Jimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr. Photographed by Danny Clinch, London 2013 S H O P T H E N E W J O H N VA RVAT O S . C O M
CONTENTS CONVERSATION Nick Rhodes: TV Mania
John Varvatos: Rock n’ Roll
24 The Art of Gaga 26 Global Rhythms 30 The Rise of A$ap Rocky 32 Music in the Digital Era 34 Audio Couture 37 Sounds of 2013
MUSIC BUZZ 38 Les Filles Bat for Lashes | Imogen Heap | Wynter Gordon | Delilah Alexz Johnson | Foxes | Alexandra Burke | Sharon Van Etten Medina | Laura Comfort | Alexandra McDermott | Dionne Bromfield Tamara Kaboutchek | Soko
T. Mills | Dan Black | Kristian Marr | Ben Montague | Jesse Wood Brad Oberhofer | Machine Gun Kelly | Charlie Siem | Lloyd
84 Double Trouble Io Echo | BadBad | Wild Belle | MS MR | Starred | Blondfire | Purity Ring | Icona Pop
94 Bandslam Joy Formidable | Neon Trees | Django Django | Haim | The 1975 SSION | JJamz | Dry The River | Spector | Early Morning Rebel
116 On The Decks Chelsea Leyland | Angie Wu Ha | Maya Jane Coles Noah Becker | Bip Ling | Sky Nellor | Zara Martin | Coleman
BEAUTY 126 Kerli 130 Jewel 132 Jihae
FASHION Taylor Momsen Kreayshawn Turn It Up Natalia Kills Big Sean Cassie Charli XCX Carmen Electra Chelsea Tyler Marion Corrales Kate Nash Ren Harvieu
138 146 154 162 170 174 180 186 196 204 210 214
EVENTS Bob Gruen Cinema Issue Global Launch Stockists
220 222 224
VISIT THE UNTITLED MAGAZINE ONLINE www.untitled-magazine.com
MASTHEAD INDIRA CESARINE Editor in Chief & Creative Director
The Untitled Magazine is proud to present its most anticipated issue yet, The “Music” Issue 6. The issue highlights more than 100 of the most inspirational and influential artists shaping the music industry today. From global DJs to hip-hop luminaries and indie band sensations, the “Music” issue is entirely devoted to the global music scene. Offering a one-of-a-kind personal look into the lives and careers of each musician and band with exclusive interviews, photo shoots and behind-thescenes videos, The Untitled Magazine has intimately captured some of the most talked about, cutting-edge artists on the airwaves. For this issue, we present a global perspective on the music industry’s movers and shakers such as A$AP Rocky, Big Sean, Cassie, Django Django, Icona Pop, Kreayshawn, Kate Nash, Lady Gaga, Machine Gun Kelly, Natalia Kills, Neon Trees and Taylor Momsen, to name a few. Duran Duran’s iconic Nick Rhodes provides an exclusive interview on his TV Mania release as well as reveals his magic behind-the-lens with an six-page fashion spread featuring pop star Charli XCX. Designer John Varvatos chatted with us about his legendary collaborations with music icons such as Jimmy Page, Green Day and Axl Rose. We discovered many new artists that are impacting the music scene, and caught up with quite a few legends along the way. Without a doubt this has been one of the most challenging and ambitious issues of the publication to date, and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did creating it. In addition to the 224-page print edition, The Untitled App and Digital Editions will include audio tracks, original productions of music videos, and behind-the-scenes videos from the photo shoots – elevating the magazine experience to an entirely new level. Stay tuned for the release of The “Music” Issue 6 App, out in May 2013.
FASHION DIRECTOR Indira Cesarine FASHION EDITORS Brendan Cannon, Erin McSherry CONTRIBUTING BEAUTY EDITORS Bernadine Bibiano, Roberto Morelli FASHION MARKET EDITOR Erin McSherry DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Denise Rossi SENIOR COPY EDITOR Marianne White CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHY EDITORS Carla Popenfus, Ron Cabellos DESIGN ASSISTANTS David Brown, Tara Ghazanfar EVENTS EDITOR AT LARGE Lady Victoria Hervey CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITORS April Roomet, Charles Adesanya, Danny Flynn, Deborah Latouche, Jeff Kim, Kristine Kilty, Irene Manicone, Scott Newkirk, Rebekah Roy CONTRIBUTING JOURNALISTS Ben Mirza, Frederic Gille, Liz Hazzard, Marianne White, Rod Bastanmehr ASSISTANT COPY EDITORS Erika Broad, Mark Libatique
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS & INTERNS Annie Rygiol, Barbara Bertisch, Celeste Chesser, Cem Engin, Daniel Black, Diego Flores, Erika Broad, Erica Spear, Hallie Geyh, Heather Rest, Jake Glorioso, Jose Terrero, Mark Libatique, Marlon Co, Mika Alexander, Milton Garay, Patrick Brassard
to In the Music Issue No. 6 .
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Aaron Marcellos Alexandra Burke Alexandra McDermott Alexz Johnson Andra Day A$ap Rocky Bat for Lashes Ben Montague Biffy Clyro Big Sean Bip Ling Blondfire Carmen Electra Cassie Charlie Siem Charli Xcx Chelsea Tyler Chelsea Leyland Coleman Dan Black Delilah Dionne Bromfield Django Django Dry the River Early Morning Rebel Elle King Foxes Haim Icona Pop Imogen Heap Io Echo Jesse Wood Jewel Jihae Jjamz John Varvatos Joy Formidable Kate Nash Kerli Kreayshawn Kristian Marr Lady Gaga Laura Comfort Liza Thorn Lianne La Havas Lloyd Polite LP Machine Gun Kelly Marion Corrales Maya Jane Coles Medina Ms Mr Natalia Kills Neon Trees Nick Rhodes Noah Becker Oberhofer Purity Ring Ren Harvieu Sharon Van Etten Sky Nellor Soko Spector Ssion T Mills Tamara Kaboutchek Taylor Momsen The 1975 Wild Belle Wynter Gordon Zara Martin
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c o n t r i B u to r s
Anouska Beckwith - portraitS of mARION CORRALES Anouska Beckwith, 25, is the founder and CEO of World Wide Women, a photography collective of female artists. The photographer, film producer, actress and writer lives in Paris and has taken photographs around the world all of her life. She studied at the Spéos Institute in Paris and has already had two exhibitions in Paris and one in New York in 2012. She is currently working on her new series for World Wide Women’s London exhibition in September and São Paulo in November. CARTER B SMITH - PORTRAITS OF STARRED, Foxes, DJ Coleman, Blondfire, Joy Formidable and Purity Ring www.metroflix.com
Carter B Smith lives, works, and breathes in New York City. The photographer has directed music videos for many of today’s leading artists, two feature length films, and is the creator and director for the TV series Skate Maps and Aperture. His renowned photography has been exhibited in galleries internationally. He has published two books, It Takes a Nation with a forward by Barack Obama, and Phonebook. JEFF FORNEY - PORTRAITS OF T. Mills, JJAMZ and Early Morning Rebel www.jeffforney.com
Raised in the East Bay of Northern California, Jeff Forney’s influences were the characters he encountered in the wide array of music that permeated the Bay’s airwaves. After completing a degree in sociology at the “sedate” campus of CSU Chico, he landed in New York City. Jeff spent a bit of post-graduate time in front of the camera doing ad campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Guess, and Jil Sander, as well as commercials with directors such as David Lynch. With a camera in hand, Jeff grew to love its ability to tell a good story and the composition that harnessed it. jordan doner - portraits of Chelsea Tyler AND badbad www.jordandoner.com
Jordan Doner is a NYC-based photographer who has photographed pop stars, designers and Hollywood darlings. His conceptual photography has been featured at the P.S. 1 Museum and auctioned at Christie’s. Jordan’s design work has been featured at the Whitney Museum Store, is part of the permanent collection of both the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Met Costume Institute and the Louvre, and will be featured in next year’s Multiple Exposures exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. NICK RHODES - portraits of charli xcx Legendary Duran Duran founder Nick Rhodes’s creativity doesn’t stop in the recording studio. The English rockstar, set to record another album with his band, also has a flare for photography, saying that he is never far from his camera. This year, he plans on showcasing the massive collection of photographs he’s accrued over the decades, which enjoy a cinematic and personal quality. In this issue, he photographed pop star Charli XCX and gave an intimite insight to his latest music project, TV Mania. Roberto Aguilar - portraits of Dionne Bromfield and Ren Harvieu www.photoaguilar.com
Roberto Aguilar’s curiosity led him to the darkroom at age 10. Born in El Salvador but raised in the United States, he became a commercial photographer for many multi-national clients in the Central American region. A decade ago, he started teaching photography at Parsons in Paris. Roberto moved to London in 2004 and is now known for his romantic and provocative imagery. JOEY FALSETTA - portraits of SSION, Wild Belle AND Oberhofer www.falsetta.mew
Manhattan-born, self-taught renaissance man Joey Falsetta is a model, rock ‘n’ roll drummer and self-taught photographer who has broken into the industry in style. Having covered musical artists such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Motorhead and Jane’s Addiction, the fashion and entertainment artist does not shy away from challenging himself with learning more about the craft. He currently is working on a slew of projects focusing on old portrait styles, beauty, vintage magazines, fragrance, lingerie and jewelry.
CONVERSATION Nick Rhodes, the musician, visual artist and founding member of legendary rock band Duran Duran has, over the course of his decades-long diverse and multidimensional career, staked his claim as a beacon of pop culture. Since his start back in the ’80s, he’s worked on a host of side projects and collaborations, managing to stay in high demand despite a fickle and capricious music scene. His mammoth new work has been under construction since the mid-’90s and is finally getting to see the light of day this year. TV Mania: Bored With Prozac and The Internet is a concept album that was recently dug out from the vaults of Duran Duran’s cavernous archive. The Untitled Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Indira Cesarine, chatted with Rhodes about this forthcoming and highly anticipated release.
T V MANIA
Through this process, Rhodes and Cuccurullo crafted a vision of a strange future where voyeurism was woven into the fabric of everyday life – a prediction that has in fact materialised in the years since the project was started. “We only put our first Duran Duran site up in 1997. So that was a year after we’d made this. We managed to find all these fabulous samples, and themes like voyeurism come through, like ‘using your hidden camera’, and ‘eyes in the sky’, which were two samples we used – one which was literally about surveillance and the other one about satellites. We were just trying to reflect what we saw coming with society.” The topics explored in the album cover a wide range of what was at the time novel and emerging cultural trends, from “pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac, to clothes, fashion, films, the Internet, virtual holidays and virtual shopping.” When it seemed their predictions about what the future might hold were indeed coming to fruition, Rhodes knew that he was on to something. “Once Big Brother and The Truman Show came out, that sort of made us think, ‘Oh, okay. Well there was obviously a lot of people thinking the same sort of thing.’ It must have been in the air.” The concept album takes the form of a soundtrack in what the duo call “a bizarre TV cyber soap opera” – a conceptual piece of multimedia art as only Rhodes knows how.
“We literally put it away in a drawer in 1996,” he said, regarding TV Mania. “We actually finished it, we completed everything. All the mixes, everything in 1996. And it hasn’t been touched since.” Finally, this year, it’s getting its moment in the spotlight. For its creation, Rhodes and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo employed what was at the time an unconventional methodology for writing and producing an album. “What we did is we literally watched TV for a while, recorded it, and then sampled something and said, ‘I like the way that sounds, the way that person said ‘beautiful, beautiful clothes’. And so we took it and we tuned it to a melody that we would like on the keyboard, and then actually wrote the song to the melody that we’ve made from the TV sample. Which sounds sort of complicated, but actually it was quite a simple process, really. We’re just finding things that we liked that people had said, and then building songs around it. It was interesting because it’s a strange way round to do things, you know. It was quite an advanced idea for the time.”
“I think at the time, it probably would have been pretty obscure for most people to get their heads around a record made up of a bunch of samples. Since music moved very much in that electronic way – hip-hop, they use a lot of sampling – it doesn’t sound as obscure anymore. It sounds contemporary to me, for sure. But I think it fits in more now than I think it would have at the time. It sort of matured quite well, the things that we were trying out, the things we were doing have all sort of moved into the fabric of our pop music now.” The legendary musician has had his fair share of insight into the music industry as we know it, and is the founder of one of the few bands who have managed to withstand the tides of time – with Duran Duran still going strong after over three decades. Throughout his career, he has dabbled in quite a few side projects, although TV Mania is one of the few that was never actually
pop goddess Charli XCX for a six-page fashion story in London. “Photography is something that I’ve actually run parallel to making music since I was starting out. I always think of photography myself in a cinematic way. I look at each picture as if it were a frame from a movie.”
released. “I started Duran Duran when I was 16 years old, and the band that made all the early records, we got a contract in 1980. We’re still very much together now. We finished an 18-month tour in September last year. We made the last album with Mark Ronson producing. It was actually kind of a lot of fun. I think it took us back in many ways to the first couple of albums, Duran Duran and Rio, which Mark was a particular fan of. He sort of re-established what the band was really about. But we’ve been on a lot of different rides over the three decades we’ve spent together. We’ve funk records and more ambient records and dance records. We did a record with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake a few years ago, which was a completely different route for us again. In between all of this, we’ve always done little side projects. I did a project called ‘Arcadia’ in the mid-’80s, and then in the ’90s, did another project under the name of ‘The Devils’, and this one was done in the late ’90s… Warren and I had a lot of time on our hands, and I like to keep busy and to keep creating things… We didn’t intend to make an album when we were just fiddling with that first track, but we realised we’d hit on something that was quite unusual. And in a way, it was its own little genre of music. I’d be very curious to see what people make of it now. It’ll be interesting for them to know that it’s been sitting there since 1996.”
Rhodes will be spending the year polishing his own massive photography archive, in addition to finishing a musical project he has going with Duran Duran. “We’re going to go back in the studio and start writing a new Duran album, which we always say we’re gonna do much quicker this time, and inevitably it takes much longer, but we’re starting with the right idea. I’m doing a small photography show for the opening, celebrating the release of the album, and I’m hoping later in the year to actually start putting together a string of books and shows. We’re not planning on doing any live work this year, because we’ve literally come off such a big tour. But, no doubt, somebody will get itchy before the end of the year to do something. There’s always a possibility.” Regardless of what that possibility may hold for the music legend, Rhodes will undoubtedly stay true to the keen instincts that have led him to where he is now in his creative life. “I like to take chances artistically. I think it makes life much more interesting; and if you don’t, and you just do the same thing, it’s very easy to get stuck in it. So, my way of doing things is to tread a little bit further out on the ice each time and try not to fall through.”
In addition to being a trailblazing, boundary-pushing musical icon, Rhodes is also a talented photographer. For this issue, he collaborated with The Untitled Magazine, photographing English
In the years since the millennial ball dropped and the Y2K scare passed without a whimper, the music industry and our culture at large have become barely recognisable animals of a different colour. The water cooler was eliminated in favor of wall posts and tweets, the smart phone gave us all the ability to be constantly connected, the compact disc died a fiery death, and the length of cultural impact began to decrease drastically. Television became consumed less and less in unison – people now choose when they want to watch and where. Celebrity became easier to achieve, making Warhol’s refrain that “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” alarmingly prophetic.
PRÊT-ÀROCKER Yet amidst all of this, it was the music industry that saw the sharpest turn. The culture as it exists now has served as a proverbial blind spot, with new ways to listen to music, less ways to make money off of it, and a thousand and one ways to be seen and heard. Anyone can make a splash; your YouTube video just has to be in the right place at the right time. In this way, we have seen less nepotism and more randomness, and the emergence of wild cards that have taken us totally, and pleasantly, by surprise. In the early 2000s, we saw Lilly Allen go from MySpace starlet to chart-topper in what felt like a nanosecond. As the decade wore on, the stardom of real-life cool-kids Azealia Banks, Kreayshawn and Justin Bieber would rise with every YouTube video count, and listeners would be filled with the thought that this, too, could be them.
have established a curious relationship with the material world at large, which can largely be summed up by “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Branding thus becomes the way for an artist to cultivate a fan base outside of their music. It becomes the paramount way to build an empire during a time when an empire is the point. Hip-hop heavyweight-turned-mogul Nicki Minaj eyed her empire from the start. Her debut perfume produced in collaboration with Elizabeth Arden is called Pink Friday, which Minaj has fully embraced as her empire’s unofficial moniker. “Pink Friday has become synonymous with my brand. I’ve been thinking about a fragrance for the past two years, [but I always] knew I was going to call it Pink Friday.”
Minaj is hardly the first artist, and surely not the last. Over the past two years, Justin Bieber broke records with his 2011 debut fragrance, SOMEDAY, as well as his 2012 perfume, GIRLFRIEND. Last year alone saw a slew of scents, including Lady Gaga Fame, marketed as the first ever black eau de parfum. Britney Spears, a seasoned professional with a litany of scents since 2004’s Curious, released her latest last autumn, Fantasy Twist. Beyoncé’s 2010 scent, Heat, was ranked by Forbes as one of the best-selling celebrity scents of all time. Last year, Taylor Swift expanded her Wonderstruck fragrance line with a new “chapter” she calls Wonderstruck Enchanted. “Wonderstruck is about that moment when you instantly feel a connection with someone, but then there’s that feeling of being completely enamored – enchanted…” In March this year, Mariah Carey debuted her latest bottle Dreams, and British boy band One Direction has plans to release a fragrance of their own this fall.
Because of this, two questions arose related to the music industry and culture: how to turn a profit at the turn of the century; and how to help ensure that an artist will last, even once the buzz has died down. More and more, musicians are looking for ways to collaborate—and not just with other musicians. The key, as it appears to be, is branding. The incentives are endless and seem to spread through both artistic and financial reasoning. Aside from touring (whose financial benefits have proven to be more spread out than an artist is likely to admit), it’s largely endorsement deals that have kept a majority of performers’ heads above water. Now more than ever, an artist’s personal brand is their definitive attribute. No longer able to rely solely on the product (the music or the completion of an album), the artist has now evolved into the very product itself. Their branding is subtler, cleverer, more based on implication than outright promotion. Through this, the artists
Rihanna for River Island Spring / Summer 2013
The celebrity perfume has become the punch line of media branding. While the album gets spins on the radio, the perfume gets sprays in shopping counters around the world. A famous musician’s career can be tracked according to their fragrance series launches — Britney Spears is the perfect example of this. Each fragrance is a milestone, an affirmation of a pop star’s influence beyond music. This eye towards large-scale branding is more than just a contemporary motivation—it’s the default strategy of an artist looking to withstand the hyper speed of the music cycle and the creation of the visual language of a modern pop star.
endeavour, seeing the evolution from pop star to entrepreneur. But for every Victoria Beckham (the former Spice Girl who found a successful second life in the finicky world of high fashion), we’re given a Kanye West, whose first line, crafted while under an apprenticeship at Fendi, was unanimously panned at Paris Fashion Week in 2011. What makes the recent collaboration between pop artists and fashion houses so notable is that it is a direct reflection of the changing methods and memory of pop culture. Today, the pop star benefits the most from being nothing less than a clear concept, and as a result profits from being viewed as a series of lasting images. Madonna, for example, can credit her lasting power to more than just her musical catalogue: she is the brash ingénue with the cone bra; the starlet on stage in Victorian garb. The modern pop star epitomizes the mantra that “you are what you wear”. Madonna knew this in 1985.
“Pop star” no longer refers to a singer who occupies the pop genre. Considering the genre’s gradual immersion into anything and everything—including once-impenetrable schools of sound like hip-hop and indie rock—pop has itself been rung out to mean a specific type of widespread access. Its root (“popular”) has never been clearer. Much the same way that the colloquial term “indie” has, within the cinematic community, gone from referring to a financial model of production to a certain sensibility, pop is now a tenant of anyone you’re hearing on the radio; it’s embedded in the DNA of music, and has become the single most important digit in the formula for success.
There is no better example of this than global pop star Rihanna’s recent collaboration with River Island, showcased at London Fashion Week this past February. “London Fashion Week is something I’ve never done. I’ve never even attended it,” she says. “My first London Fashion week is my show, and that’s amazing.” The collection features items hand-picked and designed by Rihanna herself—a creative collection meant to enhance Rihanna’s profile as a fashion icon for the Aughts. The pieces toy with her mix of carnal femininity and playful tomboyishness, resulting in a collection that stands as both the move of a mogul looking to expand her empire, and as an extension of Rihanna as we perceive her – sexy, soulful
In this way, every modern musician who is working to achieve a level of mainstream success is attempting to be a pop star. In order to maintain any semblance of lasting legacy, a pop star needs to brand themselves as both interesting in the moment and enduring over time. Fashion, it seems, has become the paramount tool to do just that. This is true in two ways, the first being fashion as
would go on to gross over $120 million by the years end. Much was made of the Mugler-Beyoncé collaboration, mostly because Tina Knowles, the singer’s mother, had always made a point of designing the star’s clothing from her start in R&B trio Destiny’s Child through her solo career. Additionally, the notice came from the fact that Knowles had, until then, maintained a strong distance from the world of high fashion. Her status as a pop star was defined by a simple visual aesthetic: a mix of strong, urban threads (simple white tank tops and faded blue jeans; snapback caps and large chunky earrings) with flowing, “feminine” pieces that drape her famously curvaceous body. When the collaboration came with a high-power design house, many were quick to highlight the sudden change in the artist’s visual temperament. The reason is simple, and her name is Lady Gaga. When Gaga burst onto the scene in 2008, fashion became her immediate calling card. It began with her own creations, handmade with her team in what she dubbed the Haus of Gaga. It expanded shortly thereafter, into full on collaboration with her couture-haus idols, like Yves Saint Laurent and the late Alexander McQueen. Gaga’s eccentricities were a major factor in the development of her artistic brand, and it became pivotal in both her rise as a pop superstar and in the complete takeover of audience expectation. No longer could a pop star simply get away with a repertoire of No. 1 singles: the pop star now had to stand for something. As a result, the wild and flamboyant styles and statements of the female pop star defined much of the first part of this decade. Culture snobs would go on to cite Gaga’s love of excess as a copycat of
Rihanna for River Island Spring Summer 2013
and rebellious at the same time. This is what becomes of the meld between fashion and music. The artists create pieces that benefit their burgeoning empire as well as establish their vision and status as contemporary icons. The pieces become extrapolations of their status. One doesn’t just love Rihanna the singer, but Rihanna the idea, and Rihanna the image. While some artists use the fashion world to extend their personal brand, others use fashion as a way to help build it from the ground up. In 2008, Beyoncé Knowles began the planning stages of her world tour, set to support her third album, I Am…Sasha Fierce. For the show, French designer Thierry Mugler came out of a temporary retirement in order to serve as the tour’s lead costume designer. For the Knowles’s show, Mugler crafted over 72 set-specific pieces for Knowles and her dancers. According to Mugler, it was Knowles’ attention to detail in regards to character work that defined their collaboration’s endeavour. Mugler stated that he wanted to capture the ever complicated “duality between being a woman and a warrior” in an effort to understand these two sides. For Knowles, it was four simple words: “Feminine. Free. Warrior. Fierce.” Through these, Mugler and Knowles fully formed the character of “Sasha Fierce”, whom Beyoncé credits as fully taking over when she takes command of the stage and loses herself to the power of the performance. Mugler’s role as creative advisor was to fully conceptualize the show’s scope. For Mugler, it was his “responsibility to make Beyoncé’s vision come true,” and to aid in the dramatization and metamorphosis on stage. Yet Mugler’s real role was to help craft the pop star’s image as experimenter of the theatrical, to help create a sense of space and a mise-en-scène for the production of her tour—a tour that
Beyoncé as “Sacha Fierce” in a design by Thierry Mugler
through the brand of the fashion house and vice-versa. Fashion and music are unique bedfellows in this way. In this ever changing music scene, where an artist’s relevance is viewed as social stock, with the ability to fall or rise based on the simplest of changes, the timeless power of fashion collaboration allows the artists as conceptual images to live on forever.
Madonna’s, just as many would pinpoint Beyoncé’s sudden Mugler collaboration as a play to fit into Gaga’s “hyper-pop” model. All of these speak to one another, and speak about each other, and all point out a different trend that goes beyond copycat syndrome. Essentially, what has happened is a complete redefinition of how we view the pop star’s tie to surrounding creative industries and their mutually beneficial collaborations with designers.
The clock ticks faster, and the audience’s patience runs thin; redefinition becomes paramount not because it exercises free creative license, but because it reinvigorates interest. Rihanna’s album-by-album evolution is not just an extension of an eclectic personality or a constant mutation of taste and styles—it’s the notion of expanding an artist’s reach, always maintaining a finger on what it designates as the pulse.
Beyoncé pushes the envelope of her fashion collaborations in 2013 even further with her choice of young, fashion-forward designer Asher Levine for her forthcoming Mrs. Carter tour. The Untitled Magazine was invited to preview the collection in production at Levine’s Tribeca atelier where he works off an exact-replica clay mould of Beyoncé’s body. Each silicone-and-leather piece is handmade uniquely to the form of her exact figure. The 25-yearold Levine — with seven seasons already under his belt – has been hailed as the “next McQueen”. He has previously collaborated on several occasions with Lady Gaga over the past few years, most notably for her “Marry the Night” music video. His resume of music collaborations is nothing less than impressive – including designing for the Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars, Scissor Sisters, La Roux and Peaches. This year’s partnership with Beyoncé will certainly take him to the next level of his career.
