TESTS OF FAITH
Touring with a new baby, navigating the post- Spotify music industry and tackling Trump and Brexit in her songs... MARION McMULLEN learns Paloma Faith is not one to shrink from a challenge
The words used to talk about refugees is such ugly language... compassion and empathy are needed...
‘ IT’S been hell,” new mum Paloma Faith laughingly groans about working to get back in shape after the birth of her baby. “I put on three stone and it was hard to lose the weight.
“I’ve never had to lose weight before but I did it.
“Some women genetically don’t change as much as I did when I was pregnant.
“I think I had the wrong set from the gene pool in mine.
“My water retention was ridiculous.
“I could push half my finger in my ankle. I felt so heavy, I couldn’t walk well.
“Thankfully, it’s all gone now ... and I got something good out of it at least.”
The multiple double platinum singer is now back to her prepregnancy svelte self.
“I started training four times a week and doing different disciplines every day,” she recalls.
“I think your body gets used to it if you do the same workout all the time so some days I would run and others do weights, just all sorts of different things.
“I just like eating, I enjoy it so much, and I’m a fast eater so it’s hard to gauge how much I’m eating because I’ve normally finished while everyone is still eating.”
Paloma and her long- term partner Leyman Lahcine have still not revealed the name or sex of their baby, but the new arrival was born premature and Paloma needed an emergency C- section after a 20- hour labour.
The 36- year- old singer also recorded part of her new album The Architect – her first in more than three years – while she was pregnant and it features an array of high- profile collaborators including Sia, John Legend, Rag ‘ n’ Bone Man, Starsmith, Jesse Shatkin, Eg White, journalist and activist Owen Jones and Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson.
“I did half the recording pregnant – all the stuff that was recorded in America – and then when I had the baby I worked in a studio close to home.
“It was quite difficult, but I have got my baby on a really strict routine so I know what’s happening when.
“The baby is only awake 12 hours a day and I do a lot after bedtime and I have help from my partner as well.
“I was pumping boob milk when I was recording as well, which I hated, it is the worst.
“It was not easy working on the album, but it seemed to work.”
So how did Samuel L Jackson end up on the album?
“He is involved with the charity One For The Boys, helping men with testicular cancer, and I have done some stuff for him to raise money for the charity a couple of times and he said to me one day that he was so grateful for all of the help and that any time I wanted to call in the favour to let him know.
“There were a lot of things I wanted to say on this record and I had written a piece at the start to remind me what I was writing about. I felt it was important to include some of it on the record and I asked him if he would be the voice on the opening track Evolution and he said ‘ yeah.’ He was so nice and he has this great voice that people listen to.”
The 36- year- old singer is now counting down to The Architect’s release and says: “I’m positive about the new album but I’m always quite scared about a new release.
“When the last album was released things like Spotify and streaming were not prevalent. I’ve not come into contact with this world before and it’s quite frustrating.
“I’m a little bit worried whether anyone is going to even know that it’s out.
“But,” she laughs, “it’s coming out before Christmas so could make good presents.”
Paloma explains: “The Architect is a social observation record. I was adamant that I wouldn’t write about love. I wanted to look outside of myself. I’m coming at politics from the perspective of the common man or woman, observing why people are suffering.
“I wanted to write something more modern. “On previous albums I’ve been
more concerned with the past, but now I’m looking forward because of motherhood and wanting to change things for a better future.”
Lyrics raise social and political issues including the future of the Western world, Donald Trump, Brexit and the refugee crisis.
Paloma says: “It’s not that I have discovered my voice. If you ask me a question everyone knows I will put my opinion out there, but this is really important to me, especially now.
“The protest music of the 1960s and 70s is still very relevant today.
“Nothing seems to have changed and that is very sad.
“The words used to talk about refugees is such ugly language. These are people who have left everything behind to save their families. Understanding, compassion and empathy are needed.”
Paloma has announced a UK arena tour next year and baby will be going along too.
“Touring and live concerts are the reason I do this job,” she says simply. “I have never done it with a child in tow. Travelling makes babies quite unsettled so I’ve had to take that into account.”
So what has it been like juggling a new album and tour with being a new mum?
“Aaargh, I just need more sleep,” she laughs. “I get home and climb into bed and the baby wakes up two hours later.
“I’m just going to have to learn to sleep any time of the day I can I think.”
Paloma Faith plays the Genting Arena, NEC, on March 21.