On the cover About Grumpy Magazine is an international digital and print publication founded and curated by Jasmine Perrier. Self-published from Paris since 2016, we aim at covering the cultural landscape across the world and sharing a genuine vision of life to get you out of your grumpy mood. More than just a magazine, we are interested in aesthetically pleasing a modern take on traditional staples and thus offering a unique book capturing thoughtful stories and stimulating sceneries.
SHAMEIK MOORE | Photography Allegra Messina | Styling Evan Simonitsch | Grooming Eliven Quiros | Photography assistant Gabriel Ortega | Location The Hollywood Hotel COVER | Shameik Moore wears Gucci suit | Sandro sweater | Saint Laurent shoes BACK COVER | Shameik Moore wears Salvatore Ferragamo jumper | COS trousers
Grumpy Team & Contributors Jasmine Perrier Publisher | Editor-in-chief | Design ElĂŠa Weibel Editor Contributing Photographers Sami Drasin | Allegra Messina | Raul Romo Shanna Fisher | Emily Sandifer | Natalie Dunn | Laura Thompson | Heather Koepp Jerry Maestas | Liza Boone | Louis van Baar Thilda Riou | Jasmine Perrier Writers Thilda Riou | Parker Schug | VicentĂŠ | Emily Pitcher | Jasmine Perrier
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p l a y l i s t
Castaway Yuna (ft. Tyler, The Creator) Silver Lake Queen Diplomacy Sex On The Beach Riker and The Beachcombers Love Me Less MAX (ft. Quinn XCII) Brother Kodaline All Love Fletcher Used To Love Martin Garrix & Dean Lewis Chattanooga Briston Maroney Jekyll & Hide Bishop Briggs Joyride SONIA
dear readers W
elcome to the fifteenth and long-awaited issue of GRUMPY MAGAZINE. I obviously couldn’t leave you all without putting out one last edition to conclude 2019 and this decade. I have worked on it with my invaluable contributors and life savers since this summer, while going through a countless number of ups and downs, so you can imagine how relieved and proud I am to finally unveil this issue. Over the last few months, I have learned, both professionally and personally, to follow my instincts and not let people’s judgments get at me when I decide to do what feels right for myself. The life of an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster ride where you can feel inspired and on top of the world one day, and lose all hope the next day. I started brainstorming to find the direction I wanted to take with this issue after a friend of mine took me to an English bookshop in Paris this summer, and I got lost at Selfridges’ library in London. Therefore, as you delve into this edition, you may notice a slight revamp of the publication. I am growing and evolving as a person, and so does the magazine. When Grumpy Magazine was born, my main goal was to make it a creative platform above all, where people would come together and make the most of each other’ strengths to have the most magical content. As the magazine developed, I was blessed to see that my purpose was more and more fulfilled each issue, and I believe this one is no exception and remains one of my biggest accomplishments of the year. I am beyond excited to introduce our four cover stars: Shameik Moore, whose many talents include dancing, acting and singing. He has demonstrated his breathtaking versatility through his multiple notable projects such as Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope, Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down, multi-Award-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, and more recently Netflix holiday film Let It Snow and Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, who dropped her law career and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her music dreams. From releasing a song with Usher in 2016 to collaborating with G-Eazy and Tyler, The Creator on her fourth album Rouge, she isn’t afraid to cross boundaries and proves real music still stands. Charlie Weber, who approaches his job as an actor with a strong and respectable level of commitment. Since 2014, the actor has starred opposite Viola Davis on drama series How to Get Away with Murder. Candice Patton, who aims at making the world a better place on and off screen. The Flash’s actress isn’t only a local hero on her DC TV show, but also in real life. In addition to that, this issue features both new and familiar faces that you may have seen onscreen or listened to this year, or even grown up with. Lastly, I wanted to express my gratitude to some wonderful people who believed in me throughout the year, sometimes more than I eve, did myself: Eléa Weibel, Vicenté, Thilda Riou, Emily Sandifer, Allegra Messina, Heather Koepp. Also a special thanks to everyone who went along with me to pull this issue off. It wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a village of extraordinary people. I will never be able to thank you enough for your priceless support and dedication to the magazine. Thank you all for making my teenage dream a reality. Until we meet again. In the meantime, don’t forget to spread kindness.
From Paris with love
Jasmine Perrier Founding editor-in-chief @jazzieperrier
A series by Liza Boone
On her well-rounded résumé that made her a noteworthy new face
On becoming an expert at his craft and leaving his mark in the industry
The story of a fearless real-life warrior
The fresh-faced star of ‘‘Tall Girl’’ talks self-love and acceptance
On going on his own with his new band Riker and The Beachcombers
A voice to serve as positive reinforcement
Discover the world of Diplomacy created by childhood friends Jack Falahee and DJ Elephante
Who is 31-year-old Brenda Song?
Meet Hollywood’s next triple threat
The Malaysian singer-songwriter is taking the world by storm
A look into his journey on ‘‘How To Get Away With Murder’’ and his next chapter
‘‘The Flash’’ actress is blazing a trail
A collection of Q&As with artists defining the sound of now featuring Martin Garrix, Kodaline, Fletcher and Briston Maroney
Contents I S S U E N O . 1 5
C H A 10
P R T E I ISSUE NO.15
OXFORD GIRL Photos by Liza Boone
Model Sarah Simmons
Styling by Leigh Byrne at Walter Schupfer Management
Makeup and hair by Cristina McLamb
Hat Clyde Sweater dress Equipment Shirt Sandro 12
Scarf Centinelle Sweater See by Chloe Dress Equipment Socks Hansel from Basel Shoes G.H. Bass & Co.
LOOK 1 Blazer Sandro Turtleneck bodysuit Wolford LOOK 2 Cape Maje Top Maje Skirt Bec + Bridge
Blazer Current Elliott Sweater vest Rachel Comey Bodysuit Wolford Green cords Zadig & Voltaire Socks Happy Socks Shoes G.H. Bass & Co.
C H A 18
P R T E II ISSUE NO.15
EMMA FUHRMANN Words by Parker Schug Styling by Sonia Young for The Only.Agency
Photos by Natalie Dunn
Makeup by Emma Willis
Hair by Kristin Heitkotter
‘‘SUCCESS IS NOT ABOUT FAME, IT’S ABOUT CONSISTENT WORK’’ 20
Dress Kate Spade Top Ellie Mae
T ONLY 18 YEARS OLD, EMMA FUHRMANN HAS ESTABLISHED A NAME FOR HERSELF ON AND OFF OF THE BIG SCREEN. AS A CHILD, EMMA GOT HER START IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY THROUGH MODELING IN HER HOME CITY OF
DALLAS, TEXAS. SOON AFTER, SHE BEGAN APPEARING IN COMMERCIALS, TELEVISION SHOWS AND FILMS, COMMUTING BACK AND FORTH TO HOLLYWOOD AS AN 8-YEAR-OLD. RECENTLY, EMMA HAS COME TO THE FOREFRONT OF POP CULTURE THROUGH HER ROLE IN MARVEL STUDIOS FILM, AVENGERS: ENDGAME. HOWEVER, DESPITE EMMA’S BUSY SCHEDULE, SHE DOES NOT LET ANYTHING GET IN THE WAY OF GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY SHE IS IN, WHETHER THAT IS THROUGH VOLUNTEER PROJECTS OR CONNECTING WITH LOCAL CHARITIES.
ccording to Emma, her career started when she was a toddler in the modeling industry. She then decided to take acting classes at her local agency. It was there that she discovered her love for this craft and continued to pursue it, booking her first role as a kidnapping victim on a Dallas Morning News commercial. In this role, Emma was told to ‘‘be cute’’ and embrace her age. ‘‘I had the best time on set,’’ she recalls. ‘‘I don’t remember it being hard work.’’ From there, Emma went on to star in more commercials, on both the regional and national level. Shortly after, she began commuting back and forth to Hollywood where she booked other impressive roles. At 9 years old, Emma played Finnegan O’Neil, a young girl helping a writer regain inspiration, in The Magic of Belle Isle. Emma mentions that she took a lot away from working on this film, getting the chance to know many influential actors like Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen, who are very significant in the actress’ life. ‘‘Consistently, Virginia Madsen has remained in my life as a huge supporter, and she’s just taught me how to be a great person and a great actress on set, on and off screen,’’ says Emma. Through establishing things like ‘‘Mustache Mondays’’ and bringing food on set, Virginia showed the young girl many ways of making set a
healthy and exciting environment. In addition to the lessons she learned while working on The Magic of Belle Isle, Emma gained more knowledge in some of her other works including the film Lost in The Sun where she worked alongside talented artists Josh Duhamel and Lynn Collins. Another area in which Emma has gotten a great deal of experience, is in television series. Her roles on television include appearances on Chicago Fire, Prime Suspect, and The Good Guys. She also played Espn Friedman in Blended alongside Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. This film told the story of two families coming together on a trip, Emma playing Jim Friedman’s (Adam Sandler) tomboy daughter. She shot this project in South Africa, making it different from her other film experiences. ‘‘South Africa was incredible, spending seven weeks there was enriching as an actress and as a human being,’’ says Emma. ‘‘I think that the more you travel and have life experiences, it affects your performance in any role because you’re just garnering more experience as a human being.’’ Emma’s biggest role that she has taken on so far is that of Cassie Lang, Ant-Man’s daughter in Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. This film has had a lot of success since premiering in theaters
in April of 2019, and dethroned James Cameron’s Avatar’s box office record. ‘‘I had a shorter audition process than most Marvel actors, but my character was signed off on by all executives, including Mr. Kevin Feige.’’ Emma adds that she had a lot of help in getting this role from casting director, Sarah Finn. ‘‘I’m so grateful to Sarah Finn, because she really fought for me to get that role and she knew that I could do it and I owe it all to her, honestly.’’ Despite taking on such an iconic role, Emma approached this with the same attitude that she goes into all of her roles with. ‘‘I really didn’t see it any differently. I just knew it was my job to go in there and do the best of my abilities,’’ she says about her part. ‘‘I didn’t feel any extra pressure because of the level that it was.’’ Following the filming and premiere of this production, Emma became a much greater fan of Marvel films, and felt that through starring in one, she had gained a larger platform to share her ideas on. ‘‘I’ve been using that to connect better with my fans on social media and honestly, that’s probably been my favorite part.’’ Emma also mentions the value she found in learning from her co-stars throughout the filming process. ‘‘I spoke with Paul Rudd for like a good half an hour while they were setting up, and he just had some great things to say about remaining true to yourself, especially in this industry when it likes to tell you that you’re not good enough.’’ When Emma is not on set, whether it is through volunteering or donating to charity, she always finds a way to help others. ‘‘I think everyone has a responsibility as a human being to help others in some form or fashion,’’ she declares. ‘‘As someone with a unique platform that I have on social media, and with my career, I just try as much as I can to find positivity, and bring important charities and nonprofits to light, because they need to be in the spotlight too.’’ One organization in particular that Emma has worked with for years is the Alzheimer’s Association. She became involved with this organization when she was between 9 and 10 years old, following the passing of her grandmother who had this disease. Emma found it devastating to watch her grandmother go through the challenges that she had to face. ‘‘It was just
so shocking to me to see how you can lose the one thing that’s not materialistic.’’ Outside of acting, Emma spends a lot of her time working on her hobbies, her favorite right now being painting. ‘‘I love to read, but recently I’ve discovered that I have a knack for painting. I started painting along with Bob Ross videos, and I mean I hate to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at it,’’ says Emma. She uses her hobbies in order to destress and relax from her fastpaced career. ‘‘It’s very therapeutic, it’s very calming.’’ When asked what advice she would give to people looking to pursue similar dreams of their own, Emma shares, ‘‘Write yourself a list of goals, for how you’re going to figure out how to get where you need to go, and that’ll motivate you to check off those lists.’’ She also emphasized the importance of not rushing success. ‘‘It doesn’t have to be giant steps, it can be small steps, like taking an acting class, or any class.’’ Therefore, she stands for an idea of success that is different from what other people might say. ‘‘Success is not about fame, it’s about consistent work. That for me would be success, not awards or money, but just doing what I like to do, consistently.’’
‘‘AS SOMEONE WITH A UNIQUE PLATFORM THAT I HAVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND WITH MY CAREER, I TRY AS MUCH AS I CAN TO FIND POSITIVITY ’’
Dress Fleur du Mal
Top Acler Pants Bec + Bridge Shoes Jimmy Choo
LOOK 1 Jacket Alice + Olivia Dress Caterina Gatta LOOK 2 Top Alice + Olivia Skirt Bec + Bridge
LEO HOWARD Words by Thilda Riou
Photos by Allegra Messina
Styling by Apuje Kalu at Celestine Agency
Grooming by Grace Phillips using R + Co / TraceyMattingly.com Photography assistant Sara Miller
Wardrobe assistant George Nelson
‘‘THE KEY THAT I FOUND IS TO NOT GET MY IDENTITY FROM WHAT I DO FOR WORK’’ 26
ERFORMING FROM HIS EARLIEST CHILDHOOD, LEO HOWARD SEEMS TO BE BORN WITH A NATURAL TALENT FOR ACTING, AND HAS BEEN CLIMBING THE LADDER EVER SINCE THEN. RECENTLY SEEN AS TOMMY HARTE IN CBS’S
DARKLY COMEDIC DRAMA WHY WOMEN KILL, AND CURRENTLY GRACING OUR SCREENS AS ETHAN IN THE SECOND SEASON OF THE CW’S SUPERNATURAL FANTASY DRAMA LEGACIES, THE 22-YEAR-OLD ACTOR IS QUICKLY BECOMING KNOWN IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY AS HE IS WILLING TO TACKLE EVERY PROJECT THAT COMES HIS WAY.
ast backward to a few years earlier — Leo was a martial artist who loved watching Bruce Lee movies. ‘‘I thought that it was pretty cool how someone could incorporate martial arts on-screen, and play a character,’’ he says. Everything started to fit right into place when he fell in love with acting and decided to combine his two passions. ‘‘You’re essentially playing someone that is not you and getting people to believe it. It’s like this whole pretend life and I think it’s really fascinating.’’
season of Disney’s Kickin’ It. Before getting this opportunity, he had shadowed the show’s director for about a year, and was trying to learn every facet of the job. ‘‘It’s an avenue of my career that I still intend to pursue,’’ he explains. ‘‘I love the industry and I just want to be a part of it.’’
