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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Exclusive Q&A with Marcella Puppini of the Fabulous Puppini Sisters on Their New Album, The High Life!

Buddy Beaverhausen: On High Life, you have a new sister joining you. Please tell about that, and the departure of Stephanie O'Brien.
Marcella Puppini: In 2012 we had to have a rethink of our line-up, as things were not working as well as we knew they could.
We auditioned a few of the best vocalists in the UK, and were lucky enough to be joined by the portentous Emma Smith – a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and a descendant of a long line of eminent musicians. Emma has a knowledge of Jazz and the kind of natural swing that is hard to find, and to us (and many of our fans and music critics) her addition to our sound has made us the best we’ve ever been.

BB: Was it difficult to find a suitable replacement?
MP: It’s definitely true that there aren’t many people in the UK, or indeed the world, who possess all the qualities we were looking for, but we were incredibly lucky that the timing was right for Emma to join us. She is much more than a suitable replacement: she is a breath of fresh air!
BB: How many people auditioned to be part of your trio and what were the criteria for choosing someone?
MP: It’s definitely true that there aren’t many people in the UK, or indeed the world, who possess all the qualities we were looking for, but we were incredibly lucky that the timing was right for Emma to join us.She is much more than a suitable replacement: she is a breath of fresh air!

BB: As usual, your selection of songs is very eclectic. How did you decide upon "Rapper's Delight" / "Chandelier" -- that you ladies do expertly?Madonna medley? "Superfragilistic"?
MP: We have a list of songs that we want to arrange that we started compiling in 2004. Some of the songs we did on this album (such as Supercalifragilistic, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Changes) were on the original list, while others were gut-feeling decisions. We have honed a pretty sharp sense for what’s going to work, and this time we just trusted our instinct, with no one but ourselves to answer to.

BB: Who is your producer this time round?
MP: This is the third album we have made with Fred De Faye, a wonderful engineer/producer who is also an old friend of mine. Fred is great to work with because even though he comes from the Pop world he really gets the sound we’re after, and he is a great collaborator.

BB: You all look so fetching on this album cover. Who did your costumes, hair and make-up?
MP: The styling was a collaboration between myself and my old Central St Martins College of Art classmate Jason Halsey (with his amazing company called HUNCH). HUNCH also did all the photography and artwork for the album. Our hair was done by the incredible Seema Chopra, who has been working with us for the last 6 or 7 years, and the make up is by Daniela Boccuzzi, an extremely talented old friend of mine. 

BB: Where can we catch you live, on tour, in the UK and in America?
MP: We’ve just finished our UK tour, and are about to go on a little jaunt to Singapore. On the 17th of April we’re doing a one-off performance at Bay Area Cabaret at The Fairmont in San Francisco, as a warm-up for a US tour which is being planned for later in the year. And on the 18th of May we have our headlining show at The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, which we’re very excited about.

BB: Explain to us about the tax that is keeping non-US performers from touring in The States.
MP: It’s quite an unfortunate situation: whoever performs in the States will have 30% deducted from their fee, regardless of whether or not they are making a profit on the gig. The tax is refundable eventually if the overall profit from touring the US in the course of the year is less than a certain amount, but claiming it back is complicated, and the artist needs to have enough capital to invest in a tour to start with – or command very high fees! We are now working with a great team of lawyers and accountants in the US, so we are confident that we can come back to tour again.

BB: How much did Emma Smith, your new sister, have input in your selection of songs?
MP: Emma has been very involved in the making of the album. Kate and I did all the arranging and writing of the original material, but Emma has been part of the conversation, and has given great input all along.

BB: Thank you so much! Hope to catch you live and finally get to meet.

High Life is available on cd through Amazon.com & wherever fine music is sold.







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