EUPHORIA. FALL 2018 / ISSUE 9 $13.50
joey king in christian siriano read more on page 38
EUPHORIA. Editor-in-Chief LAURA ERSOY
Photo Editor JACK ALEXANDER
Writers AIMEE PHILLIPS LUCY CHAPPELL NICO SEIDITA SHANNON COTTON STUART WILLIAMS
Photographers ADELA LOCONTE DERRICK FRESKE ISHA SHAH JERRY MAESTAS MAX FAIRCLOUGH
Makeup / Grooming
ANASTASYA KOLOMYTSEVA ANNE LAURITZEN ERICA CLOUD GABRIEL LANGENBRUNNER KATIE QIAN MEGAN KELLEY OZZY SHAH SARAH MULINDWA THOMAS GEORGE WULBERN
ALLAN AVENDANO AMY BRANDON BENJAMIN TALBOTT DIMITRI GIANNETOS ELAINE LYNSKEY GOSIA GORNIAK KATY JANE MARIO BROOKSBANK MICHELLE HARVEY
Special Thanks ANT HAMLYN NIENTA NIXON
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photo of olly alexander by jack alexander read more on page 72
CONTENTS 8 discover ... 10 cloves 13 dan caplen 14 jordyn jones 17 logan henderson 18 ruel 20 valentina 22 froy gutierrez by laura ersoy
30 mike shinoda by stuart williams
38 joey king by lucy chappell
50 l devine by aimee phillips
63 miles kane by shannon cotton
72 years & years by aimee phillips
86 the night game by laura ersoy
94 rotimi by laura ersoy
DISCOVER // photo of jordyn jones by derrick freske
MUSICIAN CLOVES In three words, describe your sound. Thoughtful– Lyrically and musically, I put a lot of time into the arrangements of the songs. Divulged– It’s just a lot of pretty fucking honest stuff and I’m really proud of that. I feel like in everyday life, I don’t really let myself be valuable to anyone so [my music] is a place to do that. Ambitious– I think anyone that thinks their music is already the shit is either off on one, or they’ve peaked. I’ve made something I’m proud of but I know I’m able to do more and be more musically. words laura ersoy photography adela loconte
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MUSICIAN DA N C A P L E N Tell us about your next release and the inspiration behind it. Portland was where I realized I was meant to be a musician. It’s a real weird and hippy place and they’re all about “be who you wanna be” and that helped me a lot. It’s also hard to not be inspired by London, it’s probably the mix of cultures that inspires me most. words laura ersoy photography isha shah
MUSICIAN JORDYN JONES Whatâ€™s your favorite part of making music? My favorite part about making music is honestly watching it come to life. Iâ€™m involved in the whole process, from the first snare or bass to writing the last lyric. Music is my life and being in the studio writing songs is the best feeling ever. words laura ersoy photography jerry maestas
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TOP rag + bone JACKET sandro
MUSICIAN LOGAN HENDERSON Tell us about “Pull Me Deep.” “Pull Me Deep” came at a time when I needed it most. It’s about a relationship that keeps pulling you in and makes you come back time and time again. It’s about letting your guard down and getting lost with someone. words molly adamson photography jerry maestas styling anastasya kolomytseva grooming danni katz
MUSICIAN RUEL What’s been the hardest part about starting in the music industry so young? The hardest thing, for me, is probably to stay credible. At this age, it’s really easy to be pigeon-holed into being a gimmicky teenage pop artist, and that’s just not the direction I want to head in at all. words molly adamson photography max fairclough
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MUSICIAN VA L E N T I N A Tell us about the inspiration behind “Break My Heart.” Mike Posner had a scholarship program a few months ago called Amor Fati Music Academy, where he took five artists and taught us skills to succeed in music. It was a life-changing experience and I was taught how to produce on Ableton. As soon as I got home I set up all the equipment they had given us and made “Break My Heart.” It came out pretty quickly because I was so inspired after that experience, and it has a very simple message. words laura ersoy photography derrick freske
GET TO KNOW...
What TV or films did you watch growing up that inspired you to become an actor? Looking back, the big ones for me would be the film Another Earth, Saturday Night Live (I made a point to never skip an episode) and Blade Runner. SNL was just pure, stainless fun. The first acting class I ever took was an improv class, so I was always impressed by the work that went into each skit. My step-dad showed me Blade Runner while I was still in elementary school. By the time the film had finished, it felt like I’d been brainwashed in the best way possible. I deeply cared about the characters and the setting in a way I just hadn’t experienced before. With Another Earth, Brit Marling’s acting and the haunting tone of the film took me on a personal journey. It allowed me to realize that a film had the ability to teach about complicated issues as well as entertain. What made you want to pursue acting? My love from acting stems from my love for daydreaming, weirdly enough. As a kid, I loved playing pretend and finding worlds to lose myself in. But as I grew older, that taste for complete immersion evolved into a desire to get lost in the imaginations of others through film and TV. When did you start? Acting as a hobby started for me when I was in middle school. Although little acting jobs were peppered into my life here and there throughout high school, but an actual 22 | EUPHORIA. Magazine
career did not start until only a couple of years ago. Even now, I’m not fully convinced I’m an actor! What would you say is your dream role? As a massive fan of this TV show, I would have to say Elliot from Mr. Robot. The biggest through line of my work would be an intense, grounded vulnerability. Some characters don’t call for this, but Elliot demands it. What has been your favorite role to play so far? Nolan from Teen Wolf has a very special place in my head. Until I performed the role in front of everyone on set as a fully realized human with thoughts and memories and emotions, the writers thought Nolan should only be a two episode arc. But the writer’s room and I got to go on a journey outside of the journey we were crafting, which is something I had never done before. It was such a gift, getting to see the character develop on screen over time, but also behind the scenes as well. Nolan taught me so much about the craft, but also about the business. What made you want to shift into recording music? In my head, its less of a shift and more of an addition... If a film had absolutely no soundtrack, it would feel like it was missing something. Likewise, if a song doesn’t relate to an experience or a desire that the listener can connect to, then it’s probably not a great song.
SHIRT topman JACKET scotch & soda PANTS scotch & soda
TOP theor y PANTS topman SHOES aldo
SHIRT asos PANTS scotch & soda JACKET alexander mcqueen SHOES versace
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GET TO KNOW... Who are you most influenced by? Musically, my biggest influences can be summed up by Green Day, Phil Collins and Lorde. Green Day was instrumental (see what I did there) for me growing up, specifically their American Idiot album. As a musical artist, I work to create a concept behind the music that can immerse people the same way a film could, and American Idiot is my favorite concept record. What can you tell us about an upcoming release? Well, it’s about time for my EP to drop! I am so thrilled. It’s a mini body of work that I’ve been sculpting very meticulously for the past few months, so I’m naturally eager to release it! Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in my friends, my family and my home– town. It’s a bit of a love-hate relationship with the latter, because I’m not particularly fond of the school I went to or the place I grew up. But I feel a great desire to speak up about how different things are outside of Hollywood. It’s important to me to show the truth of how people are actually living, which is something that the media gets wrong too often for me. What’s been your favorite part of making music? Making music can be frustrating. They say that the difference between the master and the student is a million mistakes. I’m probably on my ten thousandth when it comes to music. But when it falls into place, its transcendent. When the sounds you make match the ones in your head, it’s a reward.
