Personal Fest 2014 | Federico Ciminari

This coming weekend, Palma hosts the Mallorca Live Festival 2016 and headlining the weekend of top international music and the first edition of this festival are Skye & Ross from the highly influential underground band of the late ‘90s and early 2000s Morcheeba.

Skye Edwards began at the age of 20 in 1994 when she and the Godfrey brothers (Paul Godfrey, a DJ, and Ross Godfrey, a multi-instrumentalist) formed Morcheeba, which released five albums with Skye as lead vocalist and became the first British band to actually tour China.

"A lot of bands like Wham and Duran Duran had performed in Beijing but no British band had actually toured the country until the British Council asked us to: it was great. Growing up, I had only been to Calais while at school and Athens. I studied Greek civilisation, so travelling was one great bonus from being with the band. We went all over the world and I learned so much," she told the Bulletin this week.

"However, while we’ve performed in Spain, I’ve never been to Majorca, so I’m really looking forward to it, looking forward to some paella," she joked.

Skye was born in London and grew up in the East End. Of Jamaican heritage, she was fostered by white parents from an early age. She described her growing up as "fish and chips, not rice and peas in our house". Her first musical influences were the country and western records of her mother. "She was always listening to the likes of Slim Whitman and it did rub off on me and our music.

"Our music varies, but I guess we can be best described as trip hop. There’s also some electronica, alternative rock, R&B and sounds to really chill out to. I guess the likes of Massive Attack kind of influenced us, if anyone did. It was a really cool movement then, but we were always underground, never really mainstream," she said.

But despite their early global success, the band split in 2003. "We were all so young when we started. Some of the band members were just 18 and I suppose that after a while we kind of got tired of each other, perhaps a little bored and suffocated. I was fed up and wanted to do other things, expand my talent so what I did was go to Los Angeles to learn how to write songs. And there I met the legendary producer Daniel Lanois and he was a great help.

"I remember walking into the studio on the first day and I had nothing to write about. I had been on a tour and he began asking me about it. I started telling him about being in New Orleans on St. Patrick’s Day with all these young black kids running around dressed in green, dancing with bottle tops on their shoes. He said ‘that sounds great, write about it’. So I did and that became the song Tell Me About Your Day and features on my solo album Mind How You Go."

Three years later she released her second solo album, Keeping Secret, and in 2010 Edwards returned to Morcheeba, again as lead vocalist. Then in 2012, she released her third solo album, Back to Now.

"During all that time, just like me, Ross and Paul had been writing, so we had a lot of material. But my role in the band changed as I had become more confident in my ability as a singer and a songwriter and found that during the recording process we were more honest with each other and therefore we have more honest records," she said.

"And fortunately, we love touring. I in particular, I love being able to see the people I am singing to. I remember at a concert last year there was a guy in the front row who had his phone in front of his face for the first four songs, filming the whole thing. I stopped and took his phone away. I said ‘leave it with me, just enjoy the concert’. I gave him the phone back after the concert and took a selfie with him, but concerts are an interactive experience for me. In the States once, all the house lights were turned right down, I couldn’t see anyone, so I had them turned up: I need to see the crowd. "Plus, touring is a vital way of making a living in the world of the download today. I guess it’s something we have to live with, it’s like an apple tree hanging over from next door into your garden: the temptation is too good."

So, if you want to see Skye perform live as much as she wants to see you, and hear her instantly recognizable, smooth delivery, head to the Mallorca Live Festival this Saturday.