Tuesday 12 December 2017

Moloko's Roisin: 'You have to pay me a lot to perform 'Sing it Back''

New Release: Roisín Murphy
New Release: Roisín Murphy

Stephen Milton

Moloko's 'Sing it Back' is an anthem for a generation; a relentless floor-filler that remains as fresh today as it did when it first filled the floors of Ibiza's super-clubs 15 years ago.

And, overnight, it made Roisin Murphy a star.

Returning to the spotlight after a seven-year hiatus, however, she'll need some serious persuasion to resurrect the timeless classic during her upcoming tour.

"It was a stone-cold hit," says the singer, "but it sort of gets on my nerves now. And you have to pay me an awful lot of money to perform that song." She pauses. "That's not really what I mean."

Murphy offers a weary, warm smile. "If some oligarch books me to sing at his wedding and he's like, 'Please, that's why we got married, you have to do Time is Now or Sing it Back, then you say, 'it'll cost more money'. I'm saying, it costs more money to tell me what to sing."

Famed for an intriguingly sullen performance, Murphy released two rhythmic masterpieces in the mid-Noughties, the albums Ruby Blue and Overpowered, after Moloko disbanded. Then she vanished.

"It's no mystery," she snorts. "I had two children (Clodagh, four, from a relationship with artist Simon Henwood, and 20 month-old Tadhg with partner Sebastiano Properzi).

"And there were plans after Overpowered to release a house record. But then my daughter came along and it was difficult to set aside time."

A third solo record is now on the boil. Before that, she releases Mi Senti, another EP of rare covers – and one original composition – which doff a cap to Italian artists of the '60s and '70s, including Mina and Lucio Battisti.

"My music's like waiting for a bus," she says. "You wait a long time for one then a whole heap of them come along."

Her first experiences of public performance were traditional singsongs with her Arklow-based clan.

"I learned to sing 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina' as a present for my mammy who was away when I was nine. When she came back, they were having a few drinks in Aunty Linda's house, and I got up and sang it, and [the family] were like: 'She can sing'.

"So at every singsong thereafter, they used to run after me and I'd run away. They'd joke, 'we'll have to pay her a fiver. Even then, Roisin knew how to make money from singing'."

Murphy smirks. "Guess it wasn't a bad way to start out."

MI SENTI IS OUT ON FRIDAY

Irish Independent

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