You know Pixie Geldof. You know she is the daughter of the famous Irish singer Bob Geldof. Maybe you have seen her on covers of magazines or surrounded by her friends at fashion parties. And you surely have seen her name associated with the term “It-Girl”. But from the family’s tragic story or the glossy pages, you can tell that there is so much more to Pixie. There is just something about the 26 year-old. She exudes something authentic. A bit of a mystery too.
It’s at the age of 8 that she put down on paper her first lyrics. “But it must have been something terrible” she says laughingly. In 2012, she released a single with her band Violet. The premises of something bigger. As she just released her first album “I’m Yours”, and as Semaine is showcasing her first music video, we got to spend a moment with the discreet artist. So who are you Pixie Geldof?
Semaine: Did you always know you wanted to be a singer?
Pixie: “I’m not very ‘center-stagey’. I’m not very good at being the person on stage. So I thought that might be problematic for someone who wanted to be a singer. But all I know is I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter.”
Semaine: So how is it now on stage?
Pixie: “I don’t mind it. When you are a couple of songs in and everything is going well. It’s an incredible sensation. But, you see, some people feed from it. For me it doesn’t work exactly like that. It’s more of an odd experience. It’s definitely exciting but as I was saying I’m much more into the songwriting process.”
Semaine: Your dad is a musician. How did that influence you?
Pixie: “We grew up around music. My dad has a huge love for music and everything that goes into it. He loves being on stage. He loves performing. We watched him having the best time in the world and he seemed to have the best job in the world. That of course will influence you and make you want to go and check it out. My dad listens to very good music and we have very similar music taste.
There was a lot of great music playing around the house all the time. He also did encourage me to write songs when he realised I was writing. It was so helpful but I think, probably either way, I would have done it.”
Semaine: When did you start writing and composing music?
Pixie: “I started relatively early but it’s only after I taught myself how to play the guitar, when I was 13 or 14, that I really started composing. I had an instrument to properly start writing with. Before it was just words on paper and then they became songs. I still play. I play relatively well but not as well as other people so I leave it up to them. I play enough to write.”
Semaine: How long did it take you to write this album?
Pixie: “A LONG time. With the first album it’s almost like you are telling your whole life. The oldest song on the album is 6 years, there were ones that I wrote when I was 18 years old. It’s crazy how that happens, how some of them stay with you.”
Semaine: Can you tell us about the writing process?
Pixie: “It can come from everything and anything. I like to listen to stories from people, listen to them talk about what is going on in their life. I find my friends very inspiring, just the way they are. Of course, I am very inspired by love - the never ending source of inspiration right? I like to write in a studio. I don’t know if that’s weird. Some people like to do it from home or in their own space but I like to go in and leave it there. I get more done if I do it like that.
With Violet [her first band] it was only a single and that was scary to release because no one had heard it and I was nervous about it. The process is very different for a full length album. Trying to get it out there is tough. I wrote it all over the place. Quite a few were written in LA and a lot of them in London.”
Semaine: You write a lot about love. Is it weird to dive into such personal topics?
Pixie: “It feels really natural, very normal, which is very good. Sometimes when I write certain lines, certain things, I think ‘I can’t believe I never get to say these things out loud other than in a song.’ And it’s such a shame. It comes very naturally to me in songs in this somehow dream-like way, like talking about dream-like things.”
Semaine: Are you quite shy?
Pixie: “Yes, I am. I have a close and good group of friends and have had them for my whole life. Outside of that group I’m quite shy socially. That’s why the stage is quite a weird experience.”
Semaine: Is there one song on the album that you are very attached to?
Pixie: “All of them really. Each of them tells a different story, addresses different parts of me. It’s actually crazy how different they all are to me. But there are songs on the album I took more care with, songs that I intended to make perfect. Some others just kind of happened like: ‘Sweet Thing’, which was quite effortless.
Semaine: How did you choose the name of the album, "I'm Yours"?
Pixie: “It is my favourite song on the record but it was also appropriate, and it fit with what I wanted to say with the album. It seems to suggest the idea that it wasn’t mine anymore. That is was someone else’s. It is also a dedication to my friends and the people I love that have given me their stories, the people who helped me and have been there for me. It’s me saying: ‘I’m there’ and I love them with all my heart.”
Semiane: Are you scared of critics?
