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Paloma Faith

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Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith 2013 cropped.jpg
Paloma Faith
Background information
Birth name Paloma Faith Blomfield
Born (1981-07-21) 21 July 1981 (age 34)[1]
Hackney, London
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present

Paloma Faith (born Paloma Faith Blomfield, 21 July 1981)[1][2] is an English singer, songwriter and actress, known for her retro and eccentric style.

Faith released her debut album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? in 2009, featuring the top twenty singles "Stone Cold Sober" and "New York". The album reached number nine in the United Kingdom, and was later certified double-platinum in the country. In 2012, she released her second studio album, Fall to Grace, which reached number two in the UK and has since been certified double-platinum. The album produced her first top ten single, "Picking Up the Pieces", and the top twenty cover version of INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" featured in the 2012 John Lewis advertising campaign. Her third album, A Perfect Contradiction, was released in 2014 and has become her most successful album to date. The album included the top ten singles "Can't Rely on You", and "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" which became her highest-charting single in the UK.

Besides receiving four Brit Award nominations, winning British Female Solo Artist in 2015,[3] she has also made feature film appearances in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dread and the 2007 remake of St Trinian's.

Early life[edit]

Faith was born to an English mother and Spanish father in Hackney, although her parents were both from Norfolk.[4] Her parents divorced when she was four years old, and she was raised by her mother in Stoke Newington.[5] As a child, she was encouraged to dance by her mother and took weekly ballet classes in Dalston.

After completing her A-levels at City and Islington College, she went on to study for a degree in contemporary dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds,[6] working as a hip hop dancer at popular clubnight LoveDough. She then studied for an MA in theatre directing at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, funding herself by working in various part-time jobs, including sales assistant at Agent Provocateur, singer in a burlesque cabaret, a life model and a magician's assistant.[5]

Music career[edit]

2007–08: Career beginnings[edit]

Faith's first foray into music began when she mimicked famous soul and jazz singers including Etta James and Billie Holiday, whom she admired and cites as influences for her own work.[5][7] She met her managers Jamie Binns and Christian Wåhlberg of Lateral Management in 2007.[8] Binns had been tipped off by the producer Peanut, a client who had recently worked with her in his studio and been suitably impressed.[9] He met up with Faith shortly afterwards and was "completely blown away", later saying: "I wasn't sure what this girl was going to do – she was an actress and a singer – but there was just something about her in that artistic realness that when I came out of the meeting I called Christian and said, 'We have to do something with this girl!'"[9] Although she had been looking for a manager, she was still wary about entering into a formal agreement with Binns and Wåhlberg, preferring instead to build their relationship before any contracts were signed. The managers spent six months to a year helping Faith with the A&R process, setting up sessions, and guiding and advising her before she was officially signed to Lateral Management.[9]

During her time at college, Faith worked in a pub where the manager Dr Vishaal Goel asked her to front his band, which they later called 'Paloma and the Penetrators'.[10] During a performance with the band at a cabaret show, she was scouted by an A&R man from Epic Records, who invited her to sing for the manager of the label.[10] Twenty minutes into the audition, she asked the manager to turn his phone off and when he refused, she walked out.[10] Epic A&R Joanna Charrington told HitQuarters "When she played a showcase for us it was clear that she was a star but the material was a bit generic. She didn't have the hit songs."[11] Not being one hundred percent convinced the label executives decided to wait. During this time Charrington regularly checked Faith's MySpace page "to see if she had something that had a special direction or sound."[11] After several months her attention was eventually piqued by "Broken Doll", which she thought was a well-crafted song with a "fantastic chorus and brilliant lyrics."[11] Charrington told Epic managing director Nick Raphael "I think we should get this girl back in. She sounds like she is getting it now. We can help her get the songs."[11] Faith revealed in an interview that the manager called her and offered her a contract saying he had seen many acts since and none had been as memorable as her.[10] She turned down an opportunity to join Amy Winehouse's band and began to write and perform her own songs.[12] Her first recognised work was the song "It's Christmas (And I Hate You)", which she recorded as a duet with singer-songwriter Josh Weller in 2008.[13] Faith's music is influenced by soul and jazz and her singing style has been compared favourably to those of Amy Winehouse and Duffy.[14][15]

Faith performing in November 2010.

