Tuesday 31 August 2010 | By Pip Utton
Camille O’Sullivan: Glamour chameleon
ThreeWeeks Week 2 Guest editor Pip Utton talks to Fringe singing star Camille O’Sullivan.
PU: Is the new show very different from previous shows?
COS: It’s new songs, so it will be different as I’m becoming different characters for those new songs; but it is a similar type of show.
PU: For such a world wide star, is performing on the Fringe special or is it just an extended gig in your touring?
COS: It’s every bit as scary as the first time. It’s the most terrifying, the most important but most rewarding place to play. It puts the fear of God into you!
PU: What do you hope personally and professionally to get out of this year’s Fringe?
COS: Professionally, I hope to get more gigs – I hope promoters will come and book me for amazing festivals all around the world. I hope maybe collaborations with other performers will come out of it. Personally, I hope my new baby is a success and people feel happy about the show. And I hope not to lose my mind in the festival!
PU: You obviously sing the music you love; is there any other music you like as much which doesn’t fit into your style of performance and you can’t include it?
COS: I love The xx and The Beta Band. I love Radiohead and I have now been able to work some of their more melodic songs into what I do. And I love Led Zeppelin – I’ve been trying to get one of theirs in but I don’t know how.
PU: I find it very difficult to focus on anything much until after my performance. Your show is at 10.25pm; do you spend the whole day building up to that or are you able to switch off until near showtime?
COS: Most days, I’m up at 9am for interviews and such, then I try to have the day until 6pm to myself. After 6pm, I belong to the show. After the show, I’m often up until 5am, so my days are my nights, in a way.
PU: Being a pretty ordinary looking chap myself I’m under no pressure image wise but you are ‘ravishing’ to quote the Guardian, do you feel the pressure to keep up this image and keep the show ‘sexy’? Not that anyone in their right mind would want you to change.
COS: Sometimes I feel like I want to wear dungarees on stage, not a corset, but in the end, every girl wants to look pretty. I like my hair and my dress to look neat, but I’m not too worried.
PU: Do you ever use a hairbrush as a mic and sing into the bathroom mirror?
COS: (Laughing) Maybe when I was five, now I’m more likely to use the brush to try and tame my hair! I sing in the shower, but no brush in hand.
PU: You’re not performing on Tuesdays, what will you be doing to relax then? Will you see shows, stay in town and enjoy Edinburgh or will you take the chance to get right away from everything?
COS: On Tuesday mornings, I have a massage. I’ve never been into golf, but this year, my flat is near a course and I’ve been thinking I might try it. I might try and catch a show, have some cocktails. I might drive to Melrose, where my grandmother’s part of the family come from.
PU: Is there a singer – alive or dead – you would most like to perform with? Why?
COS: Nick Cave. Oh my god, so many reasons. He is just incredible. He’s a great writer of narrative song, which is what I love.
PU: You tour the world, where do you feel most at home?
COS: Can I say three places? Cork, my home town, performing at the Upper House. Edinburgh – it’s my sixth year here this year. And Sydney – I just love Sydney. All three are great cities with great food and lovely vintage shops where I can get hats and shoes.
Camille O’Sullivan’s show ‘Chameleon’ was performed at Assembly @ George Street during Fringe 2010.