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Kirsty Almeida is one of Manchester's finest promising chanteuse/artist/musicians and currently doing the rounds of this Summers Music Festivals. To start to write about everything Kirsty has done in her 31 years I'd need to write an extremely long bio. So here's just a flavour: Born in the UK, but grew up in Gibraltar and South America, and travelled worldwide due to her Father's career. Whilst Kirsty wasn't based in one place for too long, with music it has always been where the heart is and not being one to follow the crowd she had her own taste in music. At the tender age of 17, she went onto become an exceptional Art student at Middlesex University also study music at Bretton Halls Music School in Leeds. She's worked in musical theatre and within music & art all her life. Kirsty moved to Manchester in 2001 - performing one night with a Latin band called La Gran Descarga, by the end of the set she had become a fully fledged member. Kirsty worked and toured with them for the next 3 years. In 2004 she embarked on a solo career and to write her album.

She's currently involved in painting, designing her own costumes, merchandise, and customising instruments. Musical genres you hear within her music range from pop, folk, soul and jazz to what she terms 'Voodoo pop'. She treats each song as a creative experiment, refining and defining the uniqueness that is Kirsty Almeida. Signed to the famous Decca label, catch the latest single released on June 14th 'Spider'. Her debut album “Pure Blue Green” is released on Monday September 13th and produced by the legenday Killing Joke bassist - Martin Glover known as 'Youth'.
Kirstys press bio reads like a magical, mysterious, precious jewel encrusted fantasy wonderland.  I wondered what it was like living in Kirsty Almeida's world, and living the artistic dream?

MEL: Hi Kirsty, you finally took up residence in Manchester in 2001, after all your extensive globe trotting experiences around the world. Why Manchester, how have you settled and is this somewhere you are likely to remain?

KIRSTY: I'm a gypsy. I am happy while I'm happy and then I get urges to do something very different so I do. I won't stay in Manchester forever because I won't stay anywhere forever. There are too many wonderful places in this world that I haven't yet seen or experienced. Manchester has a wonderful art and music scene and that's why I have stayed - for the community of creatives around me.

MEL: You're a highly original creature, not only musical but in the artistic sense, painting, sculpting and designing. You conjure up some wildly inspiring and awesome imagery, especially in your video 'Spider'. Where do your ideas originate, what fires your imagination?

KIRSTY: I try to lose my boundaries at all times and push myself especially as an artist and a creative. I go to places that make me feel a little insecure so that I can float deeper into creativity and find out what lies beyond what I can imagine. I haven't had a TV for 10 years and I do not read newspapers or most magazines or listen to the radio very often as I feel that dries me up.

Kirsty Almeida - Spider  

MEL: You describe yourself as a "massive hippy" would you have liked to have been around during the Sixties, is this your favourite period musically perhaps?

KIRSTY: I would've liked to have been around in Victorian times really for the fashion. I am certain the 60's would've been a scream. I am very pleased that I am in the era that I am in as I think due to the decline of the record industry some very exciting things are happening. I was influenced by most world music, a lot of classical music, some opera, a lot of folk music and all sorts of alternative music.

MEL: What so far has been your most eccentric or elaborate costume worn or designed? I believe you are involved in designing a 'musical dress' consisting of spoons, knives and forks, with a harp under the skirt. Do we have an update on this incredible piece of art? I believe you've been working alongside the designer Mrs. Jones

KIRSTY: Yes, I have been working and having a lot of fun with Mrs Jones and her incredible team - she's wonderful and an amazing creative who has been a great support to me too. I think the paper dress I wore for the video has been my favourite so far but you'll have to wait a few months for our ultimate creation...

MEL: Martin Glover known as 'Youth' (the influential post punk bassist & member of Killing Joke - now producer of bands such as Primal Scream and The Verve), collaborated and produced your album in Spain. I read your amusing tale about meeting his 76 year old Mother, but what were your impressions of him and working with him? Did you have some fun as well as serious music making in the studio?

KIRSTY: He is a true bohemian and wonderful visual artist too so it was great to hang out with him. When we were rehearsing in Spain we had an evening at his house in Spain with another band he was working with which was a fantastic evening - we jammed till the morning. Wonderful.