2009–10: Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?[edit]

In mid-2009 Faith released her debut single, "Stone Cold Sober" which reached Number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.[16] Her second single, "New York", was released in September 2009,[17] reaching its peak position at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart in in early October.[18] On 28 September 2009 she released her debut album, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?,[19] for which she wrote or co-wrote all of the songs in the UK, Sweden and America and which was recorded entirely in London.[20] It debuted at number 14 on the UK Albums Chart and later peaked at number 9, remaining in the chart for sixteen weeks[21] and becoming BBC Radio 2's 'Album of the Week' from 19 September 2009.[19]

In the same year, Faith appeared as a guest vocalist on Basement Jaxx's Scars album and on American hip-hop artist MF Doom's album, Born Like This.[22][23] She released her third single, the album's title track, "Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?" on 21 December 2009.[24] The song did not perform as well as her previous singles and failed to reach the top twenty, peaking at number 64 in January 2010.[25] In March 2010, she released her fourth single, "Upside Down", which peaked at Number 55 in the UK. To promote the album, she went on her first tour, featuring dates in the UK, Germany and France.[26]

Faith performing at the 2010 Lovebox Festival. The dress Faith wore at the event was later auctioned off to aid the European migrant crisis in 2015.[27][28]

On 4 November 2009, Faith announced her first headlining tour of the UK and Ireland starting on 17 March 2010.[29][30] The Times described the tour as being "full of theatrical artifice, but based on the rock-solid foundation of [Faith]'s sensational singing voice and a personality that sparkled like a rough diamond".[31] She performed a live set for the BBC's Radio 2 Introduces... and gave an interview to the station's host, Dermot O'Leary.[32] She also appeared on current events programme This Week discussing her views on the British education system with Michael Portillo. In the same month she appeared as a guest on Never Mind the Buzzcocks,[33] performed the song "Upside Down" on The Hollyoaks Music Show and performed her single "New York" on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. She also appeared on the BBC's Later with Jools Holland, recorded on 13 October 2009, and his live Hootenanny on 31 December 2009. Faith performed at numerous festivals throughout that summer, including T4 on the Beach. "Stone Cold Sober" was used as the backing track for a Rimmel commercial starring Lily Cole and the B-side, "I Just Wait", was used in the NHS' 'Alcohol: Know Your Limits' advert in 2008.[29][34] Samsung's Corby mobile phone TV commercial featured her "Technicolour" song. She became involved in an album artwork competition with BBC Blast in November 2009, in which teenagers won the chance to work alongside leading artists, photographers and music industry professionals to create new publicity artwork for the singer.[35]

During an interview with Mayer Nissim of Digital Spy in March 2010, Faith revealed that she was working on a second album,[36] and that if she continued to make losses for her record label they would drop her.[36] Her manager subsequently denied any suggestion that her contract with the label was under threat, saying that, on the contrary, debut album UK sales of 500,000 without a hit single is an impressive foundation for a long-term career, and Sony are "smart enough" to recognise that and are 110% behind her.[9] Faith, along with Adam Deacon and Bashy, recorded the theme song to the 2010 British film The track, titled "Keep Moving", was released on 28 May 2010.[37] In the same month she performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival with the The Guy Barker Orchestra, a performance which was broadcast on BBC Radio 2.[38] In June 2010, it was announced that Faith would re-release an updated version of "New York" featuring rapper Ghostface Killah.[39] The single was released on 1 August 2010.[39] She released a live EP album following an appearance at the 2010 iTunes Festival. The album charted at number 11 on the iTunes top 200 albums.[40] She revealed in a September interview that she would be releasing her new single "Smoke & Mirrors" in October 2010.[41] The track was the final single from her debut album and its video was uploaded to YouTube.[41] It peaked at Number 140 on the UK Singles Chart.[42]

2011–13: Fall to Grace[edit]

Faith performing in 2012.

