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British Invasion: Duffy's Brand New Soul

Duffy at NPR's Los Angeles bureau.
Bettina Wiesenthal-Birch / NPR
Duffy at NPR's Los Angeles bureau.

Duffy, a 24-year-old singer from Wales, is part of the latest British invasion, a wave of young women offering a fresh take on some old sounds. Her huge voice has inspired comparisons to Dusty Springfield and sparked rumors that her father is actually pop icon (and fellow Wales native) Tom Jones.

Amy Ann Duffy started singing as a little girl, but quite secretively. "I think music is the only thing that I'll ever really have," she says, and she kept it to herself for many years, "almost like greed." She also couldn't think of a reason to tell anyone. She says her hometown on the coast of Wales is the kind of place "where pipe dreams are usually quashed in order to prevent you from being disappointed."

Duffy used a karaoke machine she got for Christmas one year to make demos. She'd record her songs and send them to herself to reserve the copyright. Eventually, she began sending them out. And now her debut album, Rockferry, has hit the Billboard Top 5.

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