Long overdue: Fashion Rocks 2007

The Phoenix Rises

It was confirmed last night that Roisin will resume her European tour this Saturday with a performance in the German city Munich. Make Roisin feel welcome, Bavaria!


Overpowered enters Top 10 in Belgium

I know, we shouldn't be too obsessed with the charts. It certainly isn't a guarantee for good music. However, I am delighted to tell you that Roisin entered the Belgian album top 10 this week. Overpowered climbed from 19 to 5 on this week's Ultratop charts.

The album rose from 13 to 12 in the official Dutch charts, gaining one place.

Sunday Mail interview

This interview appeared on the Sunday Mail website past Sunday. It clearly is from before Roisin's unfortunate accident in Moscow on Saturday night. (Pictures by Thomas Schweigert - see www.purephotography.de)

You're known for your unique fashion sense - including dressing like a liquorice all sort for your new single's sleeve - can we expect lots of costumes on your tour?

There's a few all right. There's a full band, too. I have two great backing singers and two dancers as well and it should be a bit of a party from start to finish.

Tell us about the infamous outfit you wore for Let Me Know.

It is a little bit Bertie Bassett! It's by Gareth Pugh, an avant garde designer. When you're wearing it you can't do much - you can't smoke unless someone puts a cigarette in your mouth and takes it out, which is probably a good thing.

Where was the song's video shot?

In a cafe in Slough. It becomes my own private disco. It was my idea. I worked with Scott King, who did the concept for the sleeve, the graphics and wrote the treatment for my album Overpowered. We're running with the idea of keeping the performer in a mundane scenario. He saw something in me which was glamorous and expressive but also someone down-to-earth who swears a lot. I'm a very creative artist but I don't see myself as alienated from ordinary people.

Does that grounding come from your Irish background?

Yeah, I'm as common as muck. You have to embrace who you are. Everyone as they get older accepts who they are more.

Did leaving Moloko help you to find out who you are?

It was a very protracted ending. We made an album and toured knowing it would be our last. It took two years for us to extract ourselves from one another and disband. When I made Ruby Blue, my first solo album, it was similar to how I worked in Moloko. I couldn't envisage myself here now feeling like a solo artist. I went forward quietly without addressing the big question of whether I could be a solo artist or not. The really good part is I get to do what I want. I get to say: "I need, I want and I want to work with so-and-so." People don't try to tell me what to do - they wouldn't dare.

You rejected a track by top producer Calvin Harris for your album but did you feel pressured to take it?

It didn't fit with the rest of the record. I decided not to use it and he got upset. I can't hold that against him. I saw him recently, he apologised profusely. Now Sophie Ellis Bextor has recorded that song to release as a single, so it hasn't gone to waste. If it makes a global No.1 obviously I'll be a little p***** off but I knew it didn't suit me. I wouldn't rule out working with Calvin in the future though.

Will you ever go back to Moloko?

I doubt it. I'd be loathe to say it would never happen but it seems so long ago and I've moved on so much.


Leave a Get Well message for Roisin

Judging by the number of visitors this blog has had today, many of you are very concerned about Roisin after her accident past Saturday.

I want to ask you all to support Roisin in these difficult times by leaving a Get Well message as a comment to this post. You can do so by clicking on the comment link. There is no need to register.

Roisin is said to be very upset about the accident and cancellation of several shows. Let her know we don't hold anything against her!

Thanks for your support!

News: Cancelled shows

As a result of Roisin's recent accident, the following shows have been cancelled:

29 October: Klub Studio, Krakow
30 October: Stodola, Warsaw
01 November: Kesselhaus, Berlin
02 November: Roxy, Prague

All these dates should be rescheduled for some time later in the year.

EMI press release about the accident

Singer Róisín Murphy suffered a nasty injury on stage on Saturday night (27th October) at Moscow’s Ikra Club. Whilst performing the track 'Primitive' from her hugely acclaimed new album 'Overpowered' she hit her head on a chair and severely damaged her eye socket.

She left the stage immediately and was raced straight to a Russian hospital for emergency treatment and was then flown back to the UK early on Sunday morning. Last night she had an operation under general anaesthetic to repair the damage to her eye socket and eyebrow. Fortunately, despite serious concussion and losing a lot of blood, her vision is unimpaired.

Róisín is now recovering well but her European tour dates have been cancelled for at least the next seven days as have all promotional commitments.

It is hoped that Róisín will return to the stage within a week’s time but she is under doctor's orders to rest until fully recovered so the recovery time may need to be extended. However her UK and Irish tour dates starting on 26th November should be unaffected.

The cancelled tour dates will be rescheduled for later in the year.

We all say silly things sometimes

Calvin Harris has spoken to UK newspaper Metro about his reconciliation with Roisin Murphy:

You did some stuff for Roisin Murphy that she didn't use. Did you take it personally? Of course. It only happened once but it was rubbish. I got a bit upset. I saw her the other day and apologised for throwing my toys out of the pram because I said things that weren't very nice. She said: 'That’s all right, we all say silly things sometimes.'

News: Roisin back in the UK

According to sources in Moscow, Roisin Murphy flew back to the UK last night, where she will receive surgery after an on stage accident on Saturday. According to the doctors who treated Roisin in the Russian capital, the accident would not leave any permanent scars.

Roisin is said to be very upset about the accident and the cancellation of her concerts.

This information was given my Grigory Goldenzweig, art director/promoter at Moscow's Ikra nightclub, where the accident took place.


News: Roisin has accident during Moscow show

Roisin Murphy has had an accident on stage during a performance in Moscow. Various sources report that she broke her superciliary bone (which is above the eye socket) during a performance of her song Primitive and that she was hospitalised.

A video of Roisin hitting her forehead on a chair appeared on YouTube shortly after the accident.

Though her label EMI has not yet confirmed the accident, the Irish consul is supposed to have visited Roisin in hospital.

Let's all wish Roisin a good and speedy recovery!


