Time Out NY

On the eve of her first US gig, Time Out NY got to interview Roisin and asked her about her favourites things:

It’s all too easy for pop music to go horribly wrong: One underwhelming chorus and your song turns from killer to filler; one wrong accessory (or lack thereof, if we’re talking underwear), and sassy becomes skanky. For a master class in how to do it right, just look at the fabulously, stylishly sexy disco queen Róisín Murphy, who’s making her long-awaited NYC solo live debut this week.

As half of Moloko, the Irish-born, smoky-voiced vixen scored a pair of classic Eurohits with 1999’s “Sing It Back” and 2001’s “The Time Is Now”; after the group broke up, she recorded 2005’s avant-pop Ruby Blue with electronica savant Matthew Herbert. Last year, Murphy released Overpowered, an intoxicating tour through various dance-music genres, from Moroder-style electroglide to Chic-infused disco. Neither record came out in the U.S., which speaks volumes about this country’s utter inability to take female pop musicians seriously.

It doesn’t help that Murphy, 35, is so hard to peg. She knowingly winks to high art (the video for “You Know Me Better,” for instance, is a tribute to Cindy Sherman) and sneaks in experimental touches in her sleek dance-pop, but she can also be earthily goofy in a manner not usually associated with women orbiting the fashion world (her latest single is a cover of Bryan Ferry’s “Slave to Love,” recorded for a Gucci ad). “Subversion is a fabulous tool in any kind of performance,” Murphy suggests. “To confound is just great. And it’s very easy for a woman in a way: Doing anything outside the box for a woman is kind like, ‘Whaaat?!?’ ”

Asked about her image, the singer is quick to correct the phrasing: “Not my image as such: the image. When I get dressed to go out and I get shot by a paparazzo, I didn’t dress for that photographer,” she continues, laughing, “I was living la vida Fellini. But then you have to put your sensitive little imagination in the brutal glare of reality.”

Performers famous for engaging in this tricky balancing act between the mundane and the outlandish are often tarred with a certain label, used as both praise and a put-down. But Murphy doesn’t care—or rather, she gleefully embraces the term. “People call me a diva, and I’m quite happy to accept that I am one,” she says. “Being a diva means creating complex stories that go beyond what people are expecting. Bring it on!”—EV

A few of Miss Murphy's favourites:

Dance-floor anthem
Jackie Moore: “This Time Baby”

Favorite music video
Björk: “All Is Full of love”
“For me, the pinnacle of the art form; it has been downhill ever since.”

Most underrated style moment
Margaret Thatcher’s bouffant

Most underrated music artist
“My Uncle Jim, pitch-perfect, band leader, player of every instrument, with a voice like thick, velvety Guinness.”

Most memorable live moment
“Seeing Sonic Youth in Manchester when I was 14. I can’t describe the joy of seeing Kim Gordon moshing with the boys and stage-diving.”

Favorite movies
The Night of the Hunter
The French Connection
Dead Ringers
Some Came Running
The Birds
Lawrence of Arabia

“Also, I love The Sopranos and The Wire as much as any movie, if not more.”


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