Doing the cat walk

Roisin graced the catwalk at the first Alexander Vauthier show in Paris the other night. When asked the previous night what she thought of her modelling assignment she said: 'I've never really modelled before, but how hard can it be?'.

Thanks to A. & Betty!


Elaine Prendeville on Murphy

Elaine Prendeville, the editor of the Irish edition of Tatler, has expressed her admiration for Roisin's fashion sense in an interview with Independent.ie:

I love Roisin Murphy's sense of style - she is brilliant at dressing as if for the stage in everyday life. There's a sense of humour and a fearlessness in the often bizarre, overblown pieces she wears. I don't seek to emulate her style, but I definitely enjoy wearing clothes that some people will love and others will really hate.

Two more pictures from Paris

Thanks to Betty for the first picture!


Give me the finger!

Speaking of A. (see previous post), here is an interesting screen photo she took of the Moloko DVD 11,000 Clicks. Note the contrast with the other picture posted today...

Click here to see more.

Roisin en Paris

A great photo of Roisin at the Givenchy show during Paris Haute Couture Week.

Thanks to the lovely A. of 10.17!


Roisin Murphy Media

A new blog with Roisin/Moloko related downloads has been born! It goes by the simple name of Roisin Murphy Media.

Click here to check it out.


Hussein Chalayan exhibition

A few nights ago Roisin was at opening of the Hussein Chalayan exhibition in the Design Museum in London.

I live just round the corner from the museum and wasn't even aware of this event taking place. What's more, I got a text in the middle of the night from a colleague who had just been dancing with a tipsy Roisin in the Soho Revue Bar! I missed out big time!

Thanks to Betty for the pictures.


Mail Online feature

It's the beginning of a new year and Roisin has returned with a bang! Check out this amazing portfolio plus interview from Mail Online...

Róisín’s revolution
Disco diva and style maverick Róisín Murphy is bringing a much-needed dose of individuality to the pop and fashion worlds. Here she talks about stage wounds, drive-in wardrobes and ‘frightening the life out of men’

Róisín Murphy turns up for our interview in outsized burgundy patent-leather brogues. This is about as low key, it seems, as a pop singer/songwriter who once wore a suit of armour to milk a cow for an album cover is ever going
to be.

‘They’re super, aren’t they?’ she says, showing off the shoes. ‘I fell flat on my face the other day because the soles are really slippery. But then, if I got myself some nonslip soles, they wouldn’t be any good for dancing, would they?’ she adds, laughing.

There you have the essence of Róisín: unquenchable adventurousness that can become rock ‘n’ roll recklessness, as we shall see. But it attracts a legion of straight and gay fans, otherwise known as the Murphya, who glam up in the kind of dandyish pomp not seen since the days of Duran Duran. And during the past 12 months, their fearless heroine has emerged as the ultimate alternative-style icon at fashion shows in London, Paris, New York and Milan.

The County Wicklow-born former front woman of electro-pop duo Moloko, she went solo in 2005 with her debut album Ruby Blue and followed it up with Overpowered in 2007.

It was the track ‘Primitive’ on Ruby Blue* that first began to establish a buzz around Róisín as the new Grace Jones – all outrageous dressing and catchy disco-pop tunes (almost every track on that debut album was picked up by the TV show Gray’s Anatomy).

Compared to the tearaway vigour of Róisín in action, those other fashion-fixated pop queens – Björk, Alison Goldfrapp, Kylie and even Madonna – look like mere prancing show ponies.

Before we meet at a West London photographic studio,
I catch Róisín at a packed-out Brixton Academy in Southwest London, where she whips through a lightning costume change for every one of her hypnotic electro-pop songs.

And then this whirling girl, who dances as uninhibitedly as a dervish in a trance, stage-dives into the audience and crowd surfs as crazily as someone who seems to have forgotten that she nearly blinded herself in Moscow in 2007, after headbanging a chair on stage.

Later she tells me airily, ‘If you look closely, you can see a little scar over my left eye after they stitched up the flap of skin that was hanging down. But it wasn’t that bad.’

There’s nothing calculated about the way she moves, unlike her childhood idol Madonna (more of whom
later). In fact, her entire career, she explains, happened by chance.

‘I feel more like an artist than a pop star, and I accidentally fell into what I do. Everything was just an experiment. Originally I thought of being a photographer and nearly went to art school, but I got a record deal instead.