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What advice would you give to someone just starting in either industry? They say success is at the intersection of luck and hard work. In the music and acting industries, luck is 95% percent of it. A quote from an acting teacher that stuck with me was, “If there is anything you love as much as acting, then do that instead.” Obviously, it’s a bit of a blanket statement, but I think it holds true if you’re thinking about a career in the arts. The work of an artist is usually not financially stable and can take a huge toll on your mental health. Make sure you’re equipped with the necessary tools to keep healthy, sane and kind. If you want to start in this industry, my advice would be to make friends you can talk to, have a plan, set goals for yourself and to be true to yourself, no matter what character you play. Lastly, work begets work. Don’t be afraid of going the extra mile. What’s next? A ton of upcoming projects, but unfortunately I have to be tight lipped about it. So keep your eyes peeled :)
words laura ersoy photography derrick freske styling gabriel langenbrunner
GET TO KNOW...
Congrats on the release of Post-Traumatic – how has it been received so far? M: The critical reception has been incredible. I’ve never had an album that’s evoked such meaningful dialogue before— People telling me about their lives, about their connection with this album. What’s interesting is that the conversations aren’t only about Linkin Park and Chester, they seem to be about life in general. I feel like the music is really touching people on a deeper level. Since the release of the album, the outpour of support must have been great? M: It has been great so far, but it’s still building. While there are a lot of people who have heard the album, others are a little apprehensive or afraid to listen to it— I think because they’re afraid it’s super sad. The reality is that, while it starts in a dark place, it goes towards the light. I mean, my video for “Ghosts” features a sock puppet, so how sad could the album be? You’re out on tour on your own, is it a challenge? M: Of course, and I’m learning as I go, which is a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have decided to do this if I didn’t want to take on a huge challenge. Some huge Asian shows coming up in August, are you excited to play there again? M: I always love going to Asia. Being half Japanese, I’ll take any excuse to tour in Japan. I’m playing for a couple weeks in Asia; I wish I could do more. 30 | EUPHORIA. Magazine
Are there plans to tour the UK more extensively in support of the album? M: Maybe. As with any tour, it’s dependent on how the fans react. If they come out to see the shows, then I get to do more shows! If they stay home, then I have to stay home too, ha! With so much material from Linkin Park and your debut, what can fans expect at upcoming shows? M: I’m playing a mix of Linkin Park, Fort Minor, and new solo stuff. I also just added a drummer and a keyboardist/guitarist to the stage, two very talented new faces that I’m excited for the fans to see. It’s add– ing a lot more energy to the show. Having any time to paint whilst on tour? M: Of course. I’m always drawing and painting. In fact, I’ve been drawing and painting little things, then hiding them out in the city while I’m on tour. I post their location on my Instagram and other socials so fans can grab them. It’s like an original-art scavenger hunt. The vinyl release of the album is coming up, can fans expect more art included with the LP? M: This release is more of a standard vinyl release, actually. I didn’t put the album out on vinyl when it origin– ally came out, so this is the first time Post Traumatic has been available on vinyl.
JACKET gloverall JEANS replay
HAT gymphlex TEE franklin and marshall JACKET gloverall
SWEATER just hype PANTS scotch & soda SNEAKERS saucony
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With festival season in full swing, has there been a favourite show so far? M: I just played a festival called LoveLoud with Imagine Dragons and Zedd, which was a show supporting LGBTQ charities. It was a really special night. I’m playing a show in November with Deftones and Future for Dia De Los Muertos, which is looking to be pretty special, too. You worked with some huge artists on the album including Chino Moreno, must have been cool to have been invited to play Dia De Los Deftones? M: Deftones took us out as an opener forever ago, when we were just getting started. I’ve been friendly with those guys since. All of the guys are super talented, and Chino doesn’t get the credit he deserves as an innovator. You just released a video from the studio for “Lift Off” which features Chino and Machine Gun Kelly, how was it working with them? M: I love hanging with Kells. He has insane energy, and is passionate about so many things. And I love his verse on “Lift Off,” it was a standout part of the album, for sure. Boris has become a bit of an internet sensation, can you tell us more about him? M: Boris is a man of mystery. Or a sock of mystery. With fame, he’s gotten so egotistical, though. He doesn’t even return my texts anymore.
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In your music video for “Ghosts,” Boris is the main star alongside a new sock puppet, does she have a name? M: That’s Miss Oatmeal. She’s very sweet. Unlike Boris, she hasn’t let fame go to her head. I think they’re dating, or at least that’s what I read in the tabloids. It’s noted that Boris likes full body massages and seaweed wraps, is that the kind of thing you have also to wind down after a show? M: I pretty much only like seaweed if it’s wrapped around rice and raw fish, or if I’m swimming in it. After a show, I’d much rather do either of those two things. Do you have a favourite Muppets character? M: Statler and Waldorf, the two guys making fun of the show from the balcony. Am I allowed to pick them both? They’re kind of a package deal.
words stuart williams photography jack alexander styling sarah mulindwa hair katy jane using aveda and charlotte tilbury
DRESS philosophy EARRINGS alison lou
joey ki n g words: lucy chappell photographer: derrick freske styling: erica cloud hair: dimitris giannetos makeup: allan avendaĂąo
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I got the chance to hang out with Joey King, heroine of current Netflix sensation The Kissing Booth, the first thing I ask her is not about the film, or any film, or even how nice it must be in LA right now? Nope, it’s ‘What is your spirit animal?’ “Oh my God, my spirit animal? Like ok, I’m gonna give an answer that I might change one day, but my spirit animal – at the moment - is an ostrich.” “I just think they are so bizarre... Like so bizarre – and I feel like sometimes I just want to be an ostrich just because - they’re just them.” Within the first few minutes – on her approach to acting, dealing with industry rejection, and her obsession with candles – I know instantly that she is ambitious, passionate, smart, down-to-earth, caring, fun and, like an ostrich, totally herself. A working actor since four, Joey started in comm– ercials which quickly led to small roles in episodes of childhood favorite The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and other popular shows like Entourage and CSI, and according to Joey, it was her choice to be there from the beginning: she knew that being on set was her thing. “It was just like a playground on set. It was so much fun and I just knew it was the most amazing thing for me. I was so in love with it. Then when I was 9, I did Ramona and Beezus” – the 2001 film about an imaginative young girl played by Joey and starred Selena Gomez as her sister Beezus.