Here he was, at 8 years old, playing on different shows such as Disney Channel’s Zeke & Luther, while trying to balance school with work. ‘‘It’s always a really tough thing,’’ he acknowledges. ‘‘What happens is that there is an on-set teacher. So, you’re going through all of the things that normal teenagers go through in high school, except you’re also working a job on top of it.’’ At that time, the young actor would get hired to do a lot of fighting scenes, as he says, ‘‘A lot of things that kids my age couldn’t do at the time. So that was the way for me to kind of get my foot in the door. Since then, I feel like I had jobs where I’ve been able to create a skill set that I’m always working on.’’
Back in August, Leo landed his recurring role on CBS’s comedy-drama series Why Women Kill. ‘‘The number 1 thing that drew me to the show was the eras,’’ he says, as the show takes place in three different time periods: the 60s, 80s and 2019. However, it has only one location: a Pasadena mansion. ‘‘I thought that was something that was very unique.’’ The cast was naturally another exciting reason for him to be a part of this project, since it includes major actresses like Ginnifer Goodwin, Lucy Liu and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Leo plays Tommy Harte, an 18-year-old high-schooler who harbors romantic feelings for Simone (Lucy Liu). ‘‘He had a crush on her his whole life, and he befriends her at a time where she just needs someone to listen to her, and someone who will appreciate her,’’ he points out. ‘‘They end up having ironically a very sweet romance and a very touching one.’’
Thriving in every aspect of the entertainment industry, Leo also became the youngest TV director ever according to the Guinness World Records. At only 16 years old, he had already directed an episode in the fourth
‘‘They are at completely polar-opposite times in their life, yet in a weird way, they’re going through the same thing,’’ the actor states when being asked about what he loves the most about their relationship. As
Tommy is trying to figure out who he is going to be as a person, Simone is going through changes and doesn’t know what her future is going to look like. ‘‘I love the fact that two people at very different times in their life can connect.’’ On top of that, Leo was very grateful to get the opportunity to work with Lucy Liu and learn from her. ‘‘Even though she is so experienced, so knowledgeable, and knows exactly what she’s doing, she’s still so sweet and so humble to work with,’’ he shares. ‘‘We had a great time on set!’’ Even though he has been in the industry since he was a kid, the actor has always been motivated to make further progress in his career. ‘‘I just love working, I love playing different characters. I don’t have any specific goals in mind, just to keep going, keep moving and keep getting as good as I can get,’’ he says. Besides acting, Leo is
Sweater Asos Turtleneck Asos Pants Sacred Hawk Shoes Dr. Martens
passionate about music. ‘‘That’s where I’m trying to get my happiness, even if it still doesn’t make any money.’’ When recalling the challenges he has had to face so far, he lets us know that having to deal with rejection all the time is difficult. ‘‘It’s a pretty tough industry. To remain motivated at all times you have to be very familiar with rejection, and very friendly with it, because it happens all the time,’’ Leo explains. ‘‘I think the key that I found is to not get my identity from what I do for work,’’ he shares at the end of our 20-minute chat. ‘‘The rejection still gets to me of course. People are telling you constantly ‘you’re not good enough.’ But you can’t care about what other people think, about how good they think you are. You just have to go for it, take the chances and do the best you can do!’’
Turtleneck Asos Pants Joeâ€™s Jeans Shoes Kenneth Cole
Suit Etro Shirt Etro Shoes Magnanni
LOOK 1 Jacket Topman Turtleneck Theory Pants Harry Brown LOOK 2 Sweater Asos
JEANTÉ GODLOCK Words by Parker Schug Makeup by Paul Blanch
Photos by Shanna Fisher
Styling by Becky Thompson
Hair by Steven Mason for Exclusive Artists using Living Proof
Location The Kimpton Everly Hollywood
‘‘THE CARDS WEREN’T SET UP FOR ME THAT WAY’’ 32
NSTOPPABLE JEANTÉ GODLOCK HAD HER FIRST EXPERIENCE IN THE ACTING WORLD AT JUST 5 YEARS OLD, PERFORMING IN HER LOCAL CHURCH’S CHRISTMAS PLAY. SINCE THEN, DESPITE FACING CHALLENGES, JEANTÉ HAS
EMBRACED HER LOVE FOR STORYTELLING, ACTING IN FILMS AND NETFLIX SERIES AND MANAGING TO HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON MANY. THROUGH THE WORK SHE HAS DONE, THE ACTRESS SAYS TO HAVE FOUND CHARACTERS THAT SHE CAN RELATE TO, AND HAS BEEN ABLE TO SPREAD MANY POWERFUL MESSAGES THROUGH THEM. WHILE NO ONE CAN PREDICT HOW MUCH JEANTÉ WILL ACCOMPLISH, IT IS APPARENT THAT SHE DOES NOT PLAN TO SLOW DOWN ANYTIME SOON.
s a child growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Jeanté did not experience the glamorous lifestyle many describe about being close to Hollywood. ‘‘This is where the movies are made,’’ says Jeanté. ‘‘I never really experienced any of that when I was younger. I don’t even think I had ever gone to Beverly Hills when I was a kid.’’ She explained that the area that she came from in Los Angeles was a ‘‘rougher’’ part of the city, and that she lived there during a hard time. It wasn’t until after getting back into acting that Jeanté was able to experience a completely different atmosphere in Los Angeles. Despite having done some acting as a young child in her hometown, Jeanté did not pick it up again until after her time in high school. Some of her first work was in short films, one of which being the film Sell Out!. When asked about her time starring in shorts, she explains, ‘‘I think that even on the indie circuit, doing shorts and making your own material, it gets you ready for when you do find that series or get that big movie.’’ Another role she took on was that of Lora in Dear Dodd. According to Jeanté, throughout the film, her character struggles to get the girl she loves to open up and be who she wants to be. ‘‘I actually play a young, teen, lesbian girl who is in love with this girl, but she is in this family and it’s a very religious family.’’ Her movie’s love interest has trouble facing her identity, due to her
family’s possible rejection. This is just one among the many pressing subjects Jeanté has covered during her time in the field. In addition to her abilities as an actress, Jeanté is very talented when it comes to dancing. ‘‘I actually started dancing really late, but I fell in love with it.’’ Therefore, Jeanté feels like her ability to dance has benefitted her in various ways, one of which being that it gives her a leg up in the acting industry. ‘‘It has definitely been an influence on my career and in my life. Just you know, like staying flexible, and being ready, because there’s a lot of competition.’’ Jeanté also has said that being a dancer impacted her getting cast as the protagonist in the film The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar. ‘‘It worked for me. I booked The Simone Biles Story, and it’s because I was a dancer, and I’ve played around in gymnastics, so it kind of just set me apart.’’ According to Jeanté, she identified strongly with the American gymnast. ‘‘She’s overcome a lot of obstacles, and I myself have as well.’’ Besides, she makes mention of the fact that she had an even deeper connection to the athlete, who was formerly a foster child. ‘‘I was homeless at sixteen and I hopped from house to house. I lived with a lot of different people, and just tried to maintain that same level of ‘I do want to be successful’ and ‘I have these goals, I have these dreams,’ I really related to her in
that way.’’ But her connection with Simone didn’t stop here. ‘‘When she was young, she [Simone] got bullied for her size, for her muscles and what she looked like. I kind of went through the same thing when I was younger,’’ Jeanté reveals. Because of their many shared experiences, the actress had even more motivation to portray Simone’s story perfectly. ‘‘When I put the leotard on it was like, ‘Ok, you are going to tell this girl’s story, and it’s a fantastic one.’ It wasn’t that hard for me to jump into her shoes.’’ When she isn’t acting or in between jobs, Jeanté takes time for her other love, fitness, which she considers as a therapeutic outlet. Furthermore, she states she looks to her sister and close friends for motivation. ‘‘I have a really good group of friends, like my dance friends and gymnastics friends. They’ve been my ride or die,’’ says Jeanté. ‘‘They’re always there for me and supporting me. When I have three jobs, they’re like, ‘keep going, it’s going to be good, it’s all going to work out.’’’ Another person who has been there for Jeanté throughout the course of her career is her acting coach, Tasha Smith. ‘‘She’s someone who really influenced my career, and she’s someone who supported me from the very beginning. I would not be where I am, and I would not be the actress that I am without her.’’ One of Jeanté’s most recent projects that she was able to work towards with the help of her support
system is the television series, Daybreak, which was released on Netflix last October. In this comic-based series, she plays Mona Lisa, a young female athlete living in post-apocalyptic Glendale, California. Jeanté’s goal in portraying her character was to present the idea that women can be effective leaders, and that everyone should embrace their identity and use it to their advantage. ‘‘That’s the biggest thing I want people to take away from my character, that it’s ok to let a woman be in charge of her own life, of her own future, of her own choices.’’ Additionally, she feels that this show will do well because it has something everyone can relate to, but doesn’t shy away from asking difficult questions. ‘‘It gets you thinking about life and maybe some changes we need to make or things to think about,’’ says the actress. As for what’s to come, Jeanté plans on continuing to pursue her passions. ‘‘Now that I look back, it’s just an amazing thing that I get to be in this industry and do what I’m doing, because the cards weren’t set up for me that way.’’ With a strong perseverance and determination, Jeanté overcame every hard situation she faced in the past. In regards to advice she would give to others attempting to do the same, she ultimately says, ‘‘Don’t let your circumstances define you or your path, because none of that matters.’’
‘‘DON’T LET YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES DEFINE YOU OR YOUR PATH, BECAUSE NONE OF THAT MATTERS’’
Blouse Divine Heritage Dress Elisabetta Franchi Earrings Miranda Frye Boots Chinese Laundry
Bodysuit Elisabetta Franchi Jewelry Astrid & Miyu
LOOK 1 Coat Three Floor Blouse Elisabetta Franchi Pants Elisabetta Franchi Jewelry Astrid & Miyu LOOK 2 Suit Wayf Blouse Alice + Olivia Jewelry Astrid & Miyu Shoes Stuart Weitzman
AVA MICHELLE Words by Emily Pitcher
Photos by Laura Thompson
Makeup by Gianpaolo Ceciliato / TraceyMattingly.com
Styling by Jenn Rosado
Hair by Marc Mena for Exclusive Artists
‘‘WE DON’T TELL OURSELVES WE ARE WORTH IT ENOUGH’’ 38
LOOK 1 | Dress Saylor | Tights Wolford | Shoes Botkier LOOK 2 | Top Lauren Ralph Lauren | Dress David Koma | Shoes Chloe
EET AVA MICHELLE, FORMER DANCER ON THE REALITY SHOW DANCE MOMS, SINGER, AND MOST RECENTLY, THE PROTAGONIST OF THE NETFLIX FILM TALL GIRL. SHE PLAYS JODI, A 6’1 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WHO COMES
TO TERMS WITH HER HEIGHT AND FINDS LOVE IN THE PROCESS. AS A PROPONENT FOR BODY-ACCEPTANCE, SHE IS ALSO THE CREATOR OF #SELFLOVECLUB, A CLOTHING LINE ABOUT TRANSFORMING THE MIRROR INTO A POSITIVE SPACE. WE SAT DOWN TO TALK WITH HER ABOUT HER ACTING DEBUT, HER CONFIDENCE JOURNEY, AND THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER MANY PROJECTS.
