Friday 18 October 2019

Feist and fury

Muppet fan Leslie knew she’d made it in a Kermit duet

MUM'S THE WORD: 'My Mum was the meat and potatoes person, the one who kept me alive,' says Feist
MUM'S THE WORD: 'My Mum was the meat and potatoes person, the one who kept me alive,' says Feist

IT’S ALWAYS good to help an attractive, multi-platinum-selling and highly talented young female singer-songwriter.

On her visit to Dublin last year, the rather lovely Leslie Feist was thrilled to discover that one of her idols, ‘Muppet Show’ supremo, Frank Oz, was also in town. Feist was there to play her Crawdaddy gig; Mr Oz was there to promote his latest film, ‘Death At A Funeral’.

It wasn’t for his work behind the camera that had young Feist all excited and delighted, though. It was the work that Mr Oz did with his hand up the likes of Miss Piggy, Kermit The Frog and Yoda.

She pressed a signed copy of her latest album, ‘The Reminder’, into my hand to pass on to her idol. Oh, and I had to make sure he understood that Leslie Feist was a fan.

Turned out Frank Oz hadn’t actually heard of Ms Feist, but he was more than happy to give her new album a listen.

Cut to less than a year later, and Feist is on ‘Sesame Street’, performing her omnipresent hit, ‘1234’, alongside Miss Piggy, Kermit and the rest of the Muppet gang. Coincidence? I think not…

“You see, that’s how this business works,” laughs the 32-yearold Toronto-born singer-songwriter.

“What goes around, comes around. This has actually been not just a career highpoint for me, appearing on ‘Sesame Street’, but a life highpoint. To be on the show you grew up watching… man, I’ve finally made it.”

Yep, it’s amazing what one handsome, firm-buttocked young Irish journalist can do. With a little help, of course, from one catchy song.

Is there any corner of the world that hasn’t been infected by ‘1234’ yet? From its inclusion on the iPod nano ads to winning a Juno Award in April for Single Of The Year, the song has been impossible to ignore. But it’s in ‘The Reminder’, and ‘Let it Die’, that the real musical therapy is going on.

It soon becomes evident that her creative side is not a fluke.

“What was, I think, the ideal temperature that my parents set was that they were on different sides of the country, and I spent most of my time with my mum, and visited my dad. He became something of a mentor.

“He was just the guy I got to learn amazing vocabulary from, and talk about amazing art with, and go to the museum, and the book store. My mum was the meat and potatoes person, the one who kept me alive.

“She’s still like that. The bank won’t give me a Visa card, so, my mum’s still my co-signer, and still gets my Visa statement every month. She phones me up and says, ‘What are you doing spending $70 in… what is this place?’“

But surely now with recent successes her position is more secure?

“Maybe it’s different for a band, because it’s always a compromise, but in my boat, I could easily just go and open a book store for five years, and come back to this when I feel it’s gestated just right.”

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