Pixie: “No, I’m really not. I find people’s opinions completely valid and I accept that people have them. As long as the people who don’t care for it, don’t care for it for the right reasons. I don’t want them to dismiss the music because they have decided that they are just not going to be into me. But if they genuinely don’t like the sound or the songs, then that’s fine. Judge it for the music not for anything else.”
Semaine: What is the nicest thing someone could tell you about your music?
Pixie: “That they are listening to it when they are feeling a certain emotion. The idea that someone in the world is sitting there and that my song is the song that they are going to turn to. It’s an overwhelming idea. Because for me, those artists and those songs I turn to when I’m feeling a certain way, they follow me throughout my life. Being part of someone’s life in that way is a big thing for me.”
Semaine: What kind of art inspires you?
Pixie: “I’m very inspired by films. I watch millions of films and sometimes I put the sound on silent and I like to imagine that I am writing for it.”
Semaine: Would you like to do that? Write music for films?
Pixie: “I would love to do it so much.”
Semaine: For what kind of movies?
Pixie: “I would love to write for a movie like: True Romance. I imagine writing for films not being that different because it always comes from yourself. But I don’t know as I’ve never had to do it.” [She laughs]
Semaine: When did it become obvious that you wanted to devote yourself to music? Was it a logical path to take?
Pixie: “It happened quite rapidly. I studied fine arts and dropped out after three months. I wanted to write and I didn’t see the use in it. It sounds bad but I think I was done with school at that point. I wanted to see whether I could do this type of thing outside of education and outside of this very comfy environment. Was I good enough? In order to do this I had to go outside of what I had known.
I went to a recording studio where my friend worked and I recorded a demo, I must have been 18, and ever since then it’s been what I’ve done. There were other things but music was my every day. It has taken its time.”
Semaine: How was your time modelling?
Pixie: “It was such fun. I was 16 years old and someone tells you: ‘Hey do you want to work with this really cool photographer? take some really cool photos?’ - I mean of course I want to do it. Cheers! I met so many amazing people. My best friends and lots of people I hold very dear to me. I got to travel. I would never take away that time.
On the other side, everyone I ever met during that time knew I wanted to become a musician. It was just not public knowledge. I didn’t talk much about it. For some people it seems like my music is coming out of nowhere but it has always been there and been what I’ve done.”
Semaine: Has the fashion world taught you anything?
Pixie: “I was very young and I learnt that you have to stand your ground. But that’s like any job. You have to learn how to stand up for yourself and be yourself. Be genuine. It was good for me I think, to go outside of my comfort zone and meet people. I became much more comfortable in my skin I think, weirdly.”
Semaine: Is there an era that inspires you?
Pixie: “I love the 70’s. It’s been the era that I always find myself gravitating towards, in music, in fashion, and in film. It looks fucking cool. I would have loved to be a teenager in the 70’s. See all of those bands in LA. I guess I’m quite a nostalgic person.
This music video of ‘Woman Go Wild’ is inspired by the 70’s but it’s supposed to be era-less, not to be reminiscent of any time. The director did an amazing job at creating its own little planet. It’s the first one I’ve shot. I know the director incredibly well and I trusted him. He is such a talented director. There were no edits, he sent it to me and I said yes! That’s so rare.”
Semaine: Have you ever been to an American prom?
Pixie: “No. I’m devastated [She laughs]. I had a party when I left school and it was fun but the American thing is different isn’t it?”
Semaine: What kind of teenager were you?
Pixie: “I don’t really look back on that. For the teachers I think I was a pain in the ass. I was naughty. I was quite odd, I dressed kind of funny. I had close friends and just hung out with them.”
Semaine: You seem like quite a quirky person. My editor told me you had a passion for sharks for example?
Pixie: “It is one of my life long passions. I have never really been into what people are generally into. I like to watch documentaries about the sea. I went to a free-diving course by myself on the weekend. I do things like that.”
Semaine: What was it?
Pixie: “You do the first part in the pool and the second part in a lake. It’s a depth diving course. So you learn how to hold your breath for an extended period of time. I can hold mine for 2:46 seconds. It’s so fun.”
That does indeed sound like a lot of fun.
Pixie is like the girl next door. Not the American Type. The London type. She is as feminine as she is boyish, as tender as she is rock and roll, as discreet as she seems fun and open. The kind of friend you would want to call and tell your stories to. Her album sounds the same way. Pixie is just Pixie. Her own person, expressing herself in the most natural way to her: singing her songs.This album, a mix of country and dream-pop, holds a lot of different keys to who she is. And, to be honest, we love what we are seeing.
By Marie Winckler for Semaine.