Fashion: Anne-Marie on working with Shania Twain and avoiding heels after her Brits fall
Singer Anne-Marie chats music, mental health and wardrobe malfunctions with Katie Wright...
WEEKS away from releasing her third album, Unhealthy, Anne-Marie is feeling nervous.
“The whole process is so weird, because as someone who writes about real life stuff that I've been through…I'm about to tell the world all of my personal issues,” says the singer-songwriter, born Anne-Marie Nicholson.
“The third [album] everyone says is supposed to be your best one, so it just makes it more scary.”
Does she believe it's her greatest work?
“I think so. I think I've become a better songwriter. That's one thing that I can say, that I think the songs are better.”
Perhaps that's how the 32-year-old – who started her singing career touring with Rudimental before achieving a number one as a guest vocalist on Clean Bandit's Rockabye – was able to entice none other than Shania Twain to collaborate on the country-pop title track.
“[We sent the song] to her and she replied within, like, half an hour and was like, ‘I love it. I'm doing it',” says the Essex-born pop star, who released her debut album Speak Your Mind in 2018.
“She was in London and I went to the studio and she sang it in front of me and I died inside.
“She was incredible. It was like a family member, she was so warm and loving and excited.”
The song title, and the album as a whole, refers to the habits that Anne-Marie – who has been a coach on The Voice UK since 2021 and released her first book, You Deserve Better: An Imperfect Guide To Finding Your Own Happiness, the same year – is trying to break.
She says this year she's been focusing on her mental and physical health, having previously spoken about her experiences with ADHD, OCD and dyslexia.
That's why making music is so cathartic: “I think if I wasn't writing songs before I started therapy, I would have been a shell of a human.
“The songwriting was weirdly helping me deal with things without me knowing – it was kind of like a secret passage to therapy before I had therapy.”
Not that she's got eveything figured out yet – particularly when it comes to relationships.
“I'm a very obsessive in love person, so everything in my life is unhealthy. I've got obsessions with stuff, I buy too much crap online…”
Giving Elton John a run for his money in the sunglasses department, Anne-Marie says she owns hundreds of pairs, and now she's teamed up with Specsavers to launch its new Adidas eyewear range.
She laughs when asked if the partnership came about after she took a tumble on stage at last year's Brits. The brand had tweeted: “Your next visit's on us”.
She says: “I think so. I Probably got on their radar at that point. I've grown up being obsessed with glasses and sunglasses, so I was just really excited to be be a part of it.”
Not one to rely on a stylist (apart from high-profile events), Anne-Marie says she often indulges in retail therapy.
“I shop myself, much to my accountant's annoyance. I go on Etsy and all these places online just to see, you know, bits and bobs that you can't find in shopping malls and stuff.”
And she loves rummaging for secondhand gems.
“Ever since I was a kid my dad took me to a charity shops, so I've always been a fan of that. I just think that's way better to get something that no one else can find in shops at the moment.”
At the beginning of her career, the fledgling singer was excited at the prospect of a glitzy pop star makeover, but soon changed her mind.
“You start wearing heels and glittery, sparkly stuff – which I love – but I think it was it was weird for me. I'm rebel, I love rebelling against things and fighting it,” she recalls.
“So when I started feeling a bit trapped by what people were expecting me to look like I just did a 360 and then started wearing baggy T-shirts and baggy trousers and not wearing heels on stage.”
The Brits trip – while wearing huge platform boots – was the final straw, she says: “I'd always been like, ‘I can't wear heels or platforms on stage'. And the stylist would be like, ‘But this would look the best,' and then I'd do it.
“And then that happened. And I was like, ‘F*****g hell, I've just proved my point,' and now I don't ever have to do it. So it kind of worked out for the best.”
Specsavers has partnered with Anne-Marie to launch its new Adidas Originals and Sport eyewear collection.