In January 2011, Faith was nominated for "British Female Solo Artist" at the 2011 BRIT Awards.[3] At the ceremony, she performed "Forget You" alongside Cee Lo Green.[43] She appeared on the charity single "Hard Times" alongside Plan B and Elton John.[44] She also recorded the song "Desire" with Graham Coxon and Bill Ryder-Jones for a Converse campaign.[45] During an interview with a Popjustice reporter, she revealed that her second album would contain more "agony and suffering" and that she hoped it would be done with one producer for a "solid piece of work."[46] She explained "I love the beautiful side of things like that Tom Waitsy, Rufus Wainwrighty, Ed Harcourt sort of stuff, and in contrast I like all the OutKast production, Gnarls Barkley and 'Beggin' and all that sort of sound. Contemporary but with a nod to the past. But you never know. You might just meet someone and something else would make sense."[46] In July 2011, Faith revealed her frustrations about releasing the follow up to Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?. She did not know when the album was going to be completed and commented that the process was slow.[47] She also admitted being signed to a major record label made her feel under pressure to be instantly successful.[47] On 7 February 2012, a writer for the Gloucestershire Echo reported Faith had been named as Artist in Residence for the 2012 Cheltenham Jazz Festival.[48]

On 29 February 2012, Faith revealed her second album would be called Fall to Grace and that it would be released by RCA Records on 28 May 2012.[49][50] She enlisted record producers Nellee Hooper and Jake Gosling to work with her on the project.[50][51] She told Dom Gourlay of that Fall to Grace is a personal record about a period of her life. She wrote and recorded the album in London.[51][52] The album peaked at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.[53] The first single from the album was "Picking Up the Pieces", which was released on 20 May;[49] reaching number 7 on the UK Singles Chart, it was Faith's highest charting single to date.[54][55] On 4 April 2012, Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy reported that Faith had joined The Voice UK as one of four guest mentors.[56] She worked with coach Danny O'Donoghue during the battle rounds phase of the competition[56] and also performed "Picking Up the Pieces" during the fourth results show.[57] To promote Fall to Grace, Faith performed "Just Be", a track from the album, on Later... with Jools Holland.[58] In May 2012, she recorded a video for the Out4Marriage campaign, a group supporting the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England and Wales. The singer stated that she was "proud" to be backing the campaign.[59] In June, she announced plans for a headline tour of the UK and Ireland in early 2013.[60]

That same month, it was announced that Faith had been signed to Epic Records in the United States.[61] The label's CEO, L.A. Reid, stated "In an era where authenticity resonates, Paloma is the epitome of soul. It's an honour for Epic Records to be part of her career in the United States."[61] On 4 July, Faith revealed "30 Minute Love Affair" would be the second single released from Fall to Grace.[62] She recorded a version of INXS's "Never Tear Us Apart" for a John Lewis advertisement, which began airing on television from 15 September 2012,[63] and confirmed later that the song would be released as her next single.[64] In late 2012, Fall to Grace was certified Platinum in the UK by the British Phonographic Industry.[65] Faith released "Just Be", as the fourth single from the album on 16 December 2012.[66] She received two nominations at the 2013 BRIT Awards; for Best Female and for Best British Album for Fall to Grace.[67]

2013–15: A Perfect Contradiction[edit]

Faith in concert at The Liverpool Empire Theatre in 2014.

In January 2013, Faith revealed that she was beginning to write her third studio album during her time in the US, intending to work on it while in New York City. In February it was announced that she would be headlining the Evolution Festival in Newcastle upon Tyne on Monday 27 May 2013 with The Vaccines headlining the day before. Other acts performing alongside Faith included Jake Bugg, AlunaGeorge and Bastille.