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“I was so enamored at how much fun I had through– out the whole experience. That was when I was like: ‘This is was what I want to do forever.’ Even at 9, I knew, and as I’ve gotten older that love has never left, which I’m so happy and grateful for.” It’s clear that she loves the work, and the work loves her back. Since playing Ramona, Joey has racked up a further fifty acting credits, working with powerhouses in the business from Steve Carell and Julianne Moore in Crazy Stupid Love, Vera Farmiga in The Conjuring, director Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Rises, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz in Oz: The Great and Powerful, and British legend Michael Caine in Going in Style. Along the way, she’s gathered a fandom of 6.6 million (and rising) on social media, and has even begun producing her own projects. Hard to believe that she is only 19 years old and despite working in an industry that can seem based on “who you know,” she knew absolutely no one starting out. “I didn’t have any family or friends who were in the industry, everything was on a learning curve. Everything was so exciting and new and fresh, and I’m so appreciative because of all of the hard work it has taken. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
DRESS christian siriano EARRINGS zoe chicco RING eriness
Are there times, even now, you’ve felt like you had to prove yourself? Even when I feel like I’ve proved myself I still feel like I have to prove myself. I think – if we’re all in the screen test, let’s say, we all in the final stage of getting the job – we all have to be good. So that’s a comforting thing. If the actor who gets the job does know somebody, then at least I know I was good enough to get there. I always try and find the positive because it is hard when you see people getting something because they know somebody, but at the same time they could be just as deserving. My mom always tells me, ‘You got to the end, so you were really good.’ And as I’ve gotten older, even after the success that I have had, I still feel like I need to keep proving myself because I don’t want to let anyone down.
“Yes, it’s a job; it’s work. But I never want to lose my sense of fun.” What kind of actor do you think you are? I think I’m someone who is professional but I don’t take things too seriously. Like yes, it is a job. Yes, it is work, but I never want to lose my sense of fun. I think that’s what makes me so in love with my job... I always have a good time doing it. Even if the subject matter is dark and heavy, or the physicality of it is draining, I want to make sure I’m having fun. Like every time I step on a new set, it’s an adventure to make new friends meet new people. On The Kissing Booth, it was like going to an amuse– ment park and hanging out every day with your friends. I was preparing to have a great experience,
and because of how much I like to open myself up to people that are around me, which ultimately our acting performance together is if we have good chemistry in real life.” Talking about opening yourself up– Are you interested in people or psychology, and is that how you get to know a character? It’s funny you say this because I have always been a people-person, even since I was younger. I’ve always been very outgoing and very observant. Every person I meet, I notice different things about them, and being around so many unique characters has expanded my curiosity towards people. It’s so cool when I get to play characters like people I know, or characters who relate to experiences I’ve had, too. I actually met someone the other day that everyone else around me was saying, ‘Oh they’re so closed off, they’re hard to read’ – and I could tell this person really enjoyed our company. So, a few days later they called and said, ‘Hey loved hanging out, can we hang out again.’ I felt really proud of myself that I’d read the situation correctly. As I play new characters I’ve gotten a sense of how certain people who to the naked eye maybe seem closed off I feel like I can get a sense of who they are. Not to sound like I know everything! Not at all, it’s empathy. Empathy is one of my favorite words in the world. I think it’s the best quality to have. I respect my characters a lot and have empathy for them. I did a movie called Summer 03 and I don’t think I’ve ever played a role like that before.
I played Jamie. She was a simple girl struggling with family issues. She was written in this really raw way where she uses humor as a coping mechanism, but is also very insecure. I loved playing someone like that. Characters that can influence how you think about people and I’ll keep with me in some way. From a business sense, do you feel there is em– pathy for actors? Have people told you need to look a certain way or ‘be’ a certain thing, and how do you deal with that? Even though I’ve been doing this a long time, if something that isn’t rainbows and flowers, or I get word someone was talking about the way I looked or that way I spoke, those things come at you and they suck. They hurt and you kind of take a look at yourself and think you should look a certain way. I’ll be honest: I got told I wasn’t pretty enough for a role, and that really hurt me because it was just the harshness which unfortunately you have to be– come callous to. But with the type of person that I am, it fuels me even more to stay true to myself and be myself as much as I can, and I’m so grateful I was raised that way. I was raised in a way to let things roll off my back and taking a pause before I let anything affect me. It’s unfortunate because you think to yourself, ‘I’m a normal girl, I’m here to portray real people.’ That’s what I want to do. I want to play real people. If you could write yourself a role, who would she be? This is such a great question for someone who knows exactly what they want! Something I would love to do is a musical film, The Greatest Showman is one of my favorite movies. I just love it! Doing a show in New York would be amazing. I have a passion for singing so I would love to incorporate it more into my work.
The dream is clearly ongoing. Joey has a string of projects in the pipeline, including Zeroville with Megan Fox and James Franco and The Bayou opposite Gary Oldman and Dylan O’Brien. But the current theatrical release is Slender Man, a horrorthriller set in a small town in Massachusetts that follows four high school friends who one night decide to, as a joke, summon the internet phen– omenon, Slender Man. Joey plays the soulful Wren. What was it like to film? I do want to start by saying, of course, there is a real story out there about a very unfortunate thing involving Slender Man and three girls, but our film is completely fiction, based on the story of the mythical character, Slender Man. It’s about all the crazy stuff that happens after the summoning; the hallucinations, the nightmares. It’s really intense and so creepy and it’ll leave your skin crawling when you go home, it’s very eery and you’re going to have to cover your eyes! It was so crazy fun to shoot, and crazy for me because I am terribly afraid of bugs and we shot a lot of it the woods. So I had to get real comfortable real fast with the fact that we were surrounded by ticks and spiders. It defnitely helped me get overcome my fear of insects! I’m so happy with it, and all the girls are amazing in it and I’m so happy to have got to act alongside them.
