Pink talks motherhood, touring and why she will never judge on X Factor

September 18th, 2012

Pink was in town this week to play the iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in Camden. I met with the star to discuss motherhood and touring. I asked her why she’s never been a judge on a reality show like X Factor and she told me: “Because I have a life. I have a kid and a husband and so much more to do and because I don’t want to be cruel for sport. These shows just aren’t my thing….they have a place but they’re not for me.”
She revealed she’s going to embark on a world tour in April next year and will hit the UK again – but how will she top her Funhouse tour which saw her swinging – Cirque Du Soleil style – from the ceilings.
“I’ve got a new move I want to do called the shoulder ripper which will make things interesting,” she laughed. “I can’t wait to get back on the road and my daughter Willow will be with me all the way which will be different.”
And has motherhood tamed her? “No, I’m still crazy and I’m still wild,” she laughed. “I love to drink wine and party but I’m now so happy about life. I’m probably in the best place of my life. I can’t get enough of Willow – she’s just so damn cute. Man, I didn’t get babies and I never thought I would be that woman who talked and talked about their baby….and here I am – I could talk til tomorrow about her.”

Example goes on a BLENDER!

September 18th, 2012

There was a time that Example would be the last at the party – wasted and bordering being out of control.

But he’s confessed his days of drink, drugs and debauchery are over partly due to his stunning Australian model girlfriend Erin McNaught.

Sitting down with me this week Example – real name Elliot Gleave – confessed: “I was a minor wannabe rock and roll d**k head for a few years and now I’m happy, wanting to get married and keeping healthy.

“Erin hasn’t changed me but she’s made realise who I am again. Elliot before music was quite a nice person, Elliot after a few number one hits was an egotistical t**t with a couple of minor soft controllable addictions and now I’m much better again.

“I can’t help it right now. I’m happy. I’ve got a really lovely girlfriend who is incredible and I hope to get married and have children. I’m not doing drugs and alcohol every week. I’ve grown up and it feels bloody good.”

The star, 30, who releases new single Say Nothing this week, says he’s changed his entire outlook on life to stay fit and healthy – he’s even shocked himself with his smoothie making and super food diet and aspires to be as healthy as MADONNA.

“I used to read stories on Madonna and how she had her own nutritionist, her own masseuse and her own personal trainer and think she was an idiot,” he laughed. “But the summer took it out of me. I did 48 gigs and 68 flights in two months. However hard you think you can work – you can’t. There’s a limit. I’m not going macrobiotic and I don’t want to be as muscly as Madonna but you get the picture. You need to look after yourself.

“I’m having ten hours sleep every night. I’ve got a f***ing blender and I’m making power smoothies. I mean, what the f**k. A blender has changed my life. All I do is eat super food salads with legumes. Before I was like what the f**k are legumes? Now I’m eating them and loving it.

“I’ll be bringing out a f**king yoga DVD next.”

But with happiness comes genuine fear – he worries he won’t be able to write chartopping hits now that he’s found so much happiness in his life.

“I’m so boring – all I talk about is home improvements,” he says. “I love Homes Under the Hammer now. I’ve realised the next album could be the last time I write melancholic depressing pop anthems with interesting melodies and lyrics.

“My next album might be the most boring album ever. I’ve always written my best songs when I’ve been paranoid and depressed and in a bad way. And I’m not now. Chris Martin seems pretty f***ing happy and he writes sad songs – so maybe I’ll go and get tips on him. He probably has a blender too.”

Sure he does!

INTERVIEW: Karima Francis

August 11th, 2012

Karima Francis is one of those artists that don’t come along very often.
She sings from the heart and her lyrics are amazing. If I could buy a thousand copies of her debut album and give them out on the streets then I would do it. The Remedy – out Monday – is an amazing album.
I’ll be playing for years….and I hope people get to know this wonderful singer.
She played an incredible live set at my third column bash in June too – and live her voice was even better.
It’s Karima’s second chance at chart success after developing anorexia three years ago while promoting her debut The Author.
Fortunately she took time out to get better and she’s now happy, healthy and more determined than ever. And her illness has provoked some moving songwriting material on The Remedy.
Anyway, here’s the interview – enjoy!

