You gotta have... Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith, 36, was born in Hackney, east London, and has released three doubleplatinum albums. She has also acted in films, including ‘St Trinian’s’, and is a judge on ‘The Voice’. Last year she had a child with her boyfriend, artist Leyman Lahcine.
What is your earliest memory?
Being about three years old, sitting on the back of my mum’s bike in a child seat. My mum, Pamela, was a single parent and we went everywhere on that bike.
What sort of child were you?
Because I was an only child, I was quite insular and introverted. My mum came from a huge family of seven but at home it was just me and her. But when I hit 14, I just burst out of my shell. I went from bottom of the class to top and got all As at GCSE.
What is the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
All the people who told me I wouldn’t make it. It’s a horrible thing to say because it’s so damning, but it then becomes a sort of challenge. What makes you succeed in life is not talent or potential, it’s resilience. It worked for me.
... and what is the worst thing you’ve said to someone?
I remember working with a songwriter called Claude Kelly. Bruno Mars had released a song called Grenade and I started going on about how awful the lyrics were, how fake it was. Claude looked at me and said: ‘I wrote that song.’ I couldn’t exactly backtrack. I just said: ‘Sorry.’
What is your most treasured possession?
The letters my partner and I wrote to each other at the beginning of our relationship. We wrote each other a lot of letters and we both kept every one. They have been put away in a special box.
Describe the best night of your life
Winning the Brit Award in 2015. I got to make a speech. I was incredibly emotional. I had been in the business for 14 years, I’d been nominated four times before and never won. I got up and didn’t stop talking.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? What is the worst job you’ve done?
I worked for one day in a Travelodge as a housekeeper. I was 19. They complained about the direction I’d folded the corners of the sheets. I told them to go f*** themselves. They then said they wouldn’t pay me. I left screaming at them: ‘Keep the money. I don’t want it. Go and buy some sweets with it.’
When was the last time you cried?
The last time was when I was auditioning drummers for my band. A female drummer came in and in this industry we are always told that female drummers aren’t very good. But she just started playing and she was amazing. I have a female bass player in the band, and I could see they were communicating through the music. It was so completely moving I started crying and then had to tell them why. And she was hired.
What’s the best advice you’ve had?
Nothing is the end of the world. It’s one of my mum’s sayings.
Have you ever cheated death?
I thought I was going to die during childbirth [last December]. I became completely delusional and I genuinely thought at one point I wasn’t going to survive. I had to have intervention and a C-section.
What was the saddest time in your life?
When my mum had breast cancer ten years ago. Ever since I was born, she’s had a brain tumour but we’ve lived with that. When she got breast cancer, I thought she was going to die. She had to have a mastectomy but in her ward all she cared about was everyone else. She’d make me bring in a notepad every day and take down orders from everyone on the ward of what they wanted from the shop.
What do you regret?
Pining after too many men and putting them on pedestals. I wasted a lot of time in my 20s on the wrong guys.
What is your favourite word?