The Guardian

Róisín Murphy

The singer-songwriter on teenage shoplifting, onstage drama, and her unwavering love for Mars bars

Interview: Rosanna Greenstreet

What trait do I most deplore in myself? I’ve got an issue with clothes, haven’t I?

Born in Arklow, Ireland, Murphy, 50, formed Moloko with Mark Brydon in 1994 and had hits with Sing It Back and The Time Is Now. She released her debut solo album Ruby Blue in 2005, followed by Overpowered in 2007. Her third, Hairless Toys, was nominated for the 2015 Mercury prize. Her sixth solo album is Hit Parade. She lives in Ibiza with her husband and has two children.

What is your earliest memory? Crying beca because my dad had to go to work. He refitted pubs in Ireland during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? yourself

My problem with clothes. I’ve got an issue, ha haven’t I? I’m not a fella in a band who can turn up in his T-shirt and jeans. I’ve I got the whole drama of what I’m going to wear: the hair, the makeup makeup. All that preening and pruning that tha adds to the stress. I have begun to ha hate that perfectionist in me.

What was your y most embarrassing moment?

I recently h had a dramatic fall on stage in Hungary. Hungary It was a massive stage – I was miles away from the audience – and I didn’t expect there to be two monitors in the middle of it. I went completely arse over tit and landed on my chin chin. First, I felt shock, pain, embarrassm embarrassment, and then I felt lucky that I didn’t didn’ break any teeth or bite through my tongue. I asked for an ice pack for my chin, got up and finished the set.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive t thing you’ve ever bought? My car. I do don’t even drive, but I bought a Toyota hy hybrid for my assistant.

What makes make you unhappy?

The though thought of a more difficult world for my children. child

What is your most unappealing habit? Smoking.

What scares you about getting older? The fact that I smoke.

What was the last lie that you told?

I don’t tell lies. Or if I do, I’m a psycho and I don’t realise I’m lying.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I do eat a lot of sugary rubbish, which my husband thinks is absolutely appalling because he’s Italian and just can’t understand someone shoving a Mars bar in their gob.

What do you owe your parents? Everything. They are still the big icons of my life. They remain so beautiful in my mind, and they taught me so much because of the way that they lived. My dad died a couple of years ago; my mum’s still going strong.

What is the worst job you’ve ever done? When I was 14, I worked in a vegetable shop on Saturdays in Stockport, and the guy had a rotation of 10 pretty teenagers working for him and was really sleazy. I only went twice because the second time he made me go up to his flat above the shop and clean his toilet, and he was watching me.

If not yourself, who would you most like to be?

Tilda Swinton because I’d really like to be posh.

When did you last cry, and why?

Last week, because of an ear infection: I cried my eyes out when they put a big injection into my arse.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?


What has been your closest brush with the law?

I was put into a cell for shoplifting when I was 15. My family had split and gone nuclear – my mum was in Ireland and my dad somewhere in Manchester. I was tired of going round in dirty clothes, so I went into JD Sports and put on a pair of jogging pants under my jeans. I got collared on the way out and put into a cell with a guy who was bashing his head against the wall.

Tell us a joke.

What flies and wobbles? A jellycopter.