The Puppini Sisters (Marcella Puppini, Kate Mullins and Emma Smith) have been in existence for eight years and have a new, fifth, album ‘The Highlife’ out on March 11th and will be touring the UK starting on 3rd March and culminating with a final gig at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Thursday May 18th. The third and newest sister is well known in the UK jazz community, EMMA SMITH. Sebastian interviewed her:
LondonJazz News: How / when did you get into the Puppini Sisters in the first place ?
Emma Smith: I joined the Pupps in October 2012, at the very beginning of my last year at the Royal Academy of Music. It was a godsend! Joining the band definitely staved of the inevitable feeling of ‘what the hell is my life post-college’… I got to tour the world singing in harmony whilst wearing impossibly camp outfits. What more could I have asked for?!
LJN: What do you enjoy about working with the Puppinis ?
ES: We are a very close unit. And we laugh, laugh, laugh together. It’s so unusual for a group of women who essential occupy the same territory in a band to legitimately get along!
LJN: And what is the story of the recording ? How does the process of doing the arrangements work / is it collaborative? Do arrangments stay the same?
ES: We keep all the writing in-house (ie. Just us ladies) and then workshop them with our fabulous band in intensive rehearsals. The charts inevitably change a little but it’s pretty negligible. The Puppini Sisters have been doing this long enough that they know what’s going to work and what’s not.
LJN: Is there a story behind the album?
ES: The only ‘story’ I can think of is that this album has been the first that the Puppini Sisters has done without a major record label!! This is album no. 5 (although it’s my first album), and we have fully rocked out and done what the hell we want to do! We’ve upped the musical stakes and really done it properly, it’s a very complete album. ‘High Life’ is basically the soundtrack to a dream of a Puppini Sister… Or maybe the musical equivalent to the madness that occurs in our dressing room; Pom poms, corsets, wine, politics, boys, and lots and lots of lipstick’s …!
LJN: Any particularly memorable experiences gigs ?
ES: There was this one time in Germany when I found a golf buggy and got so over excited I actually drove it on stage. Or the time when Kate did a full dance routine with a broken leg and a silly-small corset on. There have been so many fabulous gigs with orchestras across the world, playing 4 nights at the blue note in Tokyo, featuring with Michael Buble at the o2 in front of 23k people was rather memorable. Yes it’s been a trip!
LJN: And there’s a big tour coming?
ES: We’re about to embark on a huge uk tour, (see link for details), Come and join us! And straight off the back of that we’re headed to Singapore and then the west coast of America. It’s such a dull life!
LJN: What else are you currently up to?
ES: I’m currently immersed in a bunch of projects, one involving a lot of pop writing, recording an album with a well known film composer and becoming a radio presenter …
LJN: Radio presenter’?
ES: Oh whoops! I gave that away to soon! Yes, I am going to be the new face of radio (haha I couldn’t help myself). There’s a new jazz show coming to BBC Radio 3 and I’ll be a part of it. I’m not sure how much I can give away but please watch this space for more info!
PUPPINI SISTERS TOUR DATES
3rd March Sage 2, Gateshead http://www.sagegateshead.com/
4th March Lowther Pavilion, Lytham http://www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk/
5th March The Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff http://www.thegate.org.uk/
7th March City Varieties, Leeds http://www.cityvarieties.co.uk/
8th March Epstein Theatre, Liverpool http://www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk/
9th March The Waterside Theatre, Sale, Manchester http://www.watersideartscentre.co.uk
11th March Albert Halls, Stirling http://www.alberthalls.stirling.gov.uk
12th March Stockton Arc, Stockton-on-Tees http://www.arconline.co.uk/
14th March The Apex, Bury St Edmunds http://www.theapex.co.uk
15th March Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick http://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/
16th March The Stables, Milton Keynes http://www.stables.org/
18th March Concorde Club, Southampton http://www.theconcordeclub.com/
19th March Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne http://www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk/
20th March Komedia, Bath http://www.komedia.co.uk/bath/
21st March Orchard Theatre, Dartford http://www.orchardtheatre.co.uk/
18th MAY O2 Empire, Shepherds Bush, London