BUSTIER monique lhuillier
What have you become obsessed with that’s gone viral recently? I think we all are obsessed with Mason Ramsey, the Walmart yodel kid. He’s amazing. I’ve just seen videos of him before he was famous, and he’s such a character doing finger guns to the camera. I’m also obsessed with any dog video, like of them doing something cool or cute or funny. I follow this account called The Dodo that does such heartwarming stories of animal rescue. I follow it too! Like deer getting stuck in lakes. Right? I start crying when I watch them and then yes, it’s obviously an uplifting end to the story and the animal survives but they really get you in the first part. It’s such a tear-jerker. What were your last three Google searches? I’m looking for honesty here! Ok – We’re trying to get Billie Eilish tickets for her upcoming tour, so literally I’m so frickin’ frustrated I was sat by the computer this morning because the tickets went on sale at 10am and I was so excited thinking I’m going to get these tickets and then the next time I looked at my phone it was 10:06 and she was frickin’ SOLD OUT. I just missed her in London, I feel your pain. Apparently everyone in LA knows who she is because they stole all the tickets! You posted a cover of her song “Hostage” on Instagram. Are you someone who sings when you’re alone in your car? Haha yeah! Most of the time I’m playing music really loudly, so I can scream along to the lyrics. But otherwise I’m just thinking about errands I have
to run. Like when I’m on my way home a lot of the time when I’ll think, ‘Crap I have to stop at CVS and pick up all these things, or the pet store for another treat or maybe a toy.’ Like I don’t really need anything, but I just love those places. Is there anything you do end up buying? ...Make-up. Like when you already have three lip glosses that are all kinda the same why not buy a fourth and a fifth? I do a lot of my friends’ makeup so I feel like I have to buy something twice because I have so many faces to work on. I also have a problem with candles. I’m also in my room right now and I have (counting) 1...2...5...7...8 – eight candles in my room right now. It smells so good! But before I buy another one they all have to be used. You said you keep characters with you in some way, what’s one line you remember that has had an impact on your life? Easy. From Horton Hears A Who. My character says, “In my world everyone’s a pony, and we all eat rainbows and poop butterflies,” and that is a line that has stuck with me for years, and I think a lot of people who’ve seen the movie say it’s their favorite, too! And if that – along with the ostrich – doesn’t tell you about Joey’s spirit, I don’t know what will. Catch The Kissing Booth on Netflix, and Joey’s latest release Slender Man in theaters worldwide now.
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CO-ORD rosie assoulin SHOES christian louboutin EARRINGS pearl collection
OUTFIT marquesâ€™almeida SHOES buf falo london COAT iamgia ARTWORK (blush) by ant hamlyn
l devine words: aimee phillips photographer: jack alexander set design: nienta nixon styling: thomas george wulbern hair/makeup: mario brooksbank at carol hayes management assisted by: gosia gorniak special thanks: ant hamlyn
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“I literally moved to London to pursue a career in songwriting. I didn’t really think about the artist thing until a bit further down the line.” 21-year-old British singer-songwriter L Devine is reflecting on her music career thus far in a soft Newcastle lilt. While she may have arrived at her destination unintentionally, make no mistake, L Devine is a bona fide popstar on the rise. Devine’s performance gene was triggered by her childhood best friend’s love of punk. At just eight years old, influenced by The Clash and The Sex Pistols, the pair formed their own band, The Safety Pinz. From there, the budding songstress “played at every pub in Newcastle.”
“I was sitting in my bedroom and writing songs. [Then] I packed my bags and went to London.” “I was doing that for a long time, sitting in my bedroom and writing songs on my guitar. Then one day I sort of packed my bags and went to London for real. I met my manager, who’s also from Newcastle. He took me to meetings with publishers, songwriters… and now we’ve signed a record deal.”
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For someone of such organic talent, Devine is refreshingly matter-of-fact about her place in the music industry. With almost 135,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, a record deal with Warner Music, a debut EP and another in the works, it would be easy to get lost in the madness of it all. All this and yet Devine is completely unphased. “I’m not really aware of the opinions of me, I guess,” she says. “I’ve got my friends that I’ve had all my life and I’m really close with them and I’ve always been really close with my family. I’ve got really nice people around me and they’re all really kind and supportive.” Despite her tumbling blonde waves, cool girl attitude and pop-tastic tracks, Devine’s sensi– bilities are as far away from the archetypal pop star as can be. Born and raised in the small seaside town of Whitley Bay, Devine says it’s her Northern upbringing that’s responsible for instilling her strong values. “I think in Newcastle, like most places up North, everyone seems a lot friendlier. You’ll be nice to everyone and I think that’s a really important value in the music industry as well. Make friends, root for everyone, be nice. You need help from a lot of people.”
Devine’s debut EP Growing Pains was released last year. The collection of melody-heavy, unden– iably catchy, R&B and electro-pop tunes is a real coming-of-age record, capturing teenage angst perfectly whilst staying edgy. “It’s all about learning about falling in love, learning about your friends and how some of that bitchiness at school never really leaves when you leave school, and all that stuff...” Devine explains. On “School Girls,” Devine sings, “Welcome to the real world / Everybody’s still a schoolgirl / If you don’t wanna get your hair pulled / then you better wear your hair low.” Another standout track from the EP is Like You Like That, also Devine’s favorite and her most streamed song on Spotify with over 1.3 million plays.
“It’s all about learning about how some of that bitchiness at school never leaves when you leave school...” “I’m so proud of that one. I think the song is really feel-good. It kinda reminds me of that moment when you wanna run to your crush and confess all the feelings you have for them, which is something I feel quite often,” she says, laughing.
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As well as her talent, it’s Devine’s candor and relatability that makes her so likeable. She regular– ly posts goofy videos on her Instagram Stories, as well as filming her studio sessions; mucking around with producers and sharing her love of ramen with her 35k followers. She’s completely unpretentious, despite having just worked with one of the music industry’s most popular directors, Emil Nava, on two of her music videos. She also spent time in LA recording, “a bit of new music but we were also there to record a music video for music that’s coming out in a few weeks. We did a video shoot for about 4 days.” Of course, Devine says this all very casually, as if it’s just like going to any other job. For her first music video with Nava – the 10 minute short film, Growing Pains, from which “School Girls” was also released as a standard video’ – Devine went back to Newcastle. “All the locations were places that meant something to me,” she says. “We shot in an ice rink that I used to go in when I was younger, we shot in my bedroom, my school, we shot all of my friends as well. That was how we really showed my transition into adulthood, leaving Newcastle and going to London. I think all of the songs on the EP reflect that as well.”
Like with Growing Pains, Devine and Nava recorded five music videos for the songs on her upcoming EP that will be compiled into a short film. One of the videos will also be released as a standalone for her latest single “Peer Pressure.”
