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Interview:
British singer Rumer riding forward momentum
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Upward momentum? As Adele might sing, Rumer has it.

The soulful British singer (born Sarah Joyce in Pakistan), had a Top 5 and platinum album in her homeland with 2010’s “Seasons of My Soul,” which so impressed Burt Bacharach that he wrote songs especially for an EP called “Rumer Sings Bacharach at Christmas.” And her recent feature on “CBS Sunday Morning” launched “Seasons of My Soul” to No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes chart the next day.

“It felt amazing to see the album do well on iTunes,” says Rumer, 32, who, ironically, fixed iPods as one of the many day jobs she held while waiting for her big music break. “Sometimes it’s hard to let yourself feel happy when you’re only ever used to struggling and living in and out of poverty for years and years. I get suspicious. I think for the first year it was like looking behind my shoulder going, ‘Me? You mean me? This is a mistake. What am I doing here?’

“So I’m just getting used to it. I find it hard to feel joy ... but I’m working on it.”

Among the instruments of Rumer’s success, meanwhile, is the single “Aretha,” in which she uses Aretha Franklin as a metaphor for “how music can save you and come to your aid when you’re young and you’re vulnerable. And Aretha is the perfect one to tell that story because she’s the Queen, whether you like it or not.” But Rumer acknowledges that performing the song in Franklin’s hometown this weekend will be a bit extra special.

“Well, yeah, that’s her home. That’s where her family lives and everything else,” says Rumer, who met Franklin briefly last year backstage in New York. “I hope that people get it and love it, and I’m sure they love her out there.”

After her U.K. and European success, meanwhile, Rumer is happy to be proving herself again in another market, playing small venues in North America — something she was never able to do in her homeland because the album took off so quickly.

Rumer hopes to do more road work this year, but she’s also in recording mode. “Boys Don’t Cry,” an album covering songs by male writers — including Isaac Hayes, Richie Havens, Stephen Bishop, Tim Harden and others — is due out in May, and she hopes to release her second set of originals, “Into Color,” in 2013.

Rumer and Mike Vial perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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