February 10, 2014 12:00 PM

People

TALKS TO

What was the inspiration for your hit “Pompeii”?

I was reading a book about what happened there and looking at pictures of the bodies frozen in their last living positions. It was such a powerful image. So the song is an imagined conversation between two people frozen in time. But it’s also an upbeat pop song!

Your album debuted at No. 1 in the U.K. and is almost in the Top 10 here. Is life crazy?

We’ve been blissfully unaware of a lot because we’ve been touring. But to sell out shows has been surreal.

What’s the oddest place you’ve heard the single?

At a thrift shop where I was hunting for clothes for a ’70s-themed party. I walked in as it was playing and was so caught off guard and embarrassed that I left.

Any weird discoveries during your current U.S. tour?

We had bacon doughnuts in Portland [Ore.]. In the U.K., it’s just a solid breakfast food, so this was quite a revelation!

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