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Eliza Doolittle Eliza Doolittle

‘Back To Front: The Skinny Genes on Eliza Doolittle'

London-born songstress Eliza Doolittle, who’s been thrilling fans across the Atlantic with her breezy singles “Rollerblades”, “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,” has just-released her self-titled debut album on Capitol Records.

22-year-old Doolittle has been writing songs since she was 12 and signed a publishing deal at 16. She co-wrote each of her debut album’s 13 tracks, collaborating with a host of top-notch songwriters and producers, including Greg Kurstin, Steve Chrisanthou (Corinne Bailey Rae), the late Jonny $ (Kylie, Massive Attack), and Craigie Dodds (Amy Winehouse).

The result is a witty pop collection that mines sounds from the ’60s and ’70s while still sounding indisputably fresh. The one-two punch of “Rollerblades” and her U.K. debut “Skinny Genes” recall lost songs from the Motown era by the Marvelettes and The Supremes.

Doolittle performed at all of the major UK festivals last year and has just showcased her songs in the States last month - adding a stop at both SXSW and Coachella.

Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Eliza Doolittle and discussed her debut CD, her quirky (colorful) dress sense, her recent appearance at SXSW, and, of course, ... Penguins!

Taking it from the top and being that you were born in Westminster, London (England), your family had a successful and varied musical background to them. So, what albums did you grow up listening to, and which artists still influence your sound today? "I listen to a lot of different music. I don't like or dislike any particular genre, I just love good music! I love everybody from Stevie Wonder to Radiohead to Steely Dan, Beach Boys, Jeff Buckley, Marvin Gaye, Carole King, Beyonce, Red Hot Chillies ... tonnes of great music."

Having listened to your self-titled debut album, I have to say I was very impressed! So, is it true that a lot of songs were inspired by your time spent at Channing School for Girls?! "Um, not at all. Someone else asked me this recently. I have no idea where that comes from!?!?"

Hmmm, ok then, moving on ... and, being that this Channing School for Girls seems to have, at least) played a part in your youth, please reveal (as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing) a tasty secret about your days spent there! ".....????? Sorry u really got me on this one!"

Your debut single, 'Skinny Genes' was released last year in the UK, with the follow-up single 'Pack Up' soon thereafter. With the waves of adulation then pouring in, your TV slots appearing quicker and quicker, did all this bright-light fame sit well with you? A year on, do you think you handled it all correctly? "Yeh absolutely. It might seem like an over night thing but it's like a swan gliding, it looks smooth but underneath their feet are paddling hard all over the place! So to me it felt like a natural progression considering I'd worked so hard for it. I just take each day as it comes and enjoy the moment."

With your debut album about to get the USA treatment over here, has anything changed in its track listing to the UK release? Any additional vocals? A different cover art, perhaps? "Nope its all the same actually! I'm def gona release some more material in the UK soon though so maybe the US will have that pretty quick too!"

I have to say, on a personal note, that I love 'Pack Up' - the bounce, the rhythm of the song is classic and yet hip for today. Is it one of your favorites also, and what was it like shooting the music video on location in Jamaica? "For sure! I love it! It's always one of my favourite songs to sing live too! The video shoot was amazing! I was only in Jamaica for 3 days but what I did get to see of it was stunning. The people were so loverlee too and their attitudes fit so well with the song. The song is all about letting go of the silly little things that we sometimes complain about and realising how lucky the majority of us are! And being in Jamaica where there's a lot of poverty amongst other things and hearing the phrase 'no problem man' over and over just made me know it was the perfect energy for the video."

You have just recently performed at the prestigious South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. How did your set go down, any speed bumps along the way - and who did you run into backstage that made you smile ear-to-ear?! "It was the best festival of my life yet! I had a grin on my face the entire time, not really knowing why! Just did. I got to meet Odd Future who I think are killing it! I saw Jamie Woon play and he's british and amazing! Loved his set. And The Cool Kids! Alway love to see them. Those were my highlights!"

In 2010 you were made an ambassador for a Nike running game, but what does that mean?! "I was team captain of the west of London! It was a game where u could run from telephone boxes in your area of london and try and run the most and fastest for west london!"

Cool, and in January you were signed up by the Select Models agency! Very exciting - so, when can we expect to see you modeling for them? "I've already done a ickle bit of it but music will always be my priority and its been getting very busy so haven't had much time to play with the modelling side of things. I did an online campaign with Moschino a couple months back though, which is live now."

OK, it's quite clear you have a quirky, albeit very colorful sense of fashion, but did you always dress like this or did the record label 'sway you' into such fashion statements?! "No it's always been me! I'm not the type to have anybody tell me what to wear! I actually remember walking into a meeting and my label saying 'we don't need to change anything about your style doo we, you got your own thing going on' which made me say 'phew' cos that's a battle I'd rather not have to fight!"

Being that there will always be chatter about your chosen stage name and that of the My Fair Lady character (look, see, I just did it myself!), assuming you have watched the film, are there any similar traits that you two share, perhaps? "No not really, I wish there was cos then there would be a better answer to that question!"

Do you have any tattoos and, if so, (AGAIN) and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, what is the newest one - and where is it located?! "No I'm not a fan! I love the body just as it is!"

Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "Yes!!! I used to love seeing them bestest at the london zoo! Except u have to hold ur nose!"

Interview: Russell A. Trunk

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