As music exists now, collaboration benefits everyone and every industry involved. YouTube star-turned-rap-star Azealia Banks filmed a series of video clips for Christopher Kane, which led to a gig performing at Fashion Week, which lead to Alexander Wang declaring Banks as his new muse. So it goes, up a ladder that pushes stars closer to all encompassing media messiahs. No longer satisfied with being labelled singers, they become designers, actors, fragrance aficionados. And then they are pushed, beyond the frontlines, far past our eye-line, into the ether of pop culture, where more and more things are sent in shorter amounts of time. Yet their image maintains. Their silhouettes, their songs, their clothing—it all persists far beyond them. Madonna becomes the cone bra. Beyoncé becomes the bodysuit. And music becomes much more than something we listen to.
For the artist, it helps establish an image that lasts far beyond what may prove to be a mere second in the spotlight. As is the case in post-modern pop culture, the image becomes the dominant contribution to the culture-at-large, more so than any true creation, sonic or otherwise. Now, more than ever, artistic license is given as a way of establishing an immediate and identifiable artistic identity. This is a way of making an artist profitable, but it also establishes a wise symbiotic relationship in which a performer is identified both
Article by Rod Bastanmehr
Kansai Yamamoto for David Bowie, April 1973
In the age of visual communication, the fashion and music industries have become more intertwined than ever. Iconic musicians have been influential to fashion since the ’60s, when old-world Hollywood glamour stopped being the ultimate reference and a new generation of bold musicians were made fashion icons by the masses. As society shifted into a new world of freedom and individuality, music became the most vivid artistic symbol of this transition. By the beginning of the ’80s, with the launch of MTV and the rise of the music video, fashion became not only influenced by music icons but an integral part of what music is about.
MUSES paint a fresh picture of the superstar’s epic career. Handwritten lyrics, costumes, photography, film, set designs, and some of Bowie’s instruments will be on display, as well as lesser-known but equally game-changing images, such as a striped bodysuit for the 1973 Aladdin Sane tour, designed by Kansai Yamamoto and photographed by Masayoshi Sukita.
One of the early icons of the MTV generation, Madonna has been a continuous source of inspiration since her musical inception over three decades ago. The queen of pop has done it all, from goth to punk, and from rock to glam – she is the ultimate style chameleon. More than a music icon, she is a role model, a symbol of independence. Visually, she has been able to utilise fashion in every possible way, playing every role from a thrift store club kid to the infamous and glamorous Voguing video vixen. Her long-lasting friendship and collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier gave birth to the iconic cone bra designed for her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. For his spring/summer 2013 collection, Jean Paul Gaultier revisited the “greatest hits” of the ’80s with his collection that was inspired by “all the pop stars of the Eighties who have influenced fashion.” A testament to the longevity of these looks and illustrating once again the immense influence of his collaboration with musicians such as Madonna. The show was also an homage to Grace Jones with her signature shoulder pads and square haircut, Boy George, Michael Jackson and the legendary David Bowie – in particular his face-painted, androgynous Ziggy Stardust persona.
It is inevitable that fashion designers find inspiration in musicians. Think of the extravagant Klaus Nomi or Culture Club’s Boy George. Today’s most avant-garde brands, like Gareth Pugh, Givenchy or Alexandre Herchcovitch, use these pioneers of the bizarre as oracles of chic. Musicians equally have collaborated with designers to create their personae. In the late ’70s, iconic rocker Debbie Harry mesmerised the New York punk scene with her platinum locks as “Blondie”. She collaborated with pop art designer Stephen Sprouse to create her signature downtown punk/glam looks. Sprouse also worked closely with bands such as Duran Duran and Billy Idol in the ’80’s before launching his own commercial clothing line, which was highly inspired by pop art and punk rock.
David Bowie is notably the ultimate gender-bending fashion-iconmeets-musical-genius. The taboo-breaking style chameleon is certainly one musical reference no fashion designer in his or her right mind can forget. His hair and makeup alone is legendary. One of the first truly androgynous performers, he has inspired fashion like no other. From the post-punk new wave to the cover of Vogue Paris (Kate Moss as David Bowie, December 2011), the fashion god’s legacy is everywhere. His persona as “Ziggy Stardust” has inspired countless fashion collections, editorial shoots and covers – and continues to inspire: Through 28 July this year, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London is host to the exhibition David Bowie Is.
Contemporary music icons like Lady Gaga go above and beyond making exuberant fashion statements. They shape the zeitgeist. Following in the footsteps of ultimate female performer Madonna, instant fashion icon Gaga is living proof of the contemporary connection between fashion and music. Her collaboration with Nicola Formichetti, the fashion editor, creative director of Mugler and full-time member of the Haus of Gaga, has been epic. With the meat dress and countless other fashion oddities, Gaga brought daring back to the forefront after years of minimalist fashion and grey chic. Fascination with her persona has more to do with her exaggerated theatrical presentation than with her music. Even though her outfits
For the exhibition, the V&A was given unprecedented access to the musician’s archive and features more than 300 objects that
rebellion. This illustrates that fashion is about lifestyle, and it’s about identity. Hip-hop culture is a good example of this. In the ’90s, hip-hop style was all about the baggy trousers, sneakers, bomber jackets and heavy gold jewelry. Brands didn’t take long to start profiting from these looks, starting with sportswear labels like Adidas endorsing Run-D.M.C., then Puff Daddy and Coolio walking for Tommy Hilfiger’s runway shows, and making it all the way to the Paris catwalks for Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld’s funky 1991 winter collection embraced gold chains and black leather jackets – a direct reference to the hip-hop scene. Remember grunge? The influences of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love are still present today because it speaks to the inclinations and sensibilities of a whole new generation. Many designers have co-opted the grunge look into their collections, a testament to how lifestyle influences fashion. The grunge look, which was highly criticised when it first hit the Marc Jacob’s runway back in the ’90s, has made a major revival this season – notably in 3.1 Phillip Lim’s collection. Whether it’s Debbie Harry, David Bowie or Madonna, what we admire about these musicians is not only their music, but also their irreverence, their confidence, and their creativity. It’s about their style and charisma, and how these traits translate into looks that transcend the ages. They become iconographic, working their way into the seamless history of not only pop culture, but art as well, as the V&A sets out to prove this year with the legacy of David Bowie. As fashion and music become inseparable, one can only ask: Is it the musician who inspires the clothing or the clothing that inspires the musician? Jean Paul Gaultier Spring / Summer 2013
would be hard to replicate under any circumstances, fashion columnists have noticed her undeniable influence over the couture shows in Paris, whether at Gauthier Paris or Christian Lacroix, “the Gaga effect” has spared no-one. Even her aversion to trousers has made an impact – look at all the leotards! Gaga is a liberating force; her style is about having fun and being over the top. This new taste for extravagance as well as her welcome embrace of maximalist fashion is palpable. Other style experts have credited Gaga with noticeably more sophisticated and dramatic looks at galas and banquets. Even Dior’s newly appointed creative director Raf Simons, whose work for Jil Sander was characteristically minimalist, is surfing the trends of a more exuberant take on dresses in his first collection for the French brand. It didn’t take long for brands to recognise the marketing potential of these music icons. What better way to make your clothes look sexy than have them worn by the sultry Lana Del Rey? After the British retail brand Mulberry named a handbag after her, the singer was immediately snatched by H&M for an ad campaign. Designers regularly work with stylists to turn red carpets into memorable fashion moments. Remember J.Lo’s green Versace dress worn on the red carpet of the 2000 Grammy Awards? This was undoubtedly one of the biggest fashion coups of that decade, and the media would not stop talking about it for years. The dress actually has its own Wikipedia page now. Since the ’60s, the elitist guidelines of Paris couture and diamondstudded Hollywood glamour have been moving towards an emphasis on creativity and individuality. More and more we look to musicians for their personalised take on fashion, for their independent spirits and their tendency to embody the nature of
Jean Paul Gaultier Spring / Summer 2013
Lady Gaga by Warwick Saint
JOHN VARVATOS ROCK N’ ROLL
Iconic menswear designer and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast John Varvatos celebrates the fifth anniversary of his New York boutique this April, located at the infamous former CBGB space in Manhattan’s lower east side. Known for his “obsession” with rock music and extensive collaborations with musicians, it is more than a fitting location for the brand. He is known to not only incorporate aspects of the rock ethos into his distinct aesthetic, but to credit it as the catalyst for his interest in fashion. Over the years he has thrown countless performances at the legendary former rock venue, and he has featured music legends including Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Velvet Revolver, Chris Cornell, Dave Matthews, The Roots, and Green Day into his campaigns, which are shot by rock photographer Danny Clinch. These timeless images showcase each artist’s unique style as well as highlights of Varvatos’ collection in equal measure. Varvatos is active in music-philanthropy circles, incorporating various social causes into his brand through his work with Save The Music Foundation and The Annual Stuart House Benefit. Through these endeavours, both artistically and altruistically, Varvatos’ name has become synonymous with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. For this issue, Editor in Chief Indira Cesarine sat down for a one-on-one with the fashion behemoth to talk about his life-long fascination with the world of music, his upcoming projects and his newest ad campaign featuring the legendary rocker Jimmy Page alongside rising R&B-blues star, Gary Clark Jr. 20
Indira Cesarine: Out of all the designers out there, you’re probably the most involved with the music industry. How has music impacted you as a designer? John Varvatos: I think it was kind of an organic thing that happened. I was not only interested in music, passionate, obsessed about it from the time I was a young kid, but I also was very into the way people dressed. IC: You previously worked with Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, but you weren’t really working with musicians. Was it after you launched your own brand that you were able to do that? JV: When we launched our own brand in 2000, it was really artists coming to me liking the clothes. And it intrigued me, because I didn’t really do it as a rock ‘n’ roll collection. What became quite a big part of my client list were artists that had come to us whether it was for events like the Grammys or tours. Then, in 2005, I decided to incorporate what I considered iconic artists into my ad campaigns, which really kind of changed the whole dynamic of the brand. IC: Do you have a particular collaboration that stands out? JV: The present one, with Jimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr., is really a life’s dream; Jimmy Page is one of my biggest music and fashion icons when I was growing up, and to have him in my campaign today, and also with Gary, who is one of the hottest rock-blues musicians on the planet right now. The two together—kind of the “master and the young gun” idea—was really pretty special. Iggy Pop was unbelievable. I grew up in Detroit, and growing up with Iggy and the Stooges were kind of my Detroit heroes. Each [band] has its own special part in our history. IC: How long have you been working with Danny Clinch? JV: We shot our first iconic music campaign in 2005. Danny’s shot all 17 of those campaigns. He’s one of these photographers who just captures things in the moment. He knows most of the artists that we’ve shot. They have a respect for his work and his credibility. IC: Can you tell me about your New York location at the former CBGB’s? JV: It’s five years in April that we’ll be there. It was one of those things that just came up by a fluke. CB’s had been closed for over two years when I happened to be in the neighbourhood. I was looking at the space, and how what was once so beautiful at that moment had been destroyed and everything torn out of there. There was something that inspired me to keep live music going in the Bowery. We don’t purport at all to be CBGB’s, but we’ve had over one hundred live artists perform on that stage over the last five years. We are throwing a five-year anniversary there in April. It’s special, keeping the music alive in the Bowery. IC: Axl Rose did a surprise set there, is that right? JV: Yes. We didn’t know if they’d show up or not! They were supposed to play four to five songs, and they played 18 songs in two-plus hours. It was one of those magical nights that sometimes happens in music. IC: You collaborate with foundations such as the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. Can you tell me about that? JV: We’re lucky to have such a successful brand, and I felt like I really wanted to [give back]. Anytime we raised any money at our events, all the money went to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. We did a number of events with them in our other stores as well over the years to support music programs in schools. The Save the Music program supplies instruments to the youth music programs around the whole country. IC: What about your collaboration with the McIntosh Library? JV: Yeah, we’ve done a lot of different things with McIntosh. We’ve done a listening party on the West Coast with Jane’s Addiction,
Musician Gary Clark Jr in the latest John Varvatos campaign
a special event in NYC with Tony Visconti, who produced David Bowie and T-Rex. My whole thing about music is...exposing people to great music. Some are young up-and-coming artists that you just want to help get out there and help get on tour, and other are artists that you kind of re-expose people to. IC: How is it different designing for musicians versus designing for the runway? JV: I think you get more back at times from working with musicians because there’s a huge passion that you feel immediately, both for your clothes and the music around it. IC: Do you have a motto or words of wisdom that you live by? JV: Number one, “passion” is the most important word in your life. There’s a Rolling Stones song that says that “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you’ll get what you need.” To me, you can be as passionate as you want about everything, but in the end, if you get what you need, there’s something pretty special about it. IC: What are the upcoming projects with Varvatos in 2013, aside from your five-year anniversary? JV: In March, we have our ten-year anniversary of the Stuart House Benefit. We’re proud to say that we’re their largest contributor on an annual basis. This year I hope to raise a million dollars on a Sunday afternoon. Every year it’s a music extravaganza, with about 1,700 people attending. IC: And you have a TV show as well at the moment? JV: Fashion Stars, second season on NBC, airs Fridays at 8 p.m. It’s a competition for aspiring designers. My role on the show is a mentor, not a judge, and I will work with the designers to help guide them through the competition. IC: That’s amazing to be a mentor to such creative talent. Did you ever have a mentor yourself? JV: I was lucky enough to some degree that Ralph Lauren was my mentor. Probably not as hands-on, but I worked very closely with him for a number of years, and I still view him as my mentor. IC: Well that’s not too bad of a mentor. JV: It doesn’t get any better than that!
Marilyn Manson, “Wraith”
MARILYN MANSON Controversy has never been far from the musician known as Marilyn Manson, and his admission that he started his painting career by selling works to drug dealers comes as no surprise. Born in Ohio in 1969, he combined the names of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson to create his stage name. He first dabbled with watercolour in 1999, creating five-minute concept pieces. His watercolours are morbid, slightly disturbing and highly emotive pieces that in many cases seem to be influenced by Francis Bacon’s paintings, with a sense of dementia running through the works. By 2002 his first show, The Golden Age of Grotesque, was held at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions centre. Critics initially said his work would never be taken seriously – likening it to psychiatric patient therapy works – although over the years it has been highly exhibited on an international scale. In 2005 Manson created his own art movement, calling it Celebritarian Corporation with a slogan of: “We will sell our shadow to those who stand within it.” He subsequently opened his own gallery in Los Angeles called Celebritarian Corporation Gallery of Fine Art, where he has since exhibited his works. Other notable exhibits include his show at Space 39 Modern and Contemporary in Florida in 2007, a collaborative show with David Lynch called Genealogies of Pain at Vienna’s Kunsthalle in 2010, featuring a series of 20 works, and The Path of Misery in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico in 2011. His unique style is clearly recognisable, and it has been noted that the works not only display an unexpected sensitivity, but also a highly instinctive eye when it comes to colour and composition.
COURTNEY LOVE The musican, actress and now contemporary artist, Courtney Love, exhibited her first major show last year at Fred Torres Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea. Known for her controversial film roles (Sid and Nancy, 1986; The People vs. Larry Flynt, 1996; Caligula, 2005), and her band Hole, which she formed in 1989, she was named the “Queen of Rock” by Rolling Stone and recently has branched out from film and music to fashion, writing and art. Born in 1964, she studied fine art at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1980s, although previously had never formally exhibited her work. Her exhibition, And She’s Not Even Pretty, featured more than 45 drawings and paintings in ink, colour pencil, pastel and watercolour. Many of the drawings looked like self-portraits, with bright pastel hues in coloured pencil, pastel and watercolour, and with excerpts of poetry, lyrics and other writings juxtaposed against the fragile, highly emotional imagery. Love cited the works as being an inward look at her relationships, as well as a reflection of the social interactions of women. The pieces often present a highly feminist, personal point of reference. Subjects of the works include depictions of a dead Sarah Bernhardt, inspired by the Robert Frost poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, and tributes to her girl crushes, including Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as “about being blonde”. Many of the pieces in the show were highly confessional in nature. Standing out against the works were a few rather aggressive pieces, including one called “I’m Dead” depicting a nude blonde with legs spread, and a John Galliano white dress fixed to the wall scrawled in lipstick the words “NOT MY CUNT ON MY DIME MISTER”, which Love says was designed for a marriage that never took place. The show presented a window into another side of the artist, known more for her extreme antics and outspoken personality than her fragility. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Courtney Love: painting from “And She’s Not Even Pretty”
DAVID BYRNE The Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe-awarded Talking Heads front man David Byrne has, for many years, also experimented with a wide variety of mediums, including drawing, sculpture, photography, filmmaking and most notably installation artwork. He is represented as an artist by the prestigious Pace Gallery in New York. A student of the Rhode Island School of Design (’70-’71) and Maryland Institute College of Art (’71-’72), he had a strong foundation in the arts before he became known for his music. His artistic tendencies lend themselves to conceptual works that are often in the public arena; statement pieces that could be mistaken for ordinary objects or part of urban culture at large. He often focuses his work on objects of everyday life – elevating them into works of art, thus finding the “sacred in the profane”. Since the 1990s, he has exhibited widely. He has also created numerous public art installations in urban centres around the world – many of them anonymously. His public art installations have included billboards in Belfast, subway posters in Stockholm, lightboxes in the streets of San Francisco and bike racks in New York City. He has published many conceptual books which are artworks in their own right, including Strange Ritual (Chronicle Press, 1995) which mixed text and image in a notebooktype format, Your Action World (1998-1999), The New Sins / Los Nuevos Pecados, which was created for the Valencia Biennial and looks like a bible. Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (Steidl/Pace MacGill, 2003) contains a DVD of five PowerPoint presentations set to music, and Arboretum is a sketchbook of his tree drawings. In 2010 he exhibited at The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Moral Dilemmas and Inside Out, Reykjavík, Iceland, and the David Byrne Art Exhibition at VACANT by NO IDEA, Tokyo, Japan. David Byrne: “Playing the Building”
BOB DYLAN The legendary musician Bob Dylan, whose musical repertoire spans over five decades, is also a highly exhibited artist, with a focus on acrylics on canvas as well as drawings and silkscreens. He has published several books of his works, and most recently had several controversial solo shows at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. In 1994 Random House published Drawn Blank, a book on Dylan’s drawings and sketches. Many years later, in 2007, a more fully realised series of the works – including 200 watercolour and gouache paintings, titled The Drawn Blank Series, took place at Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany. In 2010 he exhibited a series of 40 large-scale acrylic paintings at the National Gallery of Denmark, titled The Brazil Series. In September 2011 he opened his first major solo show at the celebrated Gagosian Gallery. The exhibition was highly scrutinised for featuring seemingly derivative works. Titled The Asia Series, many critics attacked him for exhibiting what were apparently painted renditions of Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs. The paintings were presented as “visual reflections” of his travels in Japan, China, Vietnam and South Korea. The press release stated, “He often draws and paints while on tour, and his motifs bear corresponding impressions of different environments and people. A keen observer, Dylan is inspired by everyday phenomena in such a way that they appear fresh, new and mysterious.” His credibility as an artist was again questioned after his most recent Gagosian opening, in November 2012. His series Revisionist Art featured large-scale silkscreens of faux magazine covers, with titles such as “Baby Talk Magazine: Strengthen Your Baby” and a Playboy cover featuring Sharon Stone. While some may question the integrity of his work, he is clearly a very prolific artist. He has been quoted as stating that he paints “mostly from real life.”
KIM GORDON Kim Gordon, the multi-talented musician of Sonic Youth fame, has steadily throughout her career maintained a strong tie to the visual arts. A 1977 graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design, she wrote for Artforum Magazine throughout the ’80s and, aside from her own work as an artist, also curates exhibitions. She published several books chronicling her artwork, including Kim Gordon Chronicles: Vol. 1 (2005) and Kim Gordon Chronicles: Vol. 2 (2006) as well as Performing/Guzzling: Kim Gordon, published in 2010 by Rizzoli. Her paintings, drawings and watercolours have been exhibited in various galleries around the world, and she is also noted for her more conceptual installations. She had a solo exhibition titled Kim’s Bedroom at MU in the Netherlands, featuring drawing and paintings along with live music, and a limited edition book of the show. She has also done quite a few collaborative projects, notably with artist Jutta Koether, including Club In The Shadow at Kenny Schachter’s Contemporary Gallery in NY. Her work varies in subject from photographic self-portraits, and fluid watercolours to dramatic black scrawlings on white canvas. Her exhibition titled The Noise Paintings featured a series of canvases with dripping catch phrases in black, presented as a sort of conceptual graffiti. The series was based on the names of noise bands such as 16 Bitch Pile-Up, Wet Hair, Sudden Oak, Noise Nomads and Pussy Galore. and is an exploration that creates “a collision of the verbal and the visual.” She has been quoted as saying she is more disciplined in the visual arts than in music, which is a more instinctive and “primitive” part of her artistic identity. “I was definitely first interested in art. I always wanted to be an artist, since I was like five or something. I was really into Michelangelo. I wanted to be a sculptor.”
Opposite page top – Kim Gordon: “Noise” paintings, bottom: Bob Dylan: “Barber Shop”. This page: David Bowie: self-portrait.
DAVID BOWIE Rock star, performance artist, writer, muse and mime – David Bowie’s career has spanned multiple universes since he took off on his cosmic journey with the release of Space Oddity in 1969. His persona as Ziggy Stardust will carry on through this millennium as one of the most profound and recognisable of the last era. Less well known is his fondness for the paintbrush, and his extremely well developed compositions on canvas. Bowie, who was born David Robert Jones in 1947, was a student of art, music and design, including layout and typesetting before he became the legendary musician that we know today. His artwork crosses over from painting to sculpture, photography to printmaking and has been sold at auction and exhibited in galleries and museums across the globe. Some notable past exhibits include The National Portrait Gallery (2000), the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1997) and the Biennale di Firenze (1996). His works are part of the permanent Saatchi collection as well as numerous museums. He has been historically noted for his collaborative projects and has worked with a range of established contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst as well as students – such as his collaboration with three Royal College of Art graduates in 2000. His style ranges from self-portraits to African-inspired sculptural pieces and masks to highly conceptual macro photography and multimedia installations, such as his mixed-media constructions TV Christ, Saucer I, Cyberchromes and Sound Collage that was at the Florence Biennale in 1996. Throughout the ’90s, he was regularly exhibiting his work in numerous international cities, although for the past ten years has been relatively quiet on the exhibit front – until now. The current exhibition David Bowie Is at the V&A museum in London is set to be one of the most successful shows in the museum’s history. The museum was given unprecedented access to his personal archive in order to curate the show. It is “the first international retrospective of the extraordinary career of David Bowie – one of the most pioneering and influential performers of modern times. David Bowie Is will explore the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon, tracing his shifting style and sustained reinvention across five decades.” The exhibit explores in depth Bowie’s collaborations with artists and designers in the fields of fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film. It features more than 300 items spanning six decades, including original costumes, artwork and handwritten lyrics. Costumes from his tours are displayed such as his Ziggy Stardust bodysuits (1972) designed by Freddie Burretti, photography by Brian Duffy, album sleeve artwork by Guy Peellaert and Edward Bell, as well as his own works. Sketches such as the one showing his designs for “Hunger City” from his Diamond Dogs tour in 1974 are being exhibited for the first time, as well as many unseen videos, storyboards and photographs by the artist. The extraordinary exhibit is open to the public until 11 August 2013.
Article by Indira Cesarine
Lady Gaga by Warwick Saint
Those of us who dismissed Lady Gaga as a mere one-hit wonder in 2008 should all be wearing sackcloth and ashes now. Five years after the release of her scintillating first single, “Just Dance”, the venerable Miss Gaga has proved herself to be one of the most creative, intriguing and supremely unique stars of the 21st century. It is as if the gods decided to conjure the best elements of pop music, past and present, and bestowed us with a demi-goddess who tips the creative boundaries of music and style. In a few short years, Lady Gaga has entered the gilded pantheon of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and other musical deities who have shaped our culture over the past half-century.
THE A RT OF
G AG A
inapproachability when it came to her fans, but with Gaga, her fans mean the world, realising that without them, she would not be where she is today. Vanity Fair’s Lisa Robinson put it best when describing Lady Gaga in 2010, saying “as fame has come to devour all else, Lady Gaga is the logical result: a mega star who exists entirely for her fans.”
After the world had been exposed to the provocative “Just Dance”, which became a global smash, came Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame, a raucously catchy amalgamation of pop, rock, hip-hop and techno, which outshone all other releases of that year. It was at this moment that the world realised that here was a star unlike any other we have seen before. The themes of the album, and accompanying EP The Fame Monster, are as deep and diverse as Gaga herself, with hints of unabashed erotica, as heard in the song “Poker Face”: desire and degradation, love and heartache, and the pursuit of fame.
It is not just her undying love for her “little monsters” that sets Gaga apart from Madonna, but her fearlessness in championing various causes, such as anti-bullying, immigration, violence against women and, most of all, gay rights. In the past many entertainers have given their verbal support to the gay community, but none has ever been quite so ardent, nor has anyone used their fame as a platform to express their support on such a grand scale. She was one of the biggest stars at the 2009 rally against the archaic “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and in 2010 attended the MTV VMAs with a group of gay couples who were forced to deny their sexuality when serving in the US military.
