Paloma Faith Gets Real About How Balancing Music And Childcare Put Her 'At Breaking Point'

Paloma Faith Gets Real About How Balancing Music And Childcare Put Her 'At Breaking Point'

    By Katie Rosseinsky Posted on 15 Nov 2018

    The four new tracks on the re-released edition of Paloma Faith’s The Architect see the four-time platinum-selling artist looking inwards, in a contemplative mood. ‘The Architect was about me creating a human and looking out at the world that I was bringing them into, but this is more how I feel inside of myself,’ she explained ahead of the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony in Covent Garden. ‘It’s about my experience since becoming a parent. There’s a song for my child; there’s one about my obsession with my boyfriend’s ex, which really heightened after I had a baby, because you immediately feel awful, then there’s one about my relationship with my mum and how that’s changed. It’s much more of a personal section to the album.’

    It’s rare to hear a star talking so honestly about ‘feeling awful,’ but since welcoming her first child back in 2016, Paloma has brought a refreshing candour to discussions about parenting. First, there was the Instagram post praising the ‘wonderful’ NHS doctors and nurses who helped her through an emergency caesarean; she’s since described how being a mum can sometimes feel like ‘hell.’ So, did she feel a duty to use her public platform to strip back some of the unhelpful mystique that still surrounds motherhood? ‘Not so much a duty, but I felt disappointed for myself that nobody had told me,’ she said. ‘So I just thought, I’ve got a platform, I can offer that perspective. The only perspective I ever heard was either “It’s all amazing!” or just labels like post-natal depression. Just saying “I felt awful” or “My body was disgusting,” saying it how it is – that was important to me.’ The response from other mothers has been, she says, very positive – but she’s just as happy to have proved her own preconceptions wrong. ‘What worried me – and what I’ve proven wrong – is that quite a lot of the time, people have kids and they think it immediately makes you old, and you can’t go out and do all those things. That’s not true – I still feel like a young person.’

    Performing at the Covent Garden Christmas Lights Switch On | © Shutterstock

    Indeed, she reckons that if motherhood has had an impact on her work, it might be a positive one. ‘I do feel more efficient and much more creative since I’ve become a parent,’ she told Grazia. ‘There’s no time to just whimsically pontificate, you’ve only got so much time to make sure it’s amazing.’ It wasn’t always this easy, however. Before she and her partner, artist Leyman Lahcine, decided that he would focus on childcare while Paloma returned to recording, the singer ‘really just felt at breaking point, like it wouldn’t work.’ It’s a struggle that many women will be able to identify with. ‘I definitely felt like I was going to give up at one point until he said, “Look, I’ll just stop so you can do it.” I tried paid childcare before but it didn’t work well because with my job, the hours are very fluid,’ she said. ‘Say you’re in the music studio and you’re about to nail a song, then you think “Sorry, I’ve got to go home, the nanny’s waiting.” [Leyman] understands my job as a creative; he works around it.’

    Paloma’s working schedule is set to become yet more complicated when she begins work on a number of recently announced acting projects, including a turn as a comic book villainess in Batman prequel Pennyworth. ‘The hours are so different; in acting you wake up at five and in music you go to bed at five… so they don’t really go together,’ she laughed, before addressing her return to the screen with trademark openness. This pivot back to the earlier stages of her career (when she appeared in films like St Trinian’s and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) is, she explained, ‘a conscious decision, because I felt like I’d left it too long without doing any [acting]; for myself, I like to keep things feeling fresh. Also, I look at the long term of my career. I can’t necessarily always rely on my success in music, so I want to make sure I’ve got other things happening as well.’ Even Paloma Faith, it seems, sees the appeal of the side hustle.

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