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Ro�s�n Murphy: Big Momma�s House

The bad news from Rosn Murphy? We wont be hearing the follow-up to her glorious last album, Overpowered, for a while. The good news? Though the dancing queen only recently gave birth to her first child, Clodagh Henwood (congrats!), she has released a pair of funky singles, including the brand spankin new, house-infused Mommas Place. (It sorta sounds like Culture Beats 1993 hit, Mr. Vain, which in this case is a compliment.) We phoned up Murphy, currently tucked away in her home in the Irish countryside, to see how shes faring without all the couture, paparazzi, and nightclubbing that make her world go round. The Geisha-style artwork for your new single, Mommas Place, is pretty fantastic. It brings to mind that iconic Vanity Fair cover with a pregnant Demi Moore and the album cover for Bjorks Homogenic. What was the inspiration for it? Rosn: Well, it comes from a shoot I did for Zoo Magazine. I saw the Comme des Garons fashion show a couple of seasons ago, and the hair was like that, the makeup was like that, and the clothes were amazing. It was actually kind of an emotional fashion show. You dont get many fashion shows where you feel something, but I really did. It left a massive imprint on me, and as soon as I got the chance to do a shoot, I wanted to do something very similar. I was very inspired by it. Youve always been moved by fashion. Why do you think this particular show was so emotional for you? It was in a circular room. It was very quiet and the clothes were really exquisite. It was very much the antithesis to fashion shows, which are usually big, brash, blaring -- because its just advertising in most cases. This had an intellectual depth to it. It was right in the beginning of the economic storm, and I think there were some elements in there in terms of all the cocooning. It was very conceptual and very beautiful. Youre doing some cocooning of your own now, detached from your usual antics in the media and the fashion world. So what are the best and worst parts of being in the Irish countryside right now? Well, I was taken out of my home the other day in four-wheel drive with the baby and my mother. We had to be taken into town to my mothers house because the weather got so bad here. Its very easy to become isolated, obviously -- a little bit of bad weather and I was completely cut off. So thats the worst. The best is its giving me space to concentrate on the job at hand. Im very far away from having to worry about anything else other than [my new daughter] Clodagh. Thats really why Im here. I have my own place here in the countryside. My mum stays with me a lot and my boyfriend is coming back and forth to London because he has to work. I have a lot of support here. Is songwriting on hold for now? Until I get back to London. Im scheduled to work with the Crookers pretty much as soon as I get back. Ill be back in the studio very soon, Im sure. The Crookers have done some great mixes of Kid Cudi and Fever Ray. They asked me to write with them for their record. I did two tracks and theyve used both of them. One of the tracks, Royal T, is going to be a single. I performed it at the Viktor & Rolf show in Paris last fall. The sound of their music just has great resonance with me -- I just really, really like it. Theyre very much into the heavy bass. Are you heading in that direction on the next record? Could this be your most danceable album yet? It could be. I havent planned an album, honestly. Right now Im just putting tracks out. Im sure there will be an album at some point, but these tracks might not even appear on an album. Ive been so prolific. Ive got at least 25 tracks Im pretty proud of in various states of being finished that I wrote during my pregnancy. I just want to put them out and let people enjoy them for what they are -- as pieces of music -- and give myself the time to figure out how Im going to go forward. Now Ive got a baby and thats the main thing. But also, the industry is changing so fast. I know people really want me to make imagery, to make videos. They really want to have something physical of mine as well as having beautifully produced pieces -- and they will have that. Im very flattered that people want that from me, but right now Im in no position to do that what with having a baby. But what I can do is give people music. You say youve become quite prolific. Why is that? I think Overpowered taught me an awful lot of lessons and gave me a great deal of confidence in terms of just going into the studio with people Ive never met before and singing and showing them my lyrics and creating something. I can pretty much now safely say I could go into the studio with I someone I respect and come out with something by the end of the day. Ive proven that to myself over and over again. Whether or not its good is a whole other kettle of fish, but I can do it and it doesnt frighten me. Ive got the whole world to choose from in terms of collaborations and theres nothing to stop me from just doing it. Who else are you collaborating with this next year? I have worked with [Dutch production duo] Mason and with Ian Green, who did a remix of Let Me Know. But I havent got any specific plans. Youve said a new British urban sound is really coming together. Im not on the scene, but its totally got its own identity now. Its not reliant on American music at all. In fact, maybe the opposite will start to happen. Youll see that American acts will start coming out with stuff from British urban artists and get that sound. I think thats whats going to happen. Mommas Place -- tender title, confrontational song. Whats it about? It represents a kind of light-hearted attitude toward my pregnancy, really. I was thinking about when I had a kid and maybe when my daughter grows up she may start trying to be naughty. I was saying, Ive been about as naughty as you can be, so youre not gonna pull the wool over my eyes. Its a light-hearted look at what it might be like to be a mom coming from where Ive come from, the things Ive done with my life in the past. Having said that, now Ive got the baby. Shes completely unpredictable and Mommas Place will only be a tiny fraction of the story. Whats the funniest thing Clodagh has done so far? Well, she farts a lot [laughs]. You were DJing a lot during your pregnancy. What does a Rosn Murphy DJ set consist of usually? Well, it has really evolved. In the beginning I was complete rubbish. I mean Im still pretty rubbish, but Im getting there now. Im beginning to have an identity. Im trying to keep it as modern as I can, as fresh as I can. Im using a lot of tracks producers give me, things people havent heard, whereas in the beginning I playing a lot of vintage house or old disco. Youve said you cant really get into Twitter. I have Twittered! Im just saying I couldnt Twitter my every thought. I couldnt create a whole campaign based around Twittering and blogging. Im a bit more of a private person. Maybe a bit too lazy, actually. Can we expect more fashion collaborations in the next year? I dont know. Well see, yeah. My figures not looking too bad, actually, considering I just had a baby. I cant believe my look. Looking after the baby and running around has made me get back into shape. I havent been doing any exercising or anything. Your two new singles, Orally Fixated and Mommas Place, have centered on your pregnancy. How much do you think the baby is going to factor into your songwriting in the next few months? I dont know. People ask me how this is going to change me, but I keep saying Im in the middle of nowhere now. Its all about Clodagh. Im looking after my baby, bonding with my baby. When I get back to London and start to write songs and start to go to fashion shows Ill be able to tell people if its made me like deeper or whatever people say after they have babies. I may not change at all. Who knows? "Momma's Place" is now available on iTunes. For more on Murphy, head to her MySpace page.Send a letter to the editor about this article.
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