“It’s about becoming an adult and having these existential crises all the time...” The track begins by sampling a quote from cult flick Heathers: “Veronica, you look like hell! / Yeah? I just got back.” Set against throbbing beats, the track reveals that under Devine’s laidback ext– erior lies a young woman who’s just as caught up with the pressures of adult life as the rest of us. “The single ‘Peer Pressure’ is about me becoming an adult for real and having all these existential crises all the time,” Devine explains. “Trying to fit in but also trying to be my own person.” “I hope people listen to the songs and realize that they can just be themselves,” she says. “Especially with ‘Peer Pressure’, that’s the message I wanna get across. You know, fuck everyone else, stop trying to fit in and be yourself, love yourself.” Another track on her sophomore EP is “Nervous”; a track to her crush, lamenting the fact that she
can’t keep cool around them – one of the most relatable feelings in the world. “I think about you and I know that you’re the one I want,” she sings at the start of the track. “But when we’re talking my body is saying I should run. Replays of every embarrassing thing I’ve ever done / I’m a bit intimidated by your presence babe / So exhausted trying to think of something cool to say.” “I guess the EP still carries the themes of love and friendship,” Devine says. So why is she putting out another EP rather than a full album, which would seem like the most natural second step? “I just wanna put out smaller bodies of work,” she replies, sagely. “They’re easier to digest and you can still get a few songs out.” This deeper understanding of the music industry might be why Devine appears so relaxed when talking about it. Although she might be young, Devine has ensured she’s included in every aspect of the creation of her music in order to make it as authentic as possible. “It’s definitely important but it’s also because I want to,” she says of retaining control. “They’re my songs and I want to be involved in making them. When I’m writing them, I know how I want them to sound. I can’t help but get involved in every creative aspect. It’s definitely important for authenticity and if you want your songs to be totally yours, you have to get involved like that.”
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Devine’s love of songwriting has persisted since she was just 16. Every night after school, she would go home to write songs with her guitar. Often, she would film herself on her laptop so she could watch the footage back and learn from the process. A turning point came when Devine mashed together Beyoncé’s “Mine,” with one of her own tunes. After sending it to a friend, she was encouraged to put it on YouTube. Although hesitant at first, Devine was surprised when her video got 10,000 views in only a few weeks. That was when she realized she wanted to pursue a career in songwriting. “I love writing, it’s my first love I think, when it comes to music,” she says. Encouraged by her online success, Devine got a job at one of her gig spots, Tynemouth Surf Café, in order to immerse herself in the world of music as much as possible. On top of this, she would check song credits for writers and producers that she could potentially work with, eventually, she met Okan and songwriter/producer Mickey Valen, who ended up both working on Growing Pains. Tiring of the journey back and forth from Newcastle to London, Devine sold her car, saved up a couple of months’ rent and moved to London to live with a friend and get a publishing deal as a songwriter. Despite her fears that she would regret the big decision, it wasn’t long before producers who had heard her demos decided to start getting in touch.
The only twist was that they wanted her to sing the songs she had written herself. “Why not,” she thought. The rest, as they say, is history. Devine’s knack for music must be running through her veins as she, not only, can sing and write songs, but play guitar, drums, piano and bass. “I think guitar is my favorite [instrument],” she ponders. “It’s the only one I’ll just pick up and play loads of different stuff. I just know the basics of everything else. I think that’s all you need to write. My parents didn’t push me [into playing an instrument] at all. They just bought me a guitar one Christmas. If you throw me in a studio I can’t help but touch all the other instruments.” Obviously, Devine took to working in the studio like a duck to water. From her first sessions, she learned not to waste any time by being quiet and sitting in the corner, and rather be confident in order to get a song done. “When I get in the studio, I just play some music that I’ve been loving at the minute and we just get a vibe going,” she says. “We pretty much just play melodies over that. We talk a lot. That’s probably the most important part of songwriting – talking about your life and reflecting on things until you have that moment where you’re like, ‘oh! That would be a great idea for a song.’”
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Speaking of having those inspired moments, when does inspiration strike the artist? How does she get into a creative headspace? “At any time!” she exclaims. “Reflecting on life constantly, you can find inspiration in anything. I watch a lot of movies, that helps a lot. I’m always writing stuff down, I’ve got a big list of stuff to write about on my phone. 90% of them are rubbish, but every now and then you get something worthwhile.” Like many other creatives, L Devine has synesthesia, seeing music in colors and creating songs inspired those colors. Synesthetes are eight times more likely to work in a creative capacity – and many talented artists throughout history have had it, such as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Charli XCX. Devine has embraced her synaesthesia to create music. “I have my songs and as I listen to them I can see color palettes with them,” she explains. “I kinda know how I want them to look visually, which helps when it comes to music videos.” Although she releases “cool pop” music, Devine’s personal tastes aren’t limited to the genre and ensures that she listens to “everything” in order to draw inspiration for her own music. “That’s what I always say,” she explains, “the most important of songwriting and being into music is being able to absorb all kinds of music you’ve
heard. That’s how the best songs come about, you’re influenced by something you wouldn’t usually listen to.” In particular, Devine names The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson as one of her songwriting idols, as well as Robyn and Tove Lo: “I love Scandinavian pop.” What Devine has always wanted to do is make pop music that’s “cool and interesting” – the type that doesn’t follow trends. She can rest assured she’s doing that. “I hope after this EP, people see that I’m not just some cookie cutter,” she says. “I definitely want people to see that I’ve got depth in my lyrics and I really care about the music I’m making and that I’m really involved in all of it.” Amongst all the excitement, there are of course uncertainties. “My fear is that I won’t be able to keep doing this forever because I love it,” Devine says. “I just wanna write songs every day and work with the people that I love working with. My dream is that I wanna make music that people love and resonates with people. Have some success with it and hopefully go on tour. I haven’t done any live shows yet so I wanna go on tour next year. That would be awesome.” We can’t wait for that.
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miles kane words: shannon cotton photographer: jack alexander styling: ozzy shah assisted by: keeley j dawson grooming: amy brandon
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“I’m too fickle, set in my ways, I’m too little too late,” sings Miles Kane on the opening track of his new album Coup De Grace. The singer’s third solo album is named after a track on the record as well as wrestler, and friend of Miles, Finn Bálor’s finishing move in the ring. It is also our first taste of Miles’ music since 2016’s second Last Shadow Puppets album Everything You’ve Come To Expect. After digesting Coup De Grace in it’s entirety though, it’s a line that seems to no longer be relevant to the Miles sat before us. Fizzing with an abundance of influences from The Cramps to Candi Staton, the LP is the musician’s most experimental work to date.
“I definitely got my mojo back.” Work began on Coup De Grace when Miles finished the promotional campaign for his second album Don’t Forget Who You Are, but it wasn’t until the singer started working with his friend Jamie that the spark for the third record really became ignited. “There were lots of songs that were written and then we did another Last Shadow Puppets album, after that I went back to those songs that were written and they just felt old and stale. Looking back now, they weren’t very good.
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“Lots of songs were written for this album but it wasn’t until me and Jamie started to work together that the quality definitely picked up. I definitely got my mojo back as well.” The Jamie in question here is fellow musician, Jamie T. Miles explains the pair have been friends for around a decade now, but this is the first time they’ve actually worked together. “Me and Jamie really understand each other and that’s probably because we’re friends, I can’t speak highly enough of the relationship with him, work wise and personally. All of these songs are really personal in different aspects of emotions and it was weirdly therapeutic doing that with him.” Because you’re essentially sat chatting to your mate? “Yeah exactly, so you feel that relief of talking, which I think is always important and also you get the fulfillment of doing what you love. “Whenever you’re writing tunes and you demo it, it gives you a boost – It’s like doing anything that you enjoy, it gives you a kick and if you’re finding it hard to write or you can’t really get into it then it does affect your life as well.”