Boicozine: "campaign of the season"

The art blog Boicozine has declared the artwork surrounding the Overpowered album release campaign of the season. Here is what they have to say about it:

Scott King has contributed his creative prowess to the latest Roisin Murphy campaign, commissioning Jonathan De Villiers to photograph the cool priestess of pop. Between the three of them, they has effortlessly managed to create a unique mixture of the mundane and the fantastic by dressing Roisin up in some, sort of, outlandish creations by designers such as Gareth Pugh and Victor & Rolf, then photographing her in some typically ordinary London settings. Boicozine declares it to be the campaign of the season. There’s some copy floating around on the internet highway (I'm guessing it's from the press release) where Roisin talks about working with Scott and the ideas behind the images and it goes a little something like this...

"I have worked with him (Scott) once before. First thing he showed me was footage of David Bowie walking down a London high street in the video for 'DJ'. Scott's idea of me is like a kind of street-diva, ready for my close up in off-the-wall couture, even when getting my fill of beans and sausage down my local greasy spoon. Or like the Queen of the Tinkers photographed in resplendent garb, going for maximum impact whilst out shopping and/or shoplifting on the Cricklewood Broadway. For the 'Overpowered' single sleeve I was dressed in a Viktor & Rolf frock that comes with its own lighting rig attached to the body on a full back brace. The rig is very heavy scaffolding, like the stuff they use in music venues; the dress is hooked up on the rig so as to become rather like the sail of a big boat (great for shoplifting). It was very windy on the high street and I couldn't move my feet in the clogs, with the bits of wood nailed on, to make them into high heels! A stray gust of wind almost carried me over a couple of times. Luckily a burly Grip was put on hand, just out of shot, to catch me."

Overpowered sessions - released thus far

Several media reported that Roisin & co wrote and recorded about 30 tracks during the Overpowered sessions in London, Barcelona and Miami.

This article is an update on how many of these tracks have been released so far and which tracks might be released some time in the future.

So far, 19 tracks have been officially released:

11 album tracks - Overpowered, You Know Me Better, Checkin' On Me, Let Me Know, Movie Star, Primitive, Footprints, Dear Miami, Cry Baby, Tell Everybody, and Scarlet Ribbons.

2 album bonus tracks - Body Language and Parallel Lives. These tracks are available on all formats of the album, accept the vinyl release which only features Body Language.

1 iTunes bonus track - Pandora.

4 b-sides - Sweet Nothings, Foolish, Sunshine, and Unlovable. These songs appeared on various formats of the singles Overpowered and Let Me Know.

1 free download - Modern Timing. An outtake from the Overpowered sessions, still available as an official free download here.

The Calvin Harris collaboration Off and On (Roisin Murphy/Cathy Dennis/Calvin Harris) leaked in September 2007. The song was later recorded by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, so it is very unlikely Roisin's version will ever be officially released.

In addition to these 20 tracks, the following songs were supposedly recorded for the album:

Earn It (Roisin Murphy/Michael Ward/Richard Barrett/Dean Honer)
Keep It Loose (Roisin Murphy/Mike Patto/Toni Econmides/Paul Dolby/John Mullarkey)
Don't Let It Go to Your Head Boy (Roisin Murphy/Cathy Dennis/Calvin Harris)

Some sources also list Doesn't Belong To Us (Roisin Murphy, Matthew Herbert). However, this is probably an outtake from the Ruby Blue recording sessions.

As things stand now, it is likely only the "it" songs Earn It and Keep It Loose will ever see the light of day as future b-sides. Or will someone be kind enough to leak Don't Let It Go to Your Head Boy?

I'll keep you posted!


Roisin on Robbie

Roisin was delighted when record company bosses compared her to Robbie Williams. Initially she was taken aback when label executives likened her to the former Take That boyband member, but admits she was impressed when the analogy was explained.

She admitted to contactmusic.com: "EMI came to see my play live and one of them came backstage and said, 'Don't take this the wrong way, but you remind me of Robbie Williams.' "I didn't get it but he said as a performer, I hold the audience in the palm of my hand. Of course I'm a different artist from Robbie, though."


Paradiso Amsterdam

For those Dutchies who found the pre-show for Groove Armada rather short past Friday, don't forget that Roisin will be performing in Paradiso, Amsterdam on Thursday the 22th of November. You can buy tickets here.

To see what a wonderful venue Paradiso (a former Protestant church) is for concerts check out this video of Roisin performing Sinking Feeling there in 2005....

European chart news

The Overpowered album entered the European charts this week. Here are the chart positions I managed to track down:

The Netherlands: #14
Belgium: #19
Austria: #35
Switzerland: #32
Finland: #28
France: #155


Where Ruby Blue meets Overpowered

Look at this picture closely and the meaning of the title will reveal itself.

Warning: Don't call her Kylie

Singer-songwriter Roisin Murphy's independent streak made her leave home at 15 after her parents split up, and helped her achieve pop stardom as part of Moloko. Now she's back as a solo artist - but please don't liken her to Kylie
The blond pop diva being promoted by her record company as the new Kylie Minogue is staring at me in horror. Her ice-blue gaze conveys scorn and am-I-really-hearing-this disbelief. "Am I the new Kylie? What a load of nonsense!"

"You should be looking at all the people I've influenced, rather than comparing me to anyone," Roisin Murphy cries, from which I can only infer that her record label bosses at EMI haven't shared this crucial piece of marketing information with the ex-Moloko singer.
Where the Australian princess fizzes with showgirl affability in Julien Macdonald spangles, Dublin-born Roisin, 34, cuts a more aloof figure, languidly androgynous in sculpted Viktor & Rolf clothes that accentuate her lean body and sleek bob. Kylie sings songs about chocolate. Roisin sings songs about oxytocin, the neurotransmitter said to be responsible for love.

Nevertheless, I can see why industry insiders might be making comparisons, because when it comes to crowd-pleasing club tunes and anthemic disco, Roisin's new album proves that she's anyone's match, even the sainted Kylie.

As one of the Moloko duo, she notched up a modern classic with "Sing it Back" in 1999. Her latest electronic offering, Overpowered, is equally catchy and commercial. It's a far cry from her first solo album, Ruby Blue, released in 2005 and widely described as "bizarre". It was promoted using a picture of Roisin dressed in armour milking a cow in the Alps, and by her own admission she "would go into the studio and grunt and then we'd do a great song around it." Together with her theatrical dress sense – she once wore a dress fitted with a lighting rig – it has earned her a reputation for wilful eccentricity.

