Blonde, Blue Eyes, and Soul

By Leslie Krouse

If you haven’t heard of Duffy by now, you really need to turn on the radio or the TV.  But, just in case you haven’t, this 24-year-old blonde beauty has been taking the world by storm since the release of her debut album ‘Rockferry’ back in March ‘08.  Her soulful voice has already enticed many of the nation’s musical tastemakers, and news of its beauty, and of the strength of her songs, is spreading by word of mouth even as you read these words.

Duffy was born Aimee Anne Duffy June 23, 1984 in Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales. She dropped her first name at the age of 19, calling herself just simply Duffy professionally and personally.  Duffy spent her childhood years in the north Wales coastal community of Nefyn, where she moved to at the age of 10. This is a place too remote to be driven by style wars, or opposing music factions (the nearest record counter was a bus ride away, and only stocked the Top 40).  Having no CD collection of her own, her first real musical memory is of walking into the kitchen unannounced to find her mother and stepfather dancing to Rod Stewart. The first steps she took towards defining her own personal identity came when she borrowed one of her dad’s VHS tapes of the ‘60s TV show ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ “It had The Beatles, the Stones, the Walker Brothers, Sandie Shaw and Millie singing  ‘My Boy Lollipop’. So sexy and exciting! I played it again and again until finally it disintegrated”, recalls Duffy.

Record producer, guitarist, and co-writer Bernard Butler states, “Duffy managed to grow up without any concept of what was cool or current, what she should or shouldn’t like, how to behave or even how to sing. For her, coming to London at all was the stuff of fairytales.” “And to come here to write songs with some random bloke who’d been recommended to her, me? It meant taking two buses and then two trains and took all day. Then she’d do the same in reverse to get home, playing the music she’d just made to old ladies she encountered on the journey. It’s hard for cynical music industry types to get their heads around just how far removed she was from our world, geographically and in every other way. But what you’ve got as a result is someone who acts and sings completely and unselfconsciously from the heart. That’s a rare and magical thing.”

Duffy album “Rockburry” named after a small town where here fathers from, debuted at number one on the UK Album Charts, selling over 3 million copies worldwide so far. Duffy is the first Welsh female to achieve a number one pop single in the past 25 years with her second single ‘Mercy’.  “People keep saying to me, ‘You’ve made a great record’ but I can’t take that in, because I didn’t do it on my own. “ She also has revealed that both “Mercy” and “Stepping Stone” are autobiographical. “Mercy” is about “sexual liberty” and “not doing something somebody else wants you to do” and “Stepping Stone” is about not expressing her feelings to a person she fell in love with.

Duffy starts her first headlining North American tour right here in San Diego on October 9th at Humphrey’s by the Bay. Duffy is the real thing.  You can feel and hear the genuine heartfelt sounds, which emanates from every part of her being. “People keep asking me where my voice comes from and the fact is I don’t know,” says the brightest new star of 2008. “Why are your eyes the color they are? It’s no answer at all but it’s the only one I have.”

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