I don’t have a personal stylist because I don’t need one, I just really enjoy meeting designers and picking up clothes. I’ve been going to fashion shows for years, but recently I seem to have been on a roll.

'The way I put together a look is quite chaotic but it usually starts with a hat,’ says Róisín, who champions such left-field designers as Gareth Pugh, Martin Margiela and her current favourite, the Belgian Christophe Coppens. One of Christophe’s witty outfits that she wore at the Brixton gig makes it look as if Róisín’s head has tunnelled through the middle of a sofa on which two ‘men’ made out of chicken wire and upholstery are sitting. ’I just call it a large necklace, a piece of extreme jewellery,’ she grins.

A blue-eyed strawberry blonde with beautiful cheekbones and a cleft in her chin, Róisín is softer-featured in the flesh than in paparazzi photos and defiantly low-maintenance (‘It took me years to pluck an eyebrow‘). There’s no pomposity about the girl from Arklow who moved with her family – mother Rose, father Michael and elder brother Seán – to Manchester when she was 12, but who still retains her Wicklow accent.

Today Róisín, who’s 35, lives with her artist boyfriend Simon Henwood, 42, in a house full of his 25,000 books
and her Danish furniture in North London’s Cricklewood, just a mile up the road from Kilburn’s long-established
Irish community.

Fitting all her clothes into the place is the only problem, it seems. ‘I need a drive-in wardrobe,’ she jokes. ‘I’ve no room for slob-out clothes, so I have to keep throwing out jogging bottoms.’

Asked whether she still feels particularly Irish, she laughs again and replies in her frank way, ‘I always say that’s an irritating question, but I think that people in Ireland have only recently realised that I’m actually Irish. I do feel Irish everywhere I go, but it does bore me when people get far too proud of being Irish, because I don’t push it as a thing that I sell,’ she says, adding that she doesn’t relate to the way Ireland is packaged as ‘pastoral’ to the wider world.

Pastoral is the last word you would associate with such an urban animal who so gloriously sent herself up with that milking-the-cow album shot.

She first got into music on the dance floor when Manchester restyled itself ‘Madchester’ in the late 1980s, forming a short-lived group with the eccentric back-to-front title of And Turquoise Car Crash The.

Then she met her future Moloko partner Mark Brydon at a party in 1994, and her chat-up line, ‘Do you like my tight sweater?’ became the title of their debut album. She now tells me that she used the chat-up line on every man in the room, but Mark was the one who took her up on it for what turned into a professional as well as a personal partnership.

Their song ‘Sing It Back’ became a huge Ibiza club anthem in 1999, but their tempestuous relationship ended in 2001, although they continued to work together on a new record and toured until 2003. ‘I haven’t
spoken to Mark for a long time now because we got
sick of the sight of each other over those last two years,’ she admits.

‘I frighten the life out of men, really,’ she adds. ‘Because there’s a shortage of eligible men, they can pick and choose – and they want it all, don’t they? They want a woman who is good-looking, who won’t talk back, who will have her own life but not be too independent.

'So I never get chatted up, which is fine because I have
a boyfriend. But the way I started in this business was
all tied up in sex and sexuality, because of meeting
Mark who became my boyfriend as well as my collaborator. That frisson was there in the work relationship all the time. And since we’ve broken up, I’ve taken a little bit of that with me. I’m not saying I flirt with producers, but for me there is always some kind of male-female chemistry in the way that I work,’ explains Róisín, whose ‘Movie Star‘ video from the Overpowered album was produced by her boyfriend Simon.

‘Friends introduced me to Simon four years ago. The song “Overpowered” was not about him, because I feel very at home with him and very comfortable with our love.

'I can be a nightmare to live with, getting great highs and lows when I come off tour, but he understands me being obsessed with my work because he’s the same. He’s a scruff bag, always covered in paint,’ she says affectionately of the artist who specialises in portraits, especially of children, and also works in animation and video and has just won Time magazine’s Video Of The Year award. ‘But I won’t get married,’ she insists. ‘I don’t need to “have my day”, because the fashion shoot today is going to be a bit like being a bride – getting dressed up and being a princess.

'And there’s also a bit of anti-marriage feeling in me because of seeing my parents get divorced. I’ve watched people with long-standing relationships get married and then find that everything falls apart. To be honest, I would rather convert the loft than have an expensive wedding.’

