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- Me, Myself, and I
- “Some people say you can’t make left-field pop music and be commercial,” announces Siobhan Donaghy, “and that’s bullshit. They always say that when there’s nothing else out there like it. I remember what was on the radio when my career began and God, it’s so diverse now in comparison. And it feels good to be a part of it.”
The new album "Ghosts", on Parlophone EMI, is released 25 June and will be in all shops and online outlets, so make sure you pick up a copy.
Visit http://www.siobhandonaghy.co.uk/ for moer information on how to pre order the new album and singles, and all the gossip to do with Siobhan.
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At 22, Siobhan is unrecognizable from the 16-year-old songbird whose laconic gaze first swept across the Sugababes’ ‘Overload’ video in the summer of 2000. She’s unrecognizable visually, musically and emotionally, her second solo album, ‘Ghosts’, a stunning sonic progression from her debut in 2003, ‘Revolution in Me’, the startling result of a collaborative “vision” from the enigmatic mind of producer/programmer James Sanger, best known for his multi-million-selling work with Keane, U2, Dido and Brian Eno. Certainly, as Siobhan says, there’s nothing else out there like it: as coolly dramatic as vintage Kate Bush, as vocally ephemeral as the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, as electro-dazzling as ‘Ray of Light’-era Madonna – a vivid dreamscape created in what Siobhan calls “a twilight zone” in coastal, north east France by an artist now fully emerged from the chrysalis her teenage self only hinted at.
“I wanted emotive sounds,” says Siobhan, “but sounds that were universal. I wouldn’t wanna be some obscure, poncey artist y’know? I am still pop.” This is pop sophistication at its classiest; dazzling, planet-sized future-pop pulsing with loss, pain, fear, forgiveness, running away – and hope. Made in a tiny French town, it’s a Big sound: from the orchestral swell of ‘So You Say’, to the soaring dramatics of ‘Coming Up For Air’, to the booming bass of the epic ‘Medivac’, to the eastern-tinged disco-pop of ‘Sometimes’ to the guitar-fried ’12 Bar Acid Blues’ to the head-spinning sorcery of colossal first single, ‘Don’t Give It Up’, a masterclass in mesmerizing, psychedelic longing. And then there’s the magical, lush-stringed beauty of ‘There Is A Place’, as if young Olivia Newton John suddenly turned up on one of Noel Gallagher’s greatest ballads. And the extraordinary title-track ‘Ghosts’, full of random words and backwards production trickery, no less than a sonic monastery.
“I’m now obsessed with my music,” she beams, “and I’ve become a real perfectionist. If I want a specific thing I have to have it and it feels good to know what I want. And this is what I want.”
2003 changed everything for then-19 year old Siobhan. Mere months after the release of the critically well-received ‘Revolution In Me (produced by pop guru Cameron McVey), she was dropped from London Records, a victim of the label’s 2003 take-over by Warners. “Everyone was dropped,” Siobhan laughs today, “everyone! But I like London Records, they signed me when I was 14, with the girls, they kept me on solo and let me make whatever kind of record I wanted to make. So I got it out of my system. And I decided from then on I’d just take everything on the chin. Much worse things, in life, can happen.”
That same month, she split with her long-term boyfriend, “which kind of over-shadowed everything, I was heart-broken, I loved him desperately”, the emotional kick-start to what would become the ethereal atmosphere which permeates ‘Ghosts’. “I made music my mission,” says Siobhan, “and it was the greatest thing to throw myself into, being productive, instead of sitting at home, miserable.”
In 2004, after an extended holiday in America, Portugal and Thailand, now a searching soul who was reading ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’, Siobhan returned to a phone call, out of the blue, from James Sanger - through her long-term management at CMO (home to Blur, Gorillaz, Graham Coxon, Turin Brakes). Inspired by ‘Revolution In Me’, Sanger was interested in a collaboration and Siobhan, intrigued and won over by his enthusiasm, hooked up with this producer she’d never even heard of, who would go on to push her musically and emotionally to unforeseeable creative heights, recording in his studio in north-west coastal France. Here was the “ghost-town” setting which would inspire the most unearthly and sophisticated mu
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