Soundtrack Of My Life: Róisín Murphy

Roisin Murphy

The first song I remember hearing

The Dubliners – ‘Monto (Take Her Up To Monto)’

“My father never stopped singing [when I was a child], so to pinpoint one song is gonna be hard. It was probably something like ‘Monto (Take Her Up To Monto)’ or a dirty old song like that. He had a bath once every couple of weeks and he’d go in there for an hour and a half with a bottle of wine and he’d sing at the top of his voice and the whole neighbourhood could hear him.”

The first song I fell in love with

The Beatles – ‘Ticket To Ride’

“I listened to it about 300 times in succession when I found it in my mother’s record collection. That was the first record that I played over and over and tried to understand why I loved it. I’d dance to it on my own and that’s the way I went on forever.”

The first albums I ever bought

Terence Trent D’Arby – ‘Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D’Arby’

George Michael – ’Faith’

“I bought them at the same time at Stockport Our Price, and a Luther Vandross compilation. I played those to absolute death and knew every word to them. This is before I kind of went weird – not girly, not into Bros or whatever. I was really into U2 so I remember getting a boombox thing for my 13th birthday and then I got this tape of ‘Joshua Tree’ so that was another massive one.”

The first gig I went to

Uncle Jim’s jazz band, nearby village, Ireland, 1970s

“My Uncle Jim was a brilliant musician, he was a bandleader. He had a jazz trio, as well as a six piece and he used to have a gig every summer that was an all-day gig on a Sunday. I went to that every Sunday growing up, in the summertime. We’d drive a little bit out of town to a little village. It was amazing, people from all over came, and I just danced all day long. My parents and relatives can remember seeing the music in me at that point.”

The song that reminds me of home

Luca C & Brigante – ‘Tomorrow Can Wait’

“I am where I am now, which is Ibiza, because I fell in love with this Italian producer a few years ago and he changed my life. It’s a Balearic classic. I worked with them, I did a song called ‘Flash Of Light’ and they had sent me some tracks and it was like the party at the end of the world. It had an identity and I knew what I wanted to sing about, I wanted to sing about the disco at the end of days. And that’s what ‘Tomorrow Can Wait’ feels like as well. It’s very beautiful in that way.”

The song I wish I’d written

Lucio Battiste – ‘Ancora Tu’

“It’s an anthem in so many countries. Here in Spain, if I sing it everybody knows it. In Italy, everyone at every age knows it. In Russia everybody knows it. It is this anthem where people sing every single word but it’s the absolute opposite of Queen or something chant-y. It’s like somebody really witty and really intelligent and really sexy is just talking to you. And yet still, it unites people.”

The songs I do at karaoke

Patty Pravo – ‘Pensiero Stupendo’

Mina – ‘Ancora, Ancora, Ancora’

“The last time I did karaoke I did it in Italian. I was on holiday with my husband and his brother, Martino, in Lampedusa. It was a diving holiday, and it’s the last island between Italy and Africa. Also we knew the diving instructor guy called Rocco, I had three gorgeous Italian fellas with me all week. Martino got really excited that I was going to sing one of these Patty Pravo songs or the Mina song that I did versions of years ago. He planned it for the last day, brought me down there, made a big deal of it: ‘She’s going to sing!’ There was no one there. I sang a bit and people started coming from the beach up to the bar, they couldn’t believe this little Irish woman was singing the Italian songs that they knew so well.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

The Gregory Brothers – ‘The Muffin Song’

“It’s something my son plays off the internet every now and again and it goes ‘I’m going to die, die die, it’s muffin time’. It’s one of these nihilistic, futile, fucked up things on the internet that children love. It’s about a suicidal muffin, who’s so happy to die because he’s been eaten which is what he’s meant for in life. He’s a kamikaze muffin.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Talking Heads – ‘Once In A Lifetime’

“I don’t like it if I’m at a club and I hear something really obvious like ‘Once In A Lifetime’ or some Michael Jackson. Things that have just been played to death. I go ‘okay, I know what I’m dealing with here. Let’s get my coat’.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Anything by Decius

“They’re Lias from the Fat White Family and Paranoid London and maybe somebody else. They’re very good indeed. Very sexy and it’s got equilibrium. It’s not too fancy and it really works.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Anything by Rhythm & Sound

“Somebody else will probably play some Rhythm & Sound, because it just makes everybody feel nice. It has an atmosphere that fills the room. It has a texture beyond emotion. It’s my favourite music so maybe biologically I fit with it.”

Róisín Murphy stars in new fantasy TV series ‘The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself’, on Netflix from October 28

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