For all her bravado, she does have a softer side that’s centred on her brother Sean’s two little daughters: Saoirse, six, and Laoise, five. ‘My nieces are magnificently beautiful, though you probably shouldn’t write that down because they already have huge heads,’ she laughs. They are amazing kids, though what it must be like for a five-year-old to have an aunt with two upholstered “men” strapped to her while she jumps off a stage into an audience, I don’t know.

‘I would like children myself,’ she admits, ‘though I’m not planning them right now. Simon would love some – straight away if I asked him. He’s a very patient man; he and my dog Charlie bring stability into my life.’

Always a tomboy, Róisín hung out with boys as a child, got her head shaved at nine to her father’s horror and roared around Arklow singing Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ – ‘I was too old to be into Kylie as a pop star then, though I think she’s made some great singles.

'I have got fantastic female friends now, but I used to fight a lot with girls. My mother would go up to the school with carrier bags of hair that had been pulled out of my head. Other girls picked on me because I was very noticeable, had a big personality and loads of confidence.

'In fact, my parents were a bit different as well: self-employed, not religious, a bit more glamorous and aspirational than most people. They wanted to lift themselves out of the depression that Ireland was in during the late 70s and 80s and into modernity, so my family didn’t even listen to traditional Irish music,‘ says Róisín, whose uncle Jim Tyrrell was a show-band and jazz musician.

Her love affair with clothes began with her aunt Linda’s 60s outfits. ‘She had been a beauty queen in provincial Ireland and she kept all her clothes, including the
tiaras. She had no daughters, so I used to spend
hours at her house.

'And then when I was 12 and my family moved to Manchester, I started going to antiques fairs, charity shops and car boot sales with my mother, who is an antiques dealer, and dressing myself from head to toe for six quid.‘

After her parents divorced when she was 15 and her brother Sean was 18, her mother moved back to Ireland and Róisín lived with her father in Manchester for a few months.

By her own admission she went through a wild-child phase that saw her getting arrested for shoplifting clothes and put in a cell for three hours (her excuse was that she needed something clean to wear and didn’t know how to work a washing machine).

Then she moved out to live with a friend and her mother Sheila until she was 16, when she asserted her independent streak. ‘Sheila really looked after me, but at 16 I was eligible for housing benefit so I moved into my own council flat while I was at sixth-form college.

'My parents did mind me living on my own in a flat, but I didn’t want to go back to Ireland to live with my mother because I had my friends over here,’ she admits.

Despite that early rebellion, she remains close to her parents and has a strong survival instinct that so far has ensured the recklessness doesn’t turn into self-destructiveness. Róisín, whose father once expressed his relief that at least she wasn’t behaving like Amy Winehouse, has said she would never let fame destroy her.

‘I won’t let anything destroy me,’ emphasises Róisín, whose only visible vice is chain-smoking Silk Cuts throughout the interview and photo shoot. ‘There’s a danger of thinking that drugs and walking around with blood all over you is romantic,’ she adds when asked about Amy. ‘And there were very few subjects in my family that were taboo, so there wasn’t any romance about the reality of drugs.’

So in control is she that she produces her songs as well as writing and performing them. ‘I had quite a famous female pop star crying all over my shoulder at the MTV Awards a few years ago, saying, “They tell me what to do and look at you, you seem to be doing whatever you want to do.” Obviously she’s someone who is just doing what she thinks is commercially viable, which must be soul-destroying,’ she shivers.

But by following her own artistic instincts, Róisín has become a big commercial deal entirely by accident. To her amazement, she’s been asked to take to the catwalk and open and close Alexandre Vauthier’s couture show in Paris at the end of the month, before she starts working on her next album.

‘My father thinks it’s hilarious. He said to me, “Jesus, you are some chancer,”’ she says with a grin, as our stylist for the day, Charlie Davis, arranges a rail of wild, clashing, bizarre outfits as a tribute to her magpie instincts, and a hairdresser turns her long straight hair into bubble curls. ‘Like a clown,’ says Róisín, delighted at the way it goes with the super-big brogues.

And then the tomboy is transformed into a film star with silent-movie eyes as she poses in an extraordinary dress made of long strands of recycled plastic, and nearly slides off the platform on which she’s reclining.

At last Róisín Murphy is having her bride moment. Her way.