‘‘ e judge people by their image or their past, but when you are acting, you can’t do that,’’ Ava explains. ‘‘When I took on this role, I couldn’t judge Jodi for not speaking up for herself. I had to go figure her out.’’ As an actress who suffered rejection after rejection simply for her height, one can see why Ava loves acting for its openmindedness. That’s why when she came across Tall Girl, a film that celebrates selfacceptance, she knew it was meant for her. Similar to how Jodi puts herself out there despite being made fun of by her peers, Ava’s acting journey follows a comparable trajectory. ‘‘It was just my height, and I never really realized that would be a problem until I got a little older.’’ But upon landing the lead role, she realized, ‘‘I can do this. I am going in the right direction.’’ Ava’s involvement with Tall Girl transcends merely acting in a movie — it was about celebrating her differences and teaching others how to overcome the media’s expectations. When discussing Tall Girl’s influence on young women, Ava describes how she has been getting direct messages from fans. ‘‘They’ll tell me, ‘I’m going into this school year with a different mindset. I’m going to love myself more.’ It’s cool that people will reach out and tell me their personal story.’’ Amidst a society that preys upon people’s insecurities, Tall Girl is proof that you can still prosper despite not conforming to
beauty standards. ‘‘Self-love is so difficult to find in this day and age. For it to be a PG movie that you can sit down and watch with your entire family, and they can all get this message, is just amazing.’’ Jodi’s character is a testament that you can still find your place in high school even if you aren’t a part of the popular group. Although her transformation only happens once she accepts herself. ‘‘My mom would always tell me that if you don’t believe in yourself, what gives anyone else the right to believe in you? I’ve really learned that in the past year that just believing in yourself, it makes such a difference.’’ When it comes to bonding with her cast, she explains that they talked about what they took away from their characters. ‘‘The whole cast and I were at dinner today, talking about how much we learned from our characters in the movie. That was such a powerful thing because I really admire how Jodi handled herself. She’s very smart.’’ Even though Ava has emerged as a champion for self-love, she was not always this way. ‘‘There wasn’t one specific moment where I was like, ‘I love myself.’ It was the journey leading up to it.’’ For a long time, she viewed her height as her crutch, but she has since changed her mind. ‘‘The one thing that I really wanted to change about myself was the thing that partly got me my acting role and the story I was able to tell. I think
we all go through things in our lives that make us doubt what we have, but it’s about knowing what you love about yourself and embracing your differences.’’ As to how Ava actually adopted this mindset, she cites her mother as her inspiration, because she instilled in her the importance of hard work and dedication. ‘‘My mom was a huge support system for me. I remember I was going to auditions, getting ‘no’ just because of my height, but she taught me to always work hard. I’m here for a reason, that helped me grow every time.’’ Even before she got the lead role, Ava has been a role model for body positivity. From launching #13Reasons4Me, a conversation about self-love, to her recent clothing line #SelfLoveClub, Ava has been a nonstop advocate for boosting young girls’ confidence. #SelfLoveClub is a t-shirt and sweatshirt line that has affirming messages such as ‘I am worth it’ written backward, so it can be read in a mirror. ‘‘Thinking about what I wanted, I realized
how much of a negative space the mirror was, and I think it’s really important to turn it into a place for confidence. When you actually say those things to yourself while you’re looking at yourself, it makes you feel something you’ve never felt before. We don’t do that enough. We don’t tell ourselves we are worth it enough.’’ As to what is next for Ava, she reveals she is releasing more new music. ‘‘I’m working with Luke [Eisner], my co-star who plays Stig [in Tall Girl]. His band is helping me produce and write my singles.’’ When mentioning what she loves about singing over other artistic mediums, she says, ‘‘Music is the thing you can really get personal with without people really knowing what it’s about.’’ To conclude our chat, Ava states how she has changed over the past year. ‘‘One thing that I love about myself now that’s different is that I believe in myself more than ever. They have their strengths, but I also have mine. We’re all different and that’s what makes us so incredibly special.’’
‘‘THINKING ABOUT WHAT I WANTED, I REALIZED HOW MUCH OF A NEGATIVE SPACE THE MIRROR WAS, AND I THINK IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO TURN IT INTO A PLACE FOR CONFIDENCE’’
Suit Lafayette 148 Shoes Botkier
Top American Apparel Jeans Leviâ€™s
Top Ramy Brook Dress Jill Jill Stuart
C H A 44
P R T E III ISSUE NO.15
RIKER LYNCH Words by Thilda Riou
Photos by Heather Koepp
Grooming by Jayme Kavanaugh
Styling by Audrey Brianne
Wardrobe assistant Angela Rose
Locations The Chromacabana and SportsCar LA
‘‘I JUST LOVE ENTERTAINING. IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER WHAT FORM IT IS’’ 46
F YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A TROPICAL GETAWAY DURING WINTERTIME, YOU ARE AT THE RIGHT PLACE WITH RIKER LYNCH. FROM THE R5 ERA TO THE MUSIC HE IS PUTTING OUT INTO THE WORLD WITH HIS NEW BAND RIKER AND
THE BEACHCOMBERS, THE 28-YEAR-OLD MUSICIAN HAS ALWAYS SHARED HIS GOOD MOOD. “THAT STYLE OF JUST PURE FEEL GOOD MUSIC REALLY CONNECTS WITH ME,” HE SAYS, AS WE SPOKE TO HIM OVER THE PHONE ON A MORNING OF OCTOBER, AFTER HE CAME BACK FROM HIS HONEYMOON.
riginally from Littleton, Colorado, Riker grew up with his siblings, and has been into music ever since he was a child. ‘‘My first true love of music was probably Elvis Presley,’’ he comments. ‘‘From Elvis, it sort of moved into Michael Jackson, I got a little bit more into the pop world. And from there, it really took off when I discovered NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys.’’ Things began to move quickly when he decided to create his band R5 in 2009, with his brothers Ross and Rocky, his sister Rydel and friend Ellington Ratliff. ‘‘R5 was sort of built out of just us, learning to play instruments at the same time,’’ he explains. ‘‘My brother Rocky decided to teach himself how to play guitar and I just thought it was so cool.’’ In 2013, the band was already touring the world, and gaining a solid fanbase across the globe. Looking back at his experience with R5, Riker feels grateful. ‘‘That whole experience was so much fun. We’re all family and we all genuinely love being around each other,’’ he shares. ‘‘Traveling the world, playing music and putting smiles on people’s faces was truly a spectacular experience, and one I will never forget.’’ After all those years, the idea of a new music project grew in Riker’s mind. ‘‘Riker and The Beachcombers sort of came out through a couple of different things,’’ he says. When his brothers Ross and Rocky started a new chapter of their journey and introduced The Driver Era, the musician reveals he didn’t have much to do, and had extra time to be
creative. ‘‘I just love everything tropical and beachy. So when Rocky and Ross wrote ‘Sex On The Beach,’ and weren’t going to use it, it was a perfect fit!’’ And what ‘‘a perfect fit’’ it was, since ‘Sex On The Beach’ came out back in August as the debut single of his new band Riker and The Beachcombers, and got a warm welcome. When being asked why he chose this specific track to unveil his latest creative endeavor, the singer tells us that it felt like the right choice to make. ‘‘The title, written out, it’s like: that’s a tropical beach song right there.’’ The music video of the hit song takes place on a pool deck in sunny California, and stars Riker and his wife, Savannah. The musician also teamed up with his cousin, who filmed the project. ‘‘When you’re first starting a new project, you don’t have a lot of financial resources. So for me, it was all about how can I make something really great, but that is not going to kill my entire promotion budget,’’ the artist shares. ‘‘And we had a really good time! It was sort of an easy and fun video to make. I wanted it to have a little bit of comedy and just funniness.’’ When working on new songs, Riker is often inspired by other artists. The musician is always eager to capture some vibes from songs he likes and put them in a ‘‘tropical realm environment.’’ And it is a successful process to bring back summer vibes, as proved by his second single ‘She Just Wants
to be Famous.’ On top of that, Riker started his first ever tour with Riker and The Beachcombers in November, opening for O.A.R, ‘‘one of [his] favorite bands of all time.’’ ‘‘I saw them in Colorado in 2007 I think, that was my first rock band concert,’’ he recalls. Twelve years later, Riker is announced to go on tour with them, creating a ‘‘full circle,’’ as he puts it. Although the 28-year-old musician has demonstrated his musical skills many times since he began in the industry, he mentions the biggest challenge he has had to face in his career so far is singing. ‘‘It’s not something that I was naturally born with,’’ he states, before adding, ‘‘That’s something I’ve had to really work on over the years, really making sure I warm up properly and that I practice and rehearse really properly. But now I’m feeling pretty solid about it.’’
‘‘WITH R5, HALF OF ME WAS SUPER GRATEFUL TO BE EXPERIENCING ALL THIS, AND THEN THE OTHER HALF WAS THRIVING FOR MORE. I THINK I JUST NEEDED TO ENJOY ALL OF IT AND APPRECIATE IT FOR WHAT IT WAS’’
Besides music, Riker has another talent: acting. You may recognize him from FOX’s musical television series Glee. ‘‘I just love entertaining. It doesn’t really matter what form it is,’’ he explains. ‘‘I love the fact that people can come to a show, or come see a movie, and forget about the rest of the world for two hours, just sit and be in enjoyment.’’ On top of that, he is getting more and more into writing and directing. ‘‘I’m constantly looking for avenues where I can perform and put a smile on somebody’s face.’’ To conclude our chat, Riker shares a piece of advice he would have loved to hear when he was younger. ‘‘Really take it all in,’’ he says. ‘‘Especially with R5, half of me was super grateful to be experiencing all this, and then the other half was thriving for more. I think I just needed to enjoy all of it and appreciate it for what it was.’’
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LOOK 1 | Top Death To Tennis | Pants Mercy & Loyal | Sneakers Converse LOOK 2 | Jacket Bally | Top Ted Baker | Pants Vince Camuto
MAX Words by Emily Pitcher Styling by Cristina Acevedo
Photos by Jerry Maestas
Grooming by Nicole Walmsley
Location The Valley Capri
‘‘THE RIGHT PEOPLE LOVE YOU FOR YOUR BROKEN PIECES AND YOUR INSECURITIES’’ 52
ETTING HIS START IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN DISNEY AND NICKELODEON, MAX SCHNEIDER —ALSO KNOWN AS MAX— HAS SINCE BROKEN THE MOLD OF CHILDHOOD TELEVISION TO BECOME A WORLD-RENOWNED
ARTIST, TOURING WITH MUSICIANS SUCH AS FALL OUT BOY, WIZ KHALIFA, AND HOODIE ALLEN. HE WAS CHOSEN AS ONE OF ELVIS DURAN’S ‘‘ARTISTS OF THE MONTH’’ AND LABELED A “YOUNG POP-GOD” BY GQ. WITH THE SUCCESS OF HIS ALBUM HELL’S KITCHEN ANGEL, TITLED THIS WAY AS A REFERENCE TO THE MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD HE GREW UP IN, “A CITY FULL OF INSANE ENERGY AND SO MANY SOUNDS, CULTURES OF MUSIC, AND CULTURES OF PEOPLE,” HIS SINGLE “LIGHTS DOWN LOW” EARNED DOUBLE-PLATINUM IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA. NOW THAT HIS SOPHOMORE ALBUM IS NEARING DEBUT, WE SAT DOWN WITH MAX TO TALK ABOUT HIS SUPPORT OF THE LGBT+ COMMUNITY, WHY HE CHOSE YELLOW AS HIS COLOR, AND HIS LATEST TOUR.
is latest single ‘‘Love Me Less’’ is an anthem for acceptance — it’s about accepting the challenges that relationships can create. When asked about the message behind this pop song, he answers, ‘‘The right people love you for your broken pieces, your past, and your insecurities. They want you to evolve and be better. The wrong people want you to change who you are and make you feel ashamed for it.’’ This song was made in collaboration with Quinn XCII. For Max, one of the most memorable experiences about working with her was performing on the Today Show on NBC. ‘‘Shaq was one of the guests on the show too. We met him right before we performed. I am a very fun size human and Quinn isn’t much larger than I am. There’s a pretty epic picture of Shaq shaking my hand, and I don’t think I’ve ever looked tinier. It was pretty epic.’’ When looking at trends of his latest music, you can’t help but notice the pervasiveness of the color yellow. This choice of branding was inspired by a surgery that left him without a voice for four months. ‘‘I felt very isolated and trapped in my head. I couldn’t record music and so much more. Yellow just gave me hope. I committed to the color for the whole album to remind myself and
others that things get better. Plus, it has great energy as a color and I love things that radiate beautiful energy.’’ Max’s music career this past year has been defined by the tour ‘‘Intimate AF,’’ the root of this name being the random small shows he would play in. ‘‘It became a bit of a series I guess, when we started doing other intimate shows between our bigger shows. It just felt fun and hitting the nail on the head of the special experience I wanted to give the fans, a really unforgettable night.’’ His relationship with his audience is unlike that of any other artists, from texting people selfies and giving fans free tickets to his shows. ‘‘I just love connecting with the fans. Some have turned into family over the years, and other new ones I want to feel just as welcomed into the world. I always want to keep people guessing with what we’ll do next and give back to them for their love.’’ Max does not just have a close relationship with his audience, but also his tour staff, treating every show as a special experience. ‘‘Besides the usual vocal warm ups, physical warm ups and yoga stuff, I give love to my band. This could be the last time we play. Let’s enjoy it and treat it like the last show.
You never know when your last one will be, so treat them all in that way.’’ Outside of music, Max is a proponent of the LGBT+ community and has even performed at Pride before. ‘‘I’ve just been an ally my whole life. I grew up in New York, I went to a performing arts school and camp. Sexuality was just something that we all supported each other early on, and made each other feel accepted. When I started to tour more throughout the country and world, I realized that’s not the case in a lot of places. I love giving as much love and support in the community as possible, because there is nothing cooler than seeing someone at a show who is wearing exactly what they want to wear, holding and loving exactly who they are meant to be with in the world, and truly loving who they are.’’ To conclude our chat, Max thanks his fans for their dedication to his story. ‘‘Thank you for listening to my stuff and letting me be a part of the soundtrack of your world, whether it’s been for 10 seconds, 10 days or 10 years. Much love.’’
