This was originally published on Teentoday.co.uk, which has since been lost to the dark dusty recesses of the Internet’s store cupboard (RIP). So I wanted to share it on here as Nerina is not only an amazing singer-songwriter but also a very fun interviewee…
Here at Teentoday, we’ve been crossing our fingers for the day when Nerina Pallot makes it big so we can say we told you about her first. You know, like we did with Girls Can’t Catch, The Dolly Rockers and VV Brown… whadd’ya mean, who?!
Anyway, in celebration of the recent release of Nerina’s really-rather-good single, Put Your Hands Up (which has received regular-blasting-out-of-speakers status at Teentoday Towers) and its parent album, Year Of The Wolf (nothing to do with Twilight), we had a little chat with the woman herself about all sorts of important matters. You know, like Cheryl Cole’s hair, the probability of her doing grime, Arsenal’s goalkeeper and mistakenly insinuating that she’s an old lady. Oops. We let her talk about serious stuff too, promise!
We’re loving your new song Put Your Hands Up and the one-take dance-athon video… but how come you’re not busting out a few more dance moves here and there? We wanted to see your funky chicken!
Nobody needs to see my funky chicken, let me tell you.
Can you fill us in on what exactly was the ‘inappropriate content’ that got Put Your Hands Up taken off Youtube? Too much dancing?
That’s right, it was too much of my funky chicken…. Um, no, basically Chris Moyles tweeted the link to the video and it went from a few hundred views to a few thousand in a matter of minutes, so YouTube thought something weird was going on. But it was Moyles. He broke my vid! Ha.
Is it true that PYHU was originally written for Kylie?
I wrote it with my husband around the time we were writing tracks for her last album and there is a track called Put Your Hands Up on that too which is where the confusion has happened I think.
We love the PYHU Like It’s 1987 remix even more! Any chance of you giving some similarly poptastic remixes to some of your older stuff? Or doing the remixed version at live shows?
I’m very tempted. I’m very tempted to make a two-CD album where one is acoustic and the other is bubblegum pop versions of the same songs. [This sounds AMAZING. Make it happen Nerina. And then credit us for giving you the idea too!]
Can you tell us more about the sound of your forthcoming album, Year Of The Wolf? How does it compare to your previous releases?
It’s a little more reflective than my last album The Graduate, but also a bit more epic I think. Loads of strings, brass, all sorts.
Any particular favourite tracks you can tell us about?
I’m really pleased with the way Put Your Hands Up turned out, it was so much fun to record. There is another song on the album called Grace, which means a lot to me, and was recorded the night before my son was born.
You dressed up as a rabbit for your last album, The Graduate. Can we expect to see a wolf costume this time? Any howling/Shakira gyrating in a cage antics up your sleeve?
Everyone thought that I would be in a wolf costume on the cover. But no. It’s just me, with a hat on. Not very Shakira at all.
You sing your own material yet also write for other people like Kylie Minogue and Diana Vickers. Is it hard to give up your songs or do you enjoy hearing other people’s interpretations of your lyrics?
I feel really honoured when people choose to record my songs. I wrote them for as many people as possibly to hear them, so I never feel like I’m giving them up!
Any good gossip on Kylie or Diana?
My lips are sealed…
You write and produce with your husband. How’s that feed into the work/life balance? Any blazing rows over the speakers?
No, my other half Andy is the only person I can co-write with and not feel self-conscious.
I read that you “struggle with the co-writing process” and have discarded lots of co-written songs in the past. How come?
Because I felt like I wasn’t being honest or really myself with someone else in the room who I didn’t know really well. As a songwriter, you often go into a room with someone you barely know to do something that can be quite soul baring and emotional, and I seize up in those situations.
It feels like you’ve always been “on the cusp” of being the next big thing. How did you get over things like being dropped from your record contract and “disappointing” chart positions, and carry on?
I guess I’ve always done music for music’s sake – so I just keep making music regardless of whether it goes in the chart or not. That stuff has never motivated me – writing the best songs I possibly can does.
You take a lot of cover requests via Twitter for your live streams. Are there any songs that you deem un-coverable? Can we hope for Nerina’s take on rap or grime?
I wouldn’t know where to begin with Chipmunk. That kind of stuff just hurts my ears, it’s totally lost on me. And I like a lot of hip hop but it’s just nonsense to me. Nah. No grime covers from me any time soon.
You’ve been “in the industry” for a long time now; what are your thoughts on the whole X Factor/Idol breeding ground of pop stars? After the whole Cheryl Cole fiasco, would you ever be a judge on these panel shows?
I think it’s important that these shows exist. I think it’s unlikely we’re gonna get the next Prince or even Adele from one of them, but they’ve always existed. I just wish the music the artists released was a bit more creative and less predictable. Yeah, I can totally see myself as the new Cheryl Cole. I mean, come on, I’m worth it, aren’t I?!
How do you balance the demands of being a pop star with having a baby?
I don’t really think I’m a pop star and he comes first really, so it’s how do I fit everything in around him.
Your son is called Wolfgang Amadeus. Surely, with a name like that, a career in pop stardom beckons? Is he showing any musical inclinations yet?
Well, mad as it sounds, we just gave him that name ‘cos we loved it, not ‘cos we wanted him to be a musician, but… yes, he is already really into the music. It’s quite scary!
You’re a renowned Arsenal fan. As a girlfriend who is abandoned every weekend for the Arsenal game, can you give me any tips on how to improve my fandom? Are you also as stressed about Almunia [Arsenal’s crap goalkeeper who apparently ruins their chances every game] as my boyfriend is?
The problem is, this Almunia stress has been going on for YEARS, and it shows no sign of going away, so your boyfriend might be a bit stressed for a while longer. If you’re still not sure about whether to go to a game, think about this: if you get decent seats, you get to see hot fit young men running around all sweaty, and depending where you’re sitting, you get to see them bending over a lot and taking their tops off. Believe me, it can really cheer a girl up on a rainy Saturday afternoon….
You also recently completed a degree in English Lit. Why did you decide to go back to that? Were you ever bullied by any of the young and hip teens on your course? [There used to be an eighty year-old mature student on my English course called Eve and someone set up a Facebook Fan Page saying she was one of the original characters from Paradise Lost and may also have appeared in The Canterbury Tales… It got shut down.]
Are you saying I’m EIGHTY? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?! I was actually not the oldest person on my course actually so no, no bullying went on. Even though I realised the other day that I am old enough to be Justin Bieber’s mother, and that made me want a little lie-down.
Finally, a few quick pop questions:
– Fave Spice Girl? Sporty – Mel C.
– Britney Spears: still got it or past it? Past it, which breaks my heart.
– Cheryl Cole: nation’s sweetheart or bored already? A bit bemused by it in the first place. I mean, she beats people up in toilets. But she has lovely hair.
– Fantasy X Factor judging line-up? Simon Cowell, Anne Robinson, Robbie Williams and Me.
– Favourite Kylie era (Aphrodite bias nonwithstanding)? Confide in Me and the whole Kylie Minogue album era. Amazing. She should start wearing specs again, she looked incredible.
– Lady Gaga: insanely awesome or getting a bit much? Aargh. Getting a bit much, but only just.
– Biggest pop star crush? George Michael. I still haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that we won’t be settling down and raising kids and small animals together.
– Tip for one to watch? Birdy, she’s got an amazing voice and is still about 8 years old or something.
– Greatest musical inspiration? Kate Bush. If I’m old, she’s like your granny or something.
Nerina’s latest album, Year Of The Wolf, is out now. It’s quite good.