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ and ‘Picking Up The Pieces’, is due to release her fourth album this November.

Since the release of her last album in 2014, Paloma secured a gig as judge on The Voice UK, performed at Glastonbury Festival in 2015 and gave birth to her daughter towards the end of 2016 – events which all inspired a new sound for the artist. With an undoubtedly more upbeat draw, new release The Architect sees the  singer propel into futuristic depths while addressing social issues – in a really fun and playful way, we promise!

Paloma chatted to FQ’s digital content producer Terri Dunn about the new album, what’s changed in her life over the past three years, and how she curates her iconic style.

FQ: What was different going into The Architect? Were there any epiphanies that drove the new sound?
Paloma Faith:
Well, my main epiphany was that I suddenly thought, all the music I like growing up and that I listen to most of the time is from the sixties and seventies, and the difference between that music and the music that’s happening now and modern music is that they were much more aware of their social surroundings and what was happening on ground level.

Nowadays all people sing about is their heart and their love life. I felt a duty to start writing and bringing music back to being about politics and social issues, because no one does it.

…I feel like it’s a duty of artists and  as creatives  to you somehow initiate conversation about things…

At first I was kind of worried because I didn’t want to write songs that sounded “preachy” or like some kind of massive charity album, so I came up with the genius idea to write everything in first person.

I dealt with all these big issues by putting myself in the shoes of different walks of life in our society; at one point I was a homeless person, [then] someone that’s died from loneliness, a refugee or as mother nature singing to humanity.  And also the inevitable thing is that I was pregnant for most of the time, and then had a baby whilst making the record, and I think that’s directly impacted my outlook as well.

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I couldn’t help but feel with the track Crybaby – despite its lyrics addressing toxic masculinity – that it’s definitely a fun tune perfect for hitting the road and blaring out the speakers.  What would be your ultimate summer roadie song?
I really like ‘Fast Car ‘by Tracy Chapman.

How do you remain on top of your health, skincare and energy during such a full on touring schedule?
I drink loads of green cold pressed juices, and do a lot of voice rest. I won’t even speak to anyone until I sing at the gig. And I try and keep working out and stuff like that and prioritise being really healthy. Plus, I don’t drink any alcohol on tour.

Can you tell me more about your process when it comes to deciding what you’re going to wear to appearances or events?
Well, at the minute we’re at the beginning of a campaign, and usually what I do is I create a lot of moodboards myself – ’cause I come from an arts background – so I am very heavily involved in my aesthetic. From the videos to the artwork to everything. So at the beginning of a campaign I’ll go to my stylist and give him quite a lot of moodboards about the image that I want to have going forward and then we’ll discuss designers that are doing stuff within that realm. Sometimes you ask people if they’ll loan to you and they’ll say “no” and that’s just life. And then other times they do and then it’s whether it fits or not!

Sometimes you ask people if they’ll loan to you and they’ll say “no” and that’s just life. And then other times they do and then it’s whether it fits or not!

Do you have any absolute no-nos?
At the moment my absolute no-no is the 90s. I despise the era. I was born in the era, it wasn’t flattering, it didn’t suit my body and I don’t understand why it’s been revived!

Paloma’s best style moments past and present:

paloma Fashion Moments

paloma Fashion Moments 2

I read somewhere that you absolutely loathe Crocs and Ugg boots. What is it about them that you can’t stand? Will we see you in the Christopher Kane or Balenciaga renditions?
I think Crocs and Uggs represent laziness. They’re ridiculous!

Can you tell me about how fashion has shaped your brand and grown or changed with your music?
I try and change every album. The past three albums, I’ve been writing more about myself and in order to do that it’s been very reflective and very much about looking backwards in order to write in hindsight about heartbreak and stuff. And then this time I sort of categorically made the decision that I was going to speak about current situations and also how we can be better in the future, so it felt very organic and obvious that I should make myself reflect that way of thinking and be either very current or very future. Also because of the more social element, I was very inspired by Seventies music so I’m trying to do kind of “Seventies-futuristic”.

How would you describe a great fashion icon? What makes an icon to you and who are some of yours?
Fashion icons for me are people who I love: Marilyn Monroe, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, David Bowie. And I would say what makes them icons is basically their playfulness and their ability and desire to stand out from a crowd and dance to the beat of their own drum. They have a desire to stand out from the rest and be confident enough to do that.

What gives you confidence? Is it what you’re wearing?
Definitely. I feel very sheepish when people see me in my everyday clothes. Like, if I’m seen or approached in that guise, I feel myself closing up a bit. But if I’m in full costume ready for action, then it’s almost like war paint and I’ve always been like that. Even as a kid, if I had a bad day my mum would always be like “things aren’t great, let’s get dressed up” and it was something that was inherent in my upbringing. You’d dress up to raise confidence or raise the mood.

Even as a kid, if I had a bad day my mum would always be like “things aren’t great, let’s get dressed up” and it was something that was inherent in my upbringing.  You’d dress up to raise confidence or raise the mood.

Having learned everything over the span of your music career, do you have any messages or advice to young people?
Know what’s going on around you and become active in it. Like, it doesn’t matter how little you do, but if you do something every day to make the world a better place, it will eventually be. It’s just that everyone collectively needs to do it at the same time.

What’s exciting for you about releasing this album?
I’m just really excited to be putting something out because it’s been a long time. There’s always a lot of nerves because you never know whether you’re still going to be relevant or listened to. You know, this will be my fourth record in nearly ten years which is quite rare nowadays. So I feel honoured and lucky but also a little bit terrified that this may be the last opportunity.

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Paloma Faith, one of only two British female artists this decade to have their last three albums go double platinum in the UK, will release her long-awaited fourth album, The Architect, on November 17.

The album features an array of acclaimed co-writers, producers and collaborators including: Sia, John Legend, Jesse Shatkin, TMS, Starsmith, Tobias Jesso Jr., Eg White, Rag’n’Bone Man, actor Samuel L. Jackson and journalist and activist Owen Jones.

Photos: Supplied and Getty Images