When you have a creative mind it doesn’t stop going.
If you think about it, I was at college, and then three months later, I was a massive pop star. It’s stress-making, especially when you’re a bit of an oddball as I was, the black sheep left to your own devices, and then suddenly everyone’s interested in you.
My strength as a singer is my versatility. I find it really frustrating when I’m only expected to show off. The music industry is awash with female acrobats. What happens to the song, and treating it for its sake and not as an ego example?
I wasn’t good at being affable. You get beyond that and realise the attraction in any human being has more to do with what they give to someone rather than just being face candy.
My idea of hell is a girlfriend ringing up and saying, ‘Let’s go shopping and have cocktails.’ I’d rather play cards.
My weight can swing by four stone.
Within three months I had gone from being this black sheep of the town to suddenly becoming a pop star.
I went through a string of A&R men who all thought I should be doing something different. One thought I should be a dance diva; another thought I should do Rock n’ Roll; and one thought I shouldn’t even be singing at all!
Psychologically, I’ll always be a fat girl because that’s what my character is built on. I always got a buzz out of people telling me I was ugly. I went out of my way to un-beautify myself. I didn’t want anyone’s approval.
The thing with me is, I’m both untidy and I hate mess. But I’m not untidy in communal spaces, like living rooms. My bedroom is havoc.
I have always loved a hard-faced girl. I get that Alison Goldfrapp isn’t easy, and I like her belligerence. She’s deeply sexy and controlled, like a Strict Machine, and it seems to wind the b’jesus out of the women I know. On the outside, I watch and smile and will her on like a twisted silent maiden aunt in the dark corner.
I have lost and put on big batches of weight in my life many, many times. But what concerns me is the idea of being an obese old woman, because I don’t like the idea of being physically incapable in someone else’s hands.
It wasn’t like I felt I was on a wave. It was just so easy. It is only afterwards that I thought I really had a bit of good luck going on there with Yazoo.
Instead of thinking that’s a nice tune, you start thinking is it the right pace, is it the right tempo? That is the death nell for artists.
I was writing and I have three kids. I was occupying my time with them but it was difficult.
I was a single parent, and I was prohibited from working.
I have never done any other job. I have sung in bands since I was 15. I left school completely unqualified. I have no other training.
I came from a small town and at school in one class there was me, a member from Depeche Mode and someone who went on to join The Cure. That was all in one class of 30 kids.
Personally I think women look better with a bit of chub on them.
One of the reasons I got really fat when I left home was because I thought rich people ate white bread and Spam. I also thought they could get processed meals, because we never did, so that was exciting.
Becoming famous is a really shocking thing, especially when you don’t have aspirations to it. It got to the point where I would try and avoid making eye contact with anyone. It was freaky, and it just happened overnight. I couldn’t handle it.
I just find P.J. Harvey so mesmerising to watch because she remains unfathomable. She is the kind of woman who makes you rue the day you weren’t born her. She always seems to be the cat that walks alone, and you don’t feel you are supposed to know her.
My soul desires a pre-industrial world, and since I can’t have that, I don’t really care for anything material.
It’s really irrelevant, but I wouldn’t want to be stick thin. It’s better to have bit of fat on your face when you get older.
I love being middle-aged in general. I’m more at peace with myself now. I still have tormented times, but they are few and far between. You don’t feel you have to be the centre of your world when you get older. Becoming a mother had been a turning point which stopped me from being the centre of my world.
I’m a bit multifaceted in the sense that I’ve got many more than one musical taste. If you think about it, I started out playing in a punk band and ended up doing electro-pop. That was more an accident than a plan.
Yazoo was Vince’s sound ultimately. At the time Vince and I got together he had only recorded one album with Depeche and Depeche were to go on to greater things.
When you make a lot of money for a record company, they don’t want you to evolve. Growing older, you naturally do.
When you have kids, it limits you. That was a choice I made.
When you find yourself on stage singing and you are embarrassed about what you are singing in front of your peers, then you have to think about your priorities.
There has always been a feeling with people that they love my singing but not always the choice of material.
There are a lot of people who can now see me as an artist for the first time.
The press Yazoo were receiving were focused on the voice, This obviously was about trends.
The press gave me a voice too quickly, and that could have unsettled a man who had every right to feel he should be in control of the thing he had created.
It is not about writing those hits again. I am sure I could write them, but it is about the sensibilities.
I have never had another job and I don’t have a mortgage.
I had been with the label since I was 21. The label wanted shiny pop but I didn’t. I found a little independent and we’ve got all these great reviews in England and now it has gone gold.
I threw away the whole of my working history, my photograph albums, diaries and stage clothes. Shoving big, ugly discs on walls is a bit like rubbing people’s faces in it, saying ‘I am considerably richer than you.’ It is completely unnecessary.
When I saw Adele, I thought: ‘I’ll give it an hour before people say I was her,’ just because I was fat. When you watch ‘X Factor,’ you can bet your bottom dollar, every single fat singer sounds like me as far as the judges are concerned. Can you imagine if they did that with every black artist?
I spoke Franglais growing up.
Of all the soul divas, Gladys Knight was the one for me. Knight’s always been about tone and heart, none of the big showboating or extraneous doodling. She nailed a melody and only played a little around the edges like Ma Staple.
I have never truly applied myself. Lots of things have come too easily to me and at too high a level.
It was always important to me that I made a record where I really sang well, and I don’t think it’s happened yet. There’s always a possibility with each album that I might not record again, and I wanted to produce one that I could feel was mine.
I wanted to act when I was young. When I was 12, I asked the head of English at my school, ‘Can I audition?’ and he said, ‘What would we want you for?’ And I remember going, ‘Oh yeah. Why would they want me?’
The money has always been wasted on me. I don’t care for beautiful things, funnily enough. I am my father’s daughter. The things that excite me are the smell of a wood-burning stove, uncultivated fields. My house is decaying and falling to pieces. It’s not had the love it deserves over twenty years.
My big chip is that I never had an education. I wanted my children to get one so they didn’t fall into the same trap as me.
People always had something to say about the fact I was odd looking, bigger than other people, that I was awkward. When I discovered punk, I bought into it. That look, combined with being fat, made me even less of what people thought a young woman should be.
In the early days, myself and my friends were into punk because we had no money, just very basic instruments and skills. It was more about the ethos and the energy.
My style of singing has always been referred to ‘soul’ singing when it fact it’s more influenced by English R&B Blues Shouting. I’m closer to Led Zeppelin as a vocalist than to Ella Fitzgerald. It was torture dealing with major labels.
I was socially awkward for many years. I stuttered, stammered, talked rubbish. I never take up invites to parties, and I’ve been invited to very glamorous things, but I never go.
There are very few record companies who will entertain a middle-aged woman coming to them with original material.
I was always an odd girl; I managed to alienate a lot of people. I felt like a square peg in a round hole in the music industry and created a lot of neurosis for myself.
I just think that when you’ve been singing for 30 years, which I have been, you just want to find different things you can do with your voice. It’s a constant journey. It’s not like any one album that you make is who you are. It just reflects that particular day.
One of the things I wanted to do with ‘The Turn’ was write a production of songs that could be stripped down to one or two instruments if you chose to do it.
I think with all records, it’s the starting out that is the difficult stage.