Next week sees the release of the Noisettes third album, Contact - and you lucky lot get to hear it first, before anyone else. We’re streaming the entire thing right here on Grazia Daily. Yes! The duo – singer Shingai Shoniwa and guitarist Dan Smith - were behind 2009’s massive smash hit Don’t Upset The Rhythm and have travelled the world for this new album, recording in LA, New York, London, Brighton and Ireland. We caught up with Shingai to talk music, festivals and vintage cars…
Grazia Daily: You’ve worked with some amazing people on this new album…
Shingai Shoniwa: Yeah. I flew out to LA to work with Ne-Yo which was quite amazing. He was quite the gentleman. It was really fun. It was a bit like a dream. In New York we worked with a guy called Jean Baptiste Kouame who works with Will-i.am, who was really cool. We did a session with a producer/writer called Chuck Harmony who has worked with a lot of R’n’B singers like Toni Braxton. I love all the drama of some of those over the top singers.
Grazia Daily: Do you have any favourite tracks on the new album?
Shingai Shoniwa: I’d probably say Contact. It’s one of the most enjoyable vocal performances I’ve delivered and it’s my kind of a love song. It’s about how we’re always emailing, texting, bbm-ing, and tweeting each other but nothing beats human contact – the embrace of a lover or a friend. You can’t really high-five someone through a computer screen. That’s definitely the ballad that I’d definitely go for.
Grazia Daily: You’ve played loads of festivals…what’s your favourite festival memory?
Shingai Shoniwa: Probably when we played Glastonbury for first time in 2007. I’d just bought this old vintage Mercedes. We managed to put the drum kit, all the guitars, all the amps, the band and a mate of ours inside. It was really muddy but those old Mercs are really powerful and I had to tow someone else out who got stuck. That was the year I met Rosario Dawson, too. She had lost her mates and we had a really good night then made a fry up on the gas stove outside our tent in the morning. It was her first UK festival, and we’ve been friends ever since.
Grazia Daily: What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Shingai Shoniwa: I’m listening to a lot of African music at the moment, and I really like the Pnau Vs Elton Jon album. I love the Phenomenal Handclap band too. I drive around a lot in my vintage Merc so I have to listen to fun, weird and wonderful stuff. I can’t put Capital Radio on in that car…the speakers aren’t built for it. They need lots of bass and really warm old school sounds. But when I’m in an Addison Lee I’ll listen to whatever the driver puts on which is usually some kind of bubblegum pop.
Grazia Daily: What new artists are you excited about?
Shingai Shoniwa: I really love Jospehine Oniyama. She’s fantastic. She’s from Liberia but she grew up in Manchester and we did quite a lot of shows with her. She’s got this amazing pop-folk sound. It’s really, really nice.
Grazia Daily: If you could have written one song, what would it be?
Shingai Shoniwa: Probably something like What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner. She’s someone I would absolutely love to meet. She amazing, absolutely incredible. She’s definitely one of my musical heroes. I love people like Billie Holiday and Kate Bush too, just people will real personality and energy - people who are unique and bring their own unique spin to pop music.
Grazia Daily: What do you like to read?
Shingai Shoniwa: I love anything by Ben Okri, who’s a Nigerian writer. I like classic stuff like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell. I like reading things like the Orange prize which introduces you to a lot of new writers. I like Anais Nin if you fancy something cheekier. I’m a really open minded reader.
Grazia Daily: And what about films?
Shingai Shoniwa: One of my favourite films of all time is Beyond The Valley of the Dolls. It’s got Dionne Warwick cast as the drummer of this amazing, psychedelic soul rock ‘n’ roll girl band in the late 60s and they go to LA from their small town in search of making it. The music is great too. I love that film.
by Clare Thorp www.thenoisettes.co.uk