‘‘I ALWAYS WANT TO KEEP PEOPLE GUESSING WITH WHAT WE’LL DO NEXT AND GIVE BACK TO THEM FOR THEIR LOVE’’
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LOOK 1 | Yellow jacket Hardeman | Sweater Fashion Nova Men | Pants Amiri LOOK 2 | Jacket Richfresh | Shirt Urban Outfitters | Hat Gladys Tamez | Pants Theory | Belt Gucci
Jacket March NYC Turtleneck Vintage Pants Urban Outfitters
DIPLOMACY Words by Emily Pitcher
Photos by Laura Thompson
Grooming by Scott McMahan at Art Department
Styling by Michael Fusco at See Management Photography assistant Jaclene Sini
‘‘OUR GOAL IS TO CREATE A WORLD THAT PEOPLE CAN DIVE INTO’’ 58
LOOK 1 | Suit David Hart | Turtleneck David Hart | Shoes AllSaints (Jack) | Suits David Hart | Slides Gucci (Elephante) LOOK 2 | Coat Mikage Shin (Jack) | Coat Mikage Shin (Elephante)
OU MIGHT THINK THAT JACK FALAHEE, ACTOR IN HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, AND TIM WU, BETTER KNOWN AS PROGRESSIVE HOUSE PRODUCER DJ ELEPHANTE, ARE AN UNLIKELY MUSICAL DUO. BUT THEIR NEW BAND
DIPLOMACY WILL SURPRISE YOU. I SAT DOWN WITH THE BOYS AT TIM’S LOS ANGELES SHOW AS DJ ELEPHANTE. WALKING INTO THE DRESSING ROOM, I WAS GREETED WITH CHATTER ABOUT THE ADDICTION OF CLASSIC WORLD OF WARCRAFT, ELLIE SATTER (JACK’S GIRLFRIEND) CHEERFULLY ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS ABOUT DATING IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, AND WELL-DRESSED PEOPLE MILLING AROUND, WAITING FOR TIM’S NEXT OBLIGATION. ONCE I WAS INTRODUCED TO TIM AND JACK, THE ENERGY BECAME MORE LIVELY. I COULD IMMEDIATELY TELL THE CLOSENESS OF THEIR FRIENDSHIP, WITH THEIR CONSTANT BANTER AND SARCASM.
ith Jack’s debut as a seductive singer and Tim’s transition into rock music, their single ‘‘Silver Lake Queen’’ is the ultimate anthem of feminine worship. The song is inspired by a mysterious girl Jack met while living in Silver Lake. ‘‘I was going out a lot. I was single and new to LA, hitting the bars every night. I met this girl who just had this sort of energy to her. She was magnetic. I didn’t even introduce myself, I just admired her peripherally, watched her work her magic on these crowds of doting men, women, people of every gender. Everyone was enthralled by this woman.’’ While Tim was initially skeptical of Jack’s story, what changed his mind was meeting her himself. ‘‘We were having a lazy Sunday and this girl walked in and I almost fell off my stool like, ‘That’s her! That’s the girl.’ We became subjects in her kingdom. We both just sat there and watched her from afar. So we’ve never had any real interaction with this woman,’’ Jack describes. ‘‘She’s like the fucking Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. She is the hipster Alice in Wonderland,’’ Tim nods in agreement. Both having roots in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jack and Tim met as childhood best friends. While they diverged paths with Tim pursuing economics at Harvard and
Jack studying musical theatre at NYU, they rekindled their bond through weekly board game nights, the inspiration for their band name. ‘‘There’s this game called Diplomacy, basically a super intense version of Risk. There are no rules, really. It’s very simple but the entire thing is built on negotiating and lying. You talk and you coordinate what to do. It’s the most intense — it ends in screaming matches and we’re like, this is the perfect name for a band,’’ Tim explains. During their time apart, Tim became a consultant turned EDM superstar DJ Elephante, a pseudonym inspired by the phrase ‘‘elephant in the room.’’ He acquired a following through Soundcloud, paving the way for Asian Americans’ growing influence in dance music. As to what led him to pursue nontraditional success, Tim talks about the lack of Asian representation in media growing up. ‘‘Dance music is historically very welcoming to underrepresented groups. As an Asian kid, I felt like, in a lot of ways, you’re excluded from the pop culture conversation. Who are the top Asian entertainers? It was Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu. There were no Asian rock stars or rappers.’’ He was introduced to EDM through indie electronic artists such as Passion Pit and Ratatat, eventually leading him to discover Skrillex. From then
on, he knew this genre was for him. ‘‘Dance music is the first place as an Asian person you have a home creatively. I loved Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Where were the Asian rock stars? There were none. I think it’s important to have Asian Americans out there doing a breadth of interesting things whether that’s art, music, writing, acting, and letting kids know that these are things you can do.’’ Meanwhile, Jack made his acting debut as a guest star in the teen comedy-drama series, The Carrie Diaries. He subsequently appeared in various films and even starred in ABC Family’s Twisted as Charlie McBride, until he landed his most notable role, Connor Walsh in ABC’s legal drama How To Get Away With Murder. With such an acting heavy background, the agency of songwriting surprised him. ‘‘The most obvious thing [I like about Diplomacy] is the autonomy as a musician. We’re doing this independently — it’s just Tim and I in the studio, and there are no outside voices. That’s very different from being an actor on a network television show. Obviously, I love my job on How To Get Away With Murder, but it is different showing up to work and being given pages of a script that 12 other people wrote. Ultimately, you’re portraying someone else’s artistic creation to the best of your ability. But at the end of the day, there’s a director and editors. There are all of these people involved who cut up and put your performance into whatever box they want. At the end of the day, you’re not in the driver’s seat for what the audience is seeing. If Tim gets on stage, it’s 100% Tim. It’s Elephante. It’s his vision. So with Diplomacy, having that autonomy has been exciting.’’ Diplomacy has one of the most intimate songwriting processes you’ve ever heard of. While brainstorming ideas for their EP, Tim asked Jack to hand over his diary, and Jack said yes. ‘‘It was sort of a byproduct of writer’s block where we were trying to bang against the wall and get something out and it wasn’t working. Tim was creative enough to come up with another pathway to us finding material, and knew that I keep pretty detailed diaries, so I begrudgingly handed it to him. We took a couple of days and leafed through it and would just pull out things that, whether it was a story or some
imagery, Tim would kind of give me that as a writing prompt and be like, ‘Expand on this. How was this night? How did it feel when this person said this to you?’ and that became a cornerstone for us to sort of write as a duo.’’ Tim agrees that the diary was a pivotal moment in their creative process. ‘‘We didn’t have that deep connection where our songs really meant something. We were like, how do we write and sing about something that really matters to us.’’ Described as ‘‘The Black Keys meets Flume,’’ their EP is a reclamation of loss. ‘‘Some of the themes I would say that we really attacked were the fallibility of memory and the lies we tell ourselves to get through trauma, breakups, losing a job,’’ Jack describes. ‘‘It’s about redemption for that and reconciliation of past mistakes, failed relationships. A lot of it was sort of tangentially inspired by my diary, memories that Tim picked up. We pulled apart and reconstructed to be sort of fictionalized.’’ With Tim, he sees Diplomacy as a molding of unlikely pairings. ‘‘Whether that’s me and Jack, whether it’s the electronic elements that I’ve been doing as Elephante with the live sort of guitars and organic instruments that we loved growing up, it’s us figuring out how to bring those together. It’s a lot about sadness and loss, and it’s balanced out by hope and how to get past that.’’ Diplomacy isn’t confined to being simply a musical project. ‘‘It’s more than just about the music,’’ Tim clarifies. ‘‘We’re heavily involved with the visual aspect, the music videos. Our goal is to create a world that people can dive into. It really is a fully formed creation.’’
JACK | Look Morse Decode | Boots Phillip Lim ELEPHANTE | Tracksuit Perry Ellis | Overcoat Private Policy | Sneakers Yeezy
JACK | Jacket The Kooples | Shirt GÃ“SN ELEPHANTE | Shirt Mikage Shin
JACK | Coat Wilde Vertigga Shirt AllSaints Pants PT01 Boots Saint Laurent ELEPHANTE | Look Khoman Room Boots Saint Laurent
BRENDA SONG Words by Vicenté
Photos by Emily Sandifer
Makeup by Kristee Liu
Hair by Lucy Gedjeyan
Styling by Michelle Wu Location Loft 1923
Photography assistants Genevieve Aitken and Marci Manklow
‘‘LOVE ME OR HATE ME, I WORKED REALLY HARD TO BE THIS WOMAN’’ 64
LOOK 1 | White dress House of CB | Gloves Kerry Parker | Clear Body Piece Graham Cruz | Earrings AL Jewelry LOOK 2 | Suit OTT | Bodysuit House of CB | Earrings AL Jewelry | Necklace Iris Trends | Hat Central Avenue
RENDA SONG IS NO STRANGER TO THE LIMELIGHT. OVER THE COURSE OF HER 25-YEAR ACTING CAREER, SHE HAS HAD AMPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO PROVE THAT SHE HAS QUITE THE RANGE. WHETHER SHE MADE YOU LAUGH ON
YOUTH TELEVISION WITH HER ICONIC ‘‘YAY ME!’’ LINE, OR GAVE YOU CHILLS WHEN HER TV HUSBAND CHASED HER AROUND THE HOUSE IN NETFLIX’S THRILLER SECRET OBSESSION, THE ACTRESS IS A TRUE CHAMELEON.
or Brenda, being able to live this life is nothing short of a dream. ‘‘Since I was a little girl, this is all I wanted to do, and I get to do it every single day. I feel extremely grateful.’’ And Brenda does certainly not intend to take a break anytime soon as she starred this fall in Hulu original series Dollface, alongside Kat Dennings, Shay Mitchell and Esther Povitsky. Executive produced by Margot Robbie, the show starts as Jules (Kat Dennings) gets dumped out of nowhere by her boyfriend of five years. She therefore has to reintegrate herself back into the female world and reform relationships with her past female friends that she has neglected over the years. Throughout the show, we discover how Jules manages to rekindle those friendships she left behind. Brenda portrays Madison, Jules’ college roommate who gives her the hardest time. If Dollface can count on humorous lines and situations as well as surprising guest stars, viewers can enjoy having a show they may relate to. ‘‘It’s something I’ve experienced in my personal life, so I love that we get to tell those stories,’’ Brenda states about the plot of the show, before adding, ‘‘Male or female, you can find yourself in one of these characters.’’ And it seems like the protagonists really struck a chord with Brenda and her co-stars as she admits that the four of them share multiple similarities with their respective characters. ‘‘I’m definitely the most Madison. I’m the one who would schedule
everything and start a group chat letting the other girls know that we are meeting at that place and time. Kat is more of a homebody. Shay traveled the world, so if you need a restaurant recommendation, she knows everyone and everything. Esther is always cheerful. So we are actually those characters — obviously not that extreme,’’ she explains. Madison is the ‘‘dream character to play,’’ she even admits while pointing out that she particularly likes the dry and go-getter side of her on-screen character. After all, her character’s traits almost echo what Brenda really is: a go-getter that you can’t stop when she has a goal in mind. This mentality shaped her acting career, as she never took ‘‘no’’ for an answer, even when the parts she auditioned for weren’t meant for people who looked like her. ‘‘I think it’s that mentality [you have] when you’re younger and you have no fear, because I didn’t even think about the fact that I didn’t look like everyone else,’’ she states. Every time she gets a script in her hands, Brenda will instead ‘‘go audition, read for the characters, and not think about anything else but to go in there and give the best audition regardless of what the role is asking for.’’ She adds, ‘‘All I wanted to do was to act so I went in.’’ And it worked out brilliantly for her as she eventually landed roles which she was not even supposed to read for, starting with London Tipton (on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) as Brenda reveals, ‘‘They wanted me to go in for Maddy. Ashley [Tisdale] read for London.’’