MEL: Where does the title 'Pure Blue Green' come from? Which is your favourite track and why? Have you chosen the album cover yet, could you tell us anything about it?

KIRSTY: I see music in colours and textures so I guess it came from that but also, there is a lyric in ‘Sweet Ole Love’ . It is my favourite track for its lyrics and feel.

MEL: It sounds like you experienced all manner of creativity and emotions whilst working on the writing the latest songs. How do you begin to write the lyrics? What home made instruments or unique sounds did you use on this album?

KIRSTY: All sorts of bonks and shakes really. There is a plastic bird called Bernard the bird of Time on a few of the tracks, steel pan, toy pianos, harps, santour, Indian violin, lots of male and female vocals, parlour guitars, hammond organs, honkey tonk pianos, bass clarinet, string quartet, all sorts.

I write lyrics as they come to my mind. I spend my time whilst I am writing - clearing my mind so that words can come through. I encourage words to come out as they wish and not necessarily in the right order. I believe that the best creativity flows through us when we channel it so I try to encourage my mind to empty.

MEL: The eagerly awaited début album is released on September 13th 'Pure Blue Green' - what can we expect after this - maybe a UK headlining tour? Or supporting a major headline act you can talk about?

KIRSTY: We have many plans and some very, very exciting ones but I cannot tell you yet as I'm sworn to secrecy by the Aliens x

MEL: I was disappointed to find the Manchester show cancelled recently at the Band On The Wall, and hoping I can see you soon. What can we expect from a Kirsty Almeida show, do you have anything special with set, costumes, musicians, instruments, lighting planned?

KIRSTY: For the next one at Band on the Wall, it will be an evening presented by Kirsty Almeida & The Troubadours. We will be using both rooms and I am going to do a spot of redecoration plus we are going to have an exhibition of some of my artwork for the album - very excited!!!

MEL: Do you perform any cover songs live? Or on your album and what songs would you like to cover?

KIRSTY: We do a great version of ‘Treat Me Like Your Mother’ by The Dead Weather and ‘She Said’ by Plan B - both a winner with the audiences. There are a million songs out there I'd love to get my vocal mitts on but all in good time.

Kirsty Almeida- Treat Me Like Your Mother (The Dead Weather) 

MEL: Who would you like to perform with or collaborate with, give a choice of anyone (alive or dead)?

KIRSTY: Rufus Wainright, The Dead Weather, Amy Winehouse, Ray Charles, Tom Waits, Bjork, Any huge orchestra, God, The aliens, Most word musicians and bands, so, so, so, very many others.

MEL:Talking of live shows, you’re booked to perform at most of this summers shows (Secret Garden Party, Summer Sundae, Kendal Calling, Big Chill, Feelgood Festival, V Festival). You played at Glastonbury on the Avalon stage on Saturday 26th, how was this experience? Has this been the biggest audience and stage you've appeared on so far? Did you watch any of the bands and if so which did you really enjoy?

KIRSTY: Loved Corinne Bailey Rae's gentle gig at the Croissant Neuf - just beautiful, loved The Dead Weather, Stevie, and all the African bands I could get my ears too!

The gig was ace. I sang BVs once for Liz MacClarnon in front of 38,000 folk in Moscow - that blew my head but not as much as the gig at Glasto in front of all those people playing our own music - I loved it! 

MEL: Could you see yourself becoming another Florence And The Machine sensation - any news of any TV show appearances i.e Jools Holland, Jonathan Ross. Perhaps Magazine coverage?

KIRSTY: Nothing yet - maybe ask Florence to hand me a few titbits!

MEL: What kind of photoshoot would you like to do given a free reign (money no object) and would you chose as the photographer?

KIRSTY: Annie Leibovitz would be great or Tim Walker. To be honest I've been working with Karen McBride and she really is wonderful so I'd love to just get on with that and keep developing what we are doing.

MEL: Any secret vices you'd care to share with our readers?

KIRSTY: I'm a little addicted to Bikram yoga and I am a risk freak I think!

MEL: Finally is there anything you'd like to say as a parting sentence - something quotable and whimsical?

KIRSTY: Everything in moderation...including moderation x

MEL: Thank you and good luck with your new album, we'll be following you closely. 

Interview by Mel 20/07/10
Photos provided by Charm Factory