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Holly Golightly: 'I only do what I want to do'

Holly Golightly
Holly Golightly

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(CNN) -- British singer/songwriter Holly Golightly isn't necessarily seeking the glare of superstardom. She's happy with the flexibility her current profile allows.

"I'm just interested in the possibilities. I think when you are tied to a major label deal, it makes those possibilities kind of clam up a bit," Golightly told TMR.  

A former member of Thee Headcoatees, a garage act that splintered off from Billy Childish's band Thee Headcoats, Golightly released her first solo album in 1995.

A recent collaboration with the White Stripes on a track on the Detroit band's latest album has upped Golightly's exposure in the U.S., where she recently finished a tour for "Truly She Is None Other."

TMR sat down with Golightly to talk about how she's made her way in the music business.

TMR: Explain to people what a phone interview is like for you.

GOLIGHTLY: It's where somebody phones you up and asks you the same questions as everybody else over and over and over. So it's almost like I could have a recorded answer if I knew how far to space my answers -- if I gave them enough time for the question.

TMR: What are some of the 'same questions' everybody asks you?

GOLIGHTLY: 'So, what was it actually like recording with the actual White Stripes in the actual recording studio that I have been recording in for the last 11 years?' It was actually exactly the same as it has always been, only they were there.

The next one is, 'Is that your real name?' Then I have to do the whole thing: 'Yeah, my mother was pregnant while reading 'Breakfast At Tiffany's.' Then she went into labor and couldn't think of anything else. She had to make a decision fairly quickly because you have to name a baby within six weeks by law and that's the best she could do.

And I've had to go through school with that name. So I've had my head kicked in for being called Holly Golightly. So it's quite good how it's turned around. It's the hand of justice sweeping that I got to actually use [my name] in context because I had to be called something if I am playing music, and you might as well be called your own name. 

The other one was, 'Did [your] mom and dad really go to college with the Kinks?' And the answer is, 'Yes.' That one comes up a lot.

'How old are you?' 'Where were you born?' 'Where do you live?' 'Is it true you drive a truck?' 'Is it true you lived on a boat?'  All the usual stuff people need to know, obviously because it has great bearing on the music I play.

TMR: So, what questions would you like to be asked?

GOLIGHTLY: Somebody did interview me for a fanzine interview and it was the best interview I ever did. They asked me lots of questions about what I listen to, and they asked me what it was about that very specific genre of music that interested me. And I got to talk about the thing that I'm actually interested in, which isn't myself, but the thing that I do.  

TMR: I can tell you're happy doing this and that you don't need the big record deal and stuff like that.

GOLIGHTLY: Well, I don't know. It's that thing. I'm really skeptical. I just think, if somebody comes along and offers you a lot of money, they're not doing it because they like you. They're doing it because they can sell you, and they can only sell you if they know what their market is. They have no idea what their market is for what I do. ...

It's interesting to some people, but it's a minority.  You know, I don't know how it could ever be a commercial success in the eyes of a large label. I don't see that they would ever be commercially successful because I'm too random. I just do what I like and that's not what they want. It doesn't make for good sustainable sales. You know, probably if it was going to happen it would have happened 10 years ago or so when they could sell me on my image. Probably longer than 10 years ago. 

... I never had any ambition to be a singer or to be known as being a singer or a songwriter.  So the fact that I have this partial success and this profile, however it's been created -- whether it's because I've been doing it a long time or because people actually think it's good. However it happened, I attained this profile which was a complete fluke really. It wasn't intentional and I think to sustain that profile is a pretty good thing. 

If I don't like it anymore, I just won't do it anymore; it doesn't matter. I'll just go back and train some horses and be happy doing that. It's a very loose arrangement for me really. I only do what I want to do and that's a good thing. Why would you do something if you hate it? ...


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