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Duffy’s circus


At just 23,
Duffy wants
to be doing
all the
things that
normal 23-
year-olds do
– such as

YOUNG AND FREE: At just 23, Duffy wants to be doing all the things that normal 23- year-olds do – such as dating!

YOUNG AND FREE: At just 23, Duffy wants to be doing all the things that normal 23- year-olds do – such as dating!

She's "the new Dusty Springfield", as well as "this year's Amy Winehouse" and "the one to watch in 2008".

But whatever tag is used to describe her, chances are you'll have already heard of 23-year-old Welsh songstress Duffy.

The singularly monikered singer (“My name's actually Aimee, but don't call me that, it's way too official'') is currently at No 1 in the UK with her Motown-infused debut single Mercy, and releases her first album on Monday.

“I feel impatient at the moment, I just want the album to come out now,'' she says in her soft Welsh lilt, before explaining why she's looking forward to the release of Rockferry so much.

“I'm performing the songs live every night, but there are probably only about four of the 10 songs on the album that people know at the moment. I don't make my music so I can get a kick out of it – I mean, I do really enjoy it, obviously – but it's more for other people to enjoy.

“I can't wait for people to own the album, appreciate it, and then come to the shows and sing along. At the moment, I just get doll faces staring back at me, kind of open-mouthed, wide-eyed stares. A couple of people mime the words they know, but I can't wait for it all to be about the audience rather than me.''

It's the first of a few selfless, almost self-deprecating comments from the star-tobe, born in the small north Wales town of Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula.

That's not to say she's hard on herself or melancholic – far from it, she's bright, chirpy and utterly charming despite a gruelling schedule at the moment – but even though she loves her music, she's not sure why she's getting so much attention.

“It's all very unexpected, the response I've been getting. Lots of people want to talk to me, but I'm honestly not that interesting,'' she says with a wry smile. “People should just listen to my record – it says everything about me.''

Rockferry does sound like an immensely personal album.

Named after a town on the Wirral, it brims with the epic melodrama of the likes of The Walker Brothers and Phil Spector's fabled Wall Of Sound, with the enduring, timeless songs of Motown's mid-60s heyday and, of course, Duffy's soulful, distinctive voice.

Thematically, it's all classic fare – love, heartbreak, loss and regret – but it never sounds cliched. Sure, we've been told by countless singers before Duffy to “hold on” (Hanging On Too Long), and she's definitely not the first to declare she's not a “stepping stone” to another relationship (Stepping Stone), but in Duffy's hands, such sentiments ring fresh, honest and true.

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So what does the rest of the year hold for Duffy? There'll undoubtedly be numerous festival appearances, and tour dates for May have just been announced, but despite this, Duffy's looking forward to much more ordinary things.

“I probably need something else to think about apart from this album, which I've been living and breathing for the past four years.

“I want to go out and have a laugh, and maybe I'll go on a couple of dates. Why not? Basically, I want to do all the things that any other single 23-year-old wants to do.''

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