Friday, October 10, 2008
At first people thought Aimee Duffy was a bit like Amy Winehouse, only without all the interesting tattoos and bloody clothes. But with her first album, "Rockferry," the petite singer from a remote Welsh village (who goes by her last name) has become Britain's best-selling artist of the year while handily conquering America with torchy, retro-soul singles such as "Mercy" and "Warwick Avenue." She's already been on the cover of Spin, a musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" and a regular on VH1's weekly video countdown. Today, Duffy, 24, plays Alice's Now and Zen festival with Sara Bareilles, Gavin DeGraw and Sugar Ray at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park.
Q: You're always wearing short dresses. Are there any good revealing pictures of you on the Internet?
A: Lucky for me, that hasn't happened. I was in a photo shoot and I was lying in bed and the assistant photographer was prettying up the sheets around me and he pulled the sheets down and they got way more than I wanted. So there could be some emerging.
Q: That's great news.
A: I don't think my mom will be happy.
Q: Is your mom generally concerned about your dress length?
A: No, she's terrible. She's worse than me. She tells me to go more sexy. In the beginning, I was quite nervous and I was quite prudish. She would say, "You know, you're dressing like a Sunday-school teacher. Go out and show those good legs of yours!" My skirts have gotten shorter with confidence. I hope they don't go any shorter now because I feel I'm at a good point of confidence. She's quite pleased that I'm acting my age. I sometimes can act a little older than I am. When my sister would go out and buy a leather jacket, I would go out and buy a woolen cardigan.
Q: Well, the public perception is that you grew up in a mud hut, you're a dowdy old soul and you heard only one record growing up, and it was by a yak.
A: I know, I know. I'm shaking off all those perceptions about my past. It's not easy. Yes, apparently, I did live in the middle of nowhere with nothing at all, no perception of the modern world. We only got electricity in Wales about a week ago, as well.
Q: Are you seeing a lot of the world now?
A: Do you know what? It's getting better. Before, it was crazy and insane, so I would only see the city from a car window, and that was no fun. It was quite frustrating. But now I have quite a bit of time to myself.
Q: So what do you like to do?
A: Well, yesterday, I didn't wake up until lunchtime. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that, because I just don't have time to sleep. So I thought, "You know what? I'm going to savor it." And we took a car around New York and went shopping. We went for dinner. And then we went to an Irish pub, where I had a few pints of Guinness. You can't take the girl out of Wales, you see.
Q: If someone asked me for five facts about Duffy, the only one I could think of is that you drink Guinness.
Q: Yes, that's the full extent of my knowledge about you.
A: But they didn't have the blackcurrant juice, which I like to put in it. A true lady is meant to have it with blackcurrant because it turns the froth at the top pink. I like that. But it actually tastes better, too. It's not just the aesthetics.
Q: I don't know. That sounds pretty girlie.
A: Years ago maybe it was just a bit of a female drink, but I think drinks are becoming liberated. It's multisex, whatever that means. My friend went into unisex toilets the other day and she came out and said, "The toilets are bisexual!" I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard in my whole life.
To hear Duffy, go to www.myspace.com/duffymyspace.