With everyone’s eyes transfixed on this petite New Yorker with extraordinary talent, Gaga has been quick to demonstrate that she is more than just a singer-songwriter. She has collaborated with some of the most creative individuals in the arts, including British conceptual artist Damien Hirst, photographer Steven Klein, creative director Nicola Formichetti amongst many others, to create an image that translates the very essence of who she is, as a person and as a performer. This creation – the creation of Lady Gaga as we know her today – is a work of art in itself, incorporating myriad attributes from popular culture to high culture and everything in between. What we get is something familiar yet at the same time beautifully unique and other-worldly. In her videos, performances and appearances, there is always some reference to the many individuals who have inspired her, from the screen goddess Marilyn Monroe to pop art icon Andy Warhol.
It is incredible to think that Lady Gaga, a woman still in her twenties, has become one of the biggest and most respected artists of the century. She is not only a musical genius, but an inspiration for millions of people who have previously felt disenfranchised by lack of originality in popular culture. With Gaga’s inspirational messages interwoven throughout her music, those individuals can now see they are not alone. Lady Gaga is the woman who brought popular music back from the cultural wasteland of meaningless sentiments and generic tiresome rhythms. She has shown that pop music still has the power to provoke, inspire, shock and ultimately give strength.
It is impossible to place Lady Gaga in any particular niche. Her appeal stretches across the cultural divides of age and gender unlike any star before her, and she means many things to many people. She can don the persona of vintage vixen, in the manner of Billie Holiday when performing a sultry jazz number with Tony Bennett, or become a magnificently unpredictable monster, à la Grace Jones, when performing one of her hits like “Alejandro”. Whatever role she is playing, her unique character and charm always shines through.
Lady Gaga presents herself to her loving public with meticulous detail. This is the primary reason why her latest album, ARTPOP, has taken so long to get off the ground. Her producer, the Russian DJ Zedd, recently revealed that the album has taken over a year to record, and is likely to be released in early 2013. No-one knows what the future holds, but it is likely that this forthcoming venture will prove just as memorable and just as musically exhilarating as the last. With Lady Gaga continuing to rise in global momentum, her ever-growing fans wait with bated breath to see what unique universe she will create next.
Many journalists make vague comparisons with Madonna, and although in some areas, the comparisons are somewhat accurate, Lady Gaga surpasses Madonna in every respect, from singing, song writing and most of all, her interaction with her many millions of fans across the globe. During Madonna’s reign as the Queen of Pop, there was always a general undercurrent of disdain and
Article by Ben Mirza
GLOBAL RYTHMS Every major city around the globe has its batch of artists who help to shape, define and continuously
transform the dimensions of today’s music scene. These talents are as unique as the cities from which they herald, and their respective creative wells organically reflect something about the very streets they walk. From the West Coast to the Far East, and many continents in between, the musical talent of tomorrow is emerging, ready to push boundaries and subsequently drive the industry itself to new levels, whether through a catchy hook, gripping melody, incendiary lyric, or simply inimitable personal flair. The cities themselves serve as spheres of artistic propagation for these up-and-coming culture-makers, and the musicians in turn become reference points for the beloved metropolises: Cities call to mind certain musicians and musical eras (London of the 1960s, New York of the ’70s, etc.), and vice versa. Here is the newest crop of talented young artists currently on the rise, who you can find occupying the spotlights of the following global cities:
New York Hanging out on a block of Kent Avenue on the Williamsburg waterfront smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and discussing Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, or perhaps tucked into a remote corner of a lush Chinatown speakeasy, or maybe blowing out warehouse speakers in Bushwick, lie New York’s up-and-coming musical newbies. Like NYC legends of the East Village in the ’70s and ’80s, they are defining the ethos of an entire generation of young New Yorkers. Brooklyn has become the breeding ground for talent that transcends genres. In electronic music, drum and bass DJ/producer Com Truise has achieved status as underground royalty, his innovation with beats testing the boundaries of what most call techno. Sinkane, the afro-funk five-piece whose reign over the live show circuit in Brooklyn included a recent residency at Zebulon, is led by the multi-instrumental Ahmed Gallab, who rumour has it may just be the next Twin Shadow. Sharon Van Etten, the acoustic rock goddess who rules the indie scene, was cherry-picked by none other than Kyp Malone of NYC darlings TV on the Radio as a talent that simply could not be overlooked in New York’s sea of young musicians who write and record sad songs in their bedrooms. This year, Van Etten will be on tour opening for Nick Cave. On the other end of the musical spectrum, the rowdy, sassy, synth-pop quintet, Friends, who formed after being forced to shack up together in Bushwick due to a bedbug infestation, have been largely perceived as teetering on the verge of real stardom. Though they have kept quiet over the past few months, making scant live appearances, which tend to sell out within minutes, they are still considered to be the next hot thing in the city that never sleeps.
Los Angeles Los Angeles has long been known as a mecca for anyone and everyone trying to “make it” in the entertainment industry. In fact, there’s an LA graveyard for rock legends of yore—Hollywood Forever Cemetery—which even houses a music venue that has become a hipster hotspot over the past year. LA is also indisputably the centre of gravity for all the major record labels and management companies. For many, it represents the only path to greatness. There are scores of highly ambitious people competing for a select number of spots. Rising to the top of that pack currently is Haim, the folky synthpop trio of preternaturally talented sisters who used to play live music around town with their parents, Partridge Family style, and who are now as adults on the verge of releasing one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Wavves, the too-cool-for-school surf rockers from San Diego are beginning to, well, make waves in the LA music scene. They have a new album coming out this spring, which will apparently give everything else a run for its money, and will push the band into even greater leagues. Rhye, the mysterious LA-based duo comprised of singer/producer Mike Milosh and producer Robin Braun, make exquisite, minimalist, synth-laden R&B. They only recently released their first album, Woman, but already have the whole industry abuzz with excitement. They are currently holding
the No. 10 spot on US iTunes. Sky Ferreira is a former model/ actress who is now focusing on her music career. This endeavour has been attempted time immemorial by dozens of others before her, who have failed miserably and become emblems of celebrity self-worship as a result. Ferreira, however, has succeeded. Her live performances are becoming wildly popular to attend, thanks to her impressive chops (she was trained as an opera singer as a child) and the spectacular laser shows that accompany each set. Though her debut album has not even dropped yet (it’s slated for release this spring), she already has the whole city buzzing.
Detroit Detroit, despite current hardships and hurdles, is considered to be the cradle of some of the greatest musicians and most recognizable musical genres of our time. It is home to Motown the progenitor of R&B, which eventually metamorphosed into what we know today as hip-hop. Finally it became (arguably) the birthplace of electronic music and currently hosts one of the more famous techno festivals in the world. While some perceive it to be in a devastating state of shambles, others see it as a city full of life and opportunity for new growth. There has hence been a slow but steady reverse talent drain back to Detroit, after a decade of population decline.
Amongst those beginning to give the city a breath of momentum, establishing a new direction in which art and music can head, include prodigy drummer and electronic artist Shigeto, who recently returned to Detroit from New York City, and has over the years accumulated an avid fan base for his talent and innovation with regards to melding live and electronic performance. Aside from an ever-bourgeoning electronic scene in Detroit, there is also a budding indie pop cohort. Rai Knight’s music is a fresh blend of electronic dance music and synth pop along the lines of Robyn and Class Actress, and she is considered to be the current darling of the pop scene in Detroit. The songstress was recently featured in a Pepsi campaign, and her much buzzed-about sophomore album is due out this year. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is the musical brainchild of Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein, who have perhaps already surpassed the threshold of indie fame, after signing to Warner Bros. The duo genre-bends funk and electronic, layering soulful melodies over each track to produce an infectiously catchy signature style. Alex Winston, the experimental multi-instrumentalist from Bloomfield Hills who has been compared to Kate Bush and Karen O, will soon be ruling the indie pop charts. Her tracks have been used for commercials and TV shows, and she recently performed at Bestival and was featured on YouTube’s watchlistentell.
been gaining steam since 2007. After releasing their second studio album in 2011, they began to garner international attention across Europe, and stateside as well, with a successful string of US shows, including a live stream on Flavorwire. They are currently recording much-anticipated new material. Housse De Racket has emerged in Paris as “the band to watch”. Signed to Kitsune, they make the kind of dreamy synthpop over which hipsters in Brooklyn go absolutely gaga. So popular, in fact, that the global scene excuses the fact that they sing predominately in French (a facet considered for the most part a detriment to French bands trying to break through internationally). La Blogothèque, not so much a musical act as it is an institution unto itself, began when a group of young Parisian music lovers began video recording musicians play sets that would later be coined as “take-away shows” in other peoples’ apartments around Paris. Not just any musicians either. La Blogothèque was successful in curating take away shows headlined by Beirut, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend and St. Vincent with Andrew Bird—before any of them were particularly famous, that is. They recently scored a sponsorship deal with Wrigley gum, and are now hosting takeaway shows in cities across the globe that are in turn streamed live onto their YouTube channel for the world to watch in real time.
Paris Across the Atlantic Ocean into the Old World and its revered City of Lights, the music scene has been steadily evolving over decades into what has become a generation-defining era of electronic and dance music. Out of this trend, producers from across the country have converged in Paris and are spearheading labels like Kitsune and Sound Pellegrino, which, without missing a beat, continue to churn out high-calibre talent into the airwaves and onto the global stage. Woodkid, the solo project of Yoann Lemoine, who recently transitioned from a career in film and animation to multi-instrumental electronic music, and who has produced countless music videos for major pop stars ranging from Lana Del Rey to Drake and Rihanna, is living up to his reputation as he settles into his new career. His first album, The Golden Age, came out in March. Even prior to its release, his video for one of its singles “Run Boy Run” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Video. In addition to Paris’ rich electronic music tradition, bands like Phoenix pioneered an entire movement of French indie, paving the way for artists like The Dø, who make experimental folk-rock, and have
LONDON London has always been one of the top cities in the world for music. Seemingly every decade in modern British history produced an entire slew of rock legends, many of which not only broke artistic boundaries, but socio-cultural boundaries as well from the Beatles and the Stones, who aligned themselves with the civil rights movement in the States, to early punk rock and new wave, whose messages were seamlessly intertwined with issues around class divisions that pervaded the entire country. London was the musical amplifier for everything that was happening throughout England, and still holds the reputation as a nexus of creativity and social awareness as well as an engine that drives new trends in music. The new generation of trailblazers won’t disappoint. Gold Panda, a composer and electronic producer, is currently at the top of the game in London. He broke onto the scene thanks to his self-produced collection of remixes, which were so instantaneously popular as soon as he made them public, that he was almost immediately snatched up by boutique avant-pop label Ghostly International. His 2010 debut full-length won The Guardian’s first album award, and he hasn’t looked back since. Charli XCX is
Housse de Racket
considered the current reigning princess of electropop in London. So far she’s released a handful of singles and a few EPs, which have alone catapulted her to the top of the charts and indie blogs, and have garnered her comparisons to Zola Jesus and M.I.A. Her debut album due out in April is, to say the least, highly anticipated. Novella, the London-based all female psychedelic/noise trio has already made its mark on the indie scene, when their eponymously titled EP elicited comparisons to shoegaze demigods My Bloody Valentine, as well as Jefferson Airplane. Word on the street is that 2013 will be their year. Post War Years have literally been described as the future of indie pop, even though they’ve (ironically) been in existence since 2008. Their new album, which came out in March of this year pushes the boundaries of conventional pop music, employing experimental sampling and polyrhythmic beats, creating an entire genre unto itself.
BERLIN Dance on the Tightrope
The music scene in Berlin has always been quite the envy of other major cities. It is the birthplace of a diversity of genres and is a destination for musicians, mostly DJs, who want to expatriate themselves from their countries of origin (Richie Hawtin and Peaches were two of the pioneers of this movement). It’s the Berlin pull, some ineffable gravitational field that sucks talent from around the world into its depths. Because of this, and despite the wide array of musical offerings the city hosts, techno is what it is ultimately known for. However there’s an entire other world of music in the city that is wielding its own influence on the global scene, unbeknownst to anyone. Dance On The Tightrope, a four-piece electronic outfit has been in existence since 2009, but only recently broke out of the underground scene, thanks to their second successful EP, which led the band to win the coveted Berlinvision Song Contest. Alphacloud is an “indietronica” quartet comprised of members who all migrated from various countries to make rock that is infused with “delicate electronic sounds”, according to the band. According to the blogs, however, they are a force to be reckoned with.
SEOUL Thanks to K-pop and the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon that subsequently took the world by storm, South Korea has become a global fascination vis-à-vis the music scene. Despite the fact that Psy was perhaps responsible for the sudden outpour of interest in K-pop, there is in fact a long line of artists who came before him, and many are now gaining comparable popularity. 2NE1, the all girl K-pop quartet from Seoul, has been around since 2009. They released several singles and an EP in South Korea, all garnering positive criticism. However, it was when they came stateside that they began to blow up. The New York Times described their show at the Prudential Center in New Jersey as one of the “best concerts of 2012”. Now their debut album is in the works, being produced by will.i.am, and is set to come out later this year. MBLAQ, who have been around since 2009, are beginning to surface to the top of what has become a highly ubiquitous genre of music—no easy feat. The male vocal quintet recently completed their first tour of Asia.
SYDNEY Over the course of the latter part of the 20th century, Australia became known as a melting pot for different types of music from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, with Sydney at the centre of the scene. From AC/DC (currently one of the five topselling artists in the history of the US music industry) to The Vines, Sydney has produced bands that can compete on the world stage for some of the bigger spotlights. Some have said that the island is in fact teeming with such talent. Steve Smyth is purportedly the millennial generation’s Tom Waits (of Australia that is), with vocal chops that knock you right off your feet. The brooding troubadour, who is gaining more and more recognition, recently opened for megastars The Killers. The Rubens is a quartet of irritatingly cute and vocally talented young men who have recently drawn comparisons to Kings of Leon. Since practically their formation as a band, and with only one album out, they have played sold-out shows the country over. Elizabeth Rose, a 22-year-old solo electronic/ pop producer, makes songs that are as catchy as they are wholly original. Though young, she has already made a mark on the industry. She released her debut EP last year, was quickly named by Inthemix as one of “25 under 25”, and was the only female artist on Radar Radio’s list of “Top 20 Aussie Electronic Artists You Need to Know in 2012”. Article by Marianne White
A$AP ROCKY 32
Have you heard of A$AP Rocky? No, not Aesop Rock, but A$AP Rocky, the 24-year-old wunderkind from Harlem, New York, who has tapped into what makes hip-hop heads tick in 2012, and is planning nothing short of domination when it comes to 2013. He is the self-described “pretty motherfucker”. The figure who pairs couture with gold grills; who a few short months ago no-one had heard of, but is now gaining global recognition; who represents a push towards a new breeding ground between hip-hop and everything else.
T H E RI S E O F
A $ A P ROC K Y
during a time when the rap industry is in a position of uncanny power, yet has to find a way to fit into a rapidly changing music cannon.
With little more than a mixtape to his name, A$AP Rocky managed to secure himself an unheard of $3 million dollar deal with RCA Records in 2011, with $1.7 million dedicated to the production of his first studio album, and the other $1.3 million as a nest egg to help foster his collective, A$AP Mob, and group label, A$AP Worldwide.
The mythology of the rapper, thusly, has changed. Where bullet wounds and a history of arrests were once vital to their personal brand—a sort of unwritten guarantee that they were a seasoned member of the streets and could speak of struggle aptly and with vigour—the nouveau rapper is no longer interested in just the confines of the block. Their goal is largely to be seen as artistic provocateurs, with a vision all their own and the empire to see it through. A$AP fits this new mould, but his role in the tonal shift of the Rap Industrial Complex has, of course, benefitted from the figures that have come before him, having dabbled and taken little bits and pieces of all their mythos. His flamboyance and love of fashion is largely thanks to Kanye West; his Harlem pride, the result of all the East Coast rappers who helped build the genre in its infancy; his ability to tonally match the cadence of his genremashing instrumentals come from an ear turned firmly towards pop melodies. Even his birthname, Rakim Mayers, finds its roots in hip-hop’s early icons, having been named after MC Rakim.
This is, for lack of a better term, interesting. Hype has, as a concept, always played a pivotal role in the narrative of hip-hop. In its earliest stages, an MC required the work of a hypeman to rile up the crowd in preparation for a thunderstorm of bars. Yet once hiphop became decidedly profitable—thanks in large part to the East Coast/West Coast rap wars putting the genre on the map by first putting them in the headlines—the industry’s biggest labels (Def Jam Records, Death Row Records and the like) could suddenly afford to create hype as opposed to just relying on it. Hype in hip-hop history thusly breaks down into two distinct timelines: Hip-Hop as an outlier in the mid-1990s, with Snoop Dogg’s 1993 debut Doggystyle and Nas’ 1994 debut Illimatic peppering the decade and representing the gradual build of the underground; and hip-hop’s true assimilation in the early 2000s, with the industry actively manifesting its own hype and expectation—best embodied with 50 Cent’s 2003 debut, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which achieved self-proclaimed “classic” status before it had even been released.
A$AP Rocky is in many ways a rapper who is affirming that the shifts made in hop-hop’s third decade are no fluke, but part of the genre’s overall evolution—tropes that are moving towards something. Where it’s moving remains unclear, but A$AP is a conscious player, strategic in the vision of his own place within hip-hop, at a time when genre means both everything and nothing. His collaboration with designers like Alexander Wang, as well as his embracing of the high fashion world from the very start, would be in stark contrast to his hardened, street-raised image, but the two traits are no longer mutually exclusive. Rocky’s now famous embracement of the gay community—long feeling the sting of hiphop’s self-imposed distance—has been deemed progressive and significant in each and every utterance of his rising star status.
This is what makes A$AP Rocky’s debut album, Long.Live.A$AP, such an interesting moment on the cultural radar, as it manifests itself as both industry and street hype at the same time. The reign of A$AP Rocky, while still in its infancy, has come seemingly out of nowhere, built on a specific brand of industry promotion disguised as ambient buzz, and proving most prolific in the days since the new millennium. Through keen self-promotion, online hype, and big-label backing, A$AP has come to embody hip-hop’s new direction—a fusion of on-the-streets mythology and in-the-studio perfection.
What A$AP has become in his short time on the radar is a true amalgamation of everything that has happened in the years since hip-hop went from underground genre to profitable industry. He mixes the cadence and drawl of the new millennium Southern rap, the laid-back rhythm of west coast production, and the unique sampling of New York greats. He represents progressive rap culture—a mix of the old guard and the new wave. With that, he sits between these two worlds, and represents the new step forward, which always involves looking backwards, and fooling people into thinking that you’ve been standing still the whole time.
Where once hip-hop was truly impenetrable—a genre with no interest in collaboration or hybridization—today, rappers are willingly incorporating the sonic elements of pop and indie rock into their sound. Which isn’t to say that A$AP lacks any degree of rap authenticity. Where 50 Cent’s debut, the last comparable “event” in hip-hop, felt more expertly curated—a hype concocted simultaneously out of both promise (Dr. Dre did produce, after all) and thin air—A$AP Rocky is a musical artist that’s coming about
Article by Rod Bastanmehr
MUSIC IN THE DIGITAL ERA “It will be only a matter of time—months rather than years—before the music business establishment completely folds. [It will be] no great loss to the world,” said Thom Yorke in 2010, regarding the imminent demise of the music industry. And at that moment, he was indeed displaying a very keen sense of the obvious. Over the course of one historic decade starting in the late ’90s, signaled by the invention of a file-sharing program called Napster—now considered to be an archaic antecedent to modern downloading and streaming—the Internet razed the music industry to the ground. The same institutions that were once considered impenetrable culture-shaping behemoths became, throughout those years, emblematic of bygone metrics of artistic achievement representative of times long-passed, in which musicians with any sense of ambition strove toward a common goal: to get signed to a major record label and have their music subsequently purchased by the masses in a physically commodified form.
The seeds of this coup, to be exact, were sewn through the invention of the MP3 by the German research institute FraunhoferGesellschaft. The MP3’s advent, combined with the exponentially rapid advancement of bandwidth technology, meant that audio files previously considered fathoms too large to download without losing their structural integrity—a typical CD track consumes 35 megabytes of disc space for example—were eventually compressed down to 3 megabytes, without having to forego sound quality. As a result music became cheaply and instantly available to all but those with the slowest Internet connection. This was the lynchpin in what would eventually become the digital age in music. The next steps forward for this new movement would prove to be quantum leaps, signposting to a previously marginalised artistic
When digital music began to challenge and downright commandeer tried-and-true methods of production and distribution, despite efforts by the likes of labels, management companies and fellow artists (ahem, Metallica and their now laughable suit against Napster) to stymie this inexorable march, the industry came to a veritable standstill. Anemic CD sales combined with a rapidly shrinking market for high-gloss, spectacularly produced and groomed talent, created a power vacuum. The remaining void was in turn filled by a pedestrian class of record labels, musicians, producers, and visual artists, who were bestowed, thanks to a confluence of things, with the tools needed to scale the same artistic heights as those their canonised predecessors reached—only within the comfort and cost-efficient confines of their own bedrooms.
independent, self-directed business plans. Even rock icons like Radiohead were ditching their labels and self-releasing albums online, allowing fans to pay what they wanted for a download. It was beginning to appear as if Thom Yorke’s prediction was coming home to roost, right on schedule.
community that there were avenues by which their music could be showcased with the flip of a switch and the press of a button. By the early ’00s, a “perfect storm” began to brew, involving the proliferation of highly advanced music recording and editing software. In addition was the unparalleled rise in popularity of Apple Inc. as the eminent purveyor of technological tools by which to run these software programs efficiently, as well as a culturemaker with regards to portable electronic media players (Who could resist those tiny, colourful iPods that could hold one’s entire library yet were small enough to carry in a change purse?). By 2003, the digital movement had reached its tipping point with the creation of iTunes, the first legal music downloading application, and was now a revolution. Piracy could no longer be pinned as the primary source of the industry’s decline. In the blink of an eye, total systemic disintegration was happening across the spectrum. Anyone and everyone possessing even an ounce of creativity and ambition was producing and sharing music of relatively high calibre and quality for almost no cost.
Apparently though, the music industry, like a cat, lands on its feet even after falling from an illustrious $39 billion perch (global music sales from a decade ago, according to the Federation). Legal music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, amongst others, which were established in the mid-to-late ’00s, began to gain speedy momentum over the past few years, replacing downloading as an easy way to hear just about anything one could want for a low monthly subscription fee. These subscription-based offerings are now growing exponentially (an astonishing 44% from last year for Spotify), and are providing the industry, which receives licensing revenue from each stream, with what has perhaps been a life-saving shot of adrenaline. Some things stay the same, of course. Artists still continue to make almost nothing off of their music sales (less than one cent per play on Pandora). Instead, they hope for endorsements, royalties from commercial usage, as well as profits from high-end merchandise like deluxe, limited-edition and collectible LPs, posters and album art. However, this year, for the first time since 1999, the music industry as a whole reported an increase in sales from the previous year. Though it was only a 0.3 percent change—a meager $16.5 billion in revenue—it is something to shake a stick at after a decade of stagnation. And this boost can ironically be attributed to services the Internet—once the enemy of the industry—is offering up. Says the chief executive of Sony International, Edgar Berger, “At the beginning of the digital revolution, it was common to say that digital was killing music, [and now] digital is saving music.” It is a long-overdue comeuppance that many thought would never come.
Thanks to this early catalyst, which irrevocably changed the business model of the music industry, people were no longer opting to buy $20 CDs when they could select their favourite tracks off of an album to be purchased for $1 instead. At the same time, digital marketing was beginning its climb toward fever pitch with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud allowing artists to unmoor themselves from traditional marketing and distribution conventions and create their own spheres of influence. Previously infallible music execs were shaking in their boots as shares plummeted before their eyes. The mainstream cohort of labels in the US had record declines in revenue from music sales, from $14.6 billion in 1999 to $6.3 billion in 2009, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reported; Universal and EMI were essentially forced to merge; artists increasingly bowed out of record deals in favor of
Article by Marianne White
Jennifer Lopez Photographed by Warwick Saint
Musicians have long been a driving force in fashion. At a time when the Beyoncés of the world now command a presence alongside fashion show staples like Anna Wintour, it’s clear that musicians have staked their claim on the fashion industry like never before. Some have even dared to step out from beyond the flashes of the front row to make a name for themselves on the runway. As with any musical endeavour, there have been hits, misses, one-hit wonders and those that have risen to platinum status in the sometimes-fickle, all-too-critical industry of fashion.
than for once being known as Posh Spice. The chic wearability of the clothes, coupled the sharp and classic public image Beckham projects (which most women who buy her clothes would love to emulate; handsome husband and adorable sons included), it’s no surprise that her career as a designer has been such a success. Beckham knows this better than anyone. Of her Spring 2013 collection, she says, “There’s not one thing out there that I wouldn’t wear myself.” The designer will launch her own website in the spring where her clothing will be available for purchase.
