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Twenty-one-year-old Lily Allen is already a star in the UK, her home country, thanks to witty lyrics, strikingly original songs and outspoken blog entries she’s posted on MySpace over the past year-and-a-half. Detractors paint her as a bratty daughter taking advantage of her actor dad and producer mom, who courts the spotlight with insults directed at other musicians (she said a Kylie Minogue performance would be “the ultimate insult” to the Glastonbury music festival), but the controversy is unimportant after listening to the songs. Allen’s ska, pop, reggae and hip-hop influences come together in charming, playful concoctions of medium speed beats, horns, bass and piano. We caught up with Allen on the phone long enough to talk about women in music and her love life. - Sarah Harrison

 

I read on your blog that you’re not drinking for 2007. Is that still happening?

Yeah, that was true until a couple of weeks ago in Australia when I fell off of the wagon. But I’m back on. I’m not drinking at the moment.

How can you party on tour if you aren’t drinking?

Well, that part is difficult. I was in Australia doing a music festival with twenty-five other bands, and we were there for three weeks traveling around Australia in the sun. It was really, really difficult which is why I started drinking again. I’m not touring right now, I’m just going to do promotions, so it’s easy at this point.

What’s your romantic life like right now?

I have a boyfriend now.

How is that when you’re traveling around so much?

It’s not hard. It’s different with different relationships, isn’t it? But I’ve been with this boyfriend for two years and we both have a lot of trust for each other. We’re very much in love with each other, and he’s probably the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. This is something I have to do right now, and he’s very busy with his work as well. We both have a lot to keep each other occupied. It makes it that much nicer when we see each other.

Do you believe in the idea of a soul mate?

Yeah, definitely. I don’t believe in carrying on with the relationship if you don’t really believe that’s true. I don’t really see the point otherwise. It’s not like you go, “Yeah, I’m going to want to be with this guy for about three years, then move on.” [laughs] I think if you want to be with someone, you want to be with someone. If you don’t then you should stop.

Do you feel responsible for projecting a positive image of women?

I guess I’m trying to change the perception of women in the media and music. I think you should be proud of your body and be happy with the way that you look, but there’s that and then there’s flaunting your sexuality. If you’re happy with the way that you look, and you’re happy to take your clothes off for other people and for yourself that’s fine. But women in music have to take into account that it’s not just a view of you, it’s a view of women that people have, especially a male view, you know?

I wouldn’t want to wear short little miniskirts and have my knickers showing and my boobs pushed up to my brains. I don’t want guys looking at me that way. I don’t want guys thinking, “That’s what women are like.” There’s a certain element of “sex sells,” but I don’t agree with it. I don’t think it should be sex that sells. I think it should be music that sells and art that sells.

How did you learn about sex as a child?

I don’t know. My mom never sat me down and had the talk with me. And neither did my dad, thank God. I think I probably learned about it at school.

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