Paloma Faith – from CANDI to Superstar

Paloma Faith

“I think it was my City and Islington College education that gave me the ability to have my own opinions, and I’m proud of that” – Paloma Faith

Multiplatinum singer-songwriter-actress and former CANDI student, Paloma Faith, is known for being honest and direct. Whether she’s Tweeting about the Brit Awards, sharing stories of arrests during acceptance speeches, or delighting audiences as a chat show guest, Paloma makes her voice heard.

A powerful mezzo-soprano when she’s belting out her hits, there’s no confusing her distinctive sound. It’s a sound that’s been honed over a lifetime of gigging, songwriting and recording; she may only have three albums under her belt, but Paloma has been plying her trade in the music industry for almost 15 years.

City and Islington College played a small but pivotal role in Paloma’s journey to superstardom, so we’ve looked back at the life and career of one of CANDI’s most famous alumni.

Born to an English mother and Spanish father, Paloma grew up in Stoke Newington and developed a passion for performance from a young age, which her mother encouraged through ballet lessons. Studying at City of London Academy, Islington, Paloma decided to study her A Levels at our Sixth Form College, taking Art, Dance, English and Italian.

“I think City and Islington College set me in good stead for life.”

After completing her A Levels Paloma continued down the dancing path, enrolling at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She went onto study for an MA in Theatre Directing at Central Saint Martins, part of the University of the Arts London.

Stints as a burlesque dancer, ghost train performer, life drawing model and even a magician’s assistant followed before she eventually started to carve out a career as a singer. She was asked to be in a covers band, and spent the next seven years gigging around the UK, eventually being spotted by an Epic Records executive whilst performing at a cabaret show.

In 2009, she released her debut album, “Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?” which debuted at #9 on the Official UK Albums Chart, with two hit singles, “Stone Cold Sober” and “New York” peaking in the Official UK Top 20 Singles Chart. Her second album, “Fall To Grace” went onto eclipse the success of her debut, peaking at #2 in the UK and being certified Double Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry after selling more than 600,000 copies.

In 2014, Paloma released her third album, “A Perfect Contradiction,” which also peaked at #2 in the UK, as well as establishing her as a global star, including in Australia, where the album’s second single, “Only Love Can Hurt Like This,” written by acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren, peaked at #1.

This year also saw Paloma take home a raft of awards, from the Attitude Awards’ Music Gong to Glamour’s Best Solo UK Artist, as well as the O2 Silver Clif Award for Best British Act, culminating in taking home her first Brit Award, for Best Female Solo Artist, in March.

“Flaws are what make people human and I don’t claim to be perfect. I make so many mistakes and I’m a bumbling wreck but I’m just so grateful and I might never be up here again, which is why I want to dedicate this to all the underdogs and grafters that work hard.” Paloma’s attitude and work ethic are an inspiration to us all at City and Islington College, and we are so proud to have been part of her story.

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