By Maureen Paton/Pictures by Michael Labica & Sandrine Dulermo

* Primitive is on Overpowered, not Ruby Blue.

Roisin & Groove Armada

Groove Armada's Andy Cato worked on Roisin's last album Overpowered. Then, in October 2007, Roisin and Groove Armada played a double show in Amsterdam. Now she will be collaborating with the duo on their forthcoming album.

"She's definitely in the frame," Cato says. "She's going to come over here in a couple of weeks' time and put down a couple of tracks".

Cato is very impressed with Roisin's vocal skills: "She's an amazing singer. She's full of life and she's definitely up for it. Also, she tells things like they are are – there's no messing about. But then so do I. We spend most of the time laughing".

Cato revealed the record, as yet untitled and slated for an early summer release, will have a "gritty rock vibe". "We're getting the whole band into my studio. We're going to be gigging in the studio – and make the gig the album".

Source: hotpress.com


It's all right with me

A video of Roisin's fabulous performance at Voices for Darfur in December 2004, singing Cole Porter's It's All Right With Me.


Rois-Inspiration VI

Art student and Roisin fan Devin sent me two of his drawings. Click here to visit his page on MySpace.


Dress like Murphy

A feature on how to dress like Miss Murphy from Annabelle, a Swiss fashion magazine for women.

Thanks to Björn!


Poll: Roisin in 2009

What do you feel should be the focus of Roisin's career this year?

Should she work at being a model or would you prefer she started working on a new album? Or maybe you feel she deserves a rest. Cast your vote now...

Never Enough

A classic Roisin moment from 2001, performing Never Enough with Robert Dlugosch on the music show CDUK.


Rois-Inspiration V

The young fashion photographer Adam Jones is a big fan of Roisin and has done a shoot based solely around her fashion and style.

Check out Adam's MySpace page for more pictures.


BlackBook feature

There's a small Roisin feature on the website of BlackBook magazine, with a picture by Pieter Henket that we haven't seen before:

The New Dance Floor Queen: Roll over Madge, tell Kylie the news. A breakout star thirteen years in the making, Roísín Murphy has finally arrived.

Teasing the cheering, sweaty throngs at a Manhattan nightclub on her first-ever U.S. solo gig, Irish singer Roísín Murphy coyly referred to the long wait her diehard fans have had to endure: “I was beginning to wonder how long we could keep going like this, New York, but I’m here now.” It was the only understatement of the night -- she really has arrived. Murphy emerged sporting a blinding silver space-age glitter sheath and android-like eye band, after all, and the intoxicating songs on her impending second solo album Overpowered are anything but quiet. The former singer for acclaimed ’90s electronica duo Moloko has already become an underground dance sensation the world over, and she is more than primed for the big time with this new collection of bubbly disco, brassy pop and elastic funk workouts that gets its mojo from Murphy’s burnished blue-eyed soul singing.

The London-based fashion icon, already a muse to designer Vivienne Westwood, toys with identity with the mere change of coat and hat in concert. One minute she’s a space-oddity disco diva, the next, a bad-ass biker babe, clad in a fringed black leather jacket and cap. It’s an exploration she playfully delves into in her videos. “Ziggy Stardust on the streets of Sheffield” was a catchphrase that stuck in her mind when crafting her most recent vignettes, she explains over a flute of rosé champagne at the Grace hotel in New York. “I found that such a liberating idea that I ran with it,” says Murphy, the picture of modern elegance in leather thigh-high boots, dark skinny jeans and a pleated black Fendi sweater. “My grandmother had a fish ’n’ chips shop. Those are other parts of me that I live all the time. I’m a very down-to-earth, normal person. But I also have a really expressive, creative, flamboyant side.” Did we mention what she wore for her set closer? It was a black-and-white checkered stuffed animal deer waistcoat, with matching antlers headband.

Thanks to Deak!


Betty new year!

The wonderful Betty sent me her first batch of Roisin pictures of 2009, including the great one above.


Twiggy's Frock Exchange

A video of Roisin appearing on the BBC show Twiggy's Frock Exchange a few months ago.


Happy New Year!


I have been enjoying the holidays in every sense of the word and that includes not updating this blog very much.

I'm still working on my promised Roisin Murphy 2008 review and will post it as soon as it's done. In the meantime I wanted to share these two portraits with you, courtesy of photographer Krijn van Noordwijk.