An Interview With The British Vocal Trio, THE PUPPINI SISTERS On Their Newest Album, Favorite Tour Memories And More!
Posted On 27 May 2016
The Puppini Sisters are an English vocal trio composed of Italian-born singer Marcella Puppini and English singers Kate Mullins and Emma Smith.
They are backed by a three-piece band featuring Blake Wilner on guitar, Henrik Jensen on double bass and Peter Ibbetson on drums.
The Puppini Sisters have released 6 full-length albums: “Betcha Bottom Dollar” (2006), “The Rise And Fall of Ruby Woo” (2007), “Christmas With The Puppini Sisters” (2010), “Hollywood” (2011), “The Best of The Puppini Sisters” (2015) and “The High Life” (2015).
Learn more about The Puppini Sisters in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So how’s 2016 been treating you ladies so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you?
The start of 2016 has been fantastically busy! We began a crowdfunding campaign to enable us to record and release our 5th album (‘The High Life’) on our own record label (Millionaire Records). With the help of our wonderful fans, we smashed our target and recorded the album at the end of 2015 and released it in March this year. We have spent the beginning of the 2016 touring it in the UK, Singapore and San Francisco so far. More dates to follow later on in 2016 and 2017 here, in Europe and in the US.
How did Puppini Sisters come to be? Can you talk about the formation of this group?
We are all jazz graduates of various conservatoires in London. Marcella first had the idea to put together the group after watching a French Canadian animation film called ‘Belleville Rendevouz’, where the soundtrack mixed old swing and three part vocal harmony with a much more new and current sound. Myself and a wonderful singer called Rosanna Schura were called into complete the trio and yes, we all had a mad passion for this sort of music and style.
Let’s talk about your newest and fifth album, “The Highlife” that was just released. How do you think this collection shows the group’s growth in sound? How do you try to reinvent yourself on each record?
Absolutely, and as it’s the first album we have produced completely under our own steam, I think the overall tone and sound of the album is much more cohesive as a result. We have always co-produced our own albums but I think this time, it was really a case of less cooks, better grub! There is much more personal connection in the band with the current line up and it has become a hotbed of fun, support and creativity. This really comes across in the sound of this new album.
What are some of your favourite tracks on this record in particular?
My two personal favourites are ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ from the record and ‘Supercalifragilisticexplialidocious’ to perform live.
What was it like making “The Highlife” without a major record label supporting you? Did this give you more freedom when it came to your creativity and the overall timing of it too?
Yes it certainly did. We really got to rip into a long list of songs we’ve always wanted to tackle so that was a lot of fun. It has always been a lot of fun working with Universal on our 4 other albums, but it really was a totally different experience to do it on our own. It’s been a lot of fun so far (and a LOT of work…!)
Can you talk about what it was like having the record funded completely by a Pledge campaign? What was the support from your fans like on there?
Our fans are fantastic and Pledge is a wonderful, helpful and supportive platform for artists to work with in releasing and owning their own work. A lot of people pre-ordered the album in advance to add to the pot, but some went further and got involved with some of the incentives we offered; for example, some came and recorded a bonus track on our album, others have appeared with us on stage. We also had huge fun writing and recording personalised songs for fans to give to their loved ones. Singagrams too. All sorts of brilliant things!
How do you go about selecting which songs to cover and reimagine? How do you pick the ones that will be on the album?
We all have very eclectic tastes and a long, long list of possibilities… It really helps to think about it from a performance point of view. How can we have fun with this live?! This sort of mindset invariably translates really well to record too.
You’ve done so many incredible re-interpretations of popular songs. I absolutely loved your “Last Christmas” and “Crazy In Love” renditions! What are some of your favourites? Have some of the artists reached out to you about your renditions?
I believe we got a huge thumbs up from a Kate Bush fan forum for our rendition of Wuthering Heights! That says a lot, they’re a picky crowd… And we’re fully planning on sending Cyndi Lauper our version of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. We supported her back in 2010 on her ‘True Colours’ Tour in the States, which was amazing. Can’t wait to hear what she thinks!
I just watched your video for “Work It”. How did that all come together?
‘The Hoppers’ are an amazing dance troupe from Milan where they have a dance school. They’ve always been fans of ours so as part of our crowdfunding campaign, they paid us a fee to go over and make a promotional video with them! It was super fun. Wonderful, wonderful human beings. We are very excited to have them coming to perform with us at our London show next week. Hurrah!
You just wrapped up your big UK tour. What were those shows like? Where are you off to next? What’s your favuorite part about touring?
The UK tour was fantastic. Such a great experience. Europe, more UK and the US are next on the schedule. It’s wonderful to tour as you have so much time together as a band and with your fans to develop a fantastic show.
Can you talk about your amazing retro outfits? Who designs them? And what about your incredible throwback hairdos? How important is looking the part of the era to you three?
Marcella is at the helm designing and coordinating our outfits. She has an amazing eye and sense of style; with a degree in fashion design from Central St. Martins and time working for Vivienne Westwood under her belt, we’re in excellent hand. Our image is very important to us, though we are not historians. We like to have fun with our look and take inspiration from all over time and place.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future? Who are some of your all-time favourite artists?
Marilyn Manson, Tom Waits, Hugh Laurie and Nick Cave are all on my list. Hugh Laurie came to our show in San Francisco recently and I nearly died… He’s my comic idol from years of Blackadder and Fry and Laurie etc.