You are back with your second album. With everything that you went through on your debut how does it feel to be back?
Just to have the chance to do a second record is flattering and overwhelming. And the fact that it has been received so well – what more can I ask for? I didn’t go in the studio thinking that I needed to better the first record so the pressure was off. It was quite old-school in that we got the songs together, worked them out, and went and recorded it. It was a nice experience. I know it is quite a sad record and it is probably hard for a listener because it is quite emotional but it’s also really honest. A lot of people are saying nice things about it so I’m very excited.

How hard was it for you to open up with your song writing because a lot of the songs seem to come from quite a painful place?
It wasn’t hard! If there is anything about me it’s probably that I wear my heart too much on my sleeve. A lot of people probably try and protect themselves but it’s just the person that I am. When I am writing lyrics I never feel, ‘Ooh I shouldn’t write that. I just write whatever comes into my head and be true to myself’.

Those songs obviously look back to a different time so how does it feel to perform them on stage? Does it feel like you are singing about yourself or a different person?
It depends how I’m feeling because sometimes a set can completely tear me apart whether it’s because I’ve got my ex on my mind or something else. When you have an illness like that…I’m still working on it. It’s still hard for me and I still have to do certain things to keep myself well. It’s not like it has completely gone. It’s quite overwhelming that I’m back and able to do this because it strips a big confidence away from you. When I’m up on stage I have to deal with the fact that I’m back but I feel like a different person. It’s almost like have to get to ‘re-know’ yourself.

What do you mean by getting to ‘re-know’ yourself?
How do I explain this? You are putting so much energy and effort into something like an illness or recovering that you kind of loose your personality. You also loose grip with how you used to do things. Everything feels new and being happy now feels different to how I used to feel when I was happy because I never used to question it. It’s just like growing up and music just reminds you of the journey you have taken. Music has been my saviour really because it is the one thing that has kept me fighting. I’m obsessed about my art. For instance, today I woke up and the first thing I did was steam my nose to warm up my voice. I literally beat myself up if I don’t rehearse every day even if I’m not doing a gig. I like being almost ready to go on stage at all times. That has now become my whole focus in life. With this record coming out it’s great that everyone has started picking up on it but at the same time if it doesn’t go as well as people thought it will be devastating to stop gigging. Fingers crossed I get to continue. It’s strange to know that something can drive you so much. When I was younger I used to be a scally in Blackpool and I got banned from the town for being naughty. It was just harmless fun but when I found myself I then channelled all of my energies into that. It’s crazy that I could have turned out to be a completely different person.

You say music has been your saviour. What do you feel that you owe to it?
I owe it my complete dedication and my every spare moment I’ve got to give it. The comments that I get are really amazing and people say that it helps them get through things and that’s the thing that I want to do my music. I have always wanted to help people and when I was a kid I used to watch TV charity adverts and say to my mum, ‘One day I want to help those people’. Before I found myself I wanted to work with people that had learning difficulties. I’ve always been passionate about helping people even if it is just one person. I hope that I can do that with my music.

Have you been getting that reaction?
Yeah people have been saying that the music has helped get them through a lot of bad times. I do get a lot of messages which is a great feeling. I’m not very intelligent but with my own emotions and experiences I can help someone else out. For me that is a really fulfilling thing to know.

You mention your confidence on stage – what’s that like now with the second album?
I think I used to be more confident and I never used to think about my singing technique or anything like that. I think the confidence in my own self just went a little bit. Every gig that I do I am kind of in shock when I see people reacting the way that they do. I’m always thinking what they are thinking which is probably not a good thing but hopefully I will get passed that one day soon. I want to be the best performer that they can have in front of them without being forceful.

Above: Lisa Stansfield and Karima

For anyone that hasn’t been to one of your gigs what would you say that they can expect from a live performance?
It’s quite intense and dynamic and also very honest. I like to talk to people when I’m on-stage and a lot of people pick out that I am quite talkative. I don’t want the audience to think that they are separate from me so I do like to talk to them and make sure that everyone is OK. I’m quite personal with people that watch my music.

You are also quite funny on stage when you speak…
People say that and I think it’s just my nerves. I can go off on one at times and I’m quite emotive and deep. But when I’m put on the spot I can say something quite ridiculous!

