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Duffy on the cover of her No. 1 single, “Mercy“.
|Birth name||Aimee Anne Duffy|
|Also known as||Duffy|
|Born||1 June 1984 (1984-06-01)|
|Origin||Nefyn, Gwynedd, Wales|
|Genre(s)||Soul, Rock, Pop|
|Years active||2003 – present|
|Website||Duffy’s official website|
Raised in Nefyn on the Llŷn Peninsula with her twin sister, Katy, her parents divorced when she was 10, and she moved to Pembrokeshire with her mother and sisters, while her father remained in Nefyn. Her early interest in singing was apparently inspired by her father John Duffy’s videotape of the 1960s television rock show Ready Steady Go! .
Duffy returned to Nefyn when she was 15, and started singing in various local bands. After being involved in an unsuccessful music project in Switzerland, Duffy returned to Wales in 2003 and auditioned for Wawffactor, a Welsh alternative to Pop Idol on S4C where she was expected to win, but eventually came second to winner Lisa Pedrig.
Duffy was elected president of the Students Union at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, before transferring to study at the University of Chester, Chester, England where she built up a following in a local jazz and blues club . She recorded a three-songs-EP in Welsh in 2004 and also appeared on two tracks on the album See You in the Morning by Mint Royale while working as a waitress and in a fishery. Owen Powell of Catatonia and Richard Parfitt of Newport band 60ft Dolls, introduced Duffy in August 2004 to former Public Image Ltd. member turned music manager and part-owner of Rough Trade Records Jeanette Lee. Lee moved Duffy to Crouch End in London, and orchestrated a meeting between Duffy and Suede‘s ex-guitar player Bernard Butler, who then co-wrote with her and helped create a sound that has been compared to Dusty Springfield. Together with another rising star, Adele, Duffy was the most prominent of the so-called “new Amys” (a reference to singer Amy Winehouse) : for example, under the sub-title, “The New Amys”, Adam Thompson wrote in The Times on 30 December 2007 that “Duffy, Gabriella Cilmi and Adele lead the charge to be the next Winehouse. First sightings seem to indicate that they are all bright-eyed innocents with bags of talent — a familiar starting point, no?”
Contracted to A&M Records during 2007, on 23 November 2007, Duffy performed on the BBC2 television show Later with Jools Holland, which resulted in a second appearance on the related New Year’s Eve show Hootenanny, on which, among other things, she performed with soul legend Eddie Floyd. On 22 February 2008, she appeared on Later with Jools Holland for a third time and performed “Rockferry”, “Mercy” and “Stepping Stone”. She also appeared on the BBC2 television programme “The Culture Show” on 23 February 2008 and performed “Mercy“. In January 2008, she came second in the annual BBC 6 Music poll of industry experts Sound of 2008, for acts to emerge in the coming year. In Wales she seemed set to become the “pop” equivalent of mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. A number of commentators have remarked on her unaffected personality and natural charm.
Butler and his musical partner David McAlmont, and a number of other musicians have formed the backbone of Duffy’s band for her debut album entitled Rockferry, which was released on Polydor on 3 March 2008.
After releasing a debut limited edition single, “Rockferry” in November 2007, Duffy then released a followup single, “Mercy“, which went straight to number one on download sales on 17 February 2008. Duffy is the first Welsh female to achieve a number one pop single in the past 25 years. “Mercy” spent a second week at number one on 24 February 2008, and set its full physical release on 25 February 2008.
A review of her first major tour’s stop at the respected King Tuts venue in Glasgow noted “her quiet assurance obviously stems from talent. When she let loose, her voice was awesome.”
Duffy confirmed in an interview that “Warwick Avenue” will be the next single from her #1 album “Rockferry”.