"I'm eccentric maybe, but not wilful, and I wish people would stop calling me an edgy, avant-garde, left-field icon as if that were a bad thing," Roisin says.

But for all her initial froideur, when Roisin warms up she is entertainingly self-deprecating and darkly witty.

"My video director once described me as being 'a very loud and funny woman'. Not very intelligent and brilliant. It made me sound like Su Pollard."

But, in fairness, pinning her down is tricky. A self-confessed muse ("I always bring out creativity in the men around me"), she's also a workaholic: "I'm the one turning up at the edit at 10pm and staying on until 1am."

She's an "optimistic cynic," and a homebody who, paradoxically, loves touring. When performing, one moment she's cultivating the untouchable aura of a Hitchcock blonde, the next she's stage-diving into the audience in a Vivienne Westwood ball gown.

"Am I contradictory? No," she says. Then, contradicting herself, "Yes. Maybe I compartmentalise myself."

"Women are used to doing that. Throughout the day we take on different personae and we dress accordingly: for work, for being a mother, if we're feeling sexy or just want to have fun."

She lives with her boyfriend, artist Simon Henwood in an Edwardian semi in Cricklewood, North London, and takes clothes as seriously as music. Professionally she wears modernist constructions from Viktor & Rolf and the innovative British designer Gareth Pugh, known for his playfulness with silver foil, latex and giant cone hats.

In civvies, she favours vintage pieces, Luella Bartley and Preen. "I don't wear clothes thoughtlessly – I like them to have meaning."

I suspect Roisin, who has a history of philosophy from Aristotle to Alan Turing on her iPod, seldom does anything thoughtlessly. She's fascinated by science, and says it feeds her songwriting imagination.

"You have to keep your mind open to ideas."

"It's like taking a pile of vegetables and fruit: when you put them in the juicer all you get is a dribble out of the other end, but it's rich and potent."

Roisin comes from a family of self-starters. Her mother was an antiques dealer, her father supplied furniture to the bar trade, her elder brother runs a kitchen-fitting company.

"My family were all self-employed, so we weren't working class or middle class, we were wheeler-dealer class. It means I have to be my own boss."

"From an early age I loved fashion and would wear my mothers 60s clothes. My primary teacher would trail me off to the staff room to show them what I was wearing."

Roisin's otherness and hunger to be noticed were celebrated within her family.

"Every time I walked into the house there would be an auntie or uncle telling me how beautiful I was, or how clever or talented and special. It was very nurturing and gave me a great sense of confidence."

Then, when she was 12, her parents moved to Manchester. It was there that she honed her chameleon-like ability to adapt. Picked on for her Irish accent, she adopted Mancunian at school and reverted to her native brogue at home. ("I'd have had my ears boxed otherwise.") But home was not always an easy place to be.

"My parents had a passionate, tempestuous relationship, so full of drama it was like watching a film."

"That's probably made me the artist I am, but it's also coloured my relationships; as soon as I've got the stability I'm looking for the row."

Her parents split up when she was 15, and both returned to Ireland. She stayed in Manchester with friends, got a council flat and coped.

"I didn't have a second's hesitation. Maybe at a subconscious level I knew that my mother was recovering from the end of a 21-year marriage and wasn't in a place where she could be of any use to me nor I to her."

She buckled down to her A-levels – "easy, creative ones like art and theatre studies because I'm dyslexic" – and spent her evenings having dinner at someone's mum's.

"I was being looked after, just not by my parents. I made close friends and learned to be self-reliant."

She passed her exams and moved to Sheffield to be with her architect boyfriend, who took his muse on a tour of Europe. When the relationship ended, she was on the cusp of moving back to Ireland when she met musician and producer Mark Brydon, introducing herself with the line, 'Do you like my tight sweater?'

The pair became romantically then professionally involved (Roisin playing the muse again), and Moloko was born, their first album fittingly entitled Do You Like My Tight Sweater? When, after 11 years, the partnership ended, Roisin began her solo career.

"I've changed since Moloko. I'm not afraid to make demands of people, to work hard and expect the best."

"I wanted to make a disco album because I take dancing seriously. Night culture is a form of escapism."

She credits her relationship with Simon Henwood (all stability and no rows) for giving her the security to flourish creatively. He's painted her more than 15 times.

"I'm not sure why I'm treated as a muse.

"Maybe it's because I'll give every bit of me to a person when I really love them."


"Or maybe it's because I'm quite fit and they want to sleep with me."

Cue more laughter. Then she dresses up for the photographer in vertiginous heels and tourniquet-tight trousers.

So not the new Kylie, just the new Roisin – and it doesn't get much better than that.

From the Daily Mail website.

News update

UK Chart news
The Overpowered album entered the UK charts at number 20 this week. Let Me Know drops from 28 to 44 on the official singles chart.

Overpowered lyrics
The lyrics to all album tracks are now online. Click here to check them out.

Arjan Writes
All five parts of Arjan Writes' interview with Roisin are now available. Click here to listen.

Roisin at Swarovski Fashion Rocks 2007
Roisin performed at this year's Swarovski Fashion Rocks 2007, which took place in London on Thursday.

This is what fashion site Catwalk Queen has to say about Roisin:

The coolest celeb & designer team of the night had to be Roisin Murphy and the absolutely beautiful Frida Gianinni for Gucci. Roisin went for a retro maxi dress with a jacket and dirty gold accessories, while Frida showed off legs that's make La Moss jealous in a one-shoulder mini.

The pictures below were taken before & after the show. Doesn't she look fabulous?


Let the tour begin!

Tomorrow Roisin's European tour commences with a show in Amsterdam's Heineken Music Hall, where she will perform together with Groove Armada. She will then move on to Denmark, Finland, Poland and various other European countries.

To all of you who are going to see Roisin live before the end of the year: I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

This picture shows the songs Roisin sang at her London showcase.

Roisin on Jools

Roisin will perform on Later with Jools Holland on Friday the 9th of November. She last appeared on the show in 2003, as part of Moloko.


Roisin speaks!

Watch this great interview with Roisin, courtesy of EMI. Note how the film visually corresponds to the album artwork. We like!

It's going well!

Go to sevendigital.ie to see that Roisin's album is in the higher regions of the current album download chart.