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Every track on the album is bursting with it’s own tenacious and unique personality. From the bolshy T-Rex-esque dazzler “Cry On My Guitar” to “Silverscreen” with a snarl of The Damned in it’s vocal delivery and a slice of The Cramps sewn in for good measure, it’s Miles most eclectic work to date. “The first song that was written on the album was ‘Silverscreen’, which is a real punk, angry song and that was written in New York. Straight after we finished the Puppets tour, I went to New York for a month to write and we wrote that song and ‘Coup De Grace.’”
“I’ve learnt a lot in the past few years and I feel like I’m chill and very open.” “During that period in New York, and after that when I wrote that ‘Silverscreen’ song, that’s definitely when I was listening to The Damned a lot, that ‘New Rose’ song and ‘Neat Neat Neat,’ and The Cramps. There were other songs that didn’t make it that were more in that Cramps-y world where you’re singing with bit more character, so I definitely had a phase of really heavily listening to that, which I always
have done but I guess definitely more so than I normally was at that point. I listened to a lot of soul as well and on a song called ‘Wrong Side Of Life,’ which has got my favorite vocal I’ve ever done, which ended up being the demo actually because I couldn’t recreate the vocal, the key is too high for me but because it’s so bare bones and honest and declaring your love for someone where it’s almost like you’re crying but you’re singing, and that stems from James Brown.” And this is perhaps some of Miles’ most raw and honest work so far. On the Lana Del Rey collaboration “Loaded” he purrs, “my baby’s always threatening to leave,” and on “Cry On My Guitar” he sings, “I’m so highly strung,” but is this a fair representation of the musician? “Sometimes, maybe emotionally, in the past I’ve been highly strung, but I mean it’s probably an exaggeration of things. I’m not like walking round like the Tasmanian Devil,” he laughs. “I think I’ve learnt a lot in the past few years and I feel I’m chill and I’m very open, so I try not to get highly strung because I wear my heart on my sleeve. If you’re my friend or my girlfriend I can’t hide my emotions, whatever I feel I like to talk about, I think that’s important.”
With this honesty comes a newfound confidence, it seems, which glows around Miles when you speak to him. When asked if he reads his own press he says, “I like reading the good ones, I see bits, I used to check it more and it used to bother me more when I was younger if people wrote bad things or shit things, now I’m more thick-skinned,” before joking, “you know someone would dislike God if he was here.” He affirms, “I’m so confident in what I do and in myself right now as a human and as a writer and as a performer, so I know that if you’re not having it then that’s up to you but if you are then we’ll have a great time and that’s kind of where my head’s at right now.” Like most musicians, Miles has his fingers in lots of musical pies, but he finds it easy to separate the projects when he’s working on them. “In between each solo album I’ve done a Last Shadow Puppets album, I guess if it was more back and forth it would get confusing but because it’s spread out, whatever I know I’m doing I just know it’s for that project, I’m never like I’m going to save that for a Last Shadow Puppets middle eight, I’ll just do it,” he explains. And with the mention of his Alex Turner collaboration it begs the question, when can we expect a new LSP record? “I don’t know really, we haven’t talked about it, there’s no plan to, I’m not sure yet or whether I’ll do another one.”
One unsuspecting aspect of Miles’ live show that has been going down incredibly well is his cover of the Donna Summer classic “Hot Stuff” – a seamless addition to his already disco inflected set list which came about after his drummer Victoria played the track whilst they were getting ready for a show one evening. “It sort of weirdly fits and sounds amazing. I love doing covers anyway and that seems to fit the mood right now of the album in a mad way. I love disco, I love Candi Staton, I love Donna Summer, I love that disco vibe and I’d love to go more into that world one day, ‘Coup De Grace’ nods it’s head a little bit in that disco-y hypnotic thing, but yeah, ‘Hot Stuff,’ who’d have thought?” As our drinks run dry and our chat comes to an end, Miles passion for wrestling is still a hot topic. What would his finishing move be called if he was a wrestler himself I wonder? After a short time deliberating, the answer appears to hit him like a eureka moment. “The ‘Hot Stuff’ Stunner, that would be my finishing move,” he says animatedly, before adopting a commentator voice, “he’s hit him with the HSS!” And with that, The “Hot Stuff” Stunner slips off into the capital, ready to continue his sonic assault on the world, armed with one of the most eclectic and eccentric albums of the year.
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years & years words: aimee phillips photographer: jack alexander / assisted by: kelly gellard set design: nienta nixon styling: anne lauritzen / assisted by: dominyka josvilaite grooming: elaine lynskey & benjamin talbott
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British powerhouse trio Years & Years are changing the landscape of pop. Made up of Olly Alexander, Emre Turkmen, and Mikey Goldsworthy, the band may have only been creating their unique style of brilliantly evocative, dancey, electro-pop, for four years, they have already racked up over 12.7 million listeners on Spotify, had their debut album Communion reach #1 in the UK, and have been nominated for four BRIT Awards. Now, they are back with their sophomore album, Palo Santo. As expected, it is a mixture of dance floor bangers and emotionally raw tracks that show the band are speaking their truth more than ever before. “The album is called Palo Santo for many different reasons,” explains frontman Olly Alexander. “We had this song called ‘Palo Santo’ that was written really early on in the process – I think it might have been the first song that we wrote – and I’ve always really loved the title. I also came across this stick of wood called Palo Santo and what it was originally used for. In Central and Southern America cultures it’s traditionally used to cleanse a space of negative energy and evil spirits. I became fascinated with that symbolism and thought it was a good metaphor for songwriting; the way [it] is a therapeutic process
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for me. I also wanted to create this fictional world that the music could live in, so we could tell the stories through video and visuals, but it needed a name. ‘Palo Santo’ sounds like a place and I liked how there was some occultism in there. It was a melting pot of ideas and cultures, and I thought it was a good name for our android universe.” “Plus, the album title translates literally to ‘holy wood,” he giggles, “which I thought was really funny because it’s a bit of an entendre.” The lyrics are littered with religious messaging, especially “Sanctify” and “Hallelujah,” however, Alexander didn’t grow up in a religious household. They did at one point live next to a church, and the young star was “really drawn to the ceremony, drama and beauty of religion.” For the band’s second album, Alexander picked the things that had resonated with him and put those forward for the lyrics. “Traditionally, the church has shut out gay people, so I enjoyed subverting that and using that as a tool in my arsenal to write lyrics,” he explains. “Also, every– one has a shorthand with religious imagery because we’re so familiar with it.” When it comes to how people who listen to the album interpret those metaphors, the singer says that he hopes it means something different to everybody.