Two names that stand out for successfully transitioning their musical careers into fashion franchises are Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson. Launching their respective lines in 2001 and 2006, both singers created lifestyle brands that include everything from clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry and other affordable goods for teens and women at American department stores like Macy’s and Kohl’s. While this isn’t exactly high fashion, both musicians have steadily built their brands. Lopez took home the top spot on Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 List this past year, with earnings of over $52 Million in one year, coming from not only her music and TV deals, but also a large portion from her Kohl’s fashion line, signature fragrances and product endorsements, evidence of the power and success of her brand. Meanwhile Simpson’s collection hit an estimated $1 billion in sales at the end of last year, making it the first celebrity line to reach such heights. Perhaps realizing that her talents in fashion outshine her singing successes of late, the new mother recently announced the expansion of her maternity line, which marks the 24th line in her fashion empire. What is it that makes these two musicians so commercially popular in such an impenetrable business? Fashion editor and brand consultant Benjamin Setiawan says it’s all about making your line accessible. “Musicians may be able to sell out stadiums, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that their clothing will sell out in stores or hold on to real estate at top retailers. A musician can capitalise on their clout by focusing on the mass market and having lines that are easily accessible online and at department stores.”
Gwen Stefani stepped into a new creative spotlight with the launch of L.A.M.B. in 2003. At first just a collaboration with LeSportsac, the line, which is an acronym for Stefani’s first solo album, has garnered much attention at New York Fashion Week for several years in a row for its high-energy runway presentations. If any musician has knowledge of design, it’s Stefani, who comes from a family of seamstresses. When she first started touring, she made many of her own outfits. L.A.M.B. continues to create clothing that reflects the singer’s personal sense of style and her connection to music. Her unique ability to sell what might not be considered mainstream fashion sets her apart from other celebrity designers. Despite her strong fashion aesthetic and talent with the thread, these days she admits she is less hands-on with the brand. “I’ve learned to delegate,” she says. This is hardly surprising, considering her music commitments - including the release of a new No Doubt album, “Push and Shove” in September 2012 and their North American tour.
Victoria Beckham graced the pages of many a fashion magazine for her sophisticated, daring-yet-accessible style choices before taking up the helm of her own line. With the help of celebrity friends like Eva Longoria donning her designs, her collection of body-slimming looks routinely sell out at high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Serving as both designer and muse for her brand, the always-impeccably coiffed and styled Beckham is much more well known these days for her posh brand
While female musicians have stepped into the designer ring, so too have the men. In 2006 Justin Timberlake launched William Rast with his childhood friend Trace Ayala. Named after a combination of their grandfathers’ first and last names, the line of denim and casual wear for men and women has maintained a steady stream of success. With his foray into fashion proving worthwhile, Timberlake proves he’s more than just a renaissance man, but a bona fide entrepreneur as well.
With what could be considered one of the most highly anticipated clothing line debuts in the past few years, Kanye West’s womenswear collection DW brought much hype and little else. In a classic case of smoke before the fire, the critics (and there were many) were harsh. One review compared its debut to an MRI scan, while New York Times’ Cathy Horyn suggested he hire a tailor, “so clothes might fit.” Many in the fashion industry speculate about the reasons for West’s failure to hit the mark. High price points, a lack of direction, and far too high of expectations are just some of the reasons cited. While he didn’t show at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, it’s too soon to tell if West will continue to pursue this foray. For now, he still maintains his status as a style icon, pushing the boundaries with his own fashion choices. This past December the rapper turned heads appearing in concert in a Givenchy leather skirt. With so many taking a so-called fashion risk like these musicians have, the correlation between the two industries has become clear. Both are driven by a desire to be creative, and both require great risks in order to make one’s mark. In a culture where celebrities become tastemakers whether they like it or not, the two worlds of stardom and fashion are closely intertwined. For those musicians who are brave enough to take on the runway, it’s not an easy walk. In the words of one critic from the International Herald Tribune in regards to Kanye West’s debut, those looking to make the venture themselves should take heed: “Everyone can love fashion, but not everyone can be a designer.”
Kayne West Runway Fall / Winter 12
Other Musicians who’ve tempted their fate in the fashion world: – Bono: In 2005 the Irish singer launched Edun, an eco-friendly, socially-conscious line that promotes fair trade in Africa. Bono’s commitment to aid the continent has led to a successful endeavour that promotes the use of organic materials. The line has partnered with Diesel to launch a denim line that will hit stores this spring. – Liam Gallagher: From band to brand, the one-time Oasis member dipped his fingers into the fashion pot in 2009 with Pretty Green, a menswear line that’s been described as clothing for the “mods.” With stores in England, the brand has yet to make its jump across the pond. – Pharrell Williams: The songster’s Billionaire Boys Club includes shirts, coats, jackets, hats and shoes for men sold in limited quantities at high price points. – Black Eyed Peas: Both Fergie and will.i.am have put their names on separate namesake lines. Fergie’s shoe line caters to the stylish woman on a budget, while will.i.am’s clothing line matches in line with the futuristic style the singer exhibits onstage. – Avril Lavigne: Known for her punk-girl look, it was no surprise when Lavigne debuted Abbey Dawn, a lifestyle brand that mimics her rock ‘n’ roll style. – Sean Combs: Leaving his stage name behind, the rapper known as Puff Daddy (or P.Diddy or Diddy depending on the day) expanded upon his empire in 1998 with his own clothing line. In 2004, he was named Men’s Designer of the Year by the CFDA, an award that goes a ways in proving one’s worth in the industry. Today the brand commands a presence in Macy’s department stores. – Yoko Ono: Her recent collaboration with New York boutique Opening Ceremony has resulted in a 52-piece menswear collection. The collection is based on drawings she gave to John Lennon as a wedding present in 1969, so as should be expected, it retains that same level of Yoko engagement with the bizarre and unique.
Victoria Beckham Runway Spring / Summer 13
Article by Liz Hazzard
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THE MOST TALKED ABOUT ALBUM RELEASES OF THE YEAR
Azealia Banks: Broken With Expensive Taste
David Bowie: The Next Day It’s David Bowie, and it’s his first album of new material in over ten years, and it’s his twenty-fourth album, which is itself worth applause. Much has been made about how well the album was kept under wraps, especially in an age where music can leak seemingly before it even being finished. Bowie is still the centre of his own universe, releasing the single, the album title, and the tracklist on his 66th birthday.
Azealia Banks rose suddenly when the video for her track “212” went viral. Since it’s release, the video has amassed over 45 million views, making Banks the woman to watch in the rap game. Her debut album has been seen its fair share of delays, originally slated for a November 2012 drop. Banks has since confirmed that her unique blend of hardcore rap and genre-mashing beats will see the light of day this year.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push the Sky Away
Lady Gaga: ARTPOP Lady Gaga hasn’t released new music since Born This Way in 2011. In late 2012, the star tweeted a picture of her newest tattoo, the word ARTPOP, and teased that 2013 would see the release of a new album. Gaga has said that she’s written over 50 new songs for the album, which means either she’s prepping her magnum opus, or she has a long way to go.
Nick Cave is truly one of the last mythic rock stars. While he’s been anything but totally silent in the years since his last album, working with his side project Grinderman and writing screenplays, Push the Sky Away features collaborations with people behind some of Cave’s best work. The Bad Seeds’ 15th album is sure to be, at the very least, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Cave: the unexpected.
The Flaming Lips: The Terror
M.I.A.: Matangi M.I.A. has staked her claim as one of the first major artists of the millennium, releasing three studio albums. Recently M.I.A. has released a new mixtape, Vicki Leex, which spawned hit single “Bad Girls”, but her new album, Matangi, rumoured to have flavours of her previous albums, has remained suspiciously under wraps. M.I.A. lifts the curtain this April, with the album set for an April release date.
The Flaming Lips have been all but silent since 2009’s Embryonic. They’ve written and recorded a 24-hour song, played 9 concerts a day, covered King Crimson, and worked with a varied roster of artists, from Yoko Ono to Ke$ha. The Terror will be the band’s 15th studio album. The album will feature a departure from the Lips’ more psychedelicorchestra approach, set to release in April.
Earl Sweatshirt: Doris
Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience
It’s been seven years since FutureSex/ LoveSounds dropped, and there has been no shortage of clamoring for music, even while Timberlake stayed mum on the subject and focused on his acting career. Timberlake had kept his music career under wraps until finally unveiling plans for an album, its title and its lead single, “Suit and Tie (ft. Jay-Z)”, all in one week. The specific release date has yet to be confirmed, although it is likely this summer.
Earl Sweatshirt was the first rapper from hip-hop collective Odd Future to blow up in the blogosphere. His first studio album, Earl, released in 2011, brought attention to the gang shortly before Earl himself was shipped off to Samoa. Earl has since been featured on the group’s second album, on Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE, and has released “Chum,” his latest single from the upcoming album Doris, to release in 2013.
Arcade Fire has become an irreplaceable element in today’s music scene. The Canadian band made a splash with their 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year, The Suburbs. Fans have since awaited new work, settling for rumours for now: that LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy has been with them in the studio. “Crucified Again” is the only single to materialise from the band so far, though the album is due out in 2013.
her critically acclaimed EP True is any indication, 2013 is set to be the Year of Solange Knowles. The little sister of superstar Beyoncé has crafted one of the most wholly original works of an emerging artist. Layering synth afrobeats over an ’80s-era ballad in “Losing You” was an inspired choice that served as a peek into her album’s sound and Solange’s sensibility.
Bat for Lashes | Imogen Heap | Wynter Gordon | Delilah | Alexz Johnson
Foxes | Alexandra Burke | Alexandra McDermott | Dionne Bromfield Sharon Van Etten | Medina | Laura Comfort | Tamara Kaboutchek | Soko
BAT FOR LASHES
Natasha Khan, 22 From London, England Photographed by Indira Cesarine
“I really like the idea of how storytelling tells things about people through the use of metaphors,” says the ever-mythical Natasha Khan. Bat for Lashes, Khan’s musical brainchild, has been on everyone’s “up-and-coming” list for the latter part of the last decade as THE indie artist to watch. As a child, she was uprooted from her native London to a commuter town, where she was the victim of racism regarding her Pakistani heritage. In turn, she was inspired to learn piano as a way of better expressing her bevy of thoughts. She worked in a card-packing factory and as a nursery school teacher before releasing her first album, Fur and Gold, in 2006. The album earned her rave reviews, as well as multiple nominations for Mercury and Brit Awards for her singing-songwriting and multi-instrumental knowhow. Having channeled her complicated past into stunningly realised lyrics, she makes music that speaks to her audience on an emotional level, referred to as “at once haunting and way danceable”. Her debut single “The Wizard”, which she released through her own imprint, sheBear Records, gained quick traction, and her debut album became a favourite in the blogosphere, ending up on a host of year-end lists, and earning her the coveted spot as Radiohead’s opening act for their 2008 tour. Since then she’s released two other albums, the most recent of which, The Haunted Man, came out in the summer of 2012. Upon its release, it was named “one of the year’s most beguiling albums”. Riding on the wave of acclaim for The Haunted Man, Khan was nominated for a Brit Award in the Best British Female category. Don’t miss her on tour this spring in the US, as well as hitting the stage at Coachella and Field Day Music Festivals.
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Natasha wears a top and skirt by Chris Benz and her own jewellery. Hair & Make-up by Kela Wong
Imogen Heap, 35 From Havering, London Photographed by Laura Hart
For most people, Imogen Heap’s music is recognised from its features in films and TV. Heap is a Grammy Award-winner – notably, the first female to ever win for engineering. In addition to working on new material for her upcoming album, she is helping to develop a run-time jogging app alongside Rob Thomas of RjDj. “The app is intended to be played at your perfect running tempo, but will never be the same twice, always evolving and harmonising the ambient sounds around you via your microphone!” Imogen Heap is a woman whose life is thoroughly connected to music. She has spent the past several years creating something that may change our ability to interact with sound. In 2011 she developed the “gloves” – call them musical mittens – technology merging with fashion. The gloves were Heap’s way to “personalise…and humanise the tech” around her. “I wanted to play something I could move and shape. I want the music to feel how it sounds.” The gloves are “both an instrument, a controller and a means to augment real audio on the fly”. Heap then took the idea one step further with designer Rachel Freire and combined tweed and tech to create what at first glance could be referred to as a ruffle bolero – however, look closely and you will see transparent tech running throughout. Imogen’s passion lays in her desire to move music forward, and to push the boundaries of technology. She has come full circle and will curate a festival at Camden’s famous venue, The Roundhouse, whilst working on her forthcoming tour. Imogen Heap’s new album and app is due for release in the autumn.
Styling and Interview by Sabina Emrit Hair & Make-up by Becky McGahern Photographed at The Round House This page: Imogen wears a dress by Pam Hogg and a bracelet by Michelle Lowe-Holder. Opposite Page: She wears a dress by Comme des Garรงons, shoulder piece and gloves by Rachel Freire, and bracelet by Michelle Lowe-Holder.
Stylist: Erin McSherry Hair by Joseph DiMaggio Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano This page: Wynter wears a dress by Renzo + Kai with boots by Alessandro Oteri. Opposite page: Dress by Bill Blass.
Wynter Gordon, 27 From Queens, New York Photographed by Charlie Wan
“I was so shy, and I think every day after the show, I would cry, just go in the back and just cry. I knew I wasn’t in the right place, and I didn’t have the connection that I finally have with my audience now. It was so awkward! People would just stare at me,” says singer-songwriter Wynter Gordon on her past experience of badly billed tours. Luckily, however, those days are long passed, and Wynter Gordon has found her niche. Born Diana Gordon, she grew up in South Jamaica, Queens, a child of six raised in two bedrooms. At five, she began performing
WYNTER GORDON at church funerals, and for the first part of her life, was only allowed to sing gospel. After high school, Gordon, who is named after Diana Ross, changed her name to Wynter, because “the biggest diva in the world is named Diana.” She decided to fully embrace her dream of making music, launching her career by writing songs for other artists. In 2004, still just a teenager, she began writing for Mary J. Blige’s 2005 Grammy-nominated album, The Breakthrough—Blige’s biggest-selling album to this day. Soon thereafter, with such impressive credentials under her belt, she was signed to Atlantic Records, and began working on her full-length debut. “When I first got that opportunity to write for Mary J. Blige, that was my first real foot in the door as a professional. I did have horrible stage fright when I started. I guess songwriting first led into other things, led into artist development, and then I got the balls to get on stage and perform.” The fan of A$AP Rocky and Lana Del Rey—and recent SXSW performer—believes in artists who are “doing it for themselves… No-one’s giving them their power, their accolades, except for the fans. It didn’t come from a label push, it didn’t come from a radio push, it wasn’t brainwashed into people’s heads. I think that people who are really in touch with what’s going in youth culture right now, those are the important people, and they’re changing the way music is...You don’t even have to speak a word on music, you can just feel it. I think music is a power, actually. A power that people are born with. You don’t have to learn it... It’s a superpower.” Check out her new single, “Stimela”, which will be part of a series of four EPs she is releasing, called Human Condition. The first, Human Condition: Doleo was released on July 9, 2012, and the second, Human Condition: Sanguine, hit the shelves January of this year.
This page: Dress by A La Disposition, headpiece by Tamzin Lillywhite. Opposite page: Customized bra by Agent Provocateur Photographed at The Arch London Location Scout: Vanessa Horca
Delilah, 22 Born in Paris, France Lives in London Photographed by Andreas Stavrinides
I was like, ‘Really?’ It’s been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.” Prince isn’t the only ’80s icon who’s influencing Delilah’s work. “Madonna has had a really nice career. I really respect her artistry. I’m not talking about Madonna the last five years. I mean the 20 years before that. But she’s had a really amazing career and has inspired a lot of other artists.” Despite having only released her debut album in July 2012, she is already working on her follow-up—with hopes to release her second album by September 2013. She mixes up her time in the studio with live performances as much as possible. “I’m a big fan of seeing fans’ reactions—the studio can be quite a lonely place. I love the excitement of creating something new and bouncing off the energy of a new song, but there is something about seeing fans singing along.” Look out for her at various festivals this spring/ summer, with a potential North American tour in the works.
“I’m a perfectionist,” says British singer-songwriter Delilah. “I’ve grown to accept my perfectionism, but it’s something that makes everyone around me wacko.” The Paris-born Delilah has been perfecting her style since an early age, writing her first song at 12 and signing with Atlantic Records at 17. In the three years she spent writing and recording her debut studio album, From the Roots Up, she collaborated with an impressive list of writers including Sia, Emeli Sandé, Salaam Remi, Guy Chambers, Dan Carey, Sam Dixon, Rick Nowels and Fraser T Smith. “It all sort of happened organically. I haven’t been really great at planning things in my career so far,” says Delilah. “Things have sort of just rolled out, and I’ve played catch-up from the beginning.” Her music can be described as dark, soulful, melodic pop. Her success on the charts with songs “Time” and “Go” has been matched by an extensive touring schedule, including opening for Prince on his 2012 Australian tour. “Prince has been really supportive. I guess you can call him a mentor… When I first heard about the tour, I thought everyone was joking. ‘Prince is going to call you,’ I thought it was a rumour. But then I got a phone call and
Stylist: Rebekah Roy Hair by Elliot Bssila @ DWM Make-up by Julia Wilson
Delilah wears a jacket by Maryling.
ALEXZ JOHNSON Alexz Johnson, 26 Born in New Westminster, British Columbia Lives in Brooklyn, New York Photographed by Delaney Bishop
raise money to fund her US tour for her forthcoming EP, Skipping Stone. Within 24 hours, she met her $30,000 goal, and by the third day had surpassed it, raking in $50,000 to use toward the tour. “It was scary! I had no idea I would raise the money...It was a vulnerable gamble, but it was really inspiring seeing how many fans were fighting for me to tour the US.” Johnson has since stayed busy, releasing three demo albums, The Basement Recordings I, II, and III, and a documentary chronicling her tour. Her schedule is back-to-back with a US tour in the spring, including SXSW, and recordings for her second album, due to be released in 2013.
“Music became a real career choice for me around 15, when I started writing my own music with my brother, Brendan,” says Canadian actress-turned-singer Alexz Johnson. “Music has always been my main passion,” she says. “With acting, I sort of feel like it’s a ‘luck of the draw’ type situation.” After a stint on Disney’s So Weird, the multi-talented performer soon moved on to a role as a fictional pop singer on the Canadian series Instant Star, but by 2008 she was writing and producing music full-time. “With music I can share my experiences and hopefully give people something they can relate to. Moving to New York really threw me into the live music scene and I couldn’t see myself stopping after that.” Since then, Johnson has seen a string of musical successes, including the release of her debut album in 2010 and a remix album in 2011. In 2012, she launched a Kickstarter campaign to
Alexz wears a dress by Quynh Paris Stylist: Elizabeth Watson Make-up by Joanna Berdzinska Hair by Meghan McClain
Louisa Rose Allen, 23 From Southampton, England Lives in London, England Photographed by Carter B Smith
Allen gets her unique style—and taste in music—from her mother, who owns a thrift store in East London’s famed Brick Lane. “I grew up with my mum and sisters’ taste in music, which luckily was amazing. Kate Bush, Björk and Patti Smith were always playing, so I’m a big fan of strong female artists that have something to say.” Allen even credits her mum for inspiring her quirky stage name. “For some reason, the name just stuck with me, and a couple days later I rung my mum and mentioned the name, and she suddenly said, ‘Oh wow, that’s so weird. I had a dream last night that lots of foxes were running up our street and howling and making lots of haunting beautiful sounds, and it reminded me of your music!’ From that I decided to go with it, as mums are always right!” Check out Foxes’ full-length debut, The Warrior EP, on Neon Gold Records. “Its nice to finally be wrapping it all up. I’ve dreamt about this my whole life.”
“When I was 18 my sister saved me from doing a beauty course in Southampton and insisted I come up to London and stay on her sofa and go to music school,” says London-based singersongwriter Louisa Rose Allen. “After a year of living out of a suitcase… I ended up dropping out of music school, as it became clear I enjoyed running off and writing music in a bedroom rather than learning theory in a classroom!” Allen’s solo project, Foxes, is wispy electro-pop with a gothic edge akin to Florence + the Machine or Ellie Goulding. “I’m very visually inspired; I love film and people. I think there is so much inspiration in people and so much that isn’t documented… I have a big white book that documents my life that I carry with me everywhere I go. I treat songwriting like therapy. It’s just weird having your therapy session out there in the big wide world for everyone to hear.” Since transplanting in 2009, Allen has garnered quite a bit of attention, making the rounds in London’s local acoustic haunts, and has gone on to release several singles. Subsequently, her tracks have accumulated over a million plays between Youtube and Soundcloud.
Hair by Kirsten Bode Make-up by Roberto Morelli Photographed at Sutra Lounge, New York City
Skirt and arm pieces by Pam Hogg, black bodysuit by American Apparel, necklace by Vita Gottlieb and choker by Delphine Charlotte Parmienter.
ALEXANDRA Alexandra Burke, 24 From Islington, London Photographed by Elliott Morgan
“I want my music to be fun, to be uplifting and to be bold. I want it to reflect my personality. I want it to be in your face. I want it to be a beast,” says X Factor star Alexandra Burke. Since winning the fifth season of the UK’s smash reality hit, Burke’s fame has continued to rise. She broke through onto the international stage thanks to the strength of her second album, Heartbreak On Hold, as well as the notoriety she garnered through her involvement with various charities around the world. Burke’s background was shaped by music. Her mother, Melissa Bell, was member of the well known R&B band, Soul II Soul, and helped foster Burke’s passion since childhood. “My mum is my mentor; when I was younger she would push me and help me in my vocal development.” Burke’s music is thus infused with soul and R&B influences. “Whitney Houston will forever be my artiste,” she extols, although if she could be any other band in history, it would have to be Guns N’ Roses. No stranger to the trials and tribulations of “making it” in the music industry, she auditioned for The X Factor, only to be eliminated once she had broke into the top 21. That didn’t stop the London native from auditioning again come the fifth season, singing her heart out week after week. Soon thereafter, Burke went on to compete for the top spot, and sure enough, she won. Her stirring performance of her final song “Hallelujah” went down in history books as a moment to remember. She then signed a £3.5 million contract and five-album US record deal with Epic Records. “Words cannot describe what it is like to win,” she says. “Still to this day, I can’t believe I have won. I still pinch myself.” Recently she released her first Holiday EP, Christmas Gift. She’s currently recording new songs for her third album, which is slated for release this coming year and will focus on live instruments with a soulmusic feel. She is also studying acting with a hope of branching into musicals in the near future. Wherever the road takes her, it’s safe to say she’ll be riding high on top.
Stylist: Sara Darling Hair by Rio Sreedharan Make-up by John Christopher Manicurist: Lucy Tucker
Sharon Van Etten, 25 From New Jersey Lives in Brooklyn, New York Photographed by Joshua Kogan
be creative and make the most of my time.” Her newest album, Tramp, came out last February to wildly positive critical acclaim. “I feel so lucky. I was really proud of the record, and I wasn’t expecting this kind of reception. My songs aren’t exactly ‘pop’ songs.” More recently, Van Etten took part in a tribute to German icon Nico at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with one of her idols, John Cale. “Tramp is dedicated to him, so it was kind of the perfect punctuation to my insane year.” Though she doesn’t have any new releases planned for 2013, Van Etten will focus on writing new material throughout the year, and will be touring all over North America until June. Regardless of what may happen, “everything will be okay,” muses Van Etten. Indeed, she betrays the self-possession of someone who knows who she is, and what she believes in.
“Every time I look you in the eyes, I want to tear them out and hang them in the sky,” says the brooding chanteuse Sharon Van Etten, when asked about the first lyrics she ever penned, before following it up with a sardonic, “Brilliant…” Van Etten’s humility regarding her immense talent and well deserved accolades precedes her. “I did a talent show in high school and tied with a violin prodigy. I felt like a fake.” Since a run-in with TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, who encouraged her to pursue music, Van Etten has become one of the most original voices in American music. By 2009 she had released her debut album, Because I Was In Love. She went on to appear for artists like The Antlers, and in 2010 she released her second album, Epic. Her breakthrough though, according to her, came at an unlikely moment. “I was playing one of my more serious songs, and the bar went silent.” Since that fateful night, Van Etten has, for all intents and purposes, “made it.” She will be sharing the stage this spring with Nick Cave, though she shrugs off any suggestion that her newfound fame may affect her writing. “Being busy has made it more of a challenge to find time to write, but I am trying to
Stylist: Mindy Saad Hair by Charley Brown Make-up by Bruce Dean Photographed at Wendy’s Bar, Brooklyn
SHARON VAN ETTEN
This page: Sharon wears a jumpsuit by Sea New York. Opposite page: She wears a blouse by Edith A. Miller and high-waisted trousers by Rodebjer.
Medina, 30 From Aarhus, Denmark Lives in Copenhagen, Denmark Photographed by Indira Cesarine
“I think these days there are so many artists trying to ‘stick out’ that all of a sudden they become normal,” Danish singer and songwriter Medina says. Through watching just one performance from this eccentric young electropop artist (“I do electropop, not DANCE! Dance is something that existed for a short period in the ’90s”), it is made abundantly clear that normalcy is not her thing. Instead, she embodies her own tried and true words of wisdom: “Live to become the best version of yourself.” Medina shot to fame in 2008 with the release of her first single “Kun For Mig”. The track spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Danish Singles Chart, and eventually went on to reach triple-platinum. When her second, third, and fourth singles went platinum as well, Medina’s status as a pop tour de force was sealed. She has since twice won the Best Danish Act award at both the 2009 and the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. In 2010, she won six awards at the Danish Music Awards, including Female Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. Good news for someone who literally cannot function without music in her life. “It’s the most natural thing for me to have in my life. I grew up with it, and I’ll take it to my grave. It’s everything for me!” In 2013 she plans on amping up her exposure with an album and a possible tour in the works.