Speaking of the characters she has embodied, Brenda confesses, ‘‘With every role that you play, it brings its own challenges.’’ If she first obtained the role of a sassy heiress full of manners on Disney, Brenda was never reluctant to distance herself from her original body of work. This state of mind led her to join a ‘‘very serious project’’ in 2010 as she appeared in The Social Network, while she was still shooting The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. In her own words, swinging from a single camera film to a comedy show was highly formative. ‘‘Shooting The Social Network was very different. I was going from a sitcom shot in front of live audience to a film with a single camera. Doing that at the same time was a great learning experience because it was so different,’’ she recalls. More recently this summer, Brenda has explored a new genre as she starred in the Netflix film Secret Obsession alongside Mike Vogel and Dennis Haysbert. And again, it had its share of challenges. ‘‘Doing Secret Obsession was very different for me because I’ve never done anything like this before. My body of work was very fun and kind of silly, but nothing really dark.’’ As she defines herself as a ‘‘happy kind of person,’’ it turned out to be emotionally challenging for her to put herself in ‘‘such dark situations.’’ But one can’t deprive Brenda from her signature cheerfulness that easily, as she recalls that she and her co-star Mike Vogel had a great time shooting the movie regardless of the seriousness that their respective roles required. ‘‘Me and Mike had so much fun on set [to the point where] they were like, ‘Wait, we are doing a serious movie here, we need to get serious!’ I like having fun on set, and it was six great weeks for me,’’ she shares. When Brenda is not working, she reveals that she enjoys spending her time reading, knitting, watching football and even fantasizing about Paris, her ‘‘favorite city in all of the world!’’ But apart from that, she also dedicates her energy raising awareness for a cause that is close to her heart: breast cancer. Brenda has indeed been forced to face the reality of cancer very early as her mother has been battling breast cancer for sixteen years now. ‘‘When I first learned about my mom diagnosis, I was 16 [and] working on Suite Life. I was so
scared,’’ she declares. One of the things that helped Brenda getting through her mother’s illness was learning as much about it as she could. ‘‘I was sitting there with my mom at her doctor’s appointment, asking the questions that I thought were silly and dumb, seeing what kind of options were out there and what treatment she was doing. All of those things were so helpful for me,’’ she continues, before adding that through those hard times she was also able to count on the support of ‘‘such an incredible crew and cast.’’ Though Brenda’s professionalism has never been in doubt, she has, to her credit, admitted that family is her number one priority. She is therefore willing to put her demanding working life on hold whenever she feels the need to stand by the side of her loved ones, especially her mother. ‘‘Being there and supporting my mom is more important to me than anything I will ever do in my career,’’ she concludes. By remaining upbeat and learning from every experience she’s been involved in, Brenda remains ‘‘happy and proud’’ of being where she is today. ‘‘Even if I had dark moments in the past, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,’’ she tells. ‘‘I’ve always been telling myself that I am here for a reason and these dark times made me a better person,’’ she says. ‘‘At 31 years old, love me or hate me, I worked really hard to be this woman and I’m really proud of her. And I actually like her a lot,’’ she declares, with a smile in her voice.
‘‘EVEN IF I HAD DARK MOMENTS, I FEEL LIKE I’M EXACTLY WHERE I’M SUPPOSED TO BE’’
Coat Matt Sarafa Dress HarryHalim Bodysuit Paradise Ranch Designs Earrings Iris Trends Shoes Charles David
Dress Malan Breton Top OTT Earrings AL Jewelry
LOOK 1 Jacket Malan Breton Bralette House of CB Trousers House of CB Earrings AL Jewelry Necklace Maison Louella LOOK 2 Jacket HARRYHALIM Dress Luxury by Feyi Earrings Iris Trends Necklace AL Jewelry
C H A 70
P R T E IV ISSUE NO.15
Shameik M oore MEET HOLLYWOODâ€™S NEXT TRIPLE THREAT Words by Jasmine Perrier Photos by Allegra Messina Styling by Evan Simonitsch Grooming by Eliven Quiros Photography assistant Gabriel Ortega Location The Hollywood Hotel
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T IS SOMEWHAT HARD TO TRACK SHAMEIK MOORE DOWN, AS HE SEEMS TO ALWAYS BE ON THE MOVE. AFTER COMPLETING OUR PHOTOSHOOT IN NOVEMBER AT THE HOLLYWOOD HOTEL, AND DOING SOME PRESS IN LOS ANGELES
FOR A NETFLIX CHRISTMAS ROM-COM HE STARRED IN, HE IMMEDIATELY FLEW BACK TO HIS HOME CITY, ATLANTA, TO FOCUS ON HIS MUSIC PROJECT. THEREFORE, IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT WHEN I SPOKE TO SHAMEIK OVER THE PHONE, HE WAS IN THE MIDST OF A PRETTY INTENSE RECORDING SCHEDULE. WHILE WORK IS MORE PERSONAL THAN EVER FOR THE 24-YEAR-OLD MULTITALENTED AND GIFTED ARTIST, HE MAKES SURE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY HE GETS IN ORDER TO BE WHERE HE WANTS TO BE AND BREAK BARRIERS.
ailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Shameik Moore is one of Hollywood’s busiest young actors and most refreshing figures on the rise. His dance, music and acting skills make him quite a triple threat to watch out for. He started making a name for himself by uploading singing and dancing videos online. ‘‘I thought I was going to be a musician first,’’ he confesses. ‘‘But now that I’m here and I’m able to do this, I have these eyes open.’’ After a breakout role in Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope when he was just 20, Shameik kept carving his path through the arts industry. ‘‘My evolution has been humbling,’’ he says, calmly. ‘‘In Dope, the challenge was behind the scenes. I didn’t have any real experience like I do now, to take on a role like that. Because I did the very best I could, things were moving in the right direction, and I exceeded expectations.’’ Following up his feature-film debut, the actor joined Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down on Netflix and delivered an appealing performance as Shaolin Fantastic. ‘‘We ended up shooting for two years so there are opportunities I couldn’t take on, because of my obligations to Netflix,’’ he tells us when asked about the challenges that occurred with this project. Last year, Shameik’s journey was taken to another level as he was a part of Sony Pictures’ animated movie Spider-Man: Into The Spider-
Verse, which gained worldwide recognition and attention. Introducing Miles Morales, the first ever black Spider-Man voiced by Shameik, the critically acclaimed film came home with a Golden Globe and an Oscar. For the actor who remains humble and easy-going, this success was possible due to the team that was put together. ‘‘It was a blessing to be a part of that,’’ he recalls. ‘‘I’ve always wanted to be a black SpiderMan, but it was animated so the challenge [with Spider-Man] was to do the best that I can vocally, to bring this character Miles Morales to life.’’ As he seemingly is always on the go, his 2019 schedule was jam packed with two productions, Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga and Netflix’s Let It Snow, in which he portrayed two completely different characters. ‘‘These two projects, Wu-Tang and Let It Snow, were offers and blessings from God. I’m being blessed and I’m taking advantage of these opportunities,’’ he says. Besides, the actor reveals he was traveling back and forth between New York and Toronto to shoot both projects simultaneously. ‘‘The producers worked it out for me to be able to shoot both at the same time, so I was doing both characters at the same exact time.’’ Shameik is aspiring to channeling more of his creativity in his acting work. ‘‘I wanted to do a Christmas movie. All those movies
are different, even though they all have the same dialogs,’’ he says, before adding, ‘‘I feel like I can bring a lot to the table. That’s what makes an actor valuable.’’ In every project he has done so far, the actor offered bold and captivating performances leading him to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, he had to look different to bring each character to life. ‘‘I had long hair for Wu-Tang, and Let It Snow made me cut my hair. I was basically looking like Miles Morales. It was a heavy thing for me, but it was ok because life goes on and I’m being blessed with amazing opportunities.’’ Appreciating every chance he gets offered, Shameik knows where he wants to end up, claiming how ready he is to challenge his own abilities, and push his ambitions to the limit. Throughout his growing career, he has proved his talent to master the art of being a true chameleon. ‘‘I’m not settled, I take great roles and great projects. I’m very happy that I did them,’’ he mentions. ‘‘If I was doing movies, I wanted to be in action and romance films. So I think that between Spider-Verse and Let It Snow, having a love story between Stuart and Julie (Isabela Merced), it shows that I have those chops for love stories.’’ Therefore, Shameik’s ultimate goal is to be versatile and make valuable work that has an impact on generations to come. ‘‘I want to exceed expectations,’’ he states. ‘‘When I’m boxing, I always talk to myself. I’ve got to coach myself that way, and
say ‘I’m capable of all things.’’’ When being asked what he hopes for the future to bring, he simply replies, ‘‘Right now, it’s just putting my best hope forward musically, and putting my best hope forward in the acting round.’’ Sustaining his momentum, the well-rounded actor will be seen in RZA’s thriller Cut Throat City coming to theaters next year, opposite Demetrius Shipp Jr., Eiza González and Kat Graham. ‘‘They basically gave me lines a week ahead of time. So one week I wasn’t doing a movie, then the next week I was doing a movie,’’ he laughs. ‘‘There was a very little time to prepare, I just did the very best I could.’’ Between working actively in studio on his music and acting, Shameik is poised to carry on with what he describes as ‘‘the Shameik experience,’’ and wants to remain focused on being the best version of himself. His next chapter is called ‘‘Worth The Risk’’ and is coming soon. In addition to Cut Throat City, Shameik is already slated to return as Miles Morales in the sequel of Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, set for 2022. ‘‘I’m excited for all to see what I’m capable of. I’m motivated to captivate the community.’’ And he will do it with confidence and dedication, in the hope of inspiring others through his game-changing vision. ‘‘I’d say this is a success story. We’re not done yet, we’re in the process of this success story. We’ve got some accomplishments on the journey so far,’’ he concludes.
‘‘WE’RE NOT DONE YET, WE’RE IN THE PROCESS OF THIS SUCCESS STORY. WE’VE GOT SOME ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON THE JOURNEY SO FAR’’
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Yuna THE MALAYSIAN SINGERSONGWRITER IS TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM Words by Jasmine Perrier Photos by Raul Romo Styling by Aquiles Carmona for The Only Agency Makeup by Carissa Ferreri
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ALAYSIAN SINGER-SONGWRITER YUNALIS ZARAI —KNOWN AS YUNA— DARED TO LEAVE HER HOME COUNTRY TO PURSUE HER MUSIC CAREER. AND SHE HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE HER MOVE TO LOS ANGELES TEN YEARS
AGO. TODAY SHE TAKES ON THE WORLD. LAST DECEMBER 8TH IN PARIS, SHE COULD COUNT ON THE UNFAILING SUPPORT FROM HER FRENCH FANS WHO CAME TO ACCLAIM HER AT LA BELLEVILLOISE. I CAUGHT UP WITH YUNA OVER THE PHONE A COUPLE OF WEEKS BEFORE HER EUROPE TOUR, THE DAY AFTER HER BIRTHDAY. DOWN-TO-EARTH AND EASY TO TALK TO, SHE REVEALS HER BIRTHDAY PLANS COULD BE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS: HANGING OUT WITH HER FRIEND AND ORGANIZING HER CLOSETS. ‘‘IT’S MY FAVORITE THING TO DO,’’ SHE LAUGHS. 2019 HAS FOR SURE BEEN AN INTENSE YEAR FOR THE 33-YEAR-OLD ARTIST, WHO RELEASED EARLIER THIS SUMMER HER FOURTH ALBUM ROUGE WHICH INTRODUCES STRONG MESSAGES FOR HER AUDIENCE AND SURPRISING GUEST STARS.
efore finding the spotlight on the world stage, Yuna attended law school in Malaysia. ‘‘My parents would always prioritize education, making sure that I go into something that is more academic instead of arts.’’ Even though there was nothing creative about law school, she mentions she enjoyed it and was really happy. It was towards the end of her degree that she got more into the music world whenever she had free time, making sure she was done with her law assignments early. ‘‘That was when I met up with some really cool musicians and I went to live shows. I really enjoyed that and I started writing my own music. Then my friends invited me to perform.’’ After graduating from law school, Yuna kept doing music, playing for fun and for free. Ultimately, her raw talent found its audience and guided her career path. ‘‘It was really funny because I didn’t expect it to go very well,’’ she recalls. ‘‘And then all the sudden, my song blew up, it was on the radio, I got invited to TV stations, and I got paid to play music,’’ she says, before adding, ‘‘That was when I decided to make this into a job and keep on making music. It was really nice to be able to do that for a living, because I’ve
always been a very musical kid. I’m really lucky that I got to choose music.’’ According to Yuna, moving to Los Angeles was a necessary choice to grow as an artist, because pursuing her English music career was her main goal at the time. ‘‘I loved making music in Malaysia, but everything was in one place. I wasn’t able to do more things,’’ she confides. We could say it was fate that Yuna caught the attention of IndiePop, a management company based in Los Angeles that found her on MySpace. ‘‘They were looking for singer-songwriters to work with. I immediately took up the offer. It was the start of my American music career.’’ Going from acoustic and jazzy songs to exploring R&B and hip-hop beats, Yuna acknowledges her challenge has always been to write great music, while becoming an American singer-songwriter on a market with a lot of competition. ‘‘There is not just me, there is a lot of really talented singersongwriters. And then you have to find a balance — be yourself, and be a really good musician. I feel like a lot of artists loose themselves. They are trying to impress people, the public, or just being something else. For me, I was really lucky because I didn’t have that pressure.’’ On how she
managed to find herself vocally and musically, she says, ‘‘It has been a journey. When I moved here, I had never worked with a producer or a writer before. But I’ve had a lot of experiences working with new people, and I enjoyed them a lot. There was a time when a lot of DJs wanted to work with me and borrow my voice, which was really huge. I did that as well and it was fun.’’ As she tried to explore a lot of different things, Yuna says she is glad that she found her current sound, which leans towards R&B and lush pop. With her seductive vocal style, the singer caught the attention of Pharrell Williams, who produced her album self-titled Yuna that came out in 2012. Four years later, her breakout song ‘‘Crush’’ in collaboration with Usher was released and furthered the singer’s international career. Three years after putting out her third album Chapters, Yuna stops holding herself back to dive into her identity, and discloses her most candid side with a lot of confidence in a new project she called Rouge. ‘‘I decided to embrace the fact that no one is perfect, and you have to embrace your identity, your path, your mistakes and your flaws.’’ For the Malaysian artist, red isn’t just her signature color. ‘‘Rouge’’ means much more than that, so picking the French word wasn’t a random choice. ‘‘Rouge is such a strong word. [It] really represents the woman that I am today. I am no longer 21 years old, I am not young and naive anymore, and I decided to embrace my womanhood.’’ Yuna specifically talks about her song ‘‘Castaway’’ featuring Tyler, The Creator, which she wrote about her first experience with a record label. ‘‘I hated it,’’ she reports. ‘‘I went through it, I overcame it and look at me today, I became an artist anyway,’’ she says, proudly with a laugh. Therefore, she hopes her listeners will find confidence through her music as well. ‘‘I just want people to feel good about themselves. When I write music, it’s not just for myself. It’s for my listeners, my fans. I want them to listen and feel like they relate to it, they are not alone.’’ In addition to Tyler, The Creator, Yuna worked on Rouge with several
other international artists from different markets, such as G-Eazy, Miyavi, Masego and Jay Park. ‘‘Making Rouge inspired me to make more music and work with more people,’’ she says. ‘‘It has a lot of features on it, but I don’t shade it at all, I love it.’’ When being asked about her next plans, Yuna is very enthusiastic about keeping collaborating with other creative people. ‘‘I can’t wait to go back into the studio, work with Usher again.’’ Aside of music, she never fails to capture our interest with her bold fashion style, showing she has full control of her identity as an artist. ‘‘I’m really into fashion. I was in Paris for Paris Fashion Week with Chanel. That was a lot of fun, there were really nice people. I’d love to explore more the fashion world.’’ Continuously making the world a better place remains one of Yuna’s main goals in life. ‘‘I really don’t have any magic tricks, other than my music,’’ she laughs. ‘‘I don’t do anything shocking for people to see me as the viral thing, I don’t necessarily believe in that.’’ Thus she is committed to staying true to herself and what she believes in to prove real music still stands in today’s world where the industry is rapidly changing. ‘‘You hear a lot of this music that doesn’t mean anything, and it’s on the radio 24/7. I feel like our appreciation of music is degrading, it’s like our love for quality music. We went from listening to The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever, to something that’s repetitive and doesn’t make any sense,’’ she claims, before adding, ‘‘I want to go back to those days where music still stands for something.’’ ‘‘If you fail now, don’t quit. Just keep on going, always be positive,’’ she mentions as her key motivational message. ‘‘I always try to see the positive sides of things even though it’s super difficult to find anything positive. I try to not give up and just keep on finding solutions. There were times where I felt close to giving up. Right now, I’m imagining: if I had given up at that moment, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s crazy the amount of work and experience that I’ve had. The trick is to never give up,’’ she concludes.