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“I think that’s the really wonderful thing about writing music – I will write something that feels intensely personal, but I know that once it’s listen– ed to by someone else, it will mean something completely different as they recontextualize it,” he explains passionately. “Also, most people don’t even listen to the lyrics! Ultimately, my ideal scen– ario is if someone is inspired by the music or lyrics.” “I think a lot of lyrics in pop music can be quite generic or just speaking to one audience. They usually talk about a sense of loss or longing, and don’t get me wrong, those songs are amazing, and I’ve written some of those too, but I don’t see why there’s any reason why we can’t have a lyric about getting on your knees and being sacrificed! I want to expand people’s imagination when they’re hearing pop music.” Olly has been more confessional on this album than ever before. In the three years since Communion was released, the frontman says they all have matured a great deal. “That period of your twenties, 24 to 27, I feel like you do a lot of growing up. I’ve definitely found it a big transformation. We went from being a band that no one knew about to having a #1 album and touring the world. That experience alone was totally life-changing.” When it came to writing the second album, though, Alexander had more confidence as a songwriter.
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“You’ve done the process once, so you know the pitfalls and the areas you want to explore more of. The difficult second album is a cliché for a reason. The pressure to follow up your first one, you’ve got deadlines and you’re different people.” It’s down to the support they received along that way that helped the band stay strong. “I’ve seen the way our fans respond to the music and seeing it work shows that I can stick with my gut feeling. You think, how the hell has that happened, I feel like I’ve just won a lottery ticket.” In terms of the musical production, the band have also been on quite a journey. “We started Years & Years totally DIY... We did everything ourselves, so it was quite dictated by the equipment that we had available, playing with old drum loops and synthesizers,” Alexander says. “That’s how we were created so we’ve just sort of carried that on. With the production on this album, the process has been dependent on each song. Either it will be all of us – me, Emre and Mikey with a producer in the studio – or just me in the studio with a producer hashing it out.” Although he doesn’t feel like the production side of things is his forte – “I’m more into the lyrics and the melodies” – it’s important for Alexander to sit with a producer and tell them what he does and doesn’t like.
“You wanna make music that you love, and personally I grew up listening to a lot of pop and R&B, and that’s coming through a lot more this time round,” he says. Alexander doesn’t shy away from his desire for commercial success: “There’s always a pull between art for art’s sake and art for commerce. I’ve always loved pop music, and pop music’s always been ambitious, right? If there’s something I want to pull off and we need the funding for it, you’ve got to do that by selling records,” he says, honestly. However, he’s also aware of the challenges his band – and many others – face in terms of bal– ancing this out with their creative dreams. “It’s not easy but part of the challenge is trying to be a pop band that sticks to our artistic vision, our message and get plays on the radio. Those don’t always go hand in hand,” he says sagely. Alexander speaks candidly about his feelings on the music industry; that it’s a “mad place” and can be hard to break through, especially due to the sheer saturation of new music being released. “I think a lot of the industry is just driven by data, so if you don’t have a song that’s streaming well online, you’re kind of fucked!” he says matter-of-factly. “Streaming sites favor huge artists that can get millions of streams on a song. There’s so much music and audiences are used to not having to pay for it.
The artist and audience relationship have changed so much that for new acts it’s harder and harder to break through.” It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Alexander has faith in consumers to figure it out. “I think we’re in a transitional stage where we haven’t quite figured out how to support the artist that needs our support. I believe at the end of the day that music attracts the people it needs to. If you love an artist or a song, you’re going to support that in some way. It’s a funny place, the music industry!” Although he’s best known for his musical talents, the Years & Years frontman is also a campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights, using his platform to raise awareness around mental health especially. Last year, he fronted the BBC documentary Growing Up Gay and has since become a kind of ambassador for the community. He said in a previous interview with Billboard that his aim for Palo Santo was to achieve a more transparent gay horizon. How does he think the music industry can help to achieve that goal? “I think every artist has a different journey,” he begins, “but what’s great about 2018 is that artists can have a huge plat– form and fanbase on social media, which labels can’t extort. That can be a way for an artist to save themselves, and that’s why we’ve seen a real encouraging rise of queer artists like Kim Petras and Troye Sivan.”
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“I’ve seen the way our fans respond... I feel like I’ve just won a lottery ticket.”
When we speak, the band has just finished a short Palo Santo tour around Europe and Asia. “We were in ten different time zones, so it was quite intense,” Alexander recalls. With the North American tour this October, he’s excited, if slightly apprehensive (naturally, it’s a 19-date tour). “I really enjoy touring,” he says. “I think one of the main parts of being in a band is being on the road and touring, getting out there. When you’re so far away from home and just focusing on the shows, it can get quite disorientating.” Although he used to get quite nervous and over whelmed by big shows and large crowds, Olly affirms that, whilst he’s still not used to it, he can definitely deal with it better now. “Recently, we played a show in Korea and it just blew my mind that we had fans in Korea screaming for us at the airport,” he remembers. “I was like, how the hell has this happened? Life has interesting twists and turns! That was a real pinch me moment.” The short film for the group’s sophomore album, Palo Santo, involved a voiceover from British acting legend Judi Dench as the master of the android city that wants to learn “how to feel.” The collab– oration came about through Olly’s acting roots, and the pair met whilst he was taking part in a play that Dench was the star of five years ago.
“I’d been trying to get her to be in a music video for five years, but she is quite busy, bless her!” he laughs. “She’s always been quite up for it. She’s the greatest human being on the planet, she’s awesome. We wanted to have this kind of Wizard of Oz poetic narrator for the film and of course Judi Dench was perfect, her voice is so iconic.” He tells of how he simply “went down to her house and asked her if she would be up for it” in order to record her vocals for the film. “It was easy to do, it only took a couple of hours,” he says, like popping over to Dame Judi Dench’s house is the most normal thing in the world. Besides his music videos, Alexander seems to have put his foray into acting to the side for now. “I guess the main difference is that as an actor, you’re mostly serving someone else’s ideas. You’re part of a creative project that often you have no involvement with,” he says. “Yes, you are saying the lines and bringing that character to life, but it doesn’t really feel that way when you’re just told what line to say. I felt like I wasn’t creatively fired up a lot of the time. “I get to write and sing the music, make the music video, be the director and the writer and the actor all at the same time. Maybe I’m just very greedy but it’s very satisfying for me to do that.
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“There are parallels in the sense that you are playing a character when you’re on stage which is a version of yourself. Who knows, I feel much more comfortable in the position of an artist than that of an actor.” Nevertheless, Alexander admits that he would be keen to dip his toes back into the acting pool if the right offer came up. “If it was something really fun,” he says. “I would love to be in some sort of sci-fi situation or have magical powers… I’d like it to be like when Sabrina [The Teenage Witch] points her finger, there would be a magical twinkle, and something would happen.” He might not know it, but Olly Alexander is creating a magic of his own.
