We Chat to Paloma Faith Ahead of Her Royal Concert Hall Show

Words: Narzra Ahmed
Photos: Yan Wasiuchnik
Friday 23 February 2024
reading time: min, words

Paloma Faith will be bringing her Glorification of Sadness tour to Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall in April of this year. The tour shares its name with her latest album and is a rebirth, of sorts, in terms of her artistry. It feels like she goes deeper into her emotions and her personal relationships when it comes to songwriting for this album, released last Friday, and there are dance floor hits as well as tearjerkers. We spoke with Paloma, over Zoom, about new eras, being vulnerable in her new music and why she feels female artists aren’t given enough credit in the music industry...

230914 Paloma D1 0186 Credit Yan Wasiuchnik

We spoke with Paloma, over Zoom, about new eras, being vulnerable in her new music and why she feels female artists aren’t given enough credit in the music industry. It was interesting to speak with Paloma, because the ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ singer is someone who has been through so much heartbreak of late and she doesn’t hide this at any point during our interview, but then her new album, ‘The Glorification of Sadness’ is such a banger-filled celebration of women’s empowerment too. These seem to be contrasting themes and yet the heartbreak and the rediscovering of oneself make perfect themes for a sixth studio album.

As mentioned, with the new album comes a new era for Paloma Faith and her fans. Paloma explains: “I am jokingly calling it my MILF era, but I think that’s really [through] gritted teeth and extreme insecurity, but it’s meant to be an empowering moment of women’s liberation. I think, in many ways, it started, and it’s not finished. We’re abandoned, halfway through, with this patriarchal-induced idea of what is feminism. It’s not equality. We’re doing too much.” Paloma goes on to say: “I feel like we’re burning out and I feel like that was the source of the end of the relationship I was in was really, if I am honest. It was about having too much on my shoulders.”

The tracks on ‘The Glorification of Sadness’ are mostly upbeat and dance-y with the most devastatingly honest lyrics. At one point, Paloma sings: “It hurts to be alive.” It is her most personal album yet. “I think I had a breakdown,” she tells us, very openly and honestly. “I think breaking up with my children’s dad… I got really lost mentally.” Her voice cracks as she explains what she has been through. “I think [all the albums] are personal, but it was the most dramatic, life-changing thing that I’d ever had to experience and therefore that translates in the writing.

Paloma cannot wait to tour. It’s the highlight of her working life.  “I am so excited. It’s the reason why I do this job. It’s my favourite thing in the world to do.” Fans can expect a good time, of course, but Paloma doesn’t give too much away about what the live shows will entail. “Well, I don’t want to give too much away because I think it’s more exciting when it’s a surprise. But I think it would be good for people to learn all the words of my new album and, also, maybe revise the old hits.” She laughs.

When deciding what her  new album would focus on, Paloma didn’t sit down and plan or strategise. Instead, she let her emotions lead the way and inspire her new material. “I was so depressed and sad that I just wrote what came out.” Reflecting on these emotions meant the lyrics to the songs “all made sense” after a while.

However, Paloma recognises the irony behind using heartbreak as an inspiration for an album which will be sold as ‘entertainment’ to adoring fans. It’s something she is coming to terms with. “That’s why I called it ‘The Glorification of Sadness’. It’s all about [how] every artist’s pain is for sale. It feels slightly sinister. The relationship to turn your sadness into a commodity. But also sort of reassuring that it means that other people will feel you gave them words to articulate their own feelings.”

Collaborating with other artists and writers on this album was important to Paloma. Collaborators include Kojey Radical, who features on her previous single ‘Pressure’, and Charlie Puth, to name a few. It was a positive experience. “I’ve always worked in collaboration throughout my career but I think, in this situation, I did feel very held and nurtured by the people I worked with.”

There is a track on the album, ‘Divorce’ which is about how incompatible two people can become and how this inevitably results in heartache. Paloma’s personal life influences her music to such an extent that she says: “It’s the only thing that influences my music.”

Paloma took no prisoners when it came to working in the studio. “I’ve always been executive producer of all my albums, and I thought, as I am writing this album, I am going to get credit for it this time. Because quite often you don’t, especially not as a female artist. “I think I really dug my heels in this time. I was like, ‘I am in charge’”.

Paloma Faith will be coming to Nottingham's RCH on 5 April

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