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‘‘IF YOU FAIL NOW, DON’T QUIT. JUST KEEP ON GOING, ALWAYS BE POSITIVE’’ 88
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Charlie W eber A LOOK INTO HIS JOURNEY ON ‘‘HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER’’ AND HIS NEXT CHAPTER Interview by Vicenté Words by Jasmine Perrier Photos by Emily Sandifer Styling by Apuje Kalu at Celestine Agency Grooming by Sonia Lee for Exclusive Artists using The Ordinary Photography assistant Marci Manklow Location Sunlight Studios
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OU MAY FEEL INTIMIDATED BY CHARLIE WEBER’S CONFIDENCE AND STRONG PRESENCE WHEN YOU SEE HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU ARE IN AWE OF HIS PASSION FOR ACTING, KINDNESS AND
HIGH PROFESSIONALISM. BORN IN JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI, HE THEN SETTLED IN NEW YORK. NOWADAYS, HE IS AN ESTABLISHED ACTOR IN HOLLYWOOD. CHARLIE WEBER TOOK RISKS TO FULFILL HIS GREAT AMBITIONS, AND IT PAID OFF. A WISE MAN ONCE SAID, ‘‘UNLIKE EVERY TEACHER YOU’VE HAD, I DO BELIEVE THERE ARE STUPID QUESTIONS.’’ WE DECIDED TO START THE CONVERSATION BY REMINDING CHARLIE THE VERY FIRST LINE THAT HIS CHARACTER ON HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER EVER SAID, WHICH MADE THE 41-YEAR-OLD ACTOR LAUGH.
s far as Charlie can remember, he fell in love with acting and didn’t want to do anything else. ‘‘I was involved in drama as a kid, and took [drama] all the way through middle school. I was really shy and it helped me come out of my shell a bit. It’s something that I enjoyed very much,’’ he recalls. ‘‘When I got to high school, everything shifted towards musicals, and that’s not my skill set. So I sort of channeled all my energy into sports, and didn’t do drama in high school.’’ Even though he didn’t know how someone from Mid-Missouri could become an actor on a real level, he decided he would try to figure that out and gave it a shot. Dropping out of college might be risky, especially when you aspire to pursue a career in the arts. But for Charlie who found success as a model before fully making the transition to acting, it felt like the right thing to do, and he followed his instinct. ‘‘When I was in New York, I was 19 and I thought I needed to figure out how I could keep doing this. I felt very fortunate when I started to actually make money doing it.’’ From his breakout role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to his current work on How To Get Away With Murder as Frank Delfino, Charlie has proved that he cannot be tied to only one character, which is fascinating to the actor. We saw over the course of the six seasons of How To Get Away With Murder that Frank
Delfino is one of the protagonists with the most mysterious personality and complex story. As a result, for an accurate portrayal, the actor often needs to understand and explore the decisions that his morally ambiguous character takes, which can be emotionally challenging. ‘‘I think we all have a darkness inside of us — some of us, more than others,’’ he says. ‘‘I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to take all of that and channeling it into something creative. It’s been a real gift, to be able to explore that part of myself, but also to have a healthy place to put it. Frank has given me that gift.’’ For Charlie, playing one man for such a long time and being that close to a character is an experience he’s never had before joining ABC’s legal drama television series. ‘‘That’s sort of a strange thing to hear, but he knows me well and I know him well,’’ he says, before adding, ‘‘I despise his flaws, and have fallen in love with him. I feel very protective of him, almost parental. He is like my child in some way.’’ In other words, the actor cannot deny he is very proud of the work he has done with Frank, as he didn’t know he would be able to be one person for that amount of time. Now he does. ‘‘It’s been very challenging, but very rewarding. It was completely worth it. It’s something that I now know I would sign up for again. But I think it will be tough to jump into something that would have
that kind of longevity.’’ In addition to that, Charlie remains grateful for the cast and crew he has been able to work with over the last few years. ‘‘This is such a bizarrely talented group of people. Everybody cares, everybody is extremely talented, not good — great,’’ he says, before mentioning that he doesn’t believe the show would have worked if it wasn’t for this group of people. ‘‘To have great actors working together has been a gift. It’s something that I will always pursue. It’s been such a surreal thing to be a part of something that resonated like this.’’ We spoke to Charlie over the phone when season six fall finale aired, which was one more step towards the series’ concluding chapter. Whereas he hadn’t filmed his last scenes yet, he admits he is not sure how he is going to be able to leave his character behind, and explains he would rather live in the moment. ‘‘We still have ways to go. I’m just trying to enjoy what it is to be Frank and be a part of this group of people. I can tell you that when I do have to cross that bridge of letting go of Frank, it will be very hard, emotional and upsetting to me.’’ When asking Charlie what he hopes to achieve in this final season of How To Get Away With Murder, he replies, ‘‘I think I just want to bring the thing home to the fans and do this right. I will say this for myself: I want things to wrap up, but I don’t want it to be convenient. I want it to be messy, scary and weird,’’ he clarifies. Has How To Get Away With Murder changed Charlie Weber’s life? ‘‘It’s interesting because I’m not quite sure yet,’’ he reveals. ‘‘It’s been such a wild ride, and being part of something so big is new. But it’s almost like we are in this castle together, and I’m about to come out of this castle pretty soon for the first time in six or seven years.’’ Up next for the actor is a very different character from Frank and project type, as he landed a role in the
highly-anticipated sequel of the After series which has an ever-growing fanbase. ‘‘My character [Christian Vance] is introduced in the second [movie] that is coming out this spring I believe, called After We Collided,’’ he says. ‘‘Hopefully they are going to make a couple more. There are four books in the series. It looks like we will make the other two next year, and it’s a really cool project to be a part of. It’s all a youth culture, and to get involved with these younger actors who are so passionate, carrying about what they do, it’s been really inspiring. I’m really happy I get to be a part of this.’’ Can he see himself in those young actors who are trying to break into the industry just like he did? ‘‘Absolutely,’’ he answers, with great enthusiasm. ‘‘It’s a breath of fresh air, it takes me back. It’s nostalgic and lovely to watch.’’ When sharing his own piece of wisdom, he tells us, ‘‘You just have to be true to yourself and live your life. That’s all you’ve got.’’ While reflecting on the next chapter of his journey, Charlie states, ‘‘It’s exciting and terrifying, it’s all the feelings at once. I don’t mind the fear, I mind all the trepidation that comes with moving on with my life creatively.’’ Going forward, the actor has no plans, except ‘‘pursuing good work with good people’’ and ‘‘keep creating interesting people,’’ as he reports, ‘‘I love everything I’ve done and I stand by. All things have always come to me in due time. I just see something I love and I have to do it. That’s what led me to where I am today and I’m going to keep doing that.’’ When it comes time to wrap up final statements, Charlie makes sure to leave one last message for his devoted fans. ‘‘Thank you to anyone who watched and took an interest in the work that I do. It’s very flattering and I really love that people take time to care about another person’s work.’’
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‘‘YOU JUST HAVE TO BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND LIVE YOUR LIFE. THAT’S ALL YOU’VE GOT’’ 98
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Candice P atton ‘‘THE FLASH’’ ACTRESS IS BLAZING A TRAIL
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EADING ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR SUPERHERO TELEVISION SERIES OF THE DECADE, CANDICE PATTON IS GROUNDED, KIND-HEARTED AND FILLED WITH GRATITUDE. SINCE 2014, SHE HAS HAD OUR EYES STUCK TO THE SCREEN WITH
HER WORK OPPOSITE GRANT GUSTIN ON THE FLASH, WHICH IS DOMINATING THE ARROWVERSE — THE DC SUPERHERO SHOWS ON THE CW. BRINGING A BREATH OF FRESH AIR, CANDICE PUTS HER HEART AND SOUL INTO HER ACTING TO CARRY GROUNDBREAKING STORYLINES AND INSPIRE HER AUDIENCE. THE ACTRESS IS JUST AS WONDERFUL AS HER ONSCREEN PERSONA, AND HER RISE IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF HOW PERSISTENCE CAN ULTIMATELY BEAR FRUIT.
eing a storyteller was always Candice Patton’s wish. ‘‘I’ve always loved stories, reading, TV and films since I was a kid,’’ she says. ‘‘I enjoy performing and I like being on stage. In a way, it’s like I get to disappear and become someone else, which I’m always trying to do since I’m a little socially awkward. I think being an actor kind of helped me get over that.’’ Once bitten by the performance bug, she was willing to do anything to become the actress she was meant to be, supported by her parents. ‘‘My dad was always a proponent of ‘do what you love and you will never work again in your life,’’’ she reports. ‘‘I don’t know if I ever thought it was viable. I think I was naive, which sometimes is the perfect recipe for kicking on huge dreams. We have one life and you have to do what you love and give it a shot.’’ Candice made her television debut after being scouted for the soap opera The Young and the Restless, while she was still in college. She then moved full-time to Los Angeles to try her luck. Before landing the meaty project that is The Flash, the Texas-raised actress appeared on multiple TV shows such as Entourage, One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy. However, after guest-starring for a few years, the actress was looking for ‘‘the next big thing’’ and a steadier project. The Flash happened at the right time for her. ‘‘I remember the email [my manager] said, ‘this one is yours, you’re perfect for this.’