What tracks really stand out for you on new album The Remedy?
I think Forgiven when it hits the chorus because there are some intricate melodies going on there and to me it is just amazing. Also Stay because I’ve always wanted to make a song which is classically structured and that’s the nearest that I’ve got to it. I also think Days Like These is probably the most epic sounding and it almost sounds like a roaring sea of emotion. If the album did well I would be really excited and I am the kind of artist where I would work really hard. I give my manager’s a hard time when I’m not gigging. I can’t understand why I can’t have a gig every day or two or three gigs a day. I would quite happily get in a van and gig every single day if I could. The kind of artist that I want to be is one that is on the road for the rest of the day. I want to be on stage still when I am ninety and to be wheeled on and off. Then I can do gigs from the hospital when I’m on my way out!

When you were growing up who did you grow up listening to and who were your musical idols?
It’s weird because I got into music quite late and when I was growing up the people I listened to the most was probably The Carpenters and Annie Lennox. That was because my mum would listen to them loudly at night. She showed me Simon and Garfunkel and that’s when I started getting in to music. Then I went my own way and through Dylan I started moving on to grunge music and got into people like Pearl Jam which led to quite grungy stuff like The Smashing Pumpkins. Then I went on to Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett. And it went from going from really heavy to when Damien Rice first came out. One of my current loves is Ray LaMontagne. He is my ultimate and does everything in a way I could only dream of.

What do you think of your fellow chart musicians?
There is so much music that doesn’t really touch me or set anything off. I like to feel music and it quite a lot of it doesn’t connect with me at all. Lyrically there isn’t a lot of stuff which touches me. I feel that I’m always going back with my music and going back through my collection!

Interview By Natalie Edwards

On The Grapevine…

July 14th, 2012

*X Factor’s Misha B definitely hasn’t lost any of the forwardness which she displayed on the show. But the singer – who finished fourth in the comp – tells me she initially hit rock bottom after accusations that she was a bully.
She said: “You live and you learn. Because of the pressure of the show it went from being about the one thing I love – which is my music – to me as a person.
“I lost my confidence but since coming out of the show I have got to be myself a lot more. So now I am cool and happy.
“There has never been a time where I haven’t looked back on any of my life experiences as positive. I feel that without the lows there would be no highs and I feel that if I hadn’t gone through that then I wouldn’t be the strong person that I am today.”
And as she prepares herself to release her first single Home Run tomorrow, Misha reveals she’s a big fan of winner’s Little Mix debut offering Wings.
“I absolutely love it because it was such a beautiful unexpected surprise. Being on the show I didn’t know what to expect from them as a girlband. But I’m excited for them.” Me too.

*Here’s a random one for you! Former England footie star Dion Dublin is swapping penalties for pirouettes as he’s joined the board of directors for….Birmingham Royal Ballet! My tutu-clad source told me: “Dion is a closet culture geek and loves going to the ballet with his missus. He’s also an accomplished amateur percussionist and even invented a percussion instrument called ‘The Dube’!” Who the hell knew.

*An unlikely bromance has formed between The Voice coach will.i.am and Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson.
Speaking at the EF Education First Summeranza Festival The Voice mentor let slip: “Richard is dope. He is a guy who went from music to airlines and from airlines to space. Space is dope. He is an idol of mine and someone I keep my eye on.”

*Emma Willis is going places these days. Obviously she’s on C5 screens doing Big Brother’s Bit On The Side for the next few months and she’s filming in on This Morning for Holly Willoughby nowadays. But her new venture sees her alongside Alexander Armstrong on ITV1′s new gameshow Prize Island. It’s the equivalent of a new age It’s A Knockout without ridiculous cash prizes and hi-tech challenges. And Emma can’t wait to start work. She tells me: “In my head the show is Lost meets the Hunger Games without anybody dying. I actually believe it’s going to be like me being in Lost. It’s very much old school when it comes to the challenges and the prizes. It’s simple and some of the team who have worked on I’m A Celebrity challenges are on board with us.”
Meanwhile Emma is preparing for the start of Celebrity Big Brother at the end of the summer too – she wants Joan Rivers, Richard Madeley, Boy George and Adam Ant in the house. Good choices!

