Photo shoot and interview

More at home in indie haunts than with a stage school crowd, and sounding more like Lily than Liza, Eliza Doolittle, it seems, is certainly not what the twee name suggests.

Softly London with a soulful edge, legs up to her armpits, and looking about sixteen-years-old at a definitely more mature twenty-two, Miss Doolittle is patently marketable material. The straight talking Londoner says of her title: “My mum is from the East End and my dad’s quite well spoken” - so she’s not a rags-to-riches story, a classically trained prodigy or a bedraggled flower girl, come to that.

She describes her music as “classic pop rather than cheesy pop” and her influences range from old soul and rock to The Beach Boys, Destiny’s Child and Corrine Bailey Rae.

It’s easy to cast Eliza in the small mould of Lily Allen and Kate Nash, with her cockney tones and thoughtful summery real-life lyrics, but Eliza finds it hard to find a comparison. “I’m nothing like either of them. The only similarity is my English accent. My accent is my accent and I wouldn’t change it.”

Her disgruntled reaction is pretty well founded. After her mum told her to start writing songs at twelve, she had a publishing deal at sixteen. So if you do the calculations, little Eliza was at this song-writing malarkey before Lily was penning about her little brother problems, and Kate was fine-tuning her cockney tones.

However, does Eliza want the same success as Lily and take her English charm to US? “Having success in America is something I would love but you never know what’s going to happen, so I’ll just work really hard and hope for the best,” she says.

With a summer of festivals including Bestival and Secret Garden Party and an album due for release, it’s not like she hasn’t got enough to do.

Eliza’s new single, ‘Pack Up’ raids the chorus of the George Henry Powell marching song ‘Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag’ and came from “mean things being said about me - it’s a song about there being worse things going on than this and being happy with what you have.”

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The track follows hot on the heels of the terminally catchy ‘Skinny Genes’ and is released on the 28th June, the same day as her self-titled debut, which Eliza has been promoting on the road with Alphabeat and Jamie Cullum. “I’m still really new to the touring but I’m having an amazing time,” she beams. “Ipswich was my favourite - the crowd there gave me so much, they were so fun!”

With an appearance on the catwalk at London Fashion Week this year for the Haiti Fundraiser, wearing one of her favourite designers, Mark Fast, and an eye for “Nike high-tops, funky tights and mini everything,” it’s obvious Eliza loves fashion.

And she reckons she is pretty individual with her style. “I just wouldn’t want to look like anyone else - the minute someone gets what I’ve got I will stop wearing it!”

Bringing it back to one of her favourite subjects, London, Eliza says, “I feel a bit lost when I’m somewhere less busy.”

Though she is proud of her roots, she has recently swapped downtown Camden for a more up-market Primrose Hill, though she is “definitely not” partying with Kate Moss et al.

Eliza is obviously a talented songstress with the right kind of crossover indie-pop appeal, but she’s thrown her hat in the ring with some pretty big names. However, if Lily Allen should keep her promise to step down as the princess of casual Britpop, it might not be troubles Eliza is packing up in her old kit bag, it could just be platinum discs.

Photography: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Jo Gilmour
Words: Alexandra Pett
Hair And Make Up: Holly Silius Using Givenchy & Bedhead


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