It didn’t seem like it was thrown my way,’’ she clarifies, as she recalls that the casting process took place at the end of the year. ‘‘I got home for Christmas in Texas. I really thought it was dead in the water for me. I came back in the new year and they wanted me to come back in. Within two days I had the job, and it felt surreal.’’ After working for six years on The CW’s TV show, Candice affirms she’s had the opportunity to become a better actor and understand the business more. ‘‘It’s interesting, I definitely realize what kind of actor I am, which I don’t think you always know when you get into the business.’’ As soon as she was announced to join The Flash, she found herself in the spotlight, which is, nevertheless, not her favorite part of the industry. ‘‘I don’t love the fame and the attention side of it. As an actor, I really just want to do the work. Everything else is kind of irritant to me,’’ she laughs, before adding, ‘‘I’ve learned to make it work for me and tried to be realistic about it. Everyone has a part of the job that’s a little less desirable. I just try to remember what I am passionate about and I focus on that.’’ When reflecting on the past few years she has lived, she says, ‘‘Sometimes it’s hard to be on a show for six years, because it makes you feel like you’re not being creatively challenged by your character. But at the same time, it’s such an incredible blessing because you get to move on and
grow over those six years with the same character, with the same crew. You get to make mistakes in a safe environment.’’ Only a few actors are provided with such an opportunity, to spend several seasons in the same character’ shoes, and have a series that lasts for so long. ‘‘For us to be on air for six years and being number one on the network for all of those years, it’s been really incredible. I’m really blessed. I can’t look back and not be grateful.’’ When talking to Candice, you perceive she is laid-back and has self-control, so it makes perfect sense that she is not intimated by the DC Comics fans’ expectations, in regards to how she approaches her character. ‘‘I have a strong connection with my fanbase and I love to see how much they love the show, and how much they are impacted by it. But I don’t think fans should be a huge part of deciding what’s written. When you get [something] too cooked in the kitchen in whatever business, especially in a creative endeavor, it’s a very dangerous territory.’’ From being first introduced as Barry Allen’s childhood friend to becoming his wife and a mother, Candice’s character, Iris, seems to finally have the development she deserves, according to the actress. ‘‘We’re seeing her having her own career, which is pretty iconic in the comic books. It took us a very long time to get there. Fans have wanted it for a very long time, and that’s something I’d agree with them on. We are really late to develop that. I think it’s important for young women to see female characters have not only a job, but [also] a passion, and be something other than a wife or a mother.’’ Even though Iris is one of the characters with no supernatural powers, she remains an invaluable member of Team Flash and has proved multiple times how fierce, loyal and brave she is. ‘‘I think people are just looking for hope and individuals to do the right thing, stand out and be heroes in everyday life,’’ the performer says. ‘‘That’s why the superhero genre has exploded. We live in a very weird and dangerous time where we need heroes.’’ Today, Candice is considered as a role model for many girls of color who can finally recognize a figure who
looks like them on-screen. ‘‘I don’t know if any job I’ll have in the future will have the same impact, so I’m really lucky to have had that experience so early in my career.’’ Aside of her on-screen work, Candice is committed to helping others, and especially empowering women. ‘‘I do think it’s important if you have means, whether that’s money or a platform, to do something with it. And I have a little bit of that so it’s my honor to find things and projects that I’m passionate about, and to use whatever I have to help those projects.’’ She cofounded ‘‘Shethority’’ with her fellow cast members of DCTV. ‘‘It’s a great platform for young girls all over the world to come together and be in a hopefully safe space that is positive, pro-female, pro-diversity,’’ she describes. ‘‘There is so much negativity online and I know women and girls are constantly dealing with so much standards of beauty that are absolutely insane. We wanted to create a space for our fans to feel empowered and recognized, and to give them a voice. And for us to speak about things that we go through, so they know that we have similar struggles.’’ For now, Candice is optimistic going into 2020, and says she is very much focused on thinking about the future at this point in her life. ‘‘I’m curious to know what the next step is for me, what my career is going to look like after the show that I’m on, so it would be very hard for me to not explore that and see what happens. That curiosity keeps me motivated.’’ But she has no plans on giving up after coming so far. ‘‘It would be interesting to come out of the show that I’ve been on for six years, have to audition again, and try to give something else. I’m hoping for more film work, a lot of independent films, comedy. I’m really eager to work on projects that I do for a couple months, and then I move on. I realized I need to constantly be moving forward,’’ she explains, before bringing to our attention how she deals with rejection. ‘‘I worked on having a thick skin, being comfortable hearing the word ‘no’ and just continuing to get back to work. The jobs will come if you constantly focus on getting better and doing better.’’
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Jacket House of CB Boots Christian Siriano
‘‘I DO THINK IT’S IMPORTANT IF YOU HAVE MEANS, WHETHER THAT’S MONEY OR A PLATFORM, TO DO SOMETHING WITH IT. AND I HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF THAT SO IT’S MY HONOR TO FIND THINGS AND PROJECTS THAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT, AND TO USE WHATEVER I HAVE TO HELP THOSE PROJECTS ’’
C H A 112
P R T E V ISSUE NO.15
MARTIN GARRIX Interview by Jasmine Perrier Photos by Louis van Baar
ORN IN AMSTELVEEN, NETHERLANDS, A SUBURB OF AMSTERDAM, MARTIJN GARRITSEN —BEST KNOWN AS MARTIN GARRIX— DISCOVERED HIS PATH AT 8 YEARS OLD, AFTER HE SAW TIESTÖ’S PERFORMANCE AT THE 2004 OLYMPICS
OPENING CEREMONY IN ATHENS, WHO ENDED UP BECOMING HIS MENTOR. NOWADAYS, THE 23-YEAR-OLD DUTCH PRODUCER BALANCES HIS TIME BETWEEN TRAVELING ALL AROUND THE WORLD TO MAKE CROWDS DANCE, RELEASING HIT SONGS, AND BEING HOME TO CREATE MUSIC IN HIS OWN STUDIO. WHILE EMBRACING LIFE TO THE FULLEST, THE UNSTOPPABLE ARTIST PROVES ARGUABLY THAT HE IS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE OF HIS GENERATION.
You discovered your path at 8 years old. We know that Tiestö’s performance at the 2004 Olympics opening ceremony in Athens sparked your desire to pursue as a DJ. Back then I never thought I would become a professional DJ. Actually I was just a computer nerd who loved to make music. And that’s what I am still today. I used to play guitar and I was really into creating melodies and tunes. Everyone in our family is really into music. My sister sings and plays violin, just like my mom, and my dad also plays guitar. When I was 11 years old, I was installing music software on my computer and tried many different things. It all started from there. Then I signed my first label contract and from that moment the crazy roller coaster ride began.
It has indeed been a roller coaster ride for you since you scored your first UK number one single at only 17. And you made history by being named three times in a row number one DJ. Electronic music has been an important part of my life for such a long time now. I started DJ’ing and producing at a really young age and I’ve always looked up to big artists such as Tiestö. I’m super thankful that I now get to headline the biggest festivals not only alongside DJs and producers, but also artists from other genres who I look up to. I’ve learned a lot and over the last years, I have improved myself as a producer. Evolving my sound has always been an important focus for me.
Every new song you put out there shows a different side of your music, but it all the same has this distinctive feature which makes your signature sound the only one of its kind, offering tracks where the electronic and pop worlds meet. Over the last years I’ve loved to experiment and to release music people don’t expect from Martin Garrix. It can also be fun to experiment under a different name to see whether people will listen to it or like it without my name being attached to it. I always love to work on new things and I have so many ideas in my head. I just love making music, I don’t want to think like: ‘‘Oh, I’m just an electronic music producer.’’ No, I just do whatever I feel is good. Sometimes it’s a pop song, sometimes it’s a dance or club song. I always try to come up with new ideas, both in my productions as well as my live shows. I’m super happy with my ANIMA show production which we are bringing to different places in the world.
What has been the biggest challenge with your music to get where you are now? The biggest challenge is to create the perfect song. When it comes to my music, the work is never done.
Since your breakthrough, your rise has been pretty quick and smooth. What has helped you to deal with your global level of stardom and maintain a well balanced life? I surround myself with an amazing team of people who will always be there for me and with whom I have a personal connection with. That’s the best way to keep me grounded and sane. I love to have my family and friends around me when I’m on tour and in case it gets too much, they will make sure that I’ll take some rest.
After attending your set at Lollapalooza Paris this summer, we could tell a lot of energy emanated from the stage that night. What effect do you want your music to have on people and how do you want a crowd to feel after a ‘’Martin Garrix’’ performance? That they feel energetic and positive! I love to create happy moments with my music so that people can share it together. After all these years it’s still the best thing ever to see the crowd go crazy at my shows, people who don’t know each other dancing and jumping and singing together. One of the coolest things about making music, is that it unites people. I get to play at the most fantastic shows on a weekly basis. I always love to be on tour. It’s great to meet new people and explore new places. That’s my favorite part.
As you continue to win over audiences worldwide with your brand, do you feel you have a strong sense of the type of person that’s connecting with your music? There are so many different type of persons who love my music and support me. I’m really grateful for that! I always love to hear personal stories from fans about how my music has helped them or how it has inspired them. I couldn’t do this without them, they bring so much positivity in my life.
In addition to that, you created your own label STMPD RCRDS in 2016. What drove you to launch your own label and how were you hoping for it to impact the music industry? First of all, I think it’s important for our scene to have a support system that invests in young talent and is dedicated to help them. My aim was to create a platform for new, upcoming talent and to give them the opportunity to get experience and to release their tracks. Besides that, I love to have so much creative freedom.
As you broke into the music scene at a very young age, if you could go back and give the younger version of yourself a piece of wisdom, what would it be? Always be determined. I think in the end it’s all about how much time and effort you put into something. Spend as much time as you can to the thing you love doing most. Try to get better and try to improve.
When looking at all the things you have been through and have accomplished in just six years, what would you consider as the best highlights of your ever-growing career so far? Good question! There have been so many highlights over the past years. I think right now I would say that I’m just super happy that I’m able to perform again after my ankle injury. Getting back on that stage for the first time after a month was the best feeling ever. I’ve been so lucky that the recovery went well and that I was able to get back on stage so soon. It also put a lot of things in perspective for me and that, no matter what, you have to enjoy every single day. Recently the release of ‘‘Summer Days,’’ ‘‘These Are The Times’’ and ‘‘Home’’ have been very proud moments for me. Also the launch of my ANIMA show production during Amsterdam Dance Event last October has been a big highlight. We’ve worked on the show for 9 months and to see it come alive was so special. I try to live in the here-and-now as much as I can, but I hope for the future that people will still enjoy my music then and that we have accomplished many great things with STMPD RCRDS!
You became yourself a mentor for other young talents and aim at using your position to help them shine. Are there some up-and-coming artists you would like to introduce here? All my amazing STMPD RCRDS artists! Also for all the young producers and DJs out there: feel free to hand in your demo to my record label, as I’m always looking for new talent!
KODALINE Interview and photos by Jasmine Perrier
AILING FROM IRELAND, KODALINE IS THE ALTERNATIVE ROCK QUARTET COMPOSED OF STEVE GARRIGAN, VINNY MAY, JASON BOLAND AND MARK PRENDERGAST WHO IS POISED TO STEAL YOUR HEART. IT WAS A WARM SUMMER
DAY IN PARIS, WHEN I SAT DOWN WITH MARK AND VINNY, THE BAND’S GUITARIST AND DRUMMER. I WAS COURTEOUSLY WELCOMED BY THE TWO MUSICIANS IN THEIR DRESSING ROOM AT LOLLAPALOOZA, ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE THEY TAKE THE MAIN STAGE. THEY STRUCK ME AS THE TYPE OF ARTISTS WHO ARE TRUE TO THEIR AUTHENTIC SELVES, NO MATTER HOW SUCCESSFUL THEY ARE. FROM THEIR HIT AND MOST RECOGNIZED SONG ‘‘ALL I WANT,’’ WHOSE PERFORMANCE WAS HIGHLY EXPECTED BY THE CROWD AT THE FESTIVAL, TO THEIR LATEST ALBUM ‘‘POLITICS OF LIVING’’ WHICH CAME OUT LAST YEAR, THE LONG-TIME GROUP OF FRIENDS WRITE THE SONGS WE NEVER KNEW WE NEEDED.
Yesterday you were in Portugal. Today you are in Paris. It looks like you are a lot on the road this year. How has this tour life been so far?
MARK PRENDERGAST: It’s been incredible. For us, our festival season seems to get better and better every year. Because we get to go to more countries, we get to play to more people every year. We love festivals. I love the excitement of the day, I love playing in the middle of days, playing my time and getting to see a mix of all these great bands, it’s awesome. VINNY MAY: Yes, it’s pretty cool. We got four festivals and four countries this weekend. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great part of what we do. We get to play shows every night, and in different countries. We love it, it’s amazing.
Your personal lives inspire a lot your songs. That must be your special power. When writing them, what are you hoping for your fans and listeners to take away from your music?
MARK PRENDERGAST: We want people to make up their own minds. Our songs are very personal, we don’t write them for other people. It just happens that, what we write about appeals to other people. That’s it. We’ve gone through something like a breakup, problems with mental health, or anything like that. We are very open about singing about it. We don’t disguise subjects in our lyrics, we like to speak from the heart. And it seems to be working. At some concerts, you see people crying their eyes out, and you know that lyric or that song means something to them. And it’s great because they mean a lot to us. It’s the songs that mean a lot to us that mean the most to our fans. It’s just us being very personal and honest.
Besides, your Irish roots found their place in your sounds. To what extent have they impacted your artistry?
VINNY MAY: I think it’s subconscious. I don’t think we are trying to add ‘‘Irishness’’ to our songs. It just comes across us. We are influenced by a lot of great Irish bands that have come before us, and we are influenced by Irish bands like Hozier, Gavin James, The Script. So you can’t help being influenced by that. It just kind of happens. It’s in our DNA, it’s in our blood.
What would you say about your personal evolution since the debuts of your career?
MARK PRENDERGAST: It’s been a pretty dramatic change — not in terms of where we live, and our friends. That’s all stayed the same. It’s just, we have two lives. One life where we are just at home, doing the same things we used to do before we did this. And then on the other side, there is just this crazy life of playing four festivals in four days, and then going to America and doing a tour. VINNY MAY: I think because we’ve known each other for so long and we’ve been friends for years, we keep all of us grounded. We have the same group of friends that we’ve had since we were in school. And they help keep us grounded as well. So yes, it’s two separate things.
I believe this strong bond between all of you makes you stronger when you have to deal with hard times. What would be the most challenging part you’ve been through as a band since your debuts?
MARK PRENDERGAST: Because we’ve been friends and we’ve been a band since we were 15, there was definitely times where we got quite turbulent. We’d be bickering and arguing. It was only because we were in a very confined space, either on our tour bus or dressing room. But we are very open, we have open conversations now which we used to not have. We are genuinely still friends and we do enjoy each other’s company now. I think our biggest challenge was try to stay together, because bands break up. But it feels really good now.