Let's hope this is an indication that Roisin's new solo effort will be a chart success in her home country. If you haven't yet bought the album, go do it now!

Overpowered - TV ad


Digg.be interview & review

For those of you who can read Dutch, there is a very interesting interview with Roisin on the Belgian music site digg.be.

When the interviewer asks Roisin if she thinks people will compare her to Kylie Minogue she says definitely not. When the interview asks why this might be so, Roisin replies: "cause I'm a bitch! ... I'm a superbitch! ... On stage, I'm a superbitch!". Did Roisin drink from the Fountain of Know Thyself? Who can tell!

Click here to read the interview. There is a raving album review here.

Arjan Writes again

Click here to go to the wonderful music blog Arjan Writes to listen to Part 1 of 5 of Arjan's interview with Roisin Murphy. The complete interview will soon be available as an MP3 podcast. Keep checking his page.

Electro's high priestess is bringing it back solo

“It’s all for the image darling,” purrs Roisin Murphy about her outlandish outfits.”I don’t dress for myself, I don’t dress for fashion, or the audience. I dress for the image.

“Somebody great like Marlene Dietrich said that. I embrace everything that could be construed as creative within my field.” You can always trust Ms Murphy to give a good quote.

Let’s get introductions out of the way. Roisin, pronounced roe-sheen (she wants you to get it right) was in Moloko, who had big hits with The Time Is Now and Sing It Back.

This week she releases her second solo album, the career-defining and virtually flawless dark disco record Overpowered, and also appears at Swarovski Fashion Rocks, the annual event that unites designers with musicians and combines performance with catwalk. “I’m doing Gucci,” says Murphy casually. “I’ve got a few choices but I’ve not tried them on yet.”

Mimicking her album artwork, that sees the blue-eyed blonde coutured up to the elbows in a builders caff, Murphy daintily shovels down Welsh rarebit as we talk, decked out in an amazing rouched bat-wing leather jacket. She looks outlandish and ordinary at once. There have been media murmurs that Overpowered is the album Kylie should be making, and although it’s meant as a compliment, Murphy doesn’t take it that way. “It pisses me off. I don’t care if it’s in a good way – it’s wrong. Obviously I can’t tell you what to write, but it trivialises my life. I’m sure she’ll make a great record, but it’s like the difference between a newsagent and a shoe shop on the same street – they’re different models for business.” That’s me told.

Dare I bring up Calvin Harris? The two worked together on a track for this album (he also worked with Kylie), but she didn’t think the track was suitable for her, and Harris spouted unkind words about Murphy as a result.

I proceed with caution, but the Irish singer bears no ill will towards the lanky Scot: “No, Calvin’s lovely. I saw him the other day and he apologised, and said he understood now he’d heard my record.” Then she lets me into a little secret. “Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s doing the track now. She’s already recorded it and she loves it. It will probably be a big hit and everyone will tell me I was mad for not doing it – such is life.”

But what should she care. Her album is packed with future classics like electro-pop juggernaut, Movie Star, cowbell ker-ker-razy Cry Baby, and atmospheric stunner Primitive. As it stands, her interpretation of disco is easily as good as Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor, without having to sample Abba.

“It’s a brilliant record,” she says with 100 per cent conviction. “But I’m very proud of every record I’ve made.” I ask Roisin if she thinks the album would stand a better chance of commercial success if it were released under the well-established Moloko brand.

She bats away my concern like a gnat on her toast. “No, I think we’re starting again in many respects. You don’t have to put “from Moloko” after my name. 16 year-olds won’t have a clue what you were talking about.”

From yesterday's The London Paper


Competition updates

Last week's Let Me Know competition is now closed. The correct answer was (c) Charlie. The lucky winner of the limited edition UK picture disc is Ana from Belgrade, Serbia. Congratulations!

If you didn't win don't be too disappointed because there's more exciting competition news. Thanks to Roisin's label EMI, this blog will soon run a competition in which you'll have a chance of winning two tickets for one of Roisin's show in Koko, London. Keep watching this space!

Roisin's Ray of Light

Like Metro, UK newspaper The Observer gives Roisin's new album no less than five out of five stars:

Roisin Murphy, Overpowered
5 stars

No one makes music quite like the Roisin Murphy. It's time, thinks Garry Mulholland, that she was granted more acclaim

Irish chanteuse Roisin Murphy is a singular presence in 21st-century pop. Unlike your stereotypical, ultra-focused, career-obsessed modern young pop wannabe, Ms Murphy didn't particularly wanna be at all. The Wicklow-born and Manchester-raised singer hadn't sung a note when, at the age of 18, she approached a bloke she liked the look of at a Sheffield club and asked him, 'Do you like my tight sweater?' A pretty great chat-up line, all told; good enough to get her the guy (dance producer Mark Brydon), make her the lead singer of a twisted dance-pop duo called Moloko, and serve as the title of the pair's 1995 debut album. Roisin Murphy fell in love and fell into pop purely by chance. The more you fall into the lush dance-pop swirlings of this, Murphy's second solo album, the more you feel that it was pop's lucky day.

Overpowered, a sumptuous 11-track, all-killer-no-filler, electro-disco gem sees Murphy striving to get rid of her Big Hit Albatross. 'Sing it Back', you may recall, was the ubiquitous mainstream club anthem of 1999, which would have been all roses and kittens for Murphy and Brydon if it hadn't been a remix that didn't really sound like the rest of Moloko's more trippy, art-funk oeuvre.

But Roisin was always far closer in spirit to Bjork than Kylie. After a personal and professional split with Brydon, she chose to work with visionary art-jazz producer Matthew Herbert for her first solo album, 2005's Ruby Blue, on the kind of ambitious avant-pop hybrid that gets Bjork rapturous acclaim, but only got Murphy... well, a deal with EMI, at least, who thankfully recognised a genuine maverick when they heard one.

Inspired by the Eighties proto-house of D Train, Mantronix and Gwen Guthrie, but often sounding a dead-ringer for Yazoo, early Eurythmics and rave-era dance-popsters Electribe 101, Overpowered's bubbling, sensual, and soulful glitterball gems effortlessly tap into the perennial glory of feeling lost and lonely at the disco at the end of the world. If it feels like Murphy is singing about, and to, Mark Brydon on the likes of 'You Know Me Better' and 'Movie Star', then the deep beats, lush synths and subtle horns and strings provided by male producers/co-writers including Jimmy Douglass, Groove Armada's Andy Cato and Richard X work overtime to establish Murphy as sole captain of her own swish and swoony destiny.

