Article by: By Javier Espinoza (wsj-speakeasy)
Rockabilly Irish singer Imelda May has become a big hit in the U.S. lately. She’s been on Jay Leno a few times already and last year, she welcomed President Barack Obama with a special concert during his visit to Ireland. The 37-year old star, who started singing when she was 14, has toured the world and she is currently singing around Europe before she leaves the stage to give birth to her first child. Her third album Mayhem has sold 400,000 copies. Ms. May, who is 6 months pregnant, took time off her busy schedule to discuss plans for a new album and a return to the U.S. She has already been getting advice on how to be a good mom. “I was in Monaco with Princess Caroline and Prince Albert. She is very nice. I went on stage, did my usual thing, I went crazy, had a good time. Then Princess Caroline said ‘Don’t forget to play a little Mozart to the baby and not only Rock’n'Roll,” she says. “This is the first tour I have done since having a big belly. I am in the middle of going through my clothes trying to find what will fit me.”
Speakeasy: Is it a boy or girl?
Imelda May: I don’t know. It’s a surprise. It will be a nice surprise either way.
You’re playing in larger venues now like the Royal Albert Hall. Do you miss smaller venues?
I like a mixture of everything. There is no point in trying to do well and then complaining about the venues. I am getting thrill out of having to fill out bigger venues. It is different in different countries all over the world. We go to, say, Australia and 200 people will show and that’s great fun. And then you go to the U.S. and there’s 700,000 people. There are 24,000 people in Spain and Ireland. It is great that it can go from 200 to 24,000. How cool is that? It keeps you on your toes.
Are you touring Europe only this time around?
Yes. I had a tour planned for the U.S. But I canceled my long-haul flights to the advice of my doctor and my midwife. That’s more important. I don’t want to risk my health or my baby’s health. But I didn’t want to cancel the whole tour.
Are you going to the U.S. after the baby is born?
Oh yeah. That baby is going to be a tour baby. We will definitely go back. I love going there. Things are going very well. We are getting a good crowd. We will go back and this time we will have a baby. We won’t be the first or the last family to go on the road. It’s been done for many years.
Do you have any plans for a new album?
Oh yes. I have taken some time off to write and just enjoy being creative, and doing things for fun. I really enjoy doing things for fun more than anything else. I have no big career plan. It is better for me that way. As soon as I have all my songs together then myself and the band we will go to the studio and make a new album.
So it is work in progress.
Yes. Absolutely. Thank you for that. Most people ask ‘when is it out?’
Ha! My record company is great actually. They say you have been crazy on the road you need to slow down. They have been very supportive. They say take your time, relax, enjoy life, write some songs and come back with an album.
Some press reports said you were approached to become a judge for “The Voice.”
Yes. I turned it down. I didn’t want to do it. I don’t want to be a judge on a TV show.
I am a musician. I think a lot of those things are more TV shows than music shows. I think they are great fun TV but they are not for me.
Are there any people you’d like to perform with?
Always. I would love to perform with Robert Plant, BB King and Dolly Parton.