When looking at all the way you have come through, what is the greatest thing each of you have taken away so far?
VINNY MAY: Don’t get caught up in the ‘‘fame’’ aspect of it. Nothing is forever, everything is temporary so I guess don’t take for granted what we have. We all count ourselves extremely lucky that this is what we get to do for a living. MARK PRENDERGAST: Over time, we try to enjoy every single day and every single gig. Now, each gig is as important as the next. We are trying to treat every gig like the most important gig of our career.
FLETCHER Interview and photos by Jasmine Perrier
LETCHER IS ONE OF THE RISING POP SINGER-SONGWRITER TO WATCH. BORN CARI FLETCHER, THE 25-YEAR-OLD ARTIST FROM NEW JERSEY TAPS INTO HER MOST PERSONAL EXPERIENCES TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, AND DROP
SONGS WITH CATCHY MELODIES AND POWERFUL MESSAGES. I FIRST MET FLETCHER AT UNIVERSAL MUSIC FRANCE BACK IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR AT HER SHOWCASE. FIVE MONTHS LATER, SHE WAS BACK IN PARIS FOR HER FIRST SHOW IN TOWN. WHEN FLETCHER WALKED INTO THE HOTEL’S LOBBY WHERE I WAS WAITING FOR MY TURN WITH HER MANAGER, SHE WAS CALM AND WARM-HEARTED. WITH HER BREAKOUT SONG ‘‘UNDRUNK’’ AND DEBUT EP ‘‘YOU RUINED NEW YORK CITY FOR ME,’’ FLETCHER SCORED 2019. THE FUTURE OF POP LANDSCAPE IS IN SAFE HANDS WITH HER. NEXT SPRING, SHE WILL START ANOTHER EUROPE TOUR, BEFORE JOINING NIALL HORAN AND LEWIS CAPALDI ON THE NORTH AMERICAN ROADS.
Welcome back to Paris! I believe you were looking forward to your first ever tour in Europe. This is my first time touring outside of the US. I can’t believe that I’m here playing the shows. Honestly, it’s crazy to be in a place where English isn’t the first spoken language, and people sing every word. I met a girl in Berlin who could barely speak English, we couldn’t even converse. But then she was singing every word to the songs. I was like: ‘‘Do you know what I’m even saying?’’ but also ‘‘how cute.’’ It’s been blowing my mind. And when I’m on stage, it feels like a superpower. I don’t ever feel that other than when I’m on stage, and we are having that exchange of energy between each other.
How did you get into the music world? I started with classical vocal training when I was 5, so music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. And it’s funny because my parents didn’t listen to a lot of music when I was growing up. We had two CDs in the house, it was Bob Marley and Celine Dion, which is so random. I was also a Disney princess impersonator for a little kid’s birthday parties growing up.
Originally from New Jersey, you studied at NYU and actually released music when you were still in college. To what extent has this impacted your path and vision for your music? Coming from a town where Bruce Springsteen also got his start, and I think he is one of the most amazing storytellers of all times within music, definitely inspired [me]. Me living in New York City has everything to do with the music. Any big city has a way of stripping you down to absolutely nothing and reminding you you’re like a piece of shit. It really forces you to take a look on the inside, and be like: ‘‘Who am I, who do I want to be, what do I want to say?’’ That music came out of that, a very self-reflective time that I went through and experienced. And I also think just being from Jersey, I have no filter whatsoever, I give away too much information, both in my music and just out of my mouth.
Has it been a smooth road to find yourself sonically and lyrically? No, it’s not been a smooth road. I don’t think anything has been a smooth road. It’s probably been like a mountain biking path. But music has been the one outlet for me and it’s been my therapy. It allows me to say the things that I don’t think I’d be able to say otherwise. It’s also a lot cheaper than therapy (laughs). My therapist charges me $200 an hour. Writing has definitely been way cheaper for this self-discovery process.
How has your vision for your music project evolved over the years? My vision has evolved as I’ve evolved, and changed as a person. I’ve gone through more experiences. When I started, I didn’t really know what my place was. Growing up, I didn’t really think I had a lot of representation, especially as a good queer woman in music. So I made it my mission from a young age, to be the artist that I needed when I was a little girl. When you have somebody else who is offering any bit of something you connect with, it eases your heart and your mind. Everybody needs that. And the way that it shifted, in terms of my vision, I’m just less afraid of being myself, because when you get positive reinforcement for being that way, it makes it a lot easier, but it’s so scary to even start off that way.
From your breakout song ‘‘Undrunk’’ to your latest releases that we can find on your EP ‘‘you ruined new york city for me,’’ you deliver very strong, honest and raw songs which are inspired by your own experiences. What effect do you want your music to have on people? Having your heart broken and going through a heartbreak, is like the shittiest feeling in the entire world. I think that’s the closest thing to death that we will ever experience. You can’t think about anything else, all you want to do is text that person and patch it up. You’re chasing a feeling or something that you once had, or once shared. The only thing that I’ll ever want to accomplish, and for people to take out of my music, is just a bit of relief in knowing that there is somebody else that’s been in your shoes and has experienced that same gut-wrenching feeling that sometimes you may not survive from. But also remind them that you are gonna be ok, you are gonna come out on the other side as a better person.
Your music also highlights women. What are you driven by when writing music? I really like to talk about not only the female experience, but the human experience. Growing up in this world, as a young twenty something who is trying to find her place, is so hard. It’s so confusing and there are so many reasons to doubt yourself, and doubt everything that is happening around. I’m a really anxious person, and I’m always in my head. I’m putting that into a song and that’s like my contribution. Even if that helps one person, that’s what success feels to me. So I think just continuing to highlight both the female and human experience, is something that I’ll definitely continue to do.
According to you, what has been the biggest challenge to get where you are today? Just overcome the fear of being really worried about what people are gonna think about me, being myself and not feeling like I was ever enough to be where I was. Because I wasn’t the coolest girl in the room, I didn’t know about the coolest underground clubs, bars, restaurants, artists and new music. I felt like I wasn’t enough. And also learn to trust my guts, understand that I know what’s best for me and the power of the words. Just because somebody has more experience than you, and has been doing this for more years, doesn’t mean they know what’s right for you, what you should be, what you should say.
What about the best highlights of your ever-growing career? This tour. I played in my hometown in New Jersey at The Stone Pony. And three years prior, I played for 30 people. It was my mom, my dad, cousins and friends that I begged to come see me perform. And then I played that same show in that same room, and it was sold out for 1000 people. Seeing people making friends because of my music is so cool. For people to find other like-minded humans, and the fact that they maybe wouldn’t have met if they didn’t share a mutual liking for something, it’s so crazy.
What piece of wisdom would you give to the younger version of yourself and last message you would like to send to your fans? I would tell her: ‘‘You’re ok, you’re safe, you’re doing it right and don’t be afraid to be who you are.’’ I would tell her I love her and I’m proud of her, and that she is going to be very proud of me one day too. Thank you to the fans or anybody who reads this. I wouldn’t be here without really any of you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share a little piece of my heart.
BRISTON MARONEY Interview and photos by Thilda Riou
OU MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH BRISTON MARONEY YET, BUT YOU WILL KNOW HIS NAME SOON. ALL THE WAY FROM TENNESSEE, THE 21-YEAR-OLD MUSICIAN PLEASES US WITH THE SWEET SOUND OF HIS MUSIC. AS HE WAS
ANNOUNCED TO PERFORM AT PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL PARIS, WE SPOKE TO BRISTON RIGHT BEFORE HIS SHOW. HE SEEMED VERY CALM — MAYBE BECAUSE HE WAS TIRED OF HIS PREVIOUS NIGHT THAT HE SPENT WATCHING THE EXORCIST AND EATING A BUNCH OF CANDY FOR HALLOWEEN, OR HE IS SIMPLY A PEACEFUL PERSON. AFTER SEEING HIM LIVE, WE WERE AMAZED BY BRISTON’S POTENTIAL TO MAKE US FEEL EVERY EMOTION AT THE EXACT RIGHT TIME THROUGHOUT HIS 45-MINUTE SET. WITH EACH AND EVERY SONG, HIS VOICE GAVE US CHILLS. WHILE WE ARE IMPATIENTLY WAITING FOR HIS DEBUT ALBUM, WE CAN ALREADY BE SURE THAT BRISTON HAS A LONG RIDE AHEAD OF HIM.
What do you remember from your first contacts with the music world? I started when I was really young, it has always been a part of my life. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t playing music. I just grew up with it around my house a lot. My grandpa gave me a guitar when I was 10 or 11, and I did not know what I was doing, but I knew that I loved it. Even if I sucked (laughs). I just loved it ever since.
Is there one particular album you remember, growing up? The Beatles’ White Album was the first. My dad had a bunch of CDs in our living room and that was the first big one for sure. I had never heard any music like that before.
You lived in Florida but then moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Do you feel like those cities had an impact on your sound? I grew up between both. But I grew up mostly in Tennessee and then moved to Florida for a little bit, and moved back to Tennessee, then California and all around. But Tennessee is what I call home now. I definitely think [that it influenced my music]. Growing up in Tennessee, there was a lot of songwriting-centered music, a lot of acoustic music, and there’s just an energy there that I definitely still connect to a lot.
You debuted back in 2017. What motivated you to start putting your music out into the world? I had a couple songs and I was pretty bored at school (laughs). And I got an opportunity to record in a studio and I was like: I don’t feel like I’m doing much with my life in any other ways so I might as well try this and see what happens.
There are two other members in your band. How did you meet them? We actually have 3 other members for this tour. But I met them both in college so in 2016 or 2017, right around the time when my music started coming out. They’re both from Tennessee too, they’re my closest friends now for sure.
What effect do you want your music to have on people listening to it? I want people to be able to apply their own stories to what I have to say, to be able to apply the songs to their situations in life. And when they see the live shows, I want them to feel comfortable and feel like they are their own person listening to the music.
What are your inspirations when you write songs? Are you more inspired by other artists or by your personal experiences? A little bit of both, for sure. I mean, everyone copies everybody, so if I hear a song I like I will try to do my best impression of them. But it has to come from your own experiences if you want your songs to have heart.
You released your EP ‘‘Indiana’’ this year. We can feel that there is a sort of evolution about your 3 EPs ‘‘Big Shot,’’ then ‘‘Carnival’’ and now ‘‘Indiana.’’ They definitely were just all from different periods in my life, just different times growing up. And they were all over a time when I was really going through a lot of changes. Everyone goes through seasons and these were three different seasons. I think hopefully that will always be the case, there’s no really point in releasing music if you’re not going through a season that you’re trying to capture. The songs are supposed to be answers for thoughts that are going through your head at a certain time.
When you release a song, can it sometimes be a song you wrote years ago? The last single was the first one that was an older song. Usually, it’s written and recorded within 6 months or a year. But the song ‘‘Chattanooga’’ was like 2 years old. So it was a little bit weird, it wasn’t really present to me personally. But the record really liked it and we were very supported on that one. So we tried it. But if I release a record, it’s fun to have songs from that year, or just that season like I was saying. To try to keep it present. Nothing sucks more than trying to record a song that you don’t really feel like you can take yourself back to that place.
I would love to know the story behind ‘‘Chattanooga.’’ I wrote that one right around the time I moved to Florida and I was living with my family. I was driving from Florida to any city around me to play shows a lot on the weekend. So I would work all week and then drive to play shows. I was driving through Chattanooga, a city in Tennessee, and I just made up the verse in my head. When I got home, I had recorded the voice memo on my phone, like singing it in the car, so I wrote it in my bedroom there. I really missed Tennessee a lot at the time, I missed my old life. That song was about a relationship that I was missing and thinking a lot about.
You were on tour with Wallows in May as opening act, and now you are doing your first headlining tour. What do you enjoy the most about being on the road all around the world? It’s been really exciting to see people at shows. To just see people enjoying the shows, knowing the songs. It’s just crazy to think that this music is reaching anybody.
Are you planning on releasing a debut album soon? For sure yeah, I hope. We’re working on it right now, it’s taking a little bit of time. But we’re getting closer every day. We haven’t done a whole lot, I’ve been back and forth between Tennessee and California, recording a lot of stuff in LA. We’ve got a couple of songs right now and I’ll go back out for all of January to finish it. So yeah, it will be soon I hope.
As a musician, what is the biggest challenge you believe you have encountered until now? I’m pretty lucky to get to do this stuff, but I think just some of the sacrifices you make. Like with relationships, it can be really hard. You’re gone a lot and you can make decisions in relationships in order to travel and to commit to something that can be hard to stick to. But at the end of the day, it’s just the choices you have to make, it would be hard either way.
What piece of advice you would have loved to be given when you were younger? Shit, there’s a lot of things I wish people had told me (laughs). I would just say, don’t worry about winning everybody over or making everyone happy. Just find the people that love you and that you love and hold on to those people. Care about the things that matter, don’t care about things that don’t.
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Featuring: Shameik Moore, Yuna, Charlie Weber, Candice Patton, Emma Fuhrmann, Leo Howard, Jeanté Godlock, Ava Michelle, Riker Lynch, MAX, Di...
Published on Dec 23, 2019
Featuring: Shameik Moore, Yuna, Charlie Weber, Candice Patton, Emma Fuhrmann, Leo Howard, Jeanté Godlock, Ava Michelle, Riker Lynch, MAX, Di...