1. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

“I just learned every single word, every syllable, every ad-lib off by heart and it’s so programmed into me that I don’t listen to this album ever. But if I’m ever in a situation where one of the songs comes on I just sing it verbatim… From that perspective as a girl growing up listening to those lyrics I think it was really special because it brought me an awareness of myself outside of myself…”

2. Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun

“It countered so much of the culture of calling women “bitch” and women feeling like they had to wear bikinis in their videos. I was raised on jazz music so it was inspiring to me that my past had mixed with something from my own identity and created this sound that felt like it sort of defined me in a way.”

3. Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life of…

“They were a hiphop group and they were pacifists, and I was raised a pacifist, and have always been one and was always jumping into the middle of fights and sort of being a bit of a sacrificial lamb at school. I actually made a one woman pledge to go around all the kids at school that listened to quite aggressive music and hip hop and tell them to listen to this.”

4. Billie Holiday – Lady Sings the Blues

“This was the one artist that was played at mum’s and at my dad’s house, I would say that for me she was the holy grail of how I wanted to be able to sing. And what I didn’t realise as a young person sort of trying to copy is that you can’t sing like that until some bad shit’s happened to you.”

5. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

“I feel like I’ve been listening to it since I was born and it’s sort of been a bit of a soundtrack to my upbringing since pre-birth, so I don’t think I discovered it I think might have been one that’s under my skin. I think both the amazing thing about this album and the terrible thing about this album is that every single song is relevant today – it makes it a classic album because it’s timeless but it also emphasises how little progress humanity has made and the inevitability of how destructive we are.”


Watch:Classic Album Sundays with Paloma Faith: Album Inspirations for National Album Day

 

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