As closing ballad 'Scarlet Ribbons' wends its gently reggae-fied way to the sweetest of endings, you realise that you've just been dreamily immersed in the best grown-up dance-pop album since Madonna's Ray of Light. Yep - that good. I hope Ireland doesn't get too offended if Britain comes to its senses and recognises Roisin Murphy as a National Treasure.

Download: 'Overpowered'; 'Tell Everybody'; 'Scarlet Ribbons'; 'Let Me Know'

Amazon interview

Go to the Amazon website to watch a short interview with Roisin about her new album. The interview took place in the album cover breakfast café.

Overpowered album poll

UK Metro: 5 stars for Overpowered

This wonderful album review comes from today's Metro:

Former Moloko frontwoman Roisin Murphy has already amassed a splendid back catalogue through a combination of pop flair and offbeat flourishes.

Aside from a few summery remixes, however, the mainstream has always seemed slightly intimidated by her wiles – something which deserves to change with this major label second solo album.

Overpowered is both surreal and incredibly immediate: there isn't anything that complicated to 'get'. Murphy sounds fantastically versatile and looks fabulous, so if she doesn't score a hit this time, maybe there isn't much point to the commercial charts after all.

While her 2005 solo debut was a collaboration with kindred wild card Matthew Herbert, this is a poppier hook-up with Seiji (Bugz In The Attic), Andy Cato (Groove Armada) and Richard X.

Each of these 11 tracks exudes a heady electro-soul energy, whether on the urgent disco of current single Let Me Know or the eerily downtempo Scarlet Ribbons. And who else could make these lines from the title track sound seductive: 'Your data, my data/ The chromosomes match'? Get your coats, everybody – we've pulled.

A day for getting Overpowered!

Overpowered - the album. Out today! What more can I say? Get it!



Jonathan Ross...again

The girl is busy! After performing on his TV show last week, Roisin was on Jonathan Ross' popular BBC2 radio show this morning.

Go to the BBC website to listen to the show, which features an interview and acoustic performance of Primitive. Roisin comes on 2 hours and 15 minutes into the show.

Roisin's acoustic session

If you thought Roisin would turn into your average disco diva, think again.

She performed two of her new songs, Let Me Know and Moviestar, acoustically for UK radio channel Music Control. She turned the songs into something very different from the album versions, showing off her talents as a vocal performer in a very non-disco setting.

Click here to listen (and watch) for yourself. You can also listen to an interview with Roisin. In the interview, she talks about being more in touch with her Moloko past than when Ruby Blue was released. She also tells about her sexy dreams about The Sopranos. Very saucy!


European release Overpowered!

In several European countries - like Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium - the Overpowered album should already be available in record shops and online download stores. If you live in one of these countries, don't forget to pick up your copy today.

Update: Thanks to one of our readers I can reveal that the German iTunes Store offers an extra bonus track titled Pandora!

Arjan Writes

Keep an eye out for an interview with Roisin on the music blog arjanwrites.com. Arjan interviewed Miss Murphy in London last week.

Click here to read more and to see a picture of (a very casually dressed) Roisin at the interview.

Who's the Duchess of Dornse?

An interview with Roisin from yesterday's Manchester Evening News:

"Well, I don't exactly wear those clothes while shopping in Tesco," says Roisin Murphy.

She's discussing the artwork for her new solo album and attendant singles that sees the 34-year-old decked out in a series of outlandish outfits in mundane locations, such as sitting in a greasy spoon while clad in a Leigh Bowery-style furry clownish suit replete with pom-poms, as on the cover of LP, Overpowered. "I am flamboyant, though, naturally," she adds "Always have been since I was very young."

As if that needed stating. Let's not forget this is a woman who - when she was one half of trip-hop purveyors Moloko - posed for the sleeve picture of 1998's I Am Not A Doctor in a suit of armour, milking a cow on a Swiss alp. Overpowered is Murphy's second solo offering after 2005's sonically experimental debut, Ruby Blue: a record that was critically praised yet sold few copies.

"It was a really unusual record," reflects Murphy. "I'm really pleased it did come out, but when I delivered it to my label (the failing Echo Records), they said: 'This is the wrong record'. I was like, 'What's the wrong record?' Excuse me?' In Moloko, I worked in Sheffield in a bubble with one guy and delivered whatever I liked so I'd just taken it for granted that I could continue forward that way."

She was eventually dropped (see bottom NOTE). Still, EMI were quick to snap her up - partly because she reminded them of er, Robbie Williams. "I said, 'What do you mean?'" she remembers. "They replied, 'Just on a basic level because you hold the people in the palm of your hand'. And that's all right because Robbie is a jolly good performer."

There's a tangible, kinetic feeling that Overpowered is Murphy's commercial breakthrough record. Like Alison Goldfrapp's - her closest real comparison - Supernature, it's pure, deliriously decadent disco; a case of keeping up with the (Grace) Joneses. "I wanted to make a disco record, but not Saturday Night Fever," she says of its inception, "when you have that functionality of dance music with emotional complexity mixed in. The two shouldn't go together, but when they do, it's brilliant."

Murphy's childhood is as unconventional as the woman herself. Her family emigrated from Ireland to Manchester when she was 12, but returned, leaving the nearly-16-year-old, at her request, to live alone, surviving off housing benefit.

She remained, "literally for a very shallow reason which was that I didn't want to go back to a place where everybody was into heavy metal. I wanted to keep going to the gigs I was going to and hanging out with the freaks I was hanging out with.

"I used to go to at least three gigs a week. And when I was old enough, I went to every kind of nightclub possible," she says reeling off venues such as PSV and Precinct 13 as among her favoured haunts. "I don't know how I lived through it, I really don't.

"We were all weirdos into The Jesus and Mary Chain, and I remember one pivotal moment was when a DJ played The Stone Roses. The next thing, there were loads of kids hugging us. Normally, they were the kind of football hooligans who'd beat us up.