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Hair by Caile Noble Make-up by Sarah Uslan Photographed at Mr. Câ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Beverly Hills This page: Medina wears a bathing suit by Lee + Lani and shoes by Stuart Weitzman. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Moschino along with shoes by Pedro Garcia.
Laura Comfort From New York City Lives in London, England Photographed by Indira Cesarine
She made her mark with the release of “Let the Music Take Control”, which reached the top 10 in the club charts. “A friend who was a radio plugger handed out some of my vinyls, and the next thing I knew, I was in the charts.” Her success led to the release of Nature’s Child, her critically acclaimed 12-track album that was seemingly on repeat on BBC’s airwaves. Her second album, The Comfort Zone, spawned the infectious “Take A Chance”. She believes that as an artist, you must “stay true to yourself, because the best songs come from the soul… You need perseverance, conviction and passion to succeed.” Comfort recently wrapped recording sessions with legendary Santana producer John Ryan for her new album, Don’t Ignore Me. With her next album slated for release this year and a select US-UK tour in the works, it doesn’t seem likely that anyone could possibly ignore Laura Comfort in 2013.
“My favourite motto is written in pink neon on my wall and also tattooed on my foot: ‘Paradise is where I am.’ In other words, you create your own happiness. I try to live my life with truth, love, kindness, passion and soul.” Since moving to London, Laura Comfort has found her paradise and developed a reputation as an artist with a true eye for detail. With an ear more attuned to poetry than pop, Comfort has mixed her unique songwriting abilities with an eclectic background in guitar, gospel and more. “I started singing from an early age – always performing for my grandparents and singing in school choirs, a cappella groups, etc. My parents are both very musical, so you could say it’s in the blood.” For her part, Comfort describes her own music as “acoustic pop with elements of folk and rock... I like to write songs that are catchy yet thought-provoking at the same time.”
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Brett McCall @ Next Hair by Meagan @ Next Make-up by Cooper @ Next Laura wears a dress by Kristian Aadnevik and a studded neckpiece by Jessica Huang, along with her own jewellery.
ALEXANDRA Alexandra McDermott, 17 From Portland, Oregon Photographed by Anna Cone
Music Management after agents watched one of her YouTube videos and became convinced of her star factor. Now she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her idols – if she can just get over her butterflies first. After setting up an audition for the CEO of Atlantic Records, she was a little nervous. “I don’t think I ate for a few days. I have no idea how I survived it.” Not bad for someone still making reservations for senior prom. McDermott is currently working on her first album, with hopes of a 2013 release.
“I like black,” says Alexandra McDermott, the soulful young songstress from Portland, Oregon. McDermott’s stirring acoustic covers of Winehouse, Cake and the White Stripes, to name a few, show she shares more than just aesthetic tastes with the late Back to Black singer. Captivating the Internet with her striking looks, a brooding voice and a penchant for the classics, McDermott sings beyond her years. “Etta James and Jack White have always been my favourite musicians. Their music is very different, but I connect to it. Jack White is the most inspirational musician. I envy his passion for music and his appreciation for other great artists.” The young singer-songwriter recently wowed audiences at Erin Fetherston’s Spring / Summer 2013 runway show at New York Fashion Week. Though she only began playing music at the age of 15, her talent shines through. She was recently signed to One
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Jacquelyn Rawlings Make-up by Hazuki Photographed at C + G Studio, Brooklyn Alexandra wears a dress by Carlos Miele.
E IONN D Dionne Bromfield, 17 From East London, England Lives in Westminster, England Photographed by Roberto Aguilar
“From the age of 10 I started to realise I could sing but didn’t really take any interest into it until I started listening to Motown. That’s when I noticed I loved music. I was 12, and I was singing to an auntie, and she said to my mum, ‘Dionne can sing, you know,’ but my mum didn’t take any notice… Then Amy [Winehouse] signed me to her record label – and here I am now.” Though Bromfield’s story seems sprinkled with fairy dust, it has been a rockier road than one may imagine, considering she lost Winehouse – who was her godmother and one of the most important people in her life – along the way. But Bromfield emerged both older and wiser. With her strong and soulful R&B voice, she has carved out a musical niche and personal style for herself. “A lot has happened from my last album to this album,” she says. “I’ve grown up a lot and have had loads of new experiences. A lot has happened in my life that might be bad or good, but it’s going to be a very honest album. Almost like my diary, but just put into song.” After her breakthrough performance on Strictly Come Dancing, Bromfield’s short career went from strength to strength with two full-length studio albums. She juggles her music career with TV presenting and acting – with a new TV series and film role also in the works. How does she do all this? As she says: “Never say never,” and “Always stay grounded.” Look out for her on her UK TV series, Friday Download, and stay tuned for her new album, out this year. Stylist: Irene Manicone Hair by Elvire Roux Make-up by Gosia Byliniak Photographed at Wonderland Studios, London Dress and jacket by Faith Connection; shoes by Shellys London.
TAMARA Tamara Kaboutchek, 28 Born in South Africa Lives in Paris, France Photographed by Michael Daks
“I love the ability of music, when it’s like a sense, to bring you back to a moment. It’s a souvenir, it awakens your spirit, your memory, like a smell or a vision, it’s like magic and makes everything believable and possible,” Tamara Kaboutchek says. The South African-born, half-Chilean, half-Greek singer-songwriter lives in Paris, where she writes and has performed. Indeed, her musical experience sounds magical. “I started singing with some friends who have a band in Greece where I was just spending the summer, and we played some live shows on an island. I ended up living there for a couple of years and learned how to write my own songs.” The style of her first album, Full Moon Doll, inspired by her many loves lost, is likened to the vocal leanings of Feist and Jane Birkin, though she counts her influences as those a few generations older: Fleetwood Mac (“back in the good years”), Concrete Blonde, and Patti Smith. With a look inspired by “English music and a Parisian lifestyle”, she’s looking to branch out as an artist. She is currently recording new work and planning to act in her first movie. Look out in 2013 for her forthcoming EP and a spring tour. And if she hadn’t gone into music? “I’d be a vulcanologist.” As she says, “Danger is great joy, dark is bright as fire, happy is our family, lonely is the ward.”
Stylist: Patrick Boffa Hair & Make-up by Cindy Leroux Tamara wears a lace dress by Balensi, a Swarovski clutch by Sylvia Toledano and boots by United Nude.
Soko, 27 From Bordeaux, France Lives in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Michael Daks
music industry as being too much for her. During this interim, she scored a César Award nomination for Most Promising Actress for her role in À L’origine. In 2011, she gave music a second chance and by 2012 released her first full-length album, I Thought I Was an Alien. On her look, Soko says it can really affect her music: “I do feel like however I dress dictates my mood of the day. Right now, I’m recording, so I have to have to wear something red everyday. The movie The Red Shoes is my favourite movie of all time. Red equals passion. So if I wear my red ’80s Doc Martens to the studio, I feel like I’m doing the right thing.” She must be wearing those red Docs right now, as she is currently back in the recording studio working on her second full-length album, My Dreams Dictate My Reality, which has a tentative release date of 2013. In the meantime, she will be promoting her new film Augustine and touring.
“We might be dead by tomorrow” is both a song and a motto to Stéphanie Sokolinski, the French musician and actor known as Soko. “I’m team love, I’m a lover, I’m here to love. I can’t imagine life without hugs, snuggles, cuddles. Rebel against what? Waste of time. Not for me. I’d rather spend my time adding more magic romance to this world!” Following her own carpe diem advice, Soko left home at 16 to study acting with Eva Saint-Paul in Paris, appearing in several films. Just as Soko’s film career started to take off, she began writing songs. Before she knew it, she had a hit single, “I’ll Kill Her”, in Denmark and Australia. “My first sold-out show. I cried during most of the show ’cause I was too overwhelmed and couldn’t believe people knew my songs...I felt like I didn’t deserve that much attention. I still feel like that most of the time, though. It hasn’t changed.” She put out her debut, self-released EP Not Sokute in 2007 on her own label, Babycat Records, before surprising her fans by taking a hiatus from music to focus on acting, citing the high-pressure
Stylist: Patrick Boffa Hair & Make-up by Cindy Leroux
T Mills | Dan Black | Kristian Marr | Ben Montague | Jesse Wood
LADS Brad Oberhofer | Machine Gun Kelly | Charlie Siem | Lloyd
S ILL TM
Stylist: Nicole R. Janowicz This page: Travis wears a hoodie by Joy Rich, shirt by Clade and his own jewellery. Opposite page: Travis wears a suit by Marc Jacobs, bow tie by Jill Pineda and his own shirt.
T. Mills, 23 From Riverside, California Lives in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Jeff Forney @ Creative 24
“I had a credit card, and it said Travis T. Mills on it. I was trying to think of a name regarding my MySpace page, and my friend said, ‘Dude, T. Mills. It’s super easy.’ And it’s my real name. Not like Lil’ Travis or anything crazy.” And that’s the story of how 23-year-old Travis Tatum Mills acquired his emcee moniker. Mills has been playing music since he was young, though his career took off in the fashion of a true Millennial: He purchased a Macbook, learned GarageBand, and utilised social media platforms like MySpace to get his tracks out to the masses. “I was always involved with music. My grandpa gave me a guitar when I was about 4 or 5 years old, so I started banging around on that. At like 14 I started playing in bands, and we practiced in my garage. When I was 16 I was in a band, and we played some shows and toured locally to places like Arizona...I didn’t really put anything out until I was 19. That was when I made a MySpace page and started doing these freestyles. I put them on the Internet and people just started finding them. I started a following.” His first album, Ready, Fire, Aim!, got him on the rap industry’s radar, thanks to a stint on the 2010 Warped Tour, which involved some hard hustling. “I did like 50 shows on that tour all by myself. I was grinding because the only money I really made was from selling shirts. I wasn’t being paid to play. So every morning I’d burn like 200 CDs on my Macbook and I’d sign them and put them in a little package for $5. I didn’t have a tour manager or a crew or anything. It was all on me, so if I didn’t get up that day and do my shit, then it was affecting myself. I really had to take on five or six jobs all by myself, and it was a great learning experience. I felt like if I could do that tour by myself, I could do anything!” In 2011, Columbia released his second EP, Leaving Home, which he followed up a year later with another mixtape, Thrillionaire. “We did a tour officially this past summer of 2012, and I had my whole crew, had my own bus. I had nine of my friends out there working for me. It was just crazy to see how much progress I’ve made going from renting a bunk spot with another band and selling someone else’s t-shirts to having my own bus and having my own crew.” With musical inspiration from Queen to the Eagles, Elvis, Blink 182, and the WuTang Clan, he draws from multiple influences. “I feel like I pull inspiration from everything. Whether it’s something I see on the Internet like a painting or art, or if I’m on a blog and I see some cool words. I can literally look at something and if I’m drawn to it, I can make something out of it.” What will 2013 bring for this young rapper who is a huge fan of social media? He just recorded 34 songs, released his track LOUD on March 5th, and plans to make his Thrillionaire mixtape a trilogy, will be releasing his debut studio album later this year, and will continue tweeting daily. “I’m huge on fan engagement. No-one else write my tweets or blog posts. I do everything myself. I feel that really comes through. If someone asks me a question, they can reach me on Twitter, and I’ll respond to them.”
Dan Black, 37 From London, England Lives in Paris, France Photographed by Indira Cesarine
basic midi linked to an Akai S1000. That was very much ‘where have you been all my life?’” Since “Symphonies”, Black has embarked on successful collaborations with various pop artists including rapper Kid Cudi and DJ/producer Kaskade. He’s made appearances at SXSW, Austin City Limits and Glastonbury and also performed at Camp Nou in 2011. While he counts Dylan, the Beatles and Portishead amongst his favourites, Black is a multi-instrumental, multitalented singer, producer and visual artist, who references genres from across the spectrum to create content as unique as it is catchy. But you didn’t hear it from him. “I don’t feel particularly ‘gifted,’ more just dumbly driven. I always fantasise about people with crazy natural talent, like say, Charlie Parker. Imagine having that insight. But then I would also have to be an overweight heroin addict.” Look out this year for a new album, featuring collaborations with Kelis, Ryan Tedder, Bag Raiders, and Mikky Ekko, and hopefully a return to touring.
“Going from being in a band to being solo was like leaving a dark, tangled wood into a wide, open—if large and unknown— meadow.” British “wonky pop” artist Dan Black, founding member of rock band Servant, which split in 2007, is glad to be on his own. “The fallout from my last band was so traumatic, and in such a hideously slow-burning way, that I find it hard to imagine wanting to ever risk going through that horror show again.” Soon after the breakup, Black was back with his first solo single, “HYPNTZ”. The single garnered enthusiastic praise from critics for its innovative use of sampling and co-opting themes from The Notorious B.I.G’s “Hypnotize” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella”—until the B.I.G. estate asked him to remove the song from circulation. Despite the setback, Black was soon signed to a record deal with A&M, leading to the release of his full-length debut UN in 2009. The album’s follow up single, “Symphonies,” was a game-changer for Black, making US iTunes Single of the Week and scoring a nomination at the MTV music video awards in 2010. While “Symphonies” gained Black some serious accolades, he cites his creative breakthrough as “the first time I saw an old Atari running
Dan wears a shirt by Rochambeau and leather jacket by SkinGraft. Fashion Editor: Brendan Cannon Grooming by Stoj Bulic @ Next
Kristian Marr, 28 From Gateshead, England Lives in North London Photographed by Laura Hart
“Ever in doubt, try it out!” says the notorious Camden-based hardrocker Kristian Marr. If there is any truth to the tabloids, then he has certainly followed this axiom with gusto. Formerly of the irascible punk rock band Towers Of London, the tall, lanky, scraggly-haired rocker is known as much for his on-stage antics as his classic blues-infused rock riffs. “[I was at] a show in Inverness blind-drunk, fell off stage and passed out. Woke up in Manchester… No idea.” All this revelry has its dark side, of course. Marr was the former best friend and on-again-off-again boyfriend to the late Amy Winehouse. “We’ve all lost a really kind, sweet and talented person, and I’ve lost a soul mate,” he says on Winehouse’s death. “I’ve been feeling pangs of guilt since her death about whether I could have done more to save her.” With AC/DC and the Rolling Stones as influences, classic rock has
always been a part of Marr’s self-described “rebellious at being romantic” image. But if he could be one person, it would be The King himself. “I’d be Elvis for the afternoon,” he says. “Don’t think he ever came to London, so probably go and do all the tourist stuff.” Of course, if the whole music thing didn’t work out, Marr would have been perfectly happy. “I’d probably be a fisherman and live by the sea, la la la,” he says. In May 2012 Marr released Walking Away, his debut album with the newly formed Kristian Marr and the Spring Heeled Jacks. Since then, they have been playing supporting shows around London. In 2013, Marr hopes to put together another album with the new band, while maintaining his busy gig schedule. He tells us, “Keep those eyes open for classic, foot-stamping rock ‘n’ roll!”
Stylist: Kristine Kilty Grooming by Becky McGahern Kristian wears a shirt by Acne and a jacket by Breaks London.
Ben Montague, 28 From Farnborough, Kent Lives in London, England Photographed by Louise Roberts
BEN MONTAGUE that he would probably be running a bar or still teaching tennis if performances, such as opening for The Wanted at the O2 Arena, hadn’t put him on the map. Dave Eringa, known for his work with Kylie Minogue and Idlewild, came on board to produce his new album, Tales Of Flying And Falling, which came out in January. His new song “Deep End” is evidence enough of his ascension to musical success. “We did [“Deep End”] live at Rockfield Studios in Wales, where Coldplay recorded their first album, Parachute. Just me, a piano, bass and string section.” Don’t miss Ben’s Liberty Road Tour in the UK and Europe throughout 2013.
“Playing live…I live for it. When I’m not on the road, I miss it way too much!” Ben Montague may not be able to live without a show, but this young singer-songwriter had a bumpier road to fame than one would guess by looking at the trajectory of his career. His first two singles, “Haunted” and “Can’t Hold Me Down”, caught the ear of a local DJ in 2010. “I got heard at a gig by a radio plugger, and he said, ‘Hey, I like that song “Haunted”… and a few weeks later I was BBC Radio 2’s Record of The Week.” Though he was enthusiastically received by those who heard his songs or saw him live at one of the hundreds of shows he played, without a record deal, he know he would have to take matters into his own hands to get his first album out. He whipped one up DIY-style in his friend’s spare room, using a mattress for soundproofing. Despite the success of his music, he still had to wait tables and “teach tennis to housewives” to pay the bills. In fact, he says
Stylist: Crystal McClory Grooming by Rebekah Lidstone Ben wears a shirt by Sandro Homme and jeans by Religion.
Jesse Wood Lives in Ladbroke Grove, London Photographed by Laura Hart
bought a few small-scale guitars by my dad and other people, so I just taught myself.” Since founding Smashing Blouse, Wood has made significant headway booking DJs, solo artists, photographers and designers for the agency. Tickets to Smashing Blouse events have become increasingly sought after, with memorable showcases featuring sets by Matt Corby, Keaton Henson, Willy Moon, Pale Seas and Lloyd Yates, just to name a few. Wood and company will be curating a stage at the Wychwood Music Festival this summer, and Jesse plans to return to playing and producing his own music in 2013.
“We want the artists to feel good when they play one of our gigs,” says newly minted music promoter Jesse Wood, when describing his new booking agency, Smashing Blouse. “From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave...a kind of healing feeling!” After years of bouncing between bands as a guitarist and bass player, he launched Smashing Blouse in London in 2011 as a means of discovering fresh and exciting musical talent to exhibit alongside established and respected artists. The result is impeccably curated nights of live music and visual art. Son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Jesse avoided the typical pitfalls of growing up with a rockstar parent. “I grew up with my mum in Richmond on the outskirts of London, and Dad lived with my sister and brothers in America, so didn’t see him much ’til I was about 12,” says Jesse. Still, Jesse couldn’t avoid his legacy entirely and began his music career at a young age. “I luckily was
Stylist: Kristine Kilty Grooming by Becky McGahern Jesse wears a t-shirt by Jil Sander, coat by Euphorik London, jacket by A Child of the Jago, trousers by Issey Miyake Men and glasses by Police.
and put out his debut album, which won him serious accolades from the indie tastemakers. Now a full act that includes four other permanent members, Oberhofer takes its cues from inspirations as varied as David Bowie and Maurice Ravel. The band crafts a rich musical experience that blends post punk edge with the romantic trappings of indie pop. Which is he, one may ask, the rebel or the romantic? “No difference,” he retorts. His answer encapsulates rather perfectly the general ethos of Oberhofer. After all, his motto is to “live each day as if you’ve already died.” It’s a contradiction in terms that is entirely befitting of the enigmatic young artist. This coming year Oberhofer will continue touring the US, and will release two new records: Notalgia and Alone Man.
“I was born into music. It turns me on,” says 22-year-old Brad Oberhofer, whose ambitions took root at the tender age of age of ten. The first song he ever wrote? “It was a rap song called ‘The Sacrifice’. I wrote it when I was twelve.” His career took shape in all seriousness as a solo artist after he moved from rainy Tacoma, Washington to attend New York University’s school of music. He self-released his first single “o0Oo0O0o” in 2010, and before he knew it, was touring with bands like Sleigh Bells and Neon Indian. “I play in a band with some of the sweetest people in existence. Every day on tour has had something memorable about it.” After a full year on the road, Oberhofer released “Away Frm U” and “I Could Go”, which catapulted him to the next level. He signed to Glassnote Records
Brad Oberhofer, 22 From Tacoma, Washington Lives in Brooklyn, New York Photographed by Joey Falsetta
Stylist: Erin McSherry Hair by Kristen Bode Make-up by Andie Markoe-Byrne Brad wears a vintage shirt and belt, jeans by Nudie Jeans and shoes by Stacy Adams.
Machine Gun Kelly, 22 From Houston, Texas Lives in Cleveland, Ohio Photographed by Indira Cesarine
“The Apollo Theatre’s, fucking, the most harsh stage ever. Before I even said anything on the microphone, people started booing, and as soon as I opened my mouth, everyone shut up.” On that fateful night in 2009, Richard Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, with a baby on the way and facing eviction from his home back in Ohio, took on perhaps the most daunting venue in entertainment. “We went out there on a whim, kind of like, ‘If this doesn’t work out, then fuck it.’ You know, I had a kid on the way. I just got fired from a job. I told my friends, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take this out to New York. I’m gonna try it out, and see if it works out.’ And I stayed outside from like, two in the morning until like 1 p.m. the next day. I was 49th in line, went in, did my tryouts, they told me to come back.” In the entire history of the iconic Amateur Night at the Apollo, Machine Gun Kelly was the first rapper to ever take home first place. Twice. Machine Gun Kelly, or MGK as he was known until recently, won his first rap battle back when he was a skinny, friendless 14-yearold in Denver, Colorado. “I saw everyone respecting whoever was
winning the battles, so I was just like, ‘You know what, fuck it.’ And then I stepped in and started whooping everyone’s ass, and everyone all of a sudden was like, ‘This kid is the coolest kid in school.’” A military brat, MGK had a nomadic childhood, spending time in Egypt, Kuwait, and Denver before finally settling in Shaker Heights, a small suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Frequent moves, bullying, family strife, and drug abuse pushed MGK to look to music as an outlet. “I chose to go the music route rather than keep getting my ass whooped…When my father and mom weren’t there for me, the headphones were. That was my escape.” In 2010 he released his debut mixtape, 100 Words and Running, and in 2011 he made the pilgrimage to Austin’s SXSW. The Apollo wins, the mixtape and a growing fan base in Cleveland all came to a head when MGK received the phone call that changed his life. “Puff ended up on my phone personally. He was like, ‘You know, I heard you are setting shit on fire. Who the fuck are you? I want to meet you.’” A deal was signed, and MGK officially entered the Bad Boy/Interscope universe.
Stylist: Erin McSherry Grooming by Anneliese Photographed at Studio Cesarine
Since then, things have been progressing quickly for the Cleveland rapper, whose name refers to the “rapid-fire delivery” he became known for. He released an EP, Half Naked And Almost Famous, in March of 2012, and has been singled out as one of the top ten artists to watch by critics. In October of 2012 he released his long-awaited full-length debut, Lace Up. “‘Lace up’ is an expression that’s tattooed on thousands of fans now. I have it tattooed twice on my body. It basically just means that you can basically conquer whatever you want. You’re ready to do whatever.” The fervent fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kurt Cobain and Led Zeppelin pushes himself to the limits. “Man, if we go tomorrow, I don’t want to say that we didn’t take advantage of every second of this experience.” This live-or-die attitude is gaining him nothing short of a cult following, but for him, it is also part of his reality growing up in Cleveland. “Two weeks after I graduated high school, I lost two of my friends that I went to high school with… There was a girl who ended up catching two stray bullets to their stomach, and another one was a guy who caught a bullet to the head…I came from nothing, and this is a city that has nothing, so you just always gotta watch your back… although I don’t consider myself to be a gun advocate or a person who’s violent. My name is from a lyrical standpoint.” The Cleveland rapper who likes to “go hard” shows no signs of slowing in 2013 with his Lace Up Tour through April, another mixtape on the way featuring cameos by Wiz Khalifa, Pusha T, Meek Mill and French Montana, as well as plans to record his second album.
This page: MGK wears a jacket and trousers by John Varvatos, belt by Atrium NYC and jewellery by Lazaro Soho. Opposite page: Belt and trousers by Robinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jean, necklace by Lazaro Soho and jewellery from his own collection.
Charlie Siem, 26 From London, England Photographed by Laura Hart
“I heard the violin on the radio, and I wanted to play,” says the London native Charlie Siem. Picking up the classical violin at the tender of age of 3 led to performing his first concerto at 15, and by the age of 18, he was performing at the Royal Philharmonic. After studies at both Eton and Girton, he went on to release his first classical album in 2008, featuring violin sonatas by Grieg and Elgar. Warner Classics & Jazz soon signed him, and he produced two more studio albums and toured the world with various orchestras. After meeting Bryan Adams during a shoot for L’Uomo Vogue in 2011, they decided to work together for the Peace One Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which culminated in Siem’s arrangement for violin of Adam’s 1986 hit “Heaven”. Other notable pop collaborations ensued, including working with Lady Gaga at her Fashion Icon Award party. He recently also landed a headlining spot on the European Night of the Proms Tour alongside Grace Jones, John Fogerty, Boy George and Cliff Richard. Despite all these collaborations, Siem doesn’t have any aspirations to become a pop star, per se. “I don’t like thinking in terms of genres of music. I will continue to challenge myself and do projects that are the most rewarding in an artistic sense.” Beyond music, in 2011 Siem became the face of the Alfred Dunhill fashion label, and recently he starred in the 2013 campaign for Giorgio Armani’s Eau Pour Homme men’s fragrance. His ultimate passion, however, remains classical music. “It allows you to be totally present and dislocates your true self from your ego, which is a relief, even if only for a moment.” Siem hopes to release a new album in 2013 and plans to continue performing around the world with a new and exciting repertoire. Stylist: Kristine Kilty Grooming by Becky McGahern Charlie wears a jacket by A Child of the Jago and shirt by Euphorik London.
