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article imageInterview with Kate Mullins of The Puppini Sisters Special

By Adrian Peel     Nov 23, 2014 in Music
The three lovely ladies are about to embark on a UK tour just in time for Christmas. Digital Journal spoke to one of the group's founding members about touring, plans for 2015, and what it's like working with Michael Bublé.
It's hard to believe that popular close-harmony vocal trio The Puppini Sisters have been around for 10 years now. Credited as being partly responsible for a burlesque revival, Kate, Stephanie O'Brien, and Italian-born Marcella Puppini formed the band in 2004 and performed together until 2012 when O'Brien left to pursue a solo career.
Determined to keep the momentum they had built up over the previous eight years going, Puppini and Mullins recruited Emma Smith and these days are something of a national institution, although their popularity has spread much further afield, as an appearance with Michael Bublé on his 2011 Christmas special proved.
"Christmas is always a very busy time of year for us," notes the amicable blonde bombshell, who describes herself as a "winter freak." " We released our Christmas album about four years ago and also recorded 'Jingle Bells' with Michael Bublé a couple of years ago as well.
"We're really looking forward to the tour. We're off to Singapore in a week and then we start the tour with a vengeance after that. We've got lots of dates in the UK and then we go to Istanbul, and then it's Christmas time. We've been doing lots of rehearsals and buying new costumes."
Will there be any surprises on the upcoming tour?
"Always surprises! We've got a costume change at half time, so we'll have two different outfits. Lots of glitter and sparkle, and it's lovely because our audience tend to get into the spirit of things and turn up dressed up as well, so it makes a real occasion of it.
"We'll have lots of festive numbers and the show in London's gonna be a kind of extravaganza. We're gonna have a horn section, we've got other acts joining us on stage as well.
"We've got a dance troupe called The Bees Knees and a couple of other skilled people - I think we're gonna have a guy who does something very clever with knives. So we're really going back to very old school variety for our London show."
"It's just lovely all being together," continues Kate, discussing what she enjoys most about touring. "We get on terribly well as a band and we always have a lot of fun when we're on the road. It always feels like a pleasure and never a chore."
Discussing the material that fans can look forward to hearing this time around, Kate remarks, "I'm in the middle, actually right now, of arranging 'The Sleigh Song,' which I think everyone will know. We're also going to do 'Mack The Knife,' which I think will go with one of the other people that are joining us on stage...
"But apart from that, it'll be a lot of the stuff from the Christmas album, interspersed with things from some of the other albums as well to give the Christmas feel a bit of a break at times."
The Puppini Sisters' aforementioned Christmas album contains 10 seasonal standards, including "Santa Baby," "Last Christmas," "All I Want For Christmas," "White Christmas" and "O Holy Night," all done in the girls' inimitable style, and I suggested one of my favourite Christmas tunes, "Merry Christmas Everyone" by Shakin' Stevens as a possible future single.
"Fantastic, that would be amazing! Maybe we'll have to get that in next time!"
"He actually contacted us and asked us to come and record 'Jingle Bells' with him," recalls Kate, who confesses that she would love to work with Nick Cave and/or Marilyn Manson one day, revealing how she and her colleagues ended up collaborating with Michael Bublé. "He'd been a fan for a while and I think he'd bought our Christmas album and had been listening to it non-stop while he was running.
"I think he was in the gym and he kept listening to our album, and it was quite an inspiration for his own album. He actually did three or four of the same songs that we did, which was a very nice compliment! I think he'd always wanted to do a Christmas album right from the beginning of his career and everyone had told him to wait until he'd got a certain level of success.
"He sold millions and millions of copies of his Christmas album, and he's just a thoroughly lovely man. He is a joy to work with and we did another tour with him last year and recorded with him for his new album as well. So we've got together a few times and we performed with him on stage last year at the O2 and that was just amazing. That was a little bit terrifying, but it was definitely a career highlight."
To conclude, we discussed the band's plans for 2015. As they haven't released an album since 2011's Hollywood, might a trip back to the studio be on the cards? "Yes," replies Kate. "We're back in the studio next year, for sure. That's for definite.
"Lots of collaborations; we've been working with various electronic producers, doing electro-swing but a bit more 'poppy.' And lots more touring... We're kicking the year off in Singapore, again, and we're hoping to spend a little bit more time in the Far East.
"I think The Puppini Sisters and especially China are a match made in heaven - I think they'd love it. So we really ought to spend a bit more time travelling and being on the road."
For more information on The Puppini Sisters and their upcoming tour, check out their official website.
More about the puppini sisters, kate mullins, Michael buble, Christmas, Vintage
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