Alison Moyet performs at the Cornbury Festival

Alf rocks the cornbury festival

She’s the singer whose voice is as smooth as melting chocolate, whose mellifluous tones have graced the airwaves for 30 years, writes Jayne Howarth.

Thirty years? Can it really be 30 years since Alison Moyet first shot to fame as one half of the synth band Yazoo with the debut single Only You?

It seems astonishing, too, that Yazoo lasted only two years. The pairing with Vince Clarke produced two huge studio albums, Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both, and helped to cement Moyet’s reputation as one of the UK’s best female singers. She went on to be the biggest selling female singer.

Now Moyet, known for her classic songs and bluesy influences, is recording a new album, but fans will have to wait a while to get their hands on a copy, for she is in no hurry to release it.

She’s working with Guy Sigsmith, who has written for Bjork, Madonna and Britney Spears among others, and is relishing the slow and steady pace.

“I’m dragging it out quite well,” she laughs. “I can’t see it happening before January. I want to get it right. I don’t feel rushed as I’m not part of the mainstream. I work as a working musician as opposed to a celebrity.”

So, what can we look forward to with the new album?

“It’s quite dark and definitely not aimed at the charts,” she continues. “It has an electronic bias, but isn’t retro. I’m not listening to anything current or referring back to anything with this album and they [the songs] aren’t influenced by what’s going on. It will stand apart.”

Just coming up to her 51st birthday, the slim-line Moyet, who is warm, pleasant and very down-to-earth, looks stunning and her voice is as strong as it ever was.

Despite the fact that she became known as a jazz singer, following the release of That Ole Devil Called Love in 1985, the mother-of-three insists this is a misconception.

“People made assumptions and while it doesn’t bother me, they were wrong,” she explains. “I’m not this tender-hearted soul.”

Indeed not. Moyet, who used to be known as Alf in her early days, is known for her powerful vocals, but she rails against talent show contestants who believe loudness is equal to flair.

“As you watch something like The Voice, it’s all showboating, acrobatics and volume,” she says. “As someone known for singing with volume, it’s made me want to do the complete opposite.

“I can sing loud and big, but I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the noise and being constantly assailed by that volume.”

She spent last few years touring - in 2009 to celebrate her album Revisited: The Very Best of Alison Moyet, then with French musical legend Michael Legrand. In 2010 she joined Jools Holland and last year completed an arena tour of Germany with The Night of the Proms.

This year will see her perform at only a few gigs, including the Cornbury Festival, which takes place at Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, on June 29-July 1.

She will be on stage on the first night at this family-oriented festival, which also features Pixie Lott, Gretchen Peters, Will Young and Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra over the three-day event.

And although she won’t be showcasing any material from her forthcoming album, festival goers can look forward to plenty of songs, including the hit favourites and classics from her back catalogue.

“I’ve love live singing and I’ve missed it badly,” she confesses, “There’ll be a few hits, as they are expected, and I want to choose others, too.

“I love the look of the weekend’s line-up at Cornbury, for me it’s the way to do things- I have an eclectic taste.”

Alison Moyet will be performing at the Cornbury Festival on Friday, June 29. Other artists over the weekend include Hugh Laurie and the Copperbottom Band, Stooshe, Aloe Blacc, Nerina Pallot, Elvis Costello and James Morrison. For details about the line-up and family events, visit www.cornburyfestival.com




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