Lloyd, 27 Born in New Orleans, Lousiana Lives in Atlanta, Georgia Photographed by Indira Cesarine
music education for high-risk kids in inner cities. He also plans to develop his own charitable organization that will work to “provide role models to fatherless children”. “Growing up without a father is a pain that I can personally relate too. I want to help fill that void in someone else’s life,” says Lloyd. For now, look out for new tracks that are in the works, as well as a handful of exciting new collaborations.
Atlanta native Lloyd Polite, better known by fans as Lloyd, is R&B’s latest Casanova, embodying the smooth-talking ladies man and earnest romantic all in one. He has managed to capture the hearts of pretty much everyone who listens to him, including the critics. He embarked on his solo career in 2004 with the release of his debut album, Southside, the title track of which became a top hit. He continued on to release three more albums, to high critical praise. His last, King of Hearts, came out in July 2011 off of Zone 4/Interscope with his single “Lay It Down” becoming a Top 10 hit. Lloyd, whose father passed away when the singer was two years old, spends a great deal of his time and energy working with philanthropic organizations that aid urban development and
Stylist: Jason Rembert, Grooming by Ido Raphael Zabok Photographed at Norwood Club, NYC Above: Lloyd wears a suit by Ermenegildo Zegna. Opposite: He wears a jacket by Roberto Cavalli Both pages, hats by Bailey of Hollywod.
Io Echo | Bad Bad | Wild Belle | Ms Mr
DOUBLE TROUBLE Starred | Blondfire | Purity Ring | Icona Pop
Io Echo: Ioanna Gika and Leopold Ross Live in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Indira Cesarine
somehow seamlessly joined. Their unique sound is gaining them some interesting momentum, on the music circuit as well as in the film and art scenes. They recently collaborated with filmmaker Harmony Korine and James Franco, scoring the film Rebel, and also co-curated an audio-visual festival at The Museum of Modern Art Los Angeles with Jeffrey Deitch. There is no telling where this talented eclectic duo are ultimately headed. “We don’t have a plan or a map of what direction we want to head sonically. It’s more a case of letting the ideas flow and discovering where they take us as it happens.” This year, Io Echo are releasing their first full-length album in April through IAMSOUND, as well as performing at their first festivals. Don’t miss them on tour, including on the lineup at SXSW and Coachella music festival.
“I don’t fear the sleep of death. I fear the life that’s slept through.” Los Angeles-based duo Io Echo believe the process of making music is about a lot more than just writing and performing songs. “It’s about the ability to conjure up emotions, connect, polarise and inspire.” Despite seemingly opposing tastes, they consider themselves musical soul mates. “I love Enya, Yanni, Vangelis, Enigma and other new age artists,” says Ioanna Gika. “Prince, Nirvana, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Neil Young, The Cure, Aphex Twin,” chimes in Leopold Ross. Together they produce an ethereal sound that weaves diverse textures into thumping backbeats. “Our sound has a texture of Far Eastern instruments running through it, such as the koto harp…with inspiration of the Far East, romance, pastel colours, escapism and death.” Their varied interests have resulted in a new generation of sound, with the contrasting tonalities
Stylist: Danny Flynn Hair by Eric Bernard Make-up by Stephen Dimmick Joanna wears a vintage swimsuit by Speedo, heels by Dr. Martens and a kimono by Jeremy Scott. Leopold wears jeans by Levi’s, jacket and mesh shirt from Replika Vintage, his own deconstructed t-shirt and sunglasses by Ray-Ban.
badbad: Chelsea Tyler and Jon Foster From Boston, Massachusetts Live in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Jordan Doner
spotlight, Tyler now fronts her own band, badbad, with her love and partner, actor Jon Foster. On the name, she explains, “You know when someone says, ‘It’s bad, but it’s not bad bad? It’s kinda like that.” Their first album, which is in the works and due out this year, showcases Tyler’s bluesy voice and Foster, who DJs and produces, on the bass, drums and lead guitar. “Songwriting to me feels more like channeling something than making it. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it doesn’t. I write the best when my mind is totally open. Maybe it will be about something that’s bothering me, maybe it will be about what I had for breakfast. It’s important to just let it out.” Their much-anticipated debut album, Tyler’s self-described lovechild, is due imminently.
“We had a jukebox in the kitchen that was always playing The Beatles or Patsy Cline, and I used to sit directly in front of it with my eyes closed. It all really sunk in,” Chelsea Tyler explains, when asked what it was like being raised in such a musical family. In addition to being the daughter of one of the biggest rock stars of all time, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Chelsea Tyler is a creative force in her own right. From the girl in front of the jukebox, she grew into a visual artist, model and, most recently, up-and-coming musician. She takes her vocal cues from Etta James, Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley and Lauryn Hill, to name a few. “I’ve spent years studying every little nuance in [Lauryn Hill’s] effortless voice.” She also doesn’t shy away from asking her dad, whom she considers her mentor, for pointers when needed. Stepping into the
Wild Belle, the Brooklyn-based indie rock duo from Chicago, is composed of siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman and has been on the rise since their string of buzz-worthy performances at last year’s SXSW. Elliot, who is eight years his sister’s senior, describes the project as “all the best parts of the things that I’ve been able to do thus far in my career. It definitely just feels like home.” The duo was signed shortly after SXSW to Columbia Records and pre-released three singles, “Keep You”, “Backslider”, and “It’s Too Late”, which garnered heavy online play and created an anticipatory roar for more from fans. On March 12th, they released Isles, their debut album, to critical acclaim. Natalie’s smoky, bluesy voice takes centre stage on the album, with Elliot providing the backing vocals and keyboard. The
Wild Belle: Elliot and Natalie Bergman From Chicago, Illinois Live in Brooklyn, New York Photographed by Joey Falsetta
concept of the album is that “each song is its own island, and each song has its own story.” With influences from Coltrane and Aretha Franklin, their music blends reggae, rock-steady and psychedelia to create what is clearly an appealing and accessible genre unto itself. Although the band’s signature 1970s-inspired look — bell bottoms, flowing hair, Elliot’s beard — has been heavily lauded and featured on countless style blogs, the duo is wary of getting pigeonholed as too wrapped up in the fashion business. They are clear on one point: They are musicians, first and foremost, and fashion icons second. Though new to the scene, Wild Belle are strikingly confident with regards to their own place at the metaphorical table. Photographed at Shangri-la Studio, Brooklyn
MS MR: Max Hershenow and Lizzy Plapinger From Brooklyn, New York Photographed by Anna Cone
“We’re sort of interested in whatever box you think we fit in, but ultimately we see ourselves as pop artists,” says Lizzy, of the elusive duo MS MR, on the many genres that have been used to describe their music – including “glitch pop” and “chill wave”. “Those are labels we mockingly created when we first started, and it’s sort of become an ongoing joke that they’ve started to be used seriously.” Max and Lizzy have been playing live together for just one year now. Lizzy had founded the now ubiquitous Neon Gold Records, and has been working in production since she was a teen. Max is a pianist who began recording music in college to accompany his dance choreographies. They both moved to New York, connected via email, and the rest is history. Their surprisingly sparse Google search profile, combined with their massive following, gives the pair a distinct air of mystery. “We’re immensely proud of the fact that we’re making pop music, but we’re keenly aware of how pop can often be conflated with celebrity, which is not what we’re in this for. But we’re looking
forward to shaking off our mystique and starting to allow people to get to know us and put a face to the band.” They both find the same emotional solace in the process of making music. “It can be both communal and personal all at once,” she says. “My experience producing music is basically an exhausting, interminable, often maddening and hopefully inspired search for the perfect balance in a track. But the feeling when everything comes together and reaches a sort of stasis is indescribably satisfying,” Max says. Look out for their debut album, Second Hand Rapture, hitting the shelves May 14th. They are also on tour this spring in the UK and North America, including two shows at SXSW in Austin and a performance at the Governor’s Ball in NYC on June 7th. Stylist: Mika Alexander Hair by Sasha Nesterchuk Make-up by Colleen Runne
“I used to be a lot more physical on stage,” says Liza Thorn, onehalf of punk rock duo Starred. “Broken bones, stitches, fractured skull, the list goes on. In the moment during the performance, you don’t generally feel any pain; the music and energy transference you experience is almost like a pain killer.” Thorn is a modernday grunge icon with a parvenu perspective akin to one of her idols, Kurt Cobain. “I exist outside of society in a lot of ways,” says Thorn. “It’s lonesome and depressing most of the time. I just want to be in love and feel love back. I want to live my life however I please, and I want to have a couple adventures along the way.” This intellectual similarity to Cobain, as well as her undeniable resemblance to Courtney Love, whom she has performed with, makes it all the eerier when she claims that if she weren’t in music, she’d “most likely be dead.” She identifies more with male artists, citing Lou Reed, Brian Jones,
Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison and of course Cobain as her favourites, although she says, “I generally don’t look up to anyone…As a rule I don’t recommend meeting your childhood idols. More often than not, it’s a huge letdown because – let’s face it – they’re only human and nobody is actually ‘cool.’” The rebellious performer has graced the website of Hedi Slimane, the creative director of Yves Saint Laurent and collaborated with former Girls front man Christopher Owens. She formed Starred with Matthew Koshak, whom she met through Owens. “Starred just seems like a lucky name – Matthew and I both came up with it separately.” The duo has since garnered favorable reviews for their 2012 debut EP, Prison to Prison, and is currently working on writing songs for a debut full-length album. Plans for a world tour are also in the works.
STARRED Starred: Liza Thorn and Matthew Koshak Live in New York City Photographed by Carter B Smith
BLONDFIRE Bruce and Erica Driscoll From Grand Rapids, Michigan Live in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Carter B Smith
“One night while driving in the car, someone said they smelled a bonfire. I misheard them and thought they said ‘blond fire’. We thought it was kind of funny at the time and jokingly said, ‘Maybe that should be our band name.’ After looking online, the only thing we found even similar was an old porn film called The Blonde Fire, which made it an even better name to us. Now it’s kind of taken on it’s own thing, and I like that it sounds both masculine and feminine.” That’s the story of Blondfire according to Erica Driscoll, the sister half of the sibling duo born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. HalfBrazilian by descent, they spent their formative years bouncing back and forth between both hemispheres. “I definitely feel like Brazilian music and culture is in our blood,” Erica says. “You may not hear the Brazilian sound outright, but it’s definitely there in our bittersweet melodies and in our drum beats.” Their first touring band, Nectar, was conceived when the siblings were in their early teens. ”I taught myself to play guitar in my bedroom on my Dad’s old classical guitar he had lying around the house. My brother started on drums, but moved to guitar, and we started writing together. We even had a bit of a family band with our older sister for while.” They soon formed the band Astaire,
Blondfire’s nominal predecessor. After recording songs in their basement and relocating to New York, they finally released their first EP, Don’t Whisper Lies, on their self-made imprint, Wax Divine. After a legal battle ensued over their name by the Fred Astaire estate, they changed it. In 2012 Blondfire signed with Warner Bros, which released their newest EP Where The Kids Are, which has been received with critical acclaim. Though the band, on tour through June, work closely together in the songwriting process, they manage to avoid the typical foibles of sibling rivalry. “We’re a normal brother and sister and definitely don’t always agree on everything,” Erica admits. “When you know someone so well, you know how to push their buttons, but at the end of the day we’re each others biggest fans.” Look out for their new album in 2013, Young Heart.
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Hair by Antonio Diaz Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano Photographed at Shangri-la Studio, Brooklyn Erica wears a gown by Mathieu Mirano with shoes by Nicholas K.
Purity Ring: Corin Roddick and Megan James From Alberta, Canada Live in Montreal & Halifax Photographed by Carter B Smith
PURITY RING In order to enjoy the performance ourselves and feel like others would too we have developed instruments that light up when played.” In addition to their packed touring schedule through Australia, North America and Europe this year, they will be playing at several festivals including Coachella. They plan to continue writing songs for their much-anticipated second album, and will be releasing several new tracks.
Purity Ring formed in 2010, although it wasn’t until they released their first album, Shrines, that they made their mark on the music world. Within months of the album’s release they had become indie rock royalty, with Shrines widely recognised as one of the best albums of 2012. The Canadian duo, Megan James and Corin Roddick, hail from Alberta, Canada, and previously played together in the group Born Gold. They began to experiment with electronic music with vocal accompaniment, developing a dynamic collaborative process. “Our parts are well defined: Corin writes a track and Megan writes the vocal parts and sends back a demo.” Megan, an “avid sewer”, also makes most of the clothes the two wear on stage and says she makes herself a new dress before every tour. Such attention to the theatrics of live performance goes beyond concert costumes. “We’ve made sure we have a lot of visual aspects incorporated into the show. It is all an attempt at creating an atmosphere that is slightly unrecognisable and also familiar and interesting enough to watch for the entirety of the set.” And they don’t mean the usual pyrotechnics, fog machines and pulsing stage lights. “There is a lot more that goes into this than just lights.
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Hair by Antonio Diaz Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano Photographed at Shangri-la Studio, Brooklyn Megan wears a dress by Cynthia Rowley with her own vintage heels, vintage broach and rings by Jesse Tempest and Caitlyn Purcell. Corin wears a vest by SkinGraft, hoodie by Nicholas K, trousers by Won Hundred and shoes by Nike.
Fashion Editor: Brendan Cannon Hair by Stefano Greco @ Bryan Bantry Make-up by Ido Raphael Zabok @ Next Caroline wears a dress by Lako Bukia, ring by Joseph Mimi. Aino wears a t-shirt by Maria Dora and necklace by Delphine Charlotte Parmentier.
ICONA POP Icona Pop: Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt From Stockholm, Sweden Live in New York City Photographed by Indira Cesarine
“My mom was out at dinner one night with some Italian friends, and they said, ‘Oh, they’re going to be the next pop icons.’” And just like that, Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, the duo behind Swedish synthpop sensation Icona Pop, had a name and a purpose. After meeting at a party in 2010, the pair became fast friends and decided to form a band. They haven’t slowed since. “We just sat down with wine and our laptops, and we never discussed what kind of music we should write. Within two days, [we] had our first gig.” True to form, Icona Pop have already made a significant impact on the electropop scene with their uplifting tracks. In 2011, the girls migrated from Stockholm to London. “Our thing is that we want to be where we have the most to do,” says Jawo. “The DJs, the different clubs – it was really good for us to go from our hometown and set out to be in a big place. We learned a lot that year.” After playing just one show in their new home base, the duo scored a management deal with Ten and were soon playing sold-out gigs around the world. Since those early days of wine and laptops, the self-described “romantic rebels” have come into their own as veritable pop stars with their hit song “I Love It” appearing on MTV’s buzz list and recently being featured on an episode of the HBO hit series Girls. Their 2012 EP The Iconic EP made them an international sensation. The duo is still catching their breath with the whirlwind of their recent success, “We played at this place in Brooklyn called the Grasslands—that was amazing for us. We didn’t expect that to have too many people, but there was a line out the door for a long time, and they were singing all our songs—even songs that were only released in Sweden!” “You have to try and be different. We’re not afraid of dreaming big,” says Hjelt. With inspiration coming from their travels, favourite movies and ‘90s music, Icona Pop have exploded onto the scene with their high energy. Touring with Marina and The Diamonds and performing at SXSW, they tell us, “It’s the best thing I think we’ve ever done. The vibe has been great, everyone’s singing along… It feels like we’re living in a dream!” Clearly they are just getting started. Look out for their debut full-length album, slated for release in 2013.
Joy Formidable | Neon Trees | Django Django | Haim | The 1975
BAND SLAM Ssion | Jjamz | Dry The River | Spector | Early Morning Rebel
JOY FORMIDABLE The Joy Formidable philosophy toward music is as layered as their distorted string and choral arrangements, stating, “We love how fun and poignancy collide…We love to dance and have a leaning to melancholia.” The band was founded by vocalist Ritzy Bryan, and her childhood best friend, bassist Rhydian Dafydd. The two met in their hometown of Mold, Wales, and first played together in the indie rock project Sidecar Kisses before it disbanded. Soon, through a message in the wind, they found drummer Matt Thomas. “We heard Matt beating his drums across the border in Wolverhampton, and the following week we were playing our first show in Paris. The Joy Formidable was born.” They began experimenting with songwriting before releasing two singles under their new moniker, followed by the EP A Balloon Called Moaning in 2008. They then toured with the likes of Editors, The Temper Trap and Passion Pit, and within a few years were garnering praise from international critics. In 2010, they finally signed
The Joy Formidable: Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd and Matt Thomas From Wales, United Kingdom Photographed by Carter B Smith
to a label and released their first full-length album, The Big Roar. The band cites Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello as the reason they picked up their instruments, but for guidance, Bryan looks a little closer to home. “Rhydian and Matt are the closest thing I have to mentors. That’s quite a scary admission.” As for style, the band has stayed true to their simple Welsh roots, but has definitely cultivated a recognisable look. “I like charity shops, vintage …It’s got to be intuitive, nothing stylized here,” Bryan says. While their new album Wolf’s Law was released in January to critical acclaim, 2013 will only get busier for the rockers, who have plans to release a Welsh EP, a live album, a new release for Record Store Day and, as usual, “lots and lots of touring.”
Stylist: Erin McSherry Hair by Kristen Bode Make-up by Andie Markoe Photographed at Shangri-la Studio, Brooklyn Left to right: Ritzy wears a vintage dress from Any Old Iron and shoes by ASOS. Rhydian wears a hoodie by Hoodie Buddies, trousers by Levi’s and shoes by AllSaints. Matt wears a shirt by General Idea, trousers by AllSaints and shoes by Urban Outfitters.
Stylist: Jeff Kim Hair by Kristen Shaw Make up by Kristina Elaine wears a ReissBrown skirt, top and vest by J & Company Elaine is wearing a ReissOlympia. skirt, topTyler and wears vest byshorts J & Company, and and shoes by Charlotte shoes by Charlotte Tyler isjacket wearing shorts by General by General Idea, topOlympia. by All Saints, by Tommy Idea, top by All Saints, jacket by Tommy Hilfiger, and shoes by Hilfiger and shoes by John Varvatos for Converse. Chris John Varvatos for Converse. Chris is wearing a shirt by Tommy wears shirtConverse by Tommy Hilfiger and Converse shoes. Hilfigeraand shoes. Brandon is wearing shirts by Brandon wearsby shirts by Reiss, a watch by Versus, his by John Reiss, a watch Versus, his own jewellery and shoes own jewellery and shoes by John Varvatos for Converse. Varvatos for Converse.
NEON TREES 99
Elaine wears a jacket & trousers by Reiss, shoes by Aldo and a dress by Kim Ovitz. Tyler wears a top and trousers by Anthony Franco, vest by Issey Miyake. Chris wears a shirt by Marc Jacobs, trousers by Issey Miyake, jacket by Anthony Franco. Brendan wears a t-shirt & jacket by Reiss and trousers by Bluelab.
Neon Trees: Tyler Glenn, Chris Allen, Branden Campbell and Elaine Bradley From Provo, Utah Photographed by Pamela Littky
Ronnie Vannucci arranged for Neon Trees to open for a phase of their 2008 North American tour. This exposure marked the beginning of their commercial breakthrough, which culminated in a deal with Mercury Records and the subsequent release of their first album, Habits. “Our first album and single called ‘Animal’ really opened up a window for us,” says Glenn. “It was our calling card for a while. Then our song ‘Everybody Talks’ opened another one. It’s nice to have those radio songs in your arsenal and still have great albums to tour with that keep our fan base excited. It’s a very natural-feeling growth.” After the success of their debut, which included performances on Jimmy Fallon as well as other American TV programs, the band continued to ride the wave of their strong momentum, releasing a live album in 2010 and opening for acts like Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance and The Offspring. “I think we are finally a band people at least know the name of. I’m excited to break through more. It still feels fresh to me. I still feel like I have a lot to do and say with this band,” says Glenn. “I am in no rush.” Neon Trees released their second studio album, Picture Show, in April 2012 and have been touring with Maroon 5 and Owl City. The band is currently on a North American tour through July, as well as writing songs for their third studio album.
“I recognise that sometimes you don’t need to wear a sequined bomber jacket and gold lamé trousers to the grocery store,” says Tyler Glenn, the flamboyant front man of synthpop quartet Neon Trees. “They don’t really reflect the dull fluorescent light of the produce section as much as the stage light does.” Still, whether he’s browsing the supermarket or rocking in the New Year at Times Square, Glenn has had an eye for showmanship for a while. “My life is one great show... Music has always been a part of my life and being. It was high school that I really became infatuated with being in a band.” Neon Trees first started playing together in 2005. “Chris and I were neighbors in Southern California, and we knew each other through our families, but we weren’t ever in the same friends circle,” Glenn says. “We both knew we were musically talented, and one day we just met up... He played me some songs, and I reacted to them, and we naturally just became songwriting collaborators. We decided to perform the songs, and then it went from that to starting a band, discussing band names, what type of music we’d play and what inspired us… When he moved to Utah to start college, I followed and made sure I was a healthy distraction from the secular world and that he’d stay musical. We ended up meeting the others up there from other bands, and Neon Trees was born. “ After catching one of their shows in Las Vegas, Killers drummer
This page: Elaine wears a dress by Issey Miyake, trousers by Reiss, shoes by Aldo and a vintage belt. Tyler wears an Anthony Franco suit, shirt by Issey Miyake and shoes by Tommy Hilfiger. Chris wears an outfit by General Idea and shoes by Tommy Hilfiger. Brendan wears a shirt from his own collection, blazer by Reiss, watch by Versace, Tommy Hilfiger shoes and his own accessories.
DJANGO Django Django: David Maclean, Vincent Neff, Jimmy Dixon and Tommy Grace Live in London, England Photography by Sylvain Deleu
“I used to listen to my dad’s records all the time, until he started listening to Meat Loaf…” says Jim, of the English psych-rock quartet Django Django, regarding his early musical influences. The band, which over the course of this past year has skyrocketed to indie fame, is quite the eclectic bunch. Dave grew up playing trumpet, though “DJing was my first love and gateway into sampling, 4-tracks and then production,” while Tommy “mucked about in a band when I was at school, carting my old cabinet Farfisa organ into a garage, but nothing came of it. We just used to go there to smoke and drink.” The foursome met at the Edinburgh College of Art and formed in late 2009. Once the label Because Music released their self-titled debut album in January of 2012, it quickly picked up steam, charting at No. 33 in the UK within its first week. Their year was capped with a much-coveted Mercury Prize nomination, followed by the high-honour Best New Group at the Q Awards. Regarding the amazing accolades
they’ve received over the course of just one year, they chime, “It was totally unexpected, so we were all taken by surprise with it. Seeing good reviews by magazines that we grew up reading was an amazing feeling.” “Knocked sideways!” Tommy adds. “I was pretty naïve. I wasn’t sure if any magazine would even decide to review it at all… I was just keen to hear the feedback of my friends and peers.” With influences as far-reaching as the Talking Heads, Devo, Prince, The Beatles, Kraftwerk and Public Enemy, they describe their sound as “a mix of old rock ‘n’ roll, disco and psych rock. But acid house, dub, library music and sound tracks are a big influence too, so it’s tough to pick one.” However, they do all agree on words to live by: “Know when to stop pushing Tommy; he’ll explode!” 2013 will be another big year for the band. They’ll be making appearances at all the major European summer festivals including Field Day in London, the Rock Werchter Fest in Belgium, and Unknown Festival in Croatia.
Stylist: Irene Manicone Hair & Make-up by Maria Papadopoulou Photographed at Park Royal Studios, London Vinny wears a shirt by Penfield, t-shirt by Element and jeans by Lee. Dave wears a t-shirt by Demise and jeans by Scotch & Soda. Jim wears a shirt by Lee and jeans by Edwin. Tommy wears a t-shirt by Carhartt and trousers by Element.
