Home' LOTL : Sep 2014 Contents for everyone, right? How we appear and
seem to others isn’t exactly how we feel on
the inside. This album feels more upbeat
than your previous two. Would you agree?
Totally. I did that on purpose because I just
love playing live, and I found myself always be-
ing, like, “ I want to get them dancing!” [laughs]
“ I ’ve got nothing to get them dancing!” I was
just thinking about touring, basically. Most of
the album, except the Pharrell production and
“Only Love Can Hurt Like This,” is all kind of
very live, so that it’s re-creatable on the stage.
The album’s lyrics convey a sense of
mourning while still evoking power. Do you
think your lyrics have found a special place
in the gay community?
As far as I know, I ’m connecting to every-
one, because we’re all human. I find this kind
of a funny question, because I don’t see any dif-
ference, emotionally, between people. I watch
films where people have their hearts broken,
gay or straight...The amount of tears I shed
over Blue Is the Warmest Color! Are you famil-
iar with the film?
Oh yes, I am. I think my question was more
about how the gay community, histori-
cally, has identified with artists who show
strength in the face of adversity.
I find popular culture, [female] music in
popular culture in particular, quite disturb-
ing—the way that it’s sold to me, as a woman.
To me, the male gaze, more in American music
than in British music, is quite aggressive. They
call it “girl power,” but to me it’s not. It’s still
the objectification of women for the male gaze.
Sure, you can be empowered by that, if you
think as a woman that that’s the only power
you can have, but I like to think that we can
have a music that involves intelligence, cre-
ativity, or a sense of humor—or various other
things that I like to play with in my own im-
age. Everything I do is very sensual and erotic. I
found it very degrading, for example, that there
was a “ Parental Guidance” label put on the vid-
eo I did for “Only Love Can Hurt Like This.”
Why do you think the label was added to
I find that when you’re portraying the ex-
treme vulnerability that you have in intimacy
with a person, rather than this kind of put-on
“ I’m a sex beast” image, which I find more ag-
gressive, or even pornographic...
The extreme vulnerability is too
Now that’s an interesting question, when
we’re talking about feminism. The other thing
I’ve come up against is when I cut a record and
there’s a change of gender from what it was
in the original song. Recently, I’ve been cover-
ing Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” and I always
keep to the original record, which is referring to
“ her”—“ I loved her,” and so forth. People always
come up to me and ask me why I don’t change
[the pronoun] to “ him,” and I’m like, “ Why
should I? Why shouldn’t I love a woman?”
So, do you think that people question your
sexuality because you keep that pronoun?
I don’t really care if anyone wants to question
my sexuality. I want everyone to think it’s none
of their business, that emotions are emotions,
regardless of gender. You fall in love with souls.
The difference is a material one, for you.
The body is connected to lust, the spirit or
soul to love.
I agree, and I have had very passionate
love relationships with a few women in my
life. They haven’t been consummated, but the
feelings are, like, even more than “ I love you.”
Like, it’s intense. I have one girl who I write
letters to every day. It’s a passionate thing
that’s beyond and above anything, spiritually.
Who I sleep naked with or cuddle with is
none of anyone’s business.
So, in relation to your music...
My work is to do with finding a universal
language, not accentuating or encouraging dif-
ference or segregation. I can relate to anyone
because we’re all human.
Emotions are universal. When you write
your songs, do you aim for a manifestation
of a specific emotion, or do you do some-
I genuinely start with a feeling, or with
something I’m going through at the time, and
I begin with the song more than the aesthet-
ics. [The process] is usually very spontaneous,
which is why I prefer to write an album over an
extended period of time—so that I can work
through a feeling or find an answer to a ques-
tion, I suppose.
Which female artists would you like to col-
Personally, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about
that. I don’t think there’s enough of this going
on with British artists. You know that bril-
32 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
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