*Model Daisy Lowe was feeling super shy when it came to posing up next to film star Danny Dyer (above) at the grand opening of Leicester Square’s brand new Hippodrome Casino. Fortunately she livened up when Danny whisked her off to hit the black jack tables on the main casino floor. Elsewhere models Jade Parfitt and Jodie Kidd were squealing as the roulette wheel span. The Hippodrome renovation project has been 30 months coming and they’ve spent a whopping £40 million on it. It’s British family owned, there’s no membership policy, it’s 24 hours and has state-of-the-art electronic gaming machines.

*Great Expectations hottie Douglas Booth was showing off his new mane of shoulder length extensions while hanging out at Wireless in the Barclaycard Unwind area with a hot blonde.
He told me: “I’ve had to have them put in for a role and it took them ages to put them in. They have been glued-in so I can’t take them out while I’m still working on the film.
“I’m appearing in Black Swan director’s Darren Aronofsky new film which is an adaptation of Noah. I’m playing Noah’s youngest son Shem and Russell Crowe is playing Noah which is pretty cool!”

Kylie Minogue miffed after Jason Donovan duet is cancelled…

July 14th, 2012

Kylie Minogue told me she was gutted this week’s eagerly awaited duet with Jason Donovan didn’t go ahead following Pete Waterman’s Hit Factory Live being cancelled this week.
She said: “I’m absolutely gutted because I know a lot of people were looking forward to it and so was I. We had rehearsed and put a lot of work into it but sadly these things happen. Obviously people had booked time off work and sorted their travel arrangements so I’m really upset. You never know, maybe it will happen one day.” Fingers crossed!
In a bid to cheer herself up Miss Minogue went to the fabulous Hurly Burly Show at London’s Duchess Theatre, which is produced by her stylish friend William Baker. She took her man Andres Velencoso and a group of friends with her…and it worked! Kyle’s was whooping, cheering and the first one out of the seats to dance along. Burlesque show Hurly Burly runs for six weeks….

50 Cent Talks Robert De Niro and dieting for new role in ‘Freelancers’

July 14th, 2012

Rappers and diets sit together like Posh Spice and Primark.
But when a role in the new Robert Di Nero film Freelancers came calling 50 Cent tried to whip his booty into shape by jumping on the Beyonce maple syrup bandwagon.
The Cayenne Pepper Diet became THE fad diet after it helped Bey shift the bounds for Dreamgirls. But sadly for Fiddy it failed to make his curves as svelte…
“ I did a lot of things for to get my part in Freelancers,” he laughed at the launch of his SMS Audio by 50 Cent on O2 headphone range. “I had to lose 60 pounds so I was literally on liquids for nine weeks.
“I started with the Cayenne Pepper Diet but it didn’t work for me as that’s, like, for women! It’s not for humans!
“This movie is one of the best things I’ve been involved with. The talent involved is top notch and it humbles you.
“Robert’s become a great friend and it’s great to know people like him believe in me – I even persuaded him to do a shoot with me for the cover of VIBE magazine.”

No Doubt are BACK with Settle Down

July 14th, 2012

Rejoice. No Doubt are back and ready to unleash their new studio album upon the world.
I’ve had an advance listen to lead single Settle Down (out Sep 17) and I’m thrilled to inform you it’s a belter of a summer song. The song goes to radio tomorrow….
Fans of the band need not worry the foursome have gone electro or too modern – the single is unmistakenly No Doubt. Gwen Stefani’s vocals are slick, it has the perfect reggae vibe for the summer and if anything it’s far more ‘old school’ No Doubt than anything else.
And there’s good news for fans of the band – they’re hoping to tour the UK in September. Get. In.

Mad Men star Christina Hendricks parties in Rio for Johnnie Walker Blue Label

July 12th, 2012

Now boys, try to concentrate on these words please.

JOHNNIE WALKER® BLUE LABEL™ pulled out all the stops for their ‘Ultimate Game Changing Experience’ at the Hotel Fasano in Rio de Janiero yesterday. They hired Emmy-nominated actress Christina Hendricks to pitch up and shake her tooshie in Brazil.

Christina looked fresh faced, well dressed and pure class. There’s really nothing more to say except wow….