HAIM Haim: Este, Danielle and Alana Haim From Los Angeles, California
“I’ve always wanted to work at a magazine, actually. I love magazines! So you never know,” says Danielle, the middle sister of the trio Haim. Though the world of print journalism would surely embrace her, the music industry is clearly where she and her siblings belong. The Americana/R&B/folk-inspired sister band from LA have been playing together since 2006, though only recently released their first album. Influenced by rock from the ’70s and nurtured forward in the craft by their musically inclined parents, Haim began singing covers together at local fairs and charities as kids. “We started playing together when we were really young, actually. My mom taught guitar, my dad played drums, and we just started playing music with them for fun,” says Danielle. When they began to make an earnest go of it, they branched out, incorporating distinct R&B undertones into their sound. They name Prince as an abiding and enduring musical influence. “Collectively I would have to say we all love Prince. I mean, we like everything. But collectively, it’s definitely Prince.” Throughout the late ’00s, the girls were busy with school and side projects. Este graduated with an ethnomusicology degree from UCLA, and Danielle toured with the likes of Julian Casablanca from The Strokes, whom she cites as one of her mentors. “I kinda picked his brain while I was on tour with him, because stuff wasn’t really happening for Haim at the time. We had been playing for five years, but no-one seemed to be caring, and I didn’t really understand why...We really didn’t know what the steps were. So he basically just told me to go write for a year, and then hit the ground running again.” In 2011 they got serious, releasing their first EP, Forever, to much acclaim. After playing a successful string of shows at SXSW, they went on to tour with Florence + the Machine and Mumford & Sons. In January of this year, BBC announced they had topped their Sound Of 2013 industry poll as the most promising act of the coming year. Check out their single “Falling”, released in February, and stay tuned for their new album, coming out in 2013. Interviewhat by by Marianne White Jack Guinness wears a suit by Euphoric, Asher Levine
The 1975: Matthew Healy, Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel From Manchester, England Photographed by Sylvain Deleu
“[Adam] Hann came up to me when we were probably about 15 years old, and said, ‘Do you wanna like…play drums in my band?’ I thought, ‘Yeah, go on, then that’ll be a laugh.’ We were shit. I actually remember playing a song in rehearsal and [former member] Elliot just looked at me and said ‘I reckon we are shit,’” says The 1975 vocalist Matthew Healy regarding their humble beginnings. The 1975 now has two critically acclaimed EPs under their belt. Fans and critics have compared them to artists from The Talking Heads to Michael Jackson, though the group’s influences range from alt rock to ’90s R&B; and they are always sure to lyrically integrate their fascination with sex, love, drugs, hope, death, fear, and most of all, independence. “We kinda started out of boredom, I guess. I hadn’t quite secured my social identity at that time, and I was still really flirting with the boundaries between ‘scally’ and ‘mosher’...I’ve never been 100% sure where my allegiances lay.” In case you’re not up on your Brit slang, a “scally” is a “low-life loser”, and a “mosher” is a person who “wants to be different from the rest of the world”. “We played a show a couple of years ago that we knew every record label in the kingdom was coming down to. It was in London, which can be tough enough as it is. We were really shit, and I think it was because we were almost pandering to what we thought these labels wanted from us. It was shortly after that show that we realised that the whole major label world wasn’t for us—we just decided to do exactly what we wanted, and if people were into it, then that would be awesome. We decided we did not need to look outside of what we do creatively to validate ourselves.” It appears they’ve succeeded in their effort to become “moshers”. The band’s forthcoming album is due out this year. Stylist: Irene Manicone Hair & Make-up by Maria Papadopoulou Photographed at Park Royal Studios, Greater London
George wears a scarf by George Molinari, jacket by White Raven, shoes by Danner Stumptown and ring by Rumina Khatun. Ross wears a hoodie jacket by Ma.strum, jeans by Edwin and shoes by All Star. Matthew wears a blazer by Molinari, jeans by Diesel and boots by Dr. Martens. Adam wears a sweater by Ma.strum, jeans by Cheap Monday and shoes by All Star.
SSION SSION: Cody Critcheloe From Kansas City Lives in New York City Photographed by Joey Falsetta
“I care about my audience enough to know when not to care,” says Cody Critcheloe, the brain behind SSION (pronounced ‘shun’), which is his decade-long art project, band, mission, label and concept piece. Half elf-punk, half leather-daddy, Critcheloe is an enigma just like his solo project, which at times seems more like a band due to his multiple onstage personalities. On how he came up with his mush-mouthed moniker, he says, “I woke up one morning, and it was there, laying next to me in bed. I knew it was special and that I would never get rid of it.”
The mustachioed, gender-bending solo artist who has been performing “since he was a little girl” knows how to put on a show, and has garnered attention for his weird and wild “disco punk” performances usually involving glitz, glamour, women’s clothing, black eyeliner and bondage gear. His most challenging performance, however? “Pretending to care what my parents had to say when I was a kid.” He started playing guitar at 13 and “immediately began writing songs about disease.” And if he hadn’t have gone into music? It would be a toss-up between “model, actress, hooker, or waitress”.
SSION came into existence in 1996, self-releasing tracks and performing live. He then put out his debut EP Minor Treat in 2003. He has since produced music and videos for Gossip, Peaches, MNDR, and Santigold, amongst others. In 2009 SSION produced BOY, a feature length film with scenes from Forrest Gump appropriated for a gay, punk-rock audience. Critcheloe plans to spend 2013 making videos for every song on Bent, his self-released 2009 album, writing a full-length feature film, touring, and of course, being his own weird and wonderful self.
Stylist: Danny Flynn Hair & Make-up by Victoria Aronson Clothing by REPLIKA VINTAGE Los Angeles
JJAMZ: Z Berg, Michael Runion, Alex Greenwald, James Valentine and Jason Boesel Live in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Jeff Forney @ Creative 24
“Out on the town, dissatisfied with our situation, karaoke selection, and skirt-chasing success—or lack thereof—we decided in a flash that we had all the makings of a band, and (thank god for Alex’s vowel) we had all the letters to make some semblance of a word,” vocalist Z Berg tells The Untitled Magazine, about the genesis of her puzzle-piece band. The LA-based JJAMZ (pronounced with a stuttered “j” sound, like, “juh-jams”) consists of members from Maroon 5, Bright Eyes, Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley and The Like. Though they’ve been best friends for over a decade, the group banded together in 2009 as a result of the aforementioned infamous night of karaoke, and started playing incredibly catchy indiepop. Claiming that they all needed relief from the stress and chaos of being popular and busy musicians in their respective mainstream projects, they began writing songs together, and
things simply snowballed from there. They released their debut album, Suicide Pact, in July 2012 by Dangerbird Records. Z Berg, whose real name is Elizabeth and dad is Geffen Records producer Tony Berg, tells us, “I’ve been singing since I was practically an infant.” Every member of JJAMZ shares a similarly early-blooming musical history. “Individually we have all been performing for more years than one can count on two hands…” Somewhat ruefully she admits, “We are, for better or for worse, lifers.” As for her blonde-bob, baby-doll-dress-and-boots look, she says, “I think the influence of Debbie Harry, ’60s dolly birds, and Cher Horowitz are ever present guideposts.” And the other members? “The dudes?” she says, “I don’t know. They’re babes though.” Look for a new JJAMZ record in 2013.
DRY THE RIVER Dry The River: Peter Liddle, Matthew Taylor, Scott Miller, Jon Warren and Will Harvey From London, England Photographed by Sylvain Deleu
“No-one wants to see a drowsy band. The music is drowsy enough.” Dry the River has mastered that cheeky appeal only a folk-rock band from East London can. Since forming in 2009, they’ve been making waves for the multiple genres they straddle with their sound. Regarding the many instruments they all play, they say, “We all play more than our main instrument in the band; I wouldn’t want to count them up. Peter makes some interesting sounds if you give him a French horn.” The band, which cites The Antlers, Houndmouth, and Neil Young as influences, have developed a sizable following through extensive touring throughout the UK, Europe and North America. Despite their growing fan base, they manage not too take themselves all too seriously. “We’re very aware of how similar our lives have become to the members of Spinal Tap.
There isn’t a day goes by where someone doesn’t say, ‘Rock and roll!’” The band has gained traction playing a run of UK festivals, including the iconic Glastonbury. “Playing Glastonbury for the BBC in 2010 was amazing. That threw us in at the deep end and gave us confidence.” In 2012, the band released their first studio album, Shallow Bed, and was listed in BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, garnering comparisons to fellow Londoners Mumford & Sons. However, they do not take any of their successes for granted. “If we weren’t in music, we would be mopey, directionless morons. We are very lucky.” Stay tuned for their second album, which they are planning to release later this year.
Left to right: Scott wears a tank top by Scotch & Soda, jeans by Supremebeing and shoes by Nike. Will wears a polo by TWOTHIRDS, watch by Triwa, jeans by Lee and shoes by Vans. Matthew wears a shirt and jeans by Edwin and shoes by Pointer. John wears a shirt by Bench, jeans by Scotch & Soda and shoes by Pointer. Peter wears a shirt by Element, bow tie by Christiana Rowland, jeans by Edwin and sunglasses by Bricklane.
Stylist: Irene Manicone Hair & Make-up by Maria Papadopoulou Photographed at Park Royal Studios, London
SPECTOR Spector: Christopher Burman, Fred Macpherson, Thomas Shickle, Jed Cullen and Danny Blandy From London, England Photographed by Laura Hart
“Performing is a big thing. You’re presenting yourself in front of a large number of people. You go to a wedding in a suit, you go to court wearing a suit, and we play on stage in suits.” When the men of Spector dress for success, success they get. The dapper five-piece indie rock group from London burst onto the scene in 2011, and by August of 2012 their full-length debut, Enjoy It While It Lasts, reached No. 12 on the UK charts. Though the origin of the band’s name remains a mystery, perhaps even to the members themselves—“We wanted to have a name that in every single interview we’ll ever do, we’ll be asked what it means...”—it’s a name that is becoming increasingly recognised in the music scene. Even before they had an album, Spector was booking some of the most coveted gigs in London, amongst them a BBC 1 radio session as well as a spot on Later… With Jools Holland. “Playing live on the radio or TV is so weird. When you play a gig, you can see and hear the reaction from the people watching, be it to 200 or 20,000 people. When you’re in a studio and the light goes red, it’s just you alone in a room with hundreds of thousands if not millions of people listening, and you haven’t got a clue how its going.” In December 2011, they were nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll, and in February of that year they embarked on their first headlining tour, playing venues across the UK, in addition to performing supporting slots for Florence + the Machine. All their work culminated in their first American gig at last year’s Coachella festival in California, though they probably don’t want to talk about it. “It was terrible. Everything broke…one of the best festivals in the world; we played the whole set with only half our instruments working. You’d turn around and stare at the palm trees, sweat mixing with tears of regret and pain…” This pitfall, however, won’t stop them from carrying on in their achievements. In 2013, the band plans to continue touring. They will take one unusual detour, though. “We’re breeding a Greyhound. Not joking. Find us at Wimbledon dog track with Chevy Thunder making us more money than the song did… Chevy Thunder, Chevy Chevy Thunder…” Stylist: Kristine Kilty Grooming by Becky McGahern
Tom wears a jacket by Barbour, sweater by AllSaints, jeans by Replay, and boots by Loake. Jed wears a shirt by AllSaints, cardigan by Agnes B, trousers by A Child of the Jago, and shoes by Geox. Fred wears a shirt by AllSaints, jacket by Agnes B, trousers by AllSaints, and boots by Dr. Martens. Danny wears trousers by Agnes B, t-shirt by Acne, sweater by AllSaints, jacket by Bleu de Paname, and boots by Geox. Chris wears a shirt by A Child of the Jago, suit by Euphorik London.
EARLY MORNING REBEL
Early Morning Rebel: Dustin Bath, Josh Mervin and Nathan Blumenfeld-James From Los Angeles, California Photographed by Jeff Forney @ Creative 24
to their devotion to the creative process. “Yeah, we actually do everything. We shoot all our own videos, from conception to filming to owning all the camera equipment. We have our own studio where we record our records. We also maintain our own website and shoot all the images and content displayed on it… We are genuinely passionate about different types of media.” In the last year, the band has made a name for itself outside music circles, namely in the elite world of higher fashion. “As much as we love music, we are obviously driven by a love and respect for fashion. A lot of our aesthetic came simply from what we like to wear and what we find flattering and makes us feel good.” After a series of performances at London and Paris Fashion Weeks, they were coined the “Fashion It Band”. They have since picked up a loyal following of big-name stars, including Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. 2013 will see the release of a new album, as well as an increase in appearances and the inevitable buzz.
“There’s definitely a romantic quality to our name. I would describe it as a ‘pop noir’, black-and-white film kind of romance. Elements of beauty and tragedy, light and dark.” If Early Morning Rebel sound more like philosophers than hard rockers, that’s how they want it. “One of the things I really liked about the name was that it evoked a ‘focused rebel’ – an early-morning, early-rising, self-starting, strategic revolutionary. The idea of a ‘strategic rebel’ seemed to fit with our vibe, and the tone of our music.” Although they have been performing together since they were kids, the band was only put together about a year ago, and in a very short time they have been gaining some serious momentum. “Our goal was to write music and make art that we really believed in and that really resonated with who we are now.” Their rebellious style has been embraced as brilliantly eclectic, with stripped-down, emotional tracks that have been featured on network TV series soundtracks like Grey’s Anatomy. Perhaps some of the band’s recent success can be attributed
Stylist: Nicole Olson-Elkind Grooming by Jarrett Iovinella Left to right: Dustin wears a jacket by AllSaints. Nathan’s wears a shirt, jacket and hat from his own collection. Josh’s wears a jacket from his own collection and a shirt by H&M.
Chelsea Leyland | Angie Vu Ha | Maya Jane Coles | Noah Becker
DECKS Bip Ling | Sky Nellor | Zara Martin | Coleman
CHELSEA LEYLAND Chelsea Leyland, 22 From London, England Lives in New York City Photographed by Jonathan Bookallil
“I love fashion, so it’s amazing that the majority of my gigs revolve around it,” says DJ Chelsea Leyland. “Music is inspired by fashion, and fashion takes inspiration from music.” London-born Leyland, however, has her feet planted firmly in both artistic spheres. Though she has risen to the top as one of the most-requested DJs in the fashion scene, she’s never limited herself. “It really depends on what I’m DJing for. If you offered me to play in a club for an amazing party with great energy and people, I’m there. It all depends on the vibe for me.” Leyland – better known as DJ Chelsea – has a self-proclaimed aversion to Top 40, which perhaps is what’s helped her and her brand skyrocket over the past three years. Her niche – fashion shows, arts exhibits and a host of other elite cultural events – is particular enough that Leyland is already making waves in both music and fashion, and loving every second of it. In the midst of her rise to fame on the DJ circuit, with gigs DJing for everything
from Valentino runway shows to Diplo and Santigold, she has maintained a level head. “Manners don’t cost anything,” she muses. “I love the way music can take control of humans. It can make you feel a certain way, take you back in time, totally change your mood, make you feel alive and heal your wounds. Music is magic and extremely powerful.” In between her booked schedule, the inspired DJ is acting, and working on her own talk show series. “It’s gonna be wicked, and I’m going to interview all the most amazing and talented human beings I know in the world!” Stylist: Erin McSherry Hair by Staci Childs Make-up by Andie Markoe-Byrne Photographed at Milk Studios, New York City Dress by Carlos Miele and headphones by SMS Audio
ANGIE VU HA “My favourite classical music composer is Johann Sebastian Bach,” says DJ Angie Vu Ha. “I like his complexity and love his rhythmic sense.” This might be surprising to some, considering that the 25-year-old model and DJ is best known for her Playboy spreads and being “Asia’s Sexiest DJ”. But don’t let her sultry persona fool you: Angie Vu Ha is a fan of the classics. “I really like opera too—especially when I hear Luciano Pavarotti sing. His voice gets me all excited and gives me chills!” The well-endowed DJ signed to Bigfoot Entertainment in 2010, becoming an international sex symbol overnight after landing a recurring bikini-wearing role in reality TV series Underwater Action. With her foot lodged firmly in the door, Angie decided to pursue her passion for music with a DJ residency at the New Asia Bar in 2011. “My good friend has an event company in Singapore and he asked, ‘Hey, are you a DJ now?’ I said yes and he said, ‘You know what, I’m
Angie Vu Ha, 25 From Hanoi, Vietnam Lives in Singapore Photographed by Alexo Wandael
looking for a model DJ residency in this big club.’ Voilà. Here I am.” The self-described “newcomer” released her first track “Cookies” in 2011, which got immediate attention, followed by the popular “Cyber Sex”. Angie personally prefers the music world to modeling. “I still often look into the mirror and wonder why people even think I’m sexy…What I love about the dance music industry is that they judge you with their ears, and not their eyes.” This entertainment juggernaut continues to spread out her brand, be it DJing to a crowd of 150,000, claiming the Miss October 2012 title for Playboy, or running her own modeling agency, Think Model Management. In 2013, Angie hopes to run for the Playboy Miss Social 2013, launch her clothing line Angie Vu Ha, and release her debut album.
Make-up by Roberto Morelli
COLES Maya Jane Coles, 25 From London, England What does Maya Jane Coles—the UK-born house music producer and artist who is currently considered one of the rising stars of the industry, love most about music? “Everything!” she exclaims. “The fact that the same piece of music can make someone laugh, cry, smile, remember, forget, dance; it’s such a powerful medium and such an expansive canvas to create with.” Coles discovered her love for the craft in her early teens. Raised in a musical environment by “eclectic parents”, her childhood was infused with a range of influences from jazz and blues to classical, punk and dub. She began making hip-hop beats at the age of 15. Inspired by the urge to direct and execute every aspect of the creative process on her own, she decided to learn the software programs necessary to become the creative mastermind, as well as the mixer, arranger and performer behind every track with her name on it. “It irritates me how many times I get asked ‘who engineers for me’ or ‘who I produce my music with’. These questions seem to pop up far too many times for my liking… I’ve been doing it since I was 15, of course I write and compose it all myself. Of course I engineer and mix down all my own tracks. I wouldn’t call myself a producer if I didn’t. I work solo, and no, I don’t get a helping hand from anyone else. It baffles me why that is such a surprise to some!” After honing her skills, she released two consecutive house records in 2008 and 2009 under Dogmatik Records. She soon formed She Is Danger, with partner Lena Cullen, and the duo went on to collaborate with EDM giants like Massive Attack and Gorillaz. She eventually landed on DJ Magazine’s “best newcomer of the year” list, and that was only the beginning. Doors began to swing open for the young DJ. She was invited to record an “Essential Mix” for BBC, and was voted “Best Newcomer 2011” by the Ibiza DJ Awards. By the end of 2012, Rolling Stone had ranked her 14th amongst the world’s most influential DJs. This year, look out as she dominates the festival circuit, including stints at Coachella, Bestival, Ultra, and Eastern Electrics. She’s already released her EP LB - Superstitious Heart this year, with no intentions of slowing down: “The album is the big thing for me this year, then straight into writing the next one. I’m so happy to have the first one wrapped and it’s exciting to now have the space to be working on record number two.”
Noah Becker, 19 From Munich, Germany Lives in London, England Photographed by Bernd Ott
fashion, but I love to find new things all over the world. It can be from a great brand, but also from a young designer,” Becker says, on how he constructs his own signature look. Currently he is in the studio, where he is working on new material and producing new songs, much of which he plans to release this year. In addition, he’ll be touring abroad throughout the coming months, as well as putting out a new collection from Fancy in Berlin.
“Stay positive,” says DJ Noah Becker. “Go-getters find ways, nogetters find reasons.” The 19-year-old German DJ considers his father, who also just happens to be the world-class German tennis star Boris Becker, his biggest mentor. Despite his famous legacy, Noah Becker is working at making a name for himself in his own right. He has been DJing since he was 15, and decided to make it his vocation after one fateful and inspiring trip to Ibiza, the tropical DJ mecca of Spain. “When I went to Ibiza, I fell in love with the atmosphere, club and DJ scene.” His musical roots, though, were planted earlier in life, when he sat down at a drum kit for the first time at the age of eight. Becker’s influences include popular icons like Bob Marley and Daft Punk. When he’s not DJing, Becker spends his time producing for other artists and running his own clothing line, Fancy Clothing. “I love
Stylist: Deborah Latouche @ Terri Manduca Hair by Elliot Bssila @ DWM Make-up by Neusa Neves @ Terri Manduca Photographed at Russian Club Studios, London Noah wears a sweatshirt by Known, jeans and gloves by KARL and necklace by Toast.
Bip Ling, 23 From London, England Photographed by Bernd Ott
“That was rather fabulous!” Words to live by for DJ Bip Ling, who made a name for herself when she started documenting her inimitable style, as well as her views on life and culture, on her personal blog. The buzz soon turned into serious attention from the art and fashion scene, and before she knew it, she was signed to Storm Models and scoring campaigns. In the midst of the flurry, around the age of 17, her DJ career started taking off. Based in London, she has travelled the world over for her craft, including a gig DJing in Florence, Italy, and in Dubai, where she had to perform outside in the scorching heat. “I have never sweated so much in my whole entire life!!!” Although she finds it difficult to narrow down favourites amongst her 15,000-track collection, she counts Jamie Jones as one of her keenest contemporaries, and Lykke Li, Adam Green and Kurtis Blow as musicians to admire. Asked if she could be any other artist in the world, her unlikely response was an enthusiastic “Snoop Dog!” “Every day is a stylie day,” echoing her fashion illustrator mom, whom she also counts as her favourite artist next to Van Gogh. Coming from two artistic parents – her father is the owner of The Fashion Illustration Gallery – it’s no wonder she’s made a name for herself as the next “it” girl. Expect to see much more from this trendsetter, including a TV series she’s developing as well as more from her character, Mooch. What will 2013 look like for her, we asked? “Mooching out and Bipping,” naturally.
BIP LING Stylist: Deborah Latouche @ Terri Manduca Hair by Elliot Bssila @ DWM Make-up by Neusa Neves @ Terri Manduca Photographed at Russian Club Studios, London T-shirt by KARL, skirt by John Rocha.
SKY NELLOR Sky Nellor From Sydney, Australia Lives in Los Angeles, California Photographed by Delaney Bishop
Sky Nellor has always followed the beat of her own drum. “My mother says I was performing since the day I was born.” The Australian native initially made a name for herself as one of the most sought-after models, appearing on magazine covers from Vogue to Amica. Her career as a DJ began, however, when she was dared one night by a friend at a party to get behind the decks. She gladly accepted the challenge, and hence, her DJ moniker was born. Her breakthrough moment came upon an invitation from a fashion heavyweight. “Giorgio Armani flew me to Milan to sit front row at his fashion show, then introduced me to Sophia Loren at dinner. I later DJed the after-party.” Less than a year later Nellor was spinning at some of the fashion and music industries’ biggest events, becoming a fixture at soirées thrown by Calvin Klein and Vanity Fair, to name
a few. Her client roster reads like the who’s-who of contemporary music: Diddy, Britney, Outkast, Missy Elliot—though being a superstar comes with its risks, including one sky-high stunt. “I was lifted in a glass DJ booth 30 feet above a crowd of over 5,000 people in Shanghai. I was really hoping no-one could see up my dress!” The Radio Head and Adele fan extended her reach in 2012 by serving as musical supervisor and host for NBC’s Hip-Hop on Ice with Tara Lipinski. She also hosted segments for Russell Simmons’s Oneworld Music Beat program on VH1. Though she’s mum on any upcoming projects, with the DJ culture on the rise, Nellor’s star will surely get brighter. As she says, “Music is my life!”
Stylist: Elizabeth Watson Hair by Meghan McClain Make-up by Joanna Berdzinska Sky wears a dress by Camila X Castillo, bracelet by Cartier and shoes by Sam Edelman.
Zara Martin, 28 From London, England Photographed by Bernd Ott
“I’m obsessed with Morticia Addams and Brigitte Bardot. So I bleach my hair and wear a lot of black.” Zara Martin, the multitalented model, television presenter and DJ is all about mixing it up. “I’ve only been DJing for the past couple of years,” she says. “It was a hobby that turned into an actual job.” She frequently mixes tracks for brands like Chanel and Versace and curates weekly “Global Club Nights” at W Hotels, and recently she’s teamed up with best friend and singer Jade Williams to form the duo Ooh La La. Jet-setting across the world, she’s had her fair share of onstage issues. “But the worst thing will always be playing to an empty room. The only way to handle that is a vodka soda.” In addition to DJing, she works as a correspondent for Nylon TV, Glamour TV and Al Gore’s Current TV. On top of it all, she’s found the time to start a career in fashion design as well, creating a capsule collection with Bodyamr and an ethical jewelry line with Made To Design. Martin has discovered the secret to taking the entertainment world by storm: “Work hard, nap hard!” This year, look out for her new accessories line, her new music-based TV project and a line-up of gigs with Ooh La La.
Stylist: Deborah Latouche @ Terri Manduca Hair by Elliot Bssila @ DWM Make-up by Neusa Neves @ Terri Manduca Photographed at Russian Club Studios, London Zara wears a jacket by Miharayasuhiro, skirt by House of Harlot and bracelet by DSquared2.
Coleman Feltes From Minneapolis, Minnesota Lives in New York City Photographed by Carter B Smith
“Please. Learn the art of DJing instead of being a jukebox. Don’t just play music. Create it.” With a career that has spanned multiple decades, including working on the 1996 Olympics as a music supervisor, DJ Coleman Feltes certainly knows a few things about the craft. The self-described “music stylist” says that above all else, he values people who work with creative integrity and don’t sell out. And what exactly is a “music stylist”? In Coleman’s case, it means DJing for big-name runway shows like Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, as well as designing personalised playlists to accompany the home décor of some of his clients. He isn’t alone; an
increasing number of people are hiring personal music stylists to pick out tunes for their homes just as they might hire an interior decorator to select the right wallpaper for a particular room. And who better to cultivate your in-home ambiance than someone possessed of Coleman’s chops? “I collaborated with Prince for a Versace fashion show. Yes, me and Prince – alone in his hotel room mixing on my computer while he sat in his robe at a desk across the room. I suggested mash-ups of his music, and he said, and I quote, ‘That is sacrilegious.’ Needless to say, we went with his original and unreleased work.” The global event DJ has no plans to slow down anytime soon. “This year is all about creative renaissance.” For 2013, Coleman is “consciously creating ‘Coleman 5.0’ in work and life.”
