pixie geldof: this time it's personal
Pixie Geldof has spent the past five years putting her heart and soul into her debut album, I’m Yours. Cascading from foot-stomping country to hazy dream pop, this time it’s personal.
Pixie wears Jacket Martine Rose. T-shirt Stüssy.
The average person can hold their breath for 30 seconds. Pixie Geldof can hold hers for 2 minutes 46 seconds. Indulging her childhood obsession with the ocean, she recently passed her free-diving course in a murky lake in Bath. "I always wanted to be a fish," the 25-year-old says. She hoped her underwater breathing skills might enhance her vocals - so far, they haven't. "But maybe one day I'll be able to belt something out and it'll go on forever."
Pixie could've done with her wetsuit today as she comes in from the rainy East London street, hair dripping but smiling eagerly, and apologises for being just a few minutes late. The traffic was bad, but with the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince audiobook for company, she made the most of her happy place. "I love driving - it's my favourite thing to do. I find it really calming." When in LA, Pixie prefers to cruise to a country music soundtrack. She spent the last three months of 2015 stateside, working with Grammy-nominated producer Tony Hoffer to record her debut solo album, I'm Yours, a record she spent the previous five years quietly writing. She finds the city inspiring because "you're just up in the mountains or down by the sea - it's mega."
Representing everyone she has ever loved, I'm Yours is a hugely impressive debut that fades from foot-stomping, heart-warming country into hazy dream pop caressed by the artist's newfound seductive vocals. It's gentle, it's honest and it's well worth the wait. With songs like Close to You and the record's title track, I'm Yours, it's easy to hear that Pixie is in love. She has been with her boyfriend, musician George Barnett, for six years now and the two of them share a home in North East London. She has painted all of the walls pink, and recently turned her bedroom a dark shade of green. But as Pixie knows all too well, life isn't all rainbow hues and LA road trips; with love comes loss, and melancholia trickles through the record in a moving and beautiful way. It was just two years ago that she was faced with the sudden death of her older sister Peaches, a subject that comes to light in Twin Thing; a beautiful albeit painful song with a CocoRosie-esque opening and soul-wrenching lyrics that mournfully cry out, "wish I'd known you like my own skin, so I could feel the hurt you were in… wherever you are going, hope it's heavenly to you forever."
In our celebrity-obsessed world, where everybody reads into everything, it must have been hard for her to share her deepest emotions through her lyrics. "After recording some songs I would think, fuck, that is really..." she pauses, gulping, "...intense. And if it's intense for me then it's probably intense for someone else. I try not to think about people reading into it, because at the end of the day, if they do and they've shared a similar experience to me, then it's worth it."
Pixie finds solace in Kris Kristofferson's Nobody Wins. "It's one of those songs that can be applied to any situation that bums me out. It's very sad but quite calming. It takes me away. It's really nice." While she finds songwriting therapeutic too, she isn't the type to hide away penning lyrics in the midst of despair. "I have to be quite removed from a situation and look back on it," she explains. "By that point I'll have almost made some kind of peace with whatever I'm writing about, so I do find that it draws a nice line under things... not all things, but some." Twin Thing was written on the same day as the similarly moving So Strong; a day that Pixie remembers as being "very quick and very fiery - a good day." The album comes to a close with a version Wild Things Grow; a stunning, soaring and altogether more positive track that she previously released under the moniker Violet and always knew would be the closer. "I don't know why… there's just something quite final about it."
After the release of I'm Yours, Pixie looks forward to touring again, well, "as much as someone who doesn't care for crowds can look forward to being in front of one!" she laughs. She hopes for a shadowy stage that she can hide on, illuminated only by the dancing lights of a disco ball. "Crowds make me very nervous," she confesses, clearly not making music for the onslaught that comes with it; the interviews, the performing, the judging. "You have to have a strength in literally just being a woman; you have to fight slightly harder to be heard and believed, which is a really weird thing. Especially in business, when you're trying to be your own person in an industry very dominated by men."
Thankfully she has a group of strong female friends to support her. "Anyone who can stand up and be 100% themselves and unapologetically bizarre, strong, outspoken and wild, to me that's the ultimate thing and something that I completely aspire to," she says of Alexa Chung, Aimee Phillips, Kate Bellm, Alex Brownsell, Ashley Williams et al. "They're all so funny and I love being around them because they make me feel good about being a bit odd!" What Pixie doesn't seem to realise is that she shares the qualities that she so admires in her friends. She has been through an incredibly punishing few years and is powering on regardless, stronger than ever before, and in doing so has created a brilliant time-capsule album that will surely smash her record of 2 minutes 46 seconds and leave listeners completely breathless.
Text Frankie Dunn
Photography Clare Shilland
Styling Danielle Emerson
Hair Mari Ohashi at LGA management using R+Co. Make-up Ciara O'Shea at LGA management using YSL Beauté. Photography assistance Liam Hart.