Interview: Frances Ruffelle

Frances Ruffelle has ticked most boxes in her career today. The veritable chart star has enjoyed success in cabaret, the West End and even the Eurovision, now she returns with her sixth studio album and we wanted to know what still makes her tick…


The Gaze: I Say Yeh-Yeh is your sixth studio album, did you have a very clear vision for the record before meeting with producer Gwyneth Herbert?

Frances Ruffelle: I had a clear vision for the album, from which Gwyneth added some extra special unexpected detours which made the whole process and the finished product way beyond my expectations.


The album sees you once again shaking up your sound, do you consciously ensure each album is sonically removed from its predecessor?

Not really, but I guess my music has changed with me over these last three decades.


Yé-yé is central to the new album’s sound, but it is a reinterpretation of the genre. Tell us about the creative process.

The Yé-Yé movement inspired us with some of their sounds, and the intimate way their vocals were recorded. We used this inspiration and made our very own sound palette which certainly hints at Ye-Ye every now and then.


The album is headed up by the single ‘Paris Summer’ – how did you pick it as the lead single?

It’s my favourite song on the album, the edgy lyrics are like none I have ever heard before, it’s unusual for a married woman to sing about an out of marriage affair.



It is a duet with a little known vocalist called Rowan John, how did the collaboration come about?

I met Rowan at my local hairdressers where he did my hair. We became friends and he rented my spare room, I found out that he could sing and we recorded it for fun. His voice was so wonderful I couldn’t wait to share it with my audiences. He will be singing with me at my new solo show at the Crazy Coqs next month.


You also recorded a duet with Gwyneth Herbert – is there anyone else you dream of working with?

I have also recorded duets in the past with Ian Dury and Christopher Cross, I would love to record with Barbara Streisand!! If only!


Would you ever consider a duet with your daughter?

We did one a long time ago which is on iTunes, but we keep our professional lives apart and just keep our mummy/daughter relationship real strong.


The album also sees you revisit On My Own, why did it feel like the right time?

Gwyn persuaded me, and I am glad she did. 30 years later, the song is sung by the woman I am now and not the girl I was then.


You also reinterpret some classics, what is the secret to a good reinterpretation?

You have to make it yours, you have to own it, do it in your own way.

I don’t see the point in copying a classic, as you may as well play the original.


Lastly, if you could achieve one thing with I Say Yeh-Yeh, what would it be?

I hope people like it and I hope the fun Gwyneth and I have had making it shines through.