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GET TO KNOW...
the night game
How’d you get started in music? My dad used to tell me my mom prayed for me to be able to sing cause she couldn’t. They got me a ukulele when I was three and would sing into objects pretending they were microphones – dining chairs, mailboxes, lamps. I used to come home from preschool and watch Paul Simon’s Graceland “The African Concert” on VHS every day. I knew all the moves. I started writing songs and playing real guitar at about 7 and began performing pretty young– boys’ choirs and musical theater. My voice didn’t change until late so I was a featured soprano on a couple small time classical albums. Then, I started forcing my friends to start bands with me. The first ones were called Pegasus and Wasabi and The Secret Agents... Call me if you ever need a smokin’ hot band name for your 11 year old. I had a SKA band freshman year of high school called The Touchtones. I was a bit conflicted musically– I would wear a musical theater t-shirt with a punk rock back patch and a ski magazine hoodie. Other than a brief teen romance with the idea of being a professional downhill skier, I never really saw myself doing anything else. Where do you find inspiration? Mostly from the past. Nostalgia. Unanswered questions. Unchased dreams... I mean it can come from anywhere– lately the valley, Patrick Awayze movies and bright white fluorescent lights like they have at 7-11 and CVS. 86 | EUPHORIA. Magazine
Who has been your biggest mentor in your career? My father and my cousin Philip. It was my mother who took me to all my chorus practices and theater rehearsals but my dad had a folk group in college and could rip a mean version of “Chilly Winds.” He used to sing in a district chorus and tug on his ear as our “sign” during the shows. Phil was in a street punk band called The Anti-Heroes and was also a circus performer. I basically had a shrine to him in my room with his old headshots and posters. My first rock concert was The Anti-Heroes at The Old Ratskeller in Boston. I was about ten years old and I got to watch from side stage. There was a brass knuckle fight, a circle pit, the whole place smelled like beer and piss. “Sign me up,” I said. What is modern music to you? Really fast high hats? Alien noises? Everyone chasing a computer algorithm to get on a playlist? ASMR? With each one of these face tattoo Xanax bois, I feel more and more like the classic dad that screams at his kid who’s listening his to Metallica or Van Halen records “turn that god forsaken devils music down!” It’ll come around... It always does.
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GET TO KNOW... Tell us about “American Nights.” I wanted it to feel like watching a montage in a movie about a working class coal miners town where the main character wants to be a dancer and he’s finally out on the highway headed towards vegas in a convertible.
What’s your favorite thing about Boston? Walking into fenway and up to the guy at the concession stand who played an extra in Field of Dreams and has been working there since 1982 and ordering 2 Fenway Franks and a bag of peanuts.
What are you most excited for this fall? The whole record is coming out on September 7th. It’s been a long time coming. I’m excited for it to get out there so I can stop poking at it. Making this album was originally a test to see if I could love music again... I had fallen into this 12 hour a day producer/writer for hire role and I missed singing and telling stories. Now it carries a lot of pride and took me up and down the roller coaster for the last little while.
What’s been your favorite memory in your career? I don’t know, really. I’m usually too busy waiting for the next memory to pay attention and soak it all in. I don’t tend to celebrate much or take opportunities to humble brag. I get to hum melodies for a living... That’s nice.
The whole vibe behind The Night Game – from your photography and music videos to your live performance– is cohesive and gorgeous. Tell us about your aesthetic. Thank you! I think it started with one or two movies I love and the idea of what the emotion of the album would look like in real life. I’ve been able to work with some really talented photographers and directors in the last year like Patrick Tracy and Michael Hili and we’ve put in the hours making everything fairly intentional. It’s gotta be a feeling when you see it, right? Like what is the feeling that comes from sports, sex, a gypsy heart, the American Dream and a shitload of reverb on top?
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What’s been the hardest moment in your career so far? What did you learn? This album was originally made on Columbia [Records] and they dropped me without hearing it. It made me feel like a used up piece of meat in the bargain bin. I lost a lot of faith in the music industry... I remember when Boys Like Girls was shopping the original deal we were called “Lancaster” with most of the same members and same songs. Every label passed. I guess when I was 18, I was so convinced you were wrong and I was right, nothing knocked me down. I learned to listen to the “kid” in me again. He was narcissistic and way too cocky– but boy, he had gusto and he loved music. He loved making music, no matter what. words laura ersoy photography derrick freske styling megan kelley
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What movies/TV did you watch growing up that inspired you to become an actor? Movies/TV didn’t inspire me as a kid, per say. I loved watching the Rocky films and Batman, but my love of acting came from Michael Jackson’s music videos and made me want to become an entertainer.
What are your favorite genres of music? I love R&B, rock and hip hop. Who are some artists you’re currently loving? I love Drake and Daniel Caesar right now.
What’s been your favorite project thus far? Why? My favorite project so far has been Jeep Music. It’s what introduced everyone in the world to me as an artist.
How did you get into acting? I graduated from college and I was touring as a musician at the time. My manager told me that we needed some income to continue to fund my music, so I went out for a commercial. Funnily enough, that commercial ended up being an audition for a show called Boss. I got thrown into the acting world after I booked it since it was a series regular role.
What has been the great obstacle/s you’ve overcome in your career? Overcoming the myth that you can’t become great at acting and singing. People can’t digest the fact that if you’re good at one thing, you can also be good at the other. I love all aspects of performing.
How has it been working with 50 Cent both on the show and musically? It’s the best thing for someone who wants to be a renaissance man, like myself. He’s one of the greatest people to ever do it. I learned about music, acting, finances and how to be a professional.
What is your dream role? A romantic comedy that becomes a classic like The Notebook or Love Jones.
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GET TO KNOW... What can fans expect as Power approaches the season finale? They can expect the unexpected!
Who would you say are three of your musical influences? Usher, Lauryn Hill, and Bob Marley.
How do you balance your music and acting career? I don’t get to sleep, so the balance comes from never sleeping and always being on the grind.
What’s your favorite part about making music? Expressing myself through melody.
Where do you find inspiration? From the greats and wanting to be mentioned alongside them when I’m done. Their legacy inspires me to create my own. What’s the music you’re currently working on going to sound like? What can fans expect? It’s a mixture of Afro-speak infused with pop and R&B. How does it differ from Jeep Music? This growth in my voice and in my story telling. I’m doing something that embodies all of who I am as an artist. Jeep Music reflects everything I was going through in my relationships at the time. This tells who I am as a man.
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What’s been the most challenging part? Finding out who I was for a long time and deciding what story I wanted to tell. It’s hard trying to infuse my story into one project when there is so much to say. What’s next? World domination!
words laura ersoy photography jerry maestas styling katie qian grooming michelle harvey
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