In January 2014, the title of Faith's third album was revealed to be A Perfect Contradiction; the album was released on 10 March 2014.[68] It has become her fastest-selling album to date debuting at number two on the UK album chart and is currently certified double Platinum.[69] The lead single "Can't Rely on You" produced by Pharrell Williams, became her second top ten in the UK.[70][71] The album's second single "Only Love Can Hurt Like This" became her most successful single to date, reaching number six in the UK, number one in Australia and number three in New Zealand. After the success of the single in Australia, the album reached number four on the album chart there.[72] The album's third single, "Trouble with My Baby" was released in August 2014.[73]

In July 2014, British drum and bass duo "Sigma" announced their single "Changing", featuring vocals from Faith; it was released on 14 September 2014 and debuted at number one in the UK, becoming her first UK number-one single.[74] On 15 September 2014, it was announced that a repackaged version of the album entitled "A Perfect Contradiction Outsider's Edition" would be released on 10 November 2014, the collection features four new songs. "Ready for the Good Life" was released as the first single from the re-release on 9 November 2014.[75] The album track "Take Me", from A Perfect Contradiction which was written by Faith, John Legend and Mr Hudson, is featured on a Joseph Altuzarra commercial for the U.S. retail giant, Target.

On 15 November 2014, Faith joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.[76] At the 2015 Brit Awards on 25 February 2015, she won British Female Solo Artist, becoming her first win after being nominated for an Brit Award three times previously.[77]

2015–present: Fourth studio album[edit]

In June 2015, during her Glastonbury Festival performance, Faith confirmed having started the process of creating her fourth studio album. "Now we're going to bring to your attention what I've been listening to a lot when making album number four," she told the crowd, before performing a cover of "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix.[78] In addition to the inspiriation from Jimi Hendrix, Faith has also stated she has been listening to "a lot of 70's psychedelic rock", including the likes of Janis Joplin. [79] In another interview, Faith stated she is very happy and hasn't "anything to moan about" in her current relationship, which lead her to express this conclusion: "[she thinks] there's a lot of things going on in the world that are [just] as important as love". As a result, Faith claims she is attempting to write songs which "aren't about love or heartache" however, she then declared such a task as "really challenging".[80] In a further interview with The Daily Telegraph published on 11th october 2015, it is claimed the album's current working title is "There's More To Life Than Love". [81]

Aside from her own material, it was announced in october that Faith has launched her own management and publishing company. She also confirmed that no-one under 18 years of age will be signed. She explained: "I don't care how talented they are. From a moral and ethical place, it shouldn't be done." [82][83]

Acting career[edit]

In 2007, Faith appeared in an episode of the BBC police drama HolbyBlue portraying a thief. She was also cast as Andrea in St Trinian's in 2007. Faith was also cast in Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus as Sally, the girlfriend of the Devil (played by Tom Waits) in 2009.[84] She also appeared in the horror film Dread as Clara Thornhill. She later starred in the Channel 4's series Coming Up and the short film A Nice Touch. Of getting the part, she stated "I don't think they even knew I was an actress. I went to an audition and they said that they liked my interpretation of the character and I said, 'I'm just being myself'."[85] In 2013, she appeared as cabaret performer Georgia, in a television adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings (episode "The Crime Wave at Blandings") on the BBC.[86] In 2015 she appeared as herself in Paolo Sorrentino's Youth.


