Thursday, 11 August 2022

From Hackney to Henley headliner

For Paloma Faith, performing on stage is her antidote to everyday life.

For Paloma Faith, performing on stage is her antidote to everyday life.

Her instantly recognisable rasping voice made an indelible mark on the music scene in 2009 with the release of her debut single Stone Cold Sober, which was followed by two consecutive double-platinum selling albums.

Yet despite being currently midway through recording her eagerly awaited third record, and with almost half a million followers on Twitter hanging on to her every word, she admits to only feeling truly comfortable on stage.

“It’s the only time in my life I feel completely relaxed and calm and not anxious,” she says. “I over-think everything but when I am on stage I really feel confident about it it’s like a welcome break from life for me.”

Faith’s gig at the O2 arena earlier this month, her biggest headline show to date, has left her enthusiastic about her upcoming summer dates, which include headlining the final night of this year’s Henley Festival.

“I am totally ready to go out and do all these brilliant festivals because doing an arena was like a bit of a lesson for me. I think there were about 15,000 people there which was just amazing. It was something I never expected to do and I am looking forward to re-living it on a smaller scale in Henley I am well prepared.”

Ticketholders will be treated to a preview of a track from Faith’s upcoming album, which she says demonstrates her developing songwriting skills.

“With the first album, I was controlled a lot more and I am quite sick of quite a few of those songs.

“I don’t feel such an affinity with them but I feel very close to [second album] Fall To Grace because I had a lot of control. I don’t think my songwriting was as good before, I think it has got a lot better.

“The more I do this the more I enjoy writing but the flip side is that it is hard in a way not to repeat yourself.” However, she admits feeling under pressure to create another hit.

“It is a fickle industry but I don’t look at me never going back to a normal job because if I had to do that, I would.

“I think I am really lucky because my career has slowly grown and grown so I am in a nice place to be in.

“A lot of people have lots of success first time round and they are under so much pressure but I have been on this slow but upward trajectory for a while.”

Faith is almost as well-known for her striking fashion sense as she is for her music and she believes her zany image is her way of reflecting the theatrical side of her personality.

“I think it is all part of who I am. Fashion has always been very important to me, even when I was little. My mum would lay my outfit for the next day on the end of the bed the night before and I still do.”

But she wasn’t always so flamboyant.

“When I was a youngster I was very shy and obedient and very concerned with making my mum happy I never put a foot wrong. My mum keeps saying ‘you are having your adolescence in your twenties’.”

Hackney-born Faith has never been to Henley before and admits her closest link to rowing and boating was stealing a pedalo from Regents Park and taking it for a bit of a joyride.

“It was just fun, we thought it was hilarious. They chased us for a bit but they gave up. I think they thought it was funny so they let us get away with it.”

Above all, Faith says her aim is to entertain and her Henley appearance will be no different.

“I am going to do a few covers, a mixure of songs from both albums. I am hoping to get other people involved, I like the audience to sing. I am a very visual performer, I like the theatre and drama of it so nobody is going to be bored I am not a singer who stands on stage with a microphone.”

l Paloma Faith headlines the Henley festival on Sunday, July 14. Visit

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