My secret life: Tahita Bulmer, singer, age 26 - Profiles - People - The Independent

My secret life: Tahita Bulmer, singer, age 26


The house/flat I grew up in ... was all over the world. Between the ages of 8 and 13, my mum and I travelled so we had no fixed abode and I was out of school for ages. It set me up well for the life I lead now, one based in rootlessness.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... a doctor and I still want to be one now. It would be amazing to genuinely better people's lives, rather than just having a frivolous career.

The moment that changed me for ever ... was when I was 13. Until then, I'd been a dutiful science-bod, and a bit of loner. Then some girls started a choir – and when I sang, everyone thought I was amazing. I'd just thought that's how everyone sounded, but when it dawned on me that I had a talent, it was like a door in my brain had opened; I could be popular too!

My greatest inspiration ... might be my mum, who came from a poor family in Trinidad, moved here and single-handedly raised herself to a better position.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd swap sexes for the day – and try to figure out why English boys are so lame at chatting up girls.

At night I dream of ... being Concorde and steaming down Oxford Street with people running out of my path in terror. That was a favourite. All my dreams are really intense and usually so good that I don't want to wake up.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is someone who is generally happy with being mixed race, short and curvy, in a world where we're told that being tall, blonde and skinny is beautiful.

My style icon ... would be an amalgamation of one person from each year of the 20th century, including Audrey Hepburn, Lana Turner, Grace Jones and groupies like Sable Starr.

My favourite item of clothing ... is a 1930s evening gown, which I bought in Portland, Oregon. It's a floor-length silk number with a massive slit up the side; the kind of thing Ginger Rogers might make cocktails in before reclining on a chaise longue.

I wish I'd never worn ... bright blue Converse boots when I was 13. I was really small then, with size 6 shoes, which looked like cross-Channel ferries at the end of my legs.

You wouldn't know it but I'm good at ... writing dodgy science-fiction.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... swimming. I actually can't swim a stroke and it's my new year's resolution to learn; it's not fun watching friends swimming in the sea when you're tied to the shore.

All my money goes on ... dodgy sci-fi, make-up, shoes and wool – I'm obsessed with knitting.

If I have time to myself ... mainly I lie on the sofa and stare into space.

I drive/ride ... nothing. I would love a moped, but am too much of a scaredy cat.

My house/flat is ... a tip. I have not cleaned up for about two years and have no cleaner.

My most valuable possession is ... probably my laptop because it's actually an extension of my brain. I'm very protective of it; I don't even like people looking at it too much, for fear of what they might reveal.

My favourite building ... is the Museum of Modern Art, in New York. It's the way they've used the space – the light is just amazing.

Movie heaven ... is watching someone I really fancy, like James Mason: that voice!

A book that changed me ... is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig. It helped me realise why sometimes clever people struggle academically, thus making me a more tolerant and understanding person.

My favourite work of art ... changes every week, from the Dying Slave by Michelangelo to Caravaggio, with a bit of Rothko in there.

The last album I bought/downloaded ... the whole back catalogue of post-punk outfit The Cars.

The person who really makes me laugh... depends on my mood. For wholesome gags, I like Lee Evans, but for real filth, I'd pick Doug Stanhope, who is not for the fainthearted.

The shop I can't walk past ... is anywhere on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden, particularly the shoe shop Post Mistress. The sci-fi shop Forbidden Planet is another favourite; I often see Kelly from Bloc Party lurking behind the shelves.

The best invention ever ... concealer!

In ten years time, I hope to ... have written three great albums and to be doing something fun and creative, maybe acting or writing.

My greatest regret ... is not being able to say goodbye to mother before she died, which was eight years ago now.

My life in seven words ... madness ... upheaval ... revelation ... excitement .... serenity ... creativity ... inertia.

A life in brief

Tahita Bulmer was born in London on 29 April 1981. The lead singer of 'nu rave' band the New Young Pony Club, she has been named as a key influence in the British electro-pop scene. Their album, Fantastic Playroom, earned them a Mercury nomination last year. She lives with a friend in north London. The band will play at Consequences Live on 2 March with the proceeds going to Crisis. For tickets visit www.crisisconsequences.com

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