"They had their hands in the air chanting 'I AM THE RESSURRRECTION!'. It must have been a few years later that I realised why: ecstasy had filtered on to the scene at that point."

Moloko cribbed the title of their first album Do You Like My Tight Sweater? from a chat-up line Murphy employed to seduce Mark Brydon, a producer who became both her musical partner and boyfriend.

After eight years together, they split up, shortly before recording 2003's Statues. "That was weird because it was a very protracted separation," she recalls. "We made the album and then toured it, so it was like two years before we had completely separated our lives. It wasn't easy."

Although Ruby Blue was another nail in the coffers of Echo, it did spew up some anomalies.

"Everybody thought I was a lunatic for making the album, but more middle-of-the-road Americans know the track Ramalama (Bang Bang) than Sing It Back, because it was used on So You Think You Can Dance? which is the biggest TV show they have there.

"At one point on YouTube, there was like 200 dance troupes from the middle-of-nowhere doing routines to it, even to the point where there's kids doing them with flags in massive American football stadiums."

For Overpowered, she rifled through the Yellow Pages of A-List songwriters and producers, hooking up with the likes of Richard X, Groove Armada and Seiji from Bugz In The Attic. Not everyone's material made it on to the album - namely Kylie's mate, Calvin Harris. He lashed out at Murphy in interviews.

"I saw him last week and he apologised profusely," she says. "So, I've made up with him because the thing is, I had a bit of a gob on me when I started in this business. I know how it is to fall into a trap and say something you shouldn't have said that doesn't serve any purpose other than a destructive one.

"Hot off the press, a song I did with him - called Off And On - is going to be a Sophie Ellis Bextor pop record. She's recorded a version of it."

How do you feel about that? Do you feel any affinity with the Duchess of Dornse?

(Readers, it's at this point I ask the wrong question. The interview equivalent of stepping on a landmine).

"Oof, my face is a picture now, darling. This is where we really should have a face-to-face interview. Then you could see precisely how I feel about that. Look, I mean, I am what I am. I write everything I work on; I produce and manage every aspect of what I do. Do you want to take that away from me? Because if not, you can stop right now with these ridiculous comparisons." (By Gary Ryan)

NOTE: It seems Gary Ryan is not only messy with his questions, but also with the facts. Roisin was never dropped by Echo, as the above article claims.

Let Me Know & UK charts

***According to the midweek charts, Roisin should enter the UK top 40 with her single Let Me Know. If you haven't yet bought/or downloaded the track, get down to your local record store or download it from the iTunes Store here. Let's give Miss Murphy a hit!


It's official: listen to the album!

Can you no longer stand the wait? Click here to listen to the Overpowered album (minus the two bonus tracks).

Overpowered promo items

Roisin collectors eat your heart out! These are some of the goodies made available to various media (excluding this blog I'm afraid, so no freebies) to promote the new album.


Roisin at Swarovski Fashion Rocks 2007

On the 18th of October Roisin will perform at Swarovski Fashion Rocks 2007. The show will feature international designers accompanied by performances from some of the world's top musicians. Roisin will perform during a presentation by Italian fashion house Gucci.

Other artists performing are Alicia Keys, The Gossip and Lily Allen. Hollywood actors Samuel L. Jackson and Umu Thurman are to host the The Prince’s Trust event at London's Royal Albert Hall.

The show will be broadcast on Channel 4 in late October.

You can still buy tickets for the event here.

Roisin vs The Gossip: Who's in control?

You can also watch the show on channel4.com


Roisin at the Q awards

Here is a pictures of Roisin attending last night's Q Awards in London.

According to the table plan, Roisin and her guest were sitting at table 24 during the ceremony. Click here to see for yourself.

Murphy, Henwood & West

Kanye West has enlisted the artistic talents of former Moloko singer Roisin Murphy for his live shows.

The Overpowered star impressed West so much with her 2005 music video Sow Into You, he phoned to find out who styled the shoot - which turned out to be Murphy herself. And now the hip-hop superstar has called on Murphy's artist boyfriend Simon Henwood to be the visual mastermind behind his concerts. Speaking at the Q Awards in London on Monday, she says, "(West)'s working with my boyfriend now. My boyfriend's directing his live show." And Murphy hopes to get involved with the styling of West's show with Henwood: "(I'll do it) only if I can subconsciously put something to Simon as mine so I can tell Kanye what to do."

From Contactmusic.com

Poll: Your favourite b-side or outtake

Let Me Know to Win!

To celebrate the release of Let Me Know, we are giving away a copy of the limited edition 7" picture disc release. It went on sale in the UK yesterday and features the catchy new b-side Sunshine, co-written by Cathy Dennis.

To make a chance of winning this must-have item for any Roisin devotee, all you need to do is answer the following question correctly:

What is the name of Roisin's pet dog?
(a) Bobby
(b) Jimmy
(c) Charlie

Please send your answer to hopeless.optimist@yahoo.com. The winner will be notified before October 15, the release date of the long-awaited Overpowered album. Good luck!

***This competition has now ended***

Video: Roisin on Jonathan Ross

Inspired or not? Make up your own mind!


60 Seconds interview

This is a 60 Seconds interview with Roisin from UK newspaper Metro:

Singer Roisin Murphy fronted electro act Moloko, scoring hits with Sing It Back and The Time Is Now. She went solo in 2005 with her quirky debut album, Ruby Blue, and is currently promoting her latest album Overpowered. For the campaign, she is photographed wearing bizarre outfits in humdrum locations. Murphy's new single, Let Me Know, is out today.

You’ve worn some weird outfits to promote your latest album. Any favourites?
The most unusual one was for the Overpowered video. It had a lighting rig built into the dress, which was like a big sail – it kept catching the wind and dragging me over. I like outfits that are dangerous. Doing the ‘running man’ on stage wearing high heels is dangerous. I slipped over on some brandy on stage in Australia and broke my arm. I didn’t realise I’d broken it until I got off stage because I was pumped full of adrenaline.

Who designed the Overpowered dress?
Viktor & Rolf. I thought, years ago, how great it would be to be able to take a lighting rig around with you, because good lighting is better than a facelift. This rig was attached to my body by a steel brace on the inside of the dress and shot up over my head on scaffolding.