Faith has a mezzo-soprano vocal range.[87] Her music often blends soul and elements of gospel; she has been consequently compared to Amy Winehouse and Adele.[88]

Personal life[edit]

She was briefly married to New Zealand chef Rian Haynes in 2005; however they split after eight months and were divorced four years later.[89]

Faith admitted to being born in 1981, rather than the four years younger she had claimed, after her birth certificate was revealed online, but she does not feel age is important.[2][90] She claims that she told record executives that she was younger than she actually was because she felt that she would not be signed to their label if she had told them her true age.[91]

In 2011, a portrait of Faith was painted by British artist Joe Simpson; the painting was exhibited around the UK, including a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.[92]

Public Divisions/ Controversies[edit]

During Faith's performance at the Gibraltar Music Festival in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, on 5th September 2015, she started by saying "Hola España", which caused the majority of the crowd to 'boo' and shout abuse at her, despite her more positive comment:"it's great to be in a place that's half English and half Spanish". Although she made a 5 minute apology, many still believe she did it on purpose as she is of Spanish descent. She took to Twitter after her performance to apologise: "If I offended anyone tonight in Gibraltar about their heritage I'm sorry. I had no intention of doing that. I come in peace! I only bring love" [sic]. She then expressed: "I just wish that people could be kinder to each other and more compassionate and forgiving [sic]" and "There's too much anger in the world already". One Gibraltarian stated: "Gibraltar and the Falklands are British. Bigotry like yours are why her comments are offensive here." While another (non Gibraltarian) commented: "The awkward moment when you pay £65 to hear Paloma Faith say`"Gibraltar Espaniol [sic]`.".[93][94][95][96][97]

Faith was selected as the recording artist for the 2015 Rugby World Cup anthem "World in Union". Her rendition of the song was used on ITV's Rugby World Cup coverage during advert breaks, a decision that was greeted negatively by some viewers. A petition to have the song removed was set up by viral marketing expert Jonathan Wilson[98] and received over 10,000 signatures. The petition was featured on the front page of UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph.[99]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Award Work Result
2009 ATC Hitz Awards Best New Act Female Singer Herself Nominated
2010 Clothes Show Style Awards The Best Dressed Woman of the Year Nominated
2011 Brit Awards British Female Solo Artist Nominated
ASCAP Awards ASCAP College Award Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? Won
MPG Awards UK Single of the Year 2010 Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Styling in a Video Smoke & Mirrors Nominated
2012 Best Pop Video Picking Up the Pieces Nominated
4Music Video Honours Best Video Nominated
2013 MPG Awards UK Single Song Release of the Year Picking Up the Pieces Nominated
UK Album of the Year Fall to Grace Nominated
Brit Awards MasterCard British Album of the Year Nominated
British Female Solo Artist Herself Nominated
Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Award Cosmopolitan’s Style Icon Won
2014 MP3 Music Awards The JSB Award Only Love Can Hurt Like This Nominated
The HDT Award Changing with Sigma Nominated
Urban Music Awards Best Music Video Can't Rely on You Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Video Artist Herself Nominated
Best Colour Grade in a Video Can't Rely on You Nominated
Only Love Can Hurt Like This Won
Xperia Access Q Awards Best Video Nominated
Pro Sound Awards Best Recording Production A Perfect Contradiction Won
World Music Awards World's Best Album Fall to Grace Nominated
O2 Silver Clef Awards Best British Act Award Herself Won
Attitude Awards Music Gong Won
Glamour Awards Best Solo UK Artist Won
2015 Brit Awards British Female Solo Artist Won

Concert tours[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Mayo Guest Episode: 1.6
2007 HolbyBlue Donna Reynolds Episode: 1.7
Dogface Various Episode: 1.4
St Trinian's Andrea
2009 St Trinian's 2 : The Legend of Fritton's Gold Andrea
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Sally
Dread Clara Thornhill
Never Mind the Buzzcocks Herself Series 23, Episode One
2010 Series 24, Episode Six
Coming Up Rainy Episode: "I Don't Care"
Discovering Lennon Herself
2011 A Nice Touch Alma Short film
2013 Blandings Georgia
2010-14 Celebrity Juice Herself 4 episodes
2015 The Jonathan Ross Show Herself
2015 Youth - La Giovinezza Herself


Faith's chair on The BBC's "The Voice".


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