Born and raised in unimaginably tiny Nefyn, North Wales, Duffy may be an unlikely contender for the stage; but with a vocal ability that towers above expectation, that's exactly where she belongs. Having spent years honing her skills on the local live circuit, she's risen to become one of today's most promising new artists. She is set to release her stunning debut album Rockferry, which features the all-out smash, "Mercy." "Mercy" has exploded into the UK charts and has already reached the #1 spot. Evocative of the music that raised her, yet thoroughly modern, her soulful sound combines a nostalgic, scratchy blues feel with the rustic sound of modern life. Influenced by Doris Duke, Bettye Swann, Scott Walker and Richard Hawley, Duffy began songwriting at the age of 10. "I'm from a very close community. I moved away when I was ten and grew up in West Wales, where I first learned English as a second language. It was difficult for me to converse back then, so I withdrew into songwriting. It was just innate." Armed with a development deal that united her with former Suede guitarist and record producer Bernard Butler, she spent the past 2 years creating the album that would mark her arrival.
Duffy's sound is both nostalgic and timeless. "I write my songs acapella and build it up from there, which is where we get the retro sound. Old music was always recorded on a 4-track, so it had to be melody-led. When we finished the demos, we took them back to the original co-writers. It would've been easy to get some hot-shot American producer, but we kept it organic." Recorded straight to tape, the album has a charisma all its own. Highlights include the defiantly catchy "Mercy," haunted by the ghost of Motown, "Warwick Avenue" with its white-knuckle grip, and the razor-sharp hook of "Serious." What you'll find on Rockferry is irrefutable evidence of a significant new talent, and one that has developed in splendid isolation, not in reaction to market forces or the input of focus groups and industry experts. Duffy is the real, unspoiled, original deal. "People keep asking me where my voice comes from and the fact is I don't know," says the brightest new star of 2008, it's like, "why are your eyes the color they are?"
"And so to the year's brightest new talent: the pocket-sized Welsh girl with the voice of a '60s soul diva. Move over Amy Winehouse..." — Q Magazine