You did a photo shoot up a mountain, wearing a suit of armour, milking a cow. Is that the weirdest one?
That was odd but this one was pretty weird too. There’s a scene in the Overpowered video where I was wearing a huge Gareth Pugh dress on a rough high street after the clubs kicked out on a Friday night. It was dangerous but I got such a buzz out of it. The thing that amazed me with all the shoots was how little attention I got.

What is your favourite item of clothing?
I have a lot of vintage Yves St Laurent and a beautiful vintage Zandra Rhodes dress. It sounds awful but it’s amazing – it’s tiers of turquoise frill in a column with a black neck. It’s gorgeous.

Kanye West phoned to ask who styled your video. How would you make him over?
I’d tell him it’s all about shoulder pads. And it is. Believe me, Murphy is always right about these thing

Do you enjoy playing festivals?
Yes, they’re great. The best one I did was in Serbia. It was in an old fort on top of a hill with tunnels underneath it. The people in Eastern Europe are completely gorgeous. People are more alive when they live in a very politicised environment. They think a great deal and don’t take life for granted; they’ve seen a lot of change. Moloko and myself as a solo artiste are pretty massive in Eastern Europe. It’s a huge compliment. All the records are pirated, so there are no record companies in that area. There’s no point. It means that the success I have there is down to people power and not marketing campaigns.

Are you under pressure to have a commercial hit with this record?
I felt more pressure with Ruby Blue, my last record, but that was never going to sell millions because it was quite weird. With my current label, if I say I want an outfit or a particular photographer or director, I’ll get it, so I don’t feel any pressure. My current label saw me play in Prague and signed me because they thought I was like Robbie Williams. I had the audience in the palm of my hand. They saw that I was a great performer and that I work hard.

If you had as much money as Robbie what would you do with it?
I got a record deal when I was 18 so I’ve always had some money. I’ve never needed an awful lot of money and have never worried about having too little – I’m very lucky. I’ve never hankered after a speedboat. I was on one once from Capri to Naples and it bounced about so much I thought I’d be thrown out any second. That didn’t excite me.

Who is your favourite actor?
I love Gene Hackman, he’s my favourite. The French Connection is one of my favourite films and I love The Royal Tenenbaums, he reminds me of my dad in that; deeply charismatic and flawed.


Murphy's Law

This interview was published earlier today on Scotsman.com:

From the moment I meet Roisin Murphy, I sense she might be trouble. The 34-year-old Irish singer, still best known for providing the rich, purring vocals in now defunct experimental pop duo Moloko, doesn't choose to sit in either of the two empty chairs around the table in a hotel bar in London's Leicester Square. No, she wants me to move my bag and coat so she can sit beside me. It's a small act, but one that does not go unnoticed.

Murphy is a peculiar mix, and quite prickly. She spends much of the interview eyeballing me, which I'm convinced is partly to do with her lifelong passion for fashion (she is perhaps not overly impressed with my Top Shop ensemble), but is nonetheless disconcerting. As for what she's wearing, "the top is YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) and I bought it for signing my record contract. This is a vintage solid gold and silver belt, and my boots are Margiela, the avant-garde Belgian designer."

On the one hand Murphy is very open. Although she is about to bring out her second solo album, Overpowered - a brilliantly pure disco and dance record and her most accessible work to date - she is still happy to talk about Moloko's painful demise four years ago, which also spelt the break-up of her eight-year relationship with musical partner Mark Brydon. "It wasn't like an intense week or month, it was more like an intense two years," she says.

She is also happy to discuss the recent spat with Scotland's own electronic popster Calvin Harris, who was rather publicly miffed when Murphy failed to use tracks he had done with Cathy Dennis for Overpowered. "He got upset, didn't he?" she agrees. "I don't hold it against him because I was like that myself when I first started in the business. I was very reactive and a journalist could get me going very easily. I'm still quite easy to get going, but I'm not as bad as I was." She saw Harris recently, she says, and he apologised profusely, saying that now he's heard her album, he understands. The tracks have since been taken up by Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Yet when asked whether she is searching for a wider, more mainstream audience with Overpowered, her first album signed to a major label (EMI), she is more cagey and tends to say things like, "that's your job to say, not mine".

"I'm definitely still trying to carve out a place for myself," she later concedes. "It's still tricky to rationalise what I am and I don't feel I can sit back and put my feet up. But I've got no interest in being in some trendy ghetto. There is a perception that I'm very left-field, but the bottom line is when you put me in front of people I can connect with them. I don't want there to be a misunderstanding about that."

There's no doubt that Overpowered marks a new phase in Murphy's career and could be the breakthrough she seems to both crave and resist. Moloko may have been most famous for the huge pop anthems 'Sing It Back' - which featured on 110 music compilations - and 'Time Is Now', but the band was always much weirder than that. Moloko was an outfit that, even after 'Sing It Back' stormed the dancefloors of Ibiza, continued to put out songs with titles such as 'If You Have A Cross To Bare You May As Well Use A Crutch'. You'd be more likely to see Murphy milking a cow in a suit of armour halfway up a Swiss Alp, as on the cover of Moloko's second album, or pigging out in a greasy spoon while wearing a clownish, pom-pom suit (the album artwork for Overpowered) than pouting in a mini dress.

Murphy is closest in music and style to, say, Alison Goldfrapp, and it's no surprise that she is a huge fan of iconic performance artists such as Grace Jones and Cindy Sherman. Overpowered is influenced by the stripped-back disco of the late Seventies and the synths, hooks and squelchy sounds of early house music. It's co-produced by Andy Cato (Groove Armada), various other uber-cool collaborators were involved and, though there are cheesy moments - the new single 'Let Me Know' being an unfortunate case in point - it's a thrilling trip to the dancefloor. There are murmurs about Murphy making an assault on Kylie's fanbase. "I'd rather be compared to David Bowie," she says. "But it's not my place to tell you what to write."

Murphy's first solo effort, Ruby Blue, was released just two years after Moloko's last. A collaboration with the brilliant and rather bizarre Matthew Herbert, Ruby Blue was a fascinating sonic experiment that included the sounds of notebooks being hit across microphones and a sample of a "seaplane leaving for Tofino". It was acclaimed, but it didn't sell by the bucketload. So, now that she's signed to a major label, is she concerned that EMI will want to tone her down? "They can try," she says, with a husky smoker's laugh. Her accent by the way is a curious hybrid of Ireland (she is from Wicklow), northern England (she's spent much of her life in Manchester and Sheffield) and cockney (she now lives in London with her boyfriend, who is a visual artist).

