Meeting Foxes, A Very British Pop Star

Foxes turned our heads back in 2014 when she won a Grammy for her anthem "Clarity" just months before the release of her first album, Glorious. The record was daring, dancey, and a little bit Scandi-pop in places – a breath of fresh air for British pop music, and one that earned her a place on tour with Pharrell Williams the same year. Not bad for a girl from Southampton.

Real name Louisa Rose Allen, the 26-year-old is resolutely down to earth and charming when we meet. In person, she's small, perky, and sarcastic. Her easygoingness and familiarity has lent itself well to various big campaigns, including one for H&M, and another for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. It's also garnered her a legion of diehard fans.

On the cusp of releasing her second album, All I Need, Louisa reckons she's reached a grown-up phase in her musical career; the first album was written through the tenderness of her late teen years, but this one is rooted firmly in the present – both musically and lyrically. We sat down with the lovely Foxes to ask what it's all about.
Right. Shall we have a Prosecco?
What time is it?

It’s past 5. Have you been doing Dry Jan?
OK then. And 'ish... but I find you need alcohol to get through January.

Did you have any New Years’ resolutions?
I didn’t! I just want to be better than I was last year. A better human. Actually, my other one was to cook at home more. I got into a really bad Deliveroo habit. Danger zone. I order everything. And that’s the problem... you can really mix...

Yeah some people mix a pizza order with Chinese takeaway order and those people are sick...
Yes, I am that sick person! So I bought a cookbook. I got a Middle Eastern cookbook – that one was given to me – and Nigella Lawson. It’s quite full on. I should have got a vegan one... Nigella’s really heavy. Better to be making food than sitting on the sofa though. At least you’re moving.

Tell me about All I Need... when did you start writing it?
When I was on tour with Pharrell last year I remember hearing him in the other room constantly writing music and I thought, 'Well, if he's doing it, I should probably start thinking about my second album.'

I wrote the first album when I was 16, up to when it was released, which is when I was 24. That was a really long process and I was writing a lot of the lyrics when I was quite young. So, I was really ready to write a second album by this point, and I wrote continuously. It was a quick process at the time because I was a bit of a wreck. I’d just broken up with someone and I wrote about it falling apart while I was in it. And then what made me really hurry up is that I needed an outlet to forget about it.

That's a good way of dealing with heartbreak, I think.

It's a better way of dealing with it than eating Ben & Jerry’s and crying, but there was a lot of that as well. I never thought I would write an album or even a song that was sad or emotional or to do with one person, but it kind of just fell out of me.

"Body Talk" is the first single – it’s very upbeat...
It’s the first song I wrote. My friends put me on the train to go write and I was a mess. I woke up in this little Welsh town called the Town of Books, in the middle of nowhere, with no wifi. The first thing I said to the guy I was writing with was, “I can’t talk”, and then I wrote "Body Talk". It’s about feeling like if anyone speaks to you you'll cry. I wanted to try and forget about it all by using my body, lifting my head up, getting my feet to walk... anything to stop the moping.
You hold a Guinness World Record – what's it for?
I wish it was something really fucking weird but it’s not! Basically, I did the most amount of gigs in one day in different cities... About 12? Or 15? I can’t remember, but I travelled a lot. I’ve got the plaque. I've got my Grammy and then I've got my Guinness World Record plaque next to it.

Where do you keep them?
I don’t want a Grammy in my flat cause it will either get nicked or drunk out of repeatedly, so I keep it at my mums.

Was winning a Grammy your career highlight so far?
I remember when I got the copies of the first album sent to my house – that was the moment when I thought 'this is real'. Especially as everything was getting turned over to iTunes and it felt like nothing was real. But, yeah, the Grammys were amazing. Vivienne Westwood dressed me and I lost the dress! I left it on the plane and I had to pay loads for it.

How do you feel about red carpets – into it?
Awards give me the fear. I don’t like having my picture taken. It’s bad. I’m like Chandler from Friends in front of a camera.

I'm not very good at fashion-related questions, so I'll play it safe with this classic: What item of clothing could you not live without?
I don’t know! My 40% Topshop card? My friend got it for me. I don’t have a lot of designer clothes. My Mum owns a vintage stall on Brick Lane so I just get stuff off her. Or else in charity shops. I’m a hoarder – my house is horrible because I own too many clothes. I can't walk past a charity shop and not go in, but it could be worse: I could not be able to walk past Prada and not go in...
True. And my final question: As a Southampton girl, how do you feel about Craig David’s comeback?
I called this at the beginning of last year! I was like, “2016 is Craig David’s year!" I told a lot of people and everyone thought I’d lost my mind. But it’s his time again. Massively. He asked me to do a duet last year and I would have done it but because of schedules we couldn’t do it.

And now he’s too big for you...
Yeah, he’s hanging out with Diplo!

Well, Craig, if you're listening...

Foxes' new album, All I Need, is out on the 5th of February.


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