Prior to December, it was more likely to find Irish chanteuse Roisin Murphy writing and recording in a London studio or on a stage somewhere performing something from her oeuvre of delicate electro-house music (Murphy first made it big in the late '90s as one-half of anthemic house duo Moloko before establishing herself as a solo artist).
But since the birth of her daughter Clodagh last month with artist Simon Henwood, she's been hunkered down in her homeland with motherhood -- rather than music -- on the mind. "It’s exciting and very different,” Murphy says when asked how parenting has been going. “She’s very unpredictable. She sleeps a lot in the night, not during the day. But my family is here so it’s been a lot easier.”
Still, in the months leading up to Clodagh’s arrival, Murphy was doing more than laying on the couch, folding onesies. She released two singles, ”Momma’s Place“ and ”Orally Fixated,” online through her Website.
Naturally, both songs are soaked with references to her pregnancy. The lyrics of “Momma’s Place” are a light-hearted warning to her daughter that Momma has been there and done that—so don’t try and even think to pull something:
So you think you know it all / But that’s just the arrogance of youth
I’ve been there and I’ve done it, baby / I’m tellin’ you the truth
Your Momma was a tear away / I used to think I knew it all.
“I was trying to have a little bit of a sense of humor about being a mum,” Murphy says. “I wrote it with Sage, who didn’t even know I was pregnant at the time—it was like a few weeks after I got pregnant—so I had this secret feeling. I was writing to my child but nobody knew I was pregnant.’
‘And it’s got a vintage-y house feel to it,” she continues, “which also made me think of it lyrically in terms of, ‘I’ve been there, done that.’ Which of course I have. I’m old enough to have been dancing to house music for a long time!” she says with a laugh.
The other tune, “Orally Fixated,” was lyrically influenced by the pregnancy, as well. “I gave up smoking and didn’t want to have to be stuffing my face with all kinds of other things to make up for it,” she says, “so I was obsessed with my own oral fixation.”
For now and the rest of this month, Murphy’s life is completely ‘baby-fied.’ She hasn’t thought about whether the two tracks will evolve into a full-on album. It’s all about, she says, just getting the music out.
She will think more about her own trajectory when she’s done working in a London studio with friends Crookers, for whom she has written several tracks for their next album.
“I’ve got quite a lot of feel for them,” she says about the DJ duo. “I’ve used them when I’m DJ’ing. It’s very hard to play a Crookers track next to another track when you DJ, it kind of blasts out of the speakers.”
Murphy notes the role that DJing has played in determining what works for her own music. “You know what beats work when you DJ—it’s an eye opener. When I played ‘Momma’s Place’ (at a DJ gig), I knew it worked and decided to release it. It definitely informs you—there’s nothing like testing a piece of music on a big sound system.”
She says she’ll pop into the studio with Crookers in February; until then—it’s all about baby Clodagh.
“She likes me singing to her,” Murphy says. “When I sing to her she goes to sleep. I think she’s used to it because I was in the studio an awful lot and DJ’ing when she was in my womb. She was always very quiet when I was being the loudest. When things get quiet, she starts kicking around and waking up. Music definitely has an effect on her.”
Like mother, like daughter.