"It's not easy sometimes," she says. "This is not like other jobs because what I'm doing is selling myself. I'm on top of everything I do, every image I make, every piece of music. I try to put as much of who I am into my work. I'm quite a naked performer, so at the end of the day if you don't like it, you don't like me. I'm an intense person... my boyfriend says I'm a nightmare to go out with."

Everything she has ever done has been recorded, she explains. When Moloko started she had no experience of singing or performing. The story goes that as a cocky teenager in Sheffield, Murphy bounced up to Mark Bryden at a party with the chat-up line, "do you like my tight sweater?" Evidently, he did, and those immortal words ended up becoming the name of their first album. Prior to that, she had no intention of becoming a singer, which for those who know her gorgeous, silken voice, is hard to believe.

"I hated singing," she says. "I learnt 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' when I was eight and sang it for my family. Their mouths were all wide open." She starts laughing and feigns an exaggerated Irish accent. "Aw, she sounds just like Elaine Paige!" Her family moved to Manchester when she was 12, and then when she was 15 they moved back to Ireland. Murphy, though, stayed, a teen on her own. Bullied at school, she started hanging out with "a bunch of weird boys who wore black and listened to Jesus and Mary Chain".

"I started dressing in Sixties clothes, wandering around Manchester wearing a red pantaloon suit and red handbag. I buried my singing voice. I mean, I was listening to Sonic Youth: I didn't want anyone to know I sounded like Elaine Paige."

So, she has never been a conformist, and even though Overpowered could well be her crossover album, don't be expecting a watered down version of Roisin Murphy anytime soon. "At the age of nine I had long blonde hair and I took my pocket money and went and got a flat-top," she says. "When I came home my dad cried his eyes out. I had to do confirmation looking like a marine." (Words by Chitra Ramaswamy/Picture by Thomas Schweigert - www.purephotography.de)

Roisin on Jonathan Ross

Roisin giving a cheeky grin on this weeks's episode of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, where she performed Let Me Know. She was wearing a Grace Jones-style white jacked and black trousers.

Review from The Times

UK newspaper The Times has given Roisin's new album a smashing review:

Because first impressions matter, it’s hard not to get excited when you alight upon the sleeve of RoÍsÍn Murphy’s new album. Here, amid the grey Formica of a greasy spoon, we see the sometime Moloko singer dressed in something the late Leigh Bowery might have fashioned had he been locked in a cell with two knitting needles and a barrel of brightly coloured wool. Behind her, dowdy, toothless men sip tea. They’re not actually members of Babyshambles or the View – but, for what the schism might tell you about the difference between men and women in pop right now, they may as well be.

That said, even bonkers pop mavericks need a great record on which to hang their charisma. Moloko’s odyssey from mannered trip-hoppery to nu-disco yielded enough for a decent Best Of album, but little else. Murphy’s 2005 solo debut Ruby Blue was too wilful for a world already trying to work out what to do with Björk. Now, flanked by a rollcall of London dance alumni (among them Bugz in the Attic and Groove Armada), here’s an album you can use as well as admire.

Typical of the form is You Know Me Better - a rush of colour slowly surging outwards from a hook of pared-back austerity. Here and elsewhere – in particular, Tell Everybody and Movie Star – the loved-up sentiments have flushed the gruntier vocal affectations of yore. Ecstasy being what it was in the early Nineties, there will forever be a generation of clubbers that reacts to the words “Roland 303” as most people might respond to mention of a dearly departed pet. Those same people probably won’t hear a better song than the title track all year.

Only when the beat dissipates does she struggle. “I’ll always be your little girl,” she coos on Scarlet Ribbons, a mawkish paean to her father. Its inclusion is doubly baffling given the last-minute decision to remove the moreish Teutonic disco of her Calvin Harris collaboration Off and On. Still, over 55 minutes a single lapse of judgment is forgivable.

Murphy’s confidence in her own abilities is infectious. On Cry Baby she casts herself as the remedy to her subject’s comedown. Boasting a backing track that sounds like Village People attacking Gary Numan with cowbells, it doesn’t sound like the remedy to anything. But, like most of Overpowered, it’s hard to care when all your pop pressure points are being massaged with such precision.


Can you resist the temptation?

With just over a week to go before the Overpowered album is released in the UK (and less than a week in some European countries) can you resist the temptation of listening to a preview of each album track? Can you?


UK TV reminder

Just a little reminder: Roisin will appear on two UK TV shows tonight to promote her new single and album: Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and T-Mobile Transmission. Click here for a previous post with more details.


**Spoiler alert**

You can now listen to previews of all upcoming Roisin Murphy releases. Click here to listen to previews of two brand spanking new b-sides, which will appear on various formats of Let Me Know (to be released this Monday): Sunshine and Unlovable.

**Spoiler alert** All 13 tracks from the Overpowered album (released on October 15) can be previewed here.

New picture from Q magazine


This Friday: Roisin mania on UK TV

Roisin will appear on two UK television shows this coming week. She will make an appearance on the talk show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (22.35 on BBC 1).

She also recorded a set of songs for Channel 4's Transmission With T-Mobile, which will be aired on the same night at 23.35. A few days ago I could already reveal that Roisin covered The Gossip's Standing In The Way Of Control for the broadcast. Will she be wearing one of Beth Ditto's dresses?!

Q magazine review + interview

The November edition of UK music magazine Q gives Roisin Murphy's new album a three-quarter page review and no less than four out of fives stars. The magazine is particularly impressed by the songs Primitive and Dear Miami. Let Me Know on the other hand is classified as an out-take from Sophie Ellis-Bextor's latest offering, which is not meant to be a compliment. On a more positive note, Grace Jones' classic album Island Life is recommended for further listening for this who like Overpowered.

By the way, you can also watch an interview on Q's website. Roisin spoke to Q on a rooftop somewhere in London for the magazine's show Q The Music. Click here to watch it (for the Roisin interview, choose part 2).

Cry Baby!