Coleman wears a shirt by V Ave Shoe Repair, scarf by Dolce & Gabbana, trousers by Masatomo and a hat by Reinhard Plank.
KERLI PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
“Every moment I do something that I thought I couldn’t do is a breakthrough moment,” says Estonianborn singer-songwriter Kerli, who was discovered at a 2006 talent show by L.A. Reid, who signed her to Island Records. “For me, it was never a question. I always knew who I was going to become when I grew up.” Armed with this conviction, she dropped out of school at the age of 16 to pursue her dreams. Her debut album, Love Is Dead, was released in 2008 with several of her singles appearing on television shows and soundtracks. In 2009 she received the European Border Breakers Award for Love Is Dead. For her, music indeed has no borders: “I love that music is invisible, meaning it doesn’t really exist in the real world but is a vibration – a wave. It’s amazing how an invisible thing can change the world and make a difference in someone’s life.” The stunning musician is currently working on her second album, Utopia, which is said to cultivate a totally original musical style and soundscape – a complete departure from her debut. “They’re kind of opposite in nature, even just the names, ‘Love is Dead’ and ‘Utopia’, are opposites. I was very depressed when I made my first album, but this new album is about trying to find heaven on earth and I was trying to capture a lot of positive energy into this new music. I am a totally different person now.” She counts The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and Björk’s Greatest Hits as two of her main influences, but if she could be any other artist, she’d choose an unlikely icon of yore. “I think it would be fun to be Mozart for a while to see what it feels like to be touched by God.” She considers her look to be constantly evolving, although she counts Simon Preen, Vivienne Westwood, Iris van Herpen and Alexander McQueen as her favourite designers. With her stunning chiseled features and blue eyes, it would not be surprising to see her in some serious campaigns in the not-too-distant future. So far, 2013 will see Kerli performing at several festivals, including SXSW and Ultra, with her new album Utopia set for a March release. Her star is most certainly on the rise, and there is no telling what the future holds. As she tells us, “My motto used to be ‘Why not?’… Now it’s ‘If you could do anything, what would you do?’”
Kerli wears a dress by Rafael Cennamo.
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Hair by Miok @ Judy Casey Make-up by Hazuki Kerli wears a dress by The Blonds.
JEWEL like Cinderella.” Indeed, Bob Dylan himself picked her out of the masses and took her under his wing. “I was going to start changing my style to try to get on the radio, but he really convinced me to stay with what I was doing. He mentored me after every show and gave me books to read... He just really believed in me. I decided to keep slogging it out, and after that, it began to pick up more momentum… I went from selling 3,000 records in a year to selling half a million records every month. That carried on for quite a while.” Despite her mellow reputation, Jewel certainly has a tough side, bred into her from years of struggling to gain respect as an artist. “I was famous for kicking people out of the audience if they weren’t listening to me, even though I was the opening act. I opened for Neil Young at Madison Square Garden, and he was like, ‘You look nervous,’ and I was like, ‘I am.’ He goes, ‘Why?’ ‘’Cause you’re Neil Young, and you have Crazy Horse, and I’m solo acoustic. Nobody knows me, and I’m at Madison Square Garden.’ Then he looked at me, he got real serious, shoved his finger in my face, and goes, ‘This is just another hash house on the road to success. You show them no respect!’” The rest is history. Now, Jewel has come full circle, and has released a long-time-coming greatest hits album, which her label had been pushing for since she was only 24. It also features several new tracks. “My writing has evolved and changed... It’s gone through many twists and turns, but hopefully it’s alive and viable.” Her new work, which features duets with artists as varied as Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies, as well as re-recordings of “Foolish Games”, truly reflects her eclectic taste in music. “The best revenge is a life well lived,” says Jewel, currently on tour promoting the album. If this axiom is true, she has indeed fulfilled it.
“I wrote ‘Who Will Save Your Soul’ when I was 16 because I wanted to hitchhike through Mexico for Spring Break.” And with that, legendary singer and poetess Jewel created what would become the seminal track for one of the best-selling debut albums of all time: 1995’s 15-time platinum Pieces Of You. Jewel’s troubled back-story is a well known part of her public perception and is one that includes a fair amount of heartbreak and, of course, triumph. “I got discovered when I was homeless in San Diego. I was living paycheck to paycheck. My boss took me aside and propositioned me... I realised he wanted to sleep with me, and when I didn’t, he didn’t give me my paycheck. So I couldn’t pay my rent… I thought I’d just live in my car, get a new job and save up, put a deposit down on a new place. I had bad kidneys at the time and couldn’t really get back on my feet. Then the car I was living in got stolen, and I almost died in the middle of a parking lot of a hospital because they wouldn’t see me. It was just a dark time, but I was writing at the time, and excited to start trying to sing somewhere locally, the way I had when I was kid.” Those days were punctuated with highs and lows, and were clearly fundamental in shaping her as the musician she would become. “I started singing with my parents when I was six. They did shows in hotels for tourists. My parents got divorced when I was eight, and my mom lost us, and I took over her place in the family act. So my dad and I became a duo when I was eight… I was probably the only fourth-grader that went from elementary school right to the bar. We did five-hour sets in bars doing cover songs as well as my dad’s originals.” All of her struggles, of course, paid off, as she would eventually become one of the most iconic female performers of the decade. “All of a sudden, limousines started showing up, and it was
Photography & Interview by Indira Cesarine Fashion Editor: Brendan Cannon Jewel wears a dress by Reem Acra, earrings by Goshwara and a bangle by Michael John. Hair & Make-up by Greg Allen & Beau Nelson Photographed at The James Hotel SoHo
JIHAE “I think music is like air. We can’t live without it. It is such a fundamental part of human life. Music is used for worshiping, for mourning, for celebrating, to forget, and to remember. It gives us nostalgia. It gives us joy and sadness... I think it’s a part of our wavelength and our way of being… I can’t imagine life without music, even if it’s bad music,” says South Korean-born singer, composer and multimedia artist Jihae (which means “wisdom” in Korean). Despite her obvious passion for music, originally Jihae planned to follow in her father’s footsteps as a diplomat. Upon moving to New York—a move preceded by stints living in South Korea, Nigeria and Sweden—her momentum, as well as her interests, shifted dramatically. Politics went out the window in favor of the artistic life. After nabbing demo deals with Atlantic Records and London Records, it was clear that this was no fluke. “I wanted to make art through music, and to express myself... I love doing what I’m doing, so I’m going to continue doing it.” The stunning musician worked as a model while she built up her repertoire in music. “I started modeling in the country as a Korean citizen. It was the perfect situation for me to do my writing, my songwriting, my demoing and making records. I’m so grateful and thankful that I had this other situation where I didn’t have to work that often, and it would support me.” After releasing several albums, including My Heart is an Elephant (2007) and Elvis is Still Alive (2008), she launched Septem in 2009, a boutique music and multimedia company that she dedicated to the production of music and other creative projects, the roots of which are planted in social causes. In 2010, Jihae’s rock opera, Fire Burning Rain, was released, based on her identically titled concept album. With musical influences such as Nina Simone and Janis Joplin, her moody, sultry sound and unique voice has been gaining her quite a following. “I love to experiment with all different types of sounds, beats, and soundscapes, on top of the traditional instrumentation.”
Photography & Interview by Indira Cesarine Fashion Editor: Brendan Cannon Hair by Miok @ Judy Casey Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano @ Judy Casey Jihae wears a dress by SkinGraft and camisole by Agent Provocateur.
Expect to hear a lot more about this exceptionally talented muse who believes that “the most important aspect of expression is honesty, and being honest to yourself, and being honest in your creation”. In between her busy schedule of modeling and recording, she found time over the last few years to build up an impressive list of collaborations with artists, including Michel Gondry, Lenny Kravitz and Dave Stewart, who has not only become a mentor to her, but co-produced her new album. “I spent two weeks with him on this record, but he’s basically taken quite a mentor type of role… He’s pretty much encouraged me to go a little bit more rock in the music format than I had been. He is advising me on a lot of different areas, and I thoroughly, thoroughly am inspired by him and respect him immensely.” She was lucky enough to have Lenny Kravitz, who played bass on her first album, also donate studio space for the recording of Illusion of You, with co-writes by Leonard Cohen, due out later this year. She just finished a score for a video art piece, a DVD in a book, is “competing on a music-based project that changes the world and donates money to charity…a campaign about inspiring women around the world, interviewing them about their vision and concept of beauty…” What else is going on in 2013? “I will be doing a couple of shows in LA.” Stay tuned for her new single, to be released in April. Above: Jihae wears a corset and leather dress by Carla Dawn Behrle and necklace Push by Pushmataaha. Opposite page: She wears a glove with ring by Chrishabana for Assaad Awad and a necklace by Push by Pushmataaha.
Taylor Momsen Kreayshawn Turn It Up Natalia Kills Big Sean Cassie Charli XCX Carmen Electra Chelsea Tyler Marion Corrales Kate Nash Ren Harvieu
PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Fashion Editor: Brendan Cannon Hair by Lizzie Reilly Make-up by Roberto Morelli Photographed at No. 8, New York City Taylor wears a jacket by Dolce & Gabbana, dress by Alexander McQueen at Saks 5th Ave, shoes by Underground, ring by Push by Pushmataaha and other jewellery from Taylorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own collection.
Catholic, signed to Ford Models at the age of two. She has been widely outspoken about her resentment being put to work at such a young age by her parents. “No two-year-old wants to be working, but I had no choice. My whole life, I was in and out of school. I didn’t have friends.” Despite that, she went from strength to strength in her career, with a break-out acting role at the young age of seven in Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (for which she also recorded a song for the soundtrack), followed by the lead in Hansel and Gretel and roles with other top directors, including Gus Van Sant. She became widely known for her role as Jenny Humphrey on the TV show Gossip Girl, which she filmed for four seasons. Rumour has it that she was “kicked off” the show for her erratic behaviour, although according to Taylor, she just wanted to focus on her music.
“Most of the time, everything’s going horribly wrong. So to have a show where everything runs smoothly – that’s awesome. I expect the worst, and if everything goes better than the worst, then you’re psyched. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, man; you never know what to expect from the crowd, the sound, anything.” When talking to the stunningly beautiful nineteen-year-old Taylor Momsen, one would think she is far older than her years. She has a perspective on the entertainment industry that only comes from years of experience, hard work and an understanding of the headache that also comes with it. Exhaustive touring, performances that are amazing and the disappointments – she is no stranger to the highs and lows of show business and the intense dedication required to hone your craft. The child star, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised
This page: Taylor wears a dress by Reign, made to order at Any Old Iron, ring by Lazaro and jewellery from Taylorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own collection. Opposite page: She wears a jacket by Marc Jacobs and a necklace by Bess.
Taylor wears a dress by Reem Acra, jacket by AllSaints, boots by Alejandro Ingelmo, ring by Lazaro, and other jewellery from Taylorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own collection.
This page: Taylor wears a top by Nina Ricci, studded bra and jewellery from her own collection. Opposite page: Taylor wears a dress by Stella McCartney, jacket by Tripp at Trash and Vaudeville, and shoes by Iris van Herpen X United Nude.
nude, have only added to her “reckless” reputation – and growing fan base. Despite her rebellious image, she is seriously dedicated when it comes to music. “Music’s awesome. It’s a language in itself that can translate from any language. Music is its own language. That’s amazing. It speaks without speaking.” The avid Beatles fan says she would “probably be an alcoholic” if she wasn’t a musician. Her lyrics – which focus on dark topics such as sex, drugs, death and religion – have catapulted her to the top of the list of controversial musicians. Songs like “Going Down” created a storm of negative press, and she was pronounced “Junior Courtney Love” by the media. Taylor insists “a lot of my songs work on multiple levels.” Although the subjects may seem controversial, she likes to leave the meaning of her songs open to interpretation. “Songwriting’s a very tortuous long process where you kind of sit inside your head and kill yourself for something… Sometimes you finish the song and you don’t even realise what you’re saying until it’s complete. Maybe a year later, you’re listening back and go, ‘Oh, this is what I was really saying,’ as opposed to what I thought I was saying at the time. I like to leave songs open to interpretation for people. Whatever it means to me...it’s irrelevant. It’s just how it touches other people and how they interpret it and what it means to them… It’s what makes music so worldly.” 2012 saw career highs including the release of her second EP, Hit Me Like a Man, her tour with Marilyn Manson, and lows, such as when their New York studio was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. “Our studio, all its gear, all our guitars, destroyed!” In December they released their new single “Kill Me”, which was featured at the end of the final episode of Gossip Girl, creating a fitting closure for her relationship with the TV show. 2013 is set to be a big year for The Pretty Reckless, with the new album set to release in the spring. It is clear that Momsen, with her husky voice and strong lyricism, is optimistic about the future. “There will definitely be a world tour, and I’m putting a film together about the record, a documentary… and hopefully some other things around that!” You can expect the unexpected when it comes to Taylor, and fortunately for her fans, we will certainly be seeing and hearing a lot more about her in the years to come.
“Music was always the goal and always my focus. Acting was a day job, to pay the rent.” When the headstrong blonde beauty from Gossip Girl started to make tongues wag about her wild behaviour, a lot of people thought she was on her way to becoming another casualty of the industry. “I was put into acting really young, literally at 2 years old. I didn’t exactly choose that…” Outspoken and untamed, she refused to bow down to the business like a good little girl, and instead flaunted it all and focused on her career as a musician – where she could finally push the boundaries of her art and ideology. Some may think that, for a 17-year-old, it is a bit crazy to perform on stage with only duct tape on your breasts, talk openly about female masturbation and her pre-disposition for porn, but for Taylor, who shot her first commercial at the age of three, it was pretty obvious that she didn’t care what anyone thought about her. She just wanted to be her creative and “reckless” self. “I kind of grew up in recording studios. I was in my first recording studio when I was very very little… I started writing for myself probably since I was around 9, 10 years old.” She recorded her first song at the age of 5, and after years of modeling and acting gigs realised it was her true calling. Initially a lot of people didn’t take her band, The Pretty Reckless, very seriously – although it wasn’t long before she proved them wrong. Shedding her petty girl image for rock ‘n’ roll black raccoon liner, lingerie and leather, the band released two demo singles, “He Loves You” and “Zombie”, gaining them some serious traction with fans. The band’s first single was featured prominently in the film Kick-Ass, making it onto the soundtrack and gaining them a spot on the Warped Tour. Their first EP, The Pretty Reckless, got the attention of a variety of major music publications, including Rolling Stone. In the fall of 2010, the band released their first album, Light Me Up, with Interscope Records, debuting on the charts in the UK at No. 6. Since then it has been back-to-back touring with her band, as well as opening for some serious headliners, including Marilyn Manson on his Hey Cruel World…Tour. “We’ve been really fortunate to get a lot of really cool tours and perform with a lot of really great bands, from Guns N’ Roses to Evanescence to all the festivals. We played with System of a Down and everyone. But Manson was one of my favourites.” Her antics on stage topped off with her controversial lyrics and music videos, including “Under the Water” featuring her
Interview by Indira Cesarine
KREAY SHAWN PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Danny Flynn Hair by Eric Bernard Make-up by Stephen Dimmick
Kreayshawn, the 23-year-old Oakland-born rapper, video director and founding member of controversial White Girl Mob, says her favourite designer is Goodwill and listens to ‘N Sync when she’s having an emotional breakdown – which she says happens frequently. Following in the footsteps of her mother, who was in a girls’ surf punk band, she started learning the ropes from the age of three. “My mom was a musician, so I would always watch her play. She would let me play the drums or sing a song with her band, and stuff like that. So it was just something that I started from when I was like, three years old and it kind of progressed throughout time, you know?” She started rapping due to a massive crush on Lil’ Bow Wow, who became the inspiration for some of her first rhymes when she was just ten years old. “There’s songs that I have of me rapping about Lil’ Bow Wow when I was like, 10 years old. I had a huge crush on him. I was pretty much destined to do rap music.” She came up with the stage name “Kreayshawn” as a reflection of her artistic identity. “When I made the name, I was also doing film and painting. It comes from the word ‘creation’, and I just like creating stuff… Every day, I like to create something, whether I paint something, or draw something, or make a song, or DJ. That’s really what’s kept me going: my will to make things.” She became an overnight success after her video for the song “Gucci Gucci” went viral, racking up nearly 3 million views in the first few weeks, after which Kreayshawn was quickly scooped up by Columbia Records. “We didn’t plan on it to get that many views... We were shooting the video, and I kind of just had these ideas like, ‘Oh, let’s shoot here on Fairfax’, ‘Oh, there’s a house party. Let’s go to the house party…’ Everything just kind of flowed nicely. It was a really fun day… A lot of [rap] music caters to wearing expensive clothing and thinking because you have something that’s more expensive, to wear your money, and stuff like that. ‘Gucci Gucci’ was just poking fun at that. And at the end of the day, I got a record deal from poking fun at something that people probably rap about to get a record deal!”
Kreayshawn wears a dress by Carlos Miele, sunglasses by Mercura, necklace and bracelet by Chrishabana and rings by Noir.
Kreayshawn wears a visor by SkinGraft over a Swarovski cap, white hoodie dress by Lauren Bagliore, shorts by SkinGraft, bikini top by Agent Provocateur, ring by Chrishabana and steel cuffs by Mordekai.
Kreayshawn wears a gauzy knit sweater wrap by Lauren Bagliore, visor by SkinGraft, bathing suit by The Blonds and ring by Noir.
Considering she only did her first show in 2010, her ascension to one of the most buzzedabout female artists on the scene is largely attributed to her intense social media status and online following, with Billboard ranking her as No. 34 on their Social 50 chart of most dynamic online influences. Following three different mixtapes released to drum up online buzz and maintain momentum, her first full-length album, Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay, was released for digital download in 2012, with a CD release following a few weeks later. “Music is everything. It’s the best medicine; it’s always there for you. No matter how you feel, there’s always a song for it, whether you’re in a pissed-off mood and you want to listen to some Wakka Flocka and go crazy, or you’re feeling an emotional breakdown coming on – there’s always something there. Music’s the shit, man.” Passionate about everything to do with music, she not only creates it, but directs music videos for up-and-coming local artists, as well as some heavy hitters, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “That was an amazing experience, to direct a music video with such a big budget… More recently, I’ve been concentrating on doing videos for a lot of female artists. I’ve had a little bit more time since my album came out to focus on the things that I want to do.” She is currently touring the country with a host of other female emcees. “I’m definitely working on a whole bunch of crazy things,” she says. “I’ve put out a couple songs since the New Year. I’ll probably put out some mixtapes or some EPs or something. Definitely put out a lot of music videos this year, dropping some exclusive somethings that I can’t talk about.” Whatever those things may be, she certainly pushes herself to continuously reach the next level of artistic achievement. “Be better,” she insists. “Do whatever you’re doing now, just be better at it.”
This Page: Kreayshawn wears a hat by SkinGraft, swimsuit by Agent Provocateur, earrings by Noir, jacket and gold chain from Replika Vintage. Opposite Page: She wears a hat by SkinGraft, bodysuit by American Apparel, shorts by Renzo + Kai, bracelets and nail accessories by Noir and necklace by Mordekai by Ken Borochov.
Hat by SkinGraft, chain bra by The Blonds, shorts by Diesel, vertebrae and accessories by Noir.
Sunglasses by Mercura NYC
UP PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELA FEDERICI
Fashion Editor: Scott Newkirk Hair by Bradley Irion (NYC) & Terry Millet (LA) Make-up by Sandrine Van Slee (NYC) & Melissa Rogers (LA)
LP LP wears a jacket by Rick Owens and shirt by Saint Laurent at Barneys New York.
ANDRA DAY This page: Andra wears a tank top by James Perse, a Romeo Gigli cardigan from New York Vintage, trousers by Craig Robinson and silk hair tie by Jil Sander. Opposite page: Alex wears a leather band jacket by Jou Jou.
LIANNE LA HAVAS This page: Lianne wears a top by Dolce & Gabbana at Barneys New York, cuff by Reed Krakoff, vintage ring from New York Vintage and hat by Steven Alan. Opposite page: Biffy Clyro are wearing: left – vest by Balenciaga and crew neck by James Perse, middle – shirt by Against Nature Atelier and Armani jacket from New York Vintage, right – t-shirt by Saint Laurent at Barneys New York and scarf by Givenchy at Barneys New York.
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ELLE KING Elle wears a jacket and necklace from New York Vintage.
AARON MARCELLUS Aaron wears a hat and feather boa from New York Vintage, coat by Balenciaga, and jewellery by Ryan Matthew @ Against Nature Atelier.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE Fashion Editor: Bendan Cannon Hair by Jakob Sherwood Make-up by Bernadine Bibiano Natalia wears a top by Katrin Schnabl, shorts by The Blonds, shoes by Jen Kao and bracelets by Pluma Italia.
This page: Natalia wears a jacket by SkinGraft, skirt by Renzo + Kai and necklace by Pluma Italia. Opposite page: She wears a shirt, shorts and jacket by Jason Wu harness by Mandy Coon and rings by Noir.
This page: Natalia wears a top and trousers by Lie Sang Bong, visor by SkinGraft, bracelet by Siman Tu and bra by La Perla. Opposite page: Bodysuit by The Blonds, ring by Noir.
Natalia wears a dress by Elliatt, necklace by Siman Tu, shoes by United Nude, ring by Noir and earrings by LAS Jewelry.
“I was living in a run-down motel in Hollywood for about a year and a half, trying to turn my writing into something. I had no money, but I used to go into this boutique that sold rare designer sunglasses and just try things on that I couldn’t afford. This man walked in and said, ‘Hey, you look like a star, what do you do?’ and I gave him some music. He introduced me to a DJ, who then took me to meet will.i.am. When Will signed me to Interscope, he took me back to that glasses store and bought me that exact pair I was wearing when the man walked in. Life is funny sometimes.” A fairy tale? Perhaps. Though when you see English-born Natalia Keery-Fisher (aka Natalia Kills) with her heavy jet-black bangs, kohl-lined cat eyes, and signature black leather/gold jewelry aesthetic, you aren’t surprised. The 26-year-old musician-writer-singer-actor has been in show business since the age of nine and was only 14 when she left home. “I had a lot of problems and needed to leave home and get my own place,” she explains, “So I got a job on television and found a little apartment in London.” She soon went on to write and self-produce her first album, Womannequin, which reached the top of the unsigned artist chart. Her recent album, Perfectionist, was inspired by her rocky past. “…When it all fell apart…after my dad went to jail and I moved out, I had joined a religious group and then got a boyfriend, trying to be a grown-up and find security in something. It turned out to be more like a cult, and it really messed with my perspective on everything, so when the boy broke my heart and treated me badly I just snapped.” Her heartache only fueled her music further. “I only write about my own experiences… I go back and confront what a mess I made of my life and all the bad things that happened to me. When I can write about the bad times, and then fly around the world and be on the cover of magazines because of those songs, it’s like turning the worst moments of my life into the best ones!” The inspired songstress tells us, “For me, music is more powerful than anything in the world. It transforms me… transports me into hope and despair. Sounds and melodies have an impact on my emotions and thoughts so directly… It can say everything I feel without even needing any words… Since the beginning, people have always made music. It’s another part of being human that separates us from everything else.” Noted as one of the musicians to watch in 2013, do not miss her new single, “Problem”, and her second album, Trouble, due this year on Cherrytree and Interscope Records.
This page: Sean wears a shirt, hoodie and shorts by Alexander Wang, shoes by Balenciaga, a vintage bandana, sunglasses by Tom Ford and jewellery from his own collection. Opposite page: He wears a jacket by Giorgio Brato, t-shirt by Fear of God, hat by Finally Famous by Big Sean and gloves and accessories from his own collection.
BIG SEAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE Stylist: April Roomet Hair by Tracy Love Grooming by Sarah Uslan Photographed at Pier 59 Studios West
there, so I got past security. I shook his hand, and told him I was an aspiring MC. He was just like, ‘Man, keep it up. Much love.’ And as he was walking away, my friend was like, ‘Hey, you can’t just let him walk away without rapping!’ So I caught him again, told him, ‘Yo man, you know, can I please rap for you?’ And he was like, ‘Man, I ain’t got time.’ And then I gave him the super guilt trip, like, ‘Man, I ride to school listening to you. You’re my hero.’ He was like, ‘All right. You got 16 bars. You gotta rap while we walk of out the station. Go!’ So I started rapping. I could tell he was really listening and into it. He just stopped there and was just bobbing his head, just listening. I ended rapping for like ten minutes straight, and he loved it.” Sixteen bars later, Big Sean was born. Two years later, before the age of twenty, he was signed to West’s label, G.O.O.D. Music, and later Def Jam Records. His debut album, Finally Famous, came out in 2011, featuring the likes of West, Lupe Fiasco, Wiz Khalifa, Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown. Nominated for two Grammy awards this year for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, Big Sean places a great deal of importance on the idea of willpower. “I believe in the law of attraction. I believe in creating your own world and not letting anybody tell you anything. I know it’s a proven fact that that works. I feel like whatever you believe in is the right thing, though. Whatever religion, whatever you believe in... If you really believe in it, and you put your heart into it, then that’s what it is.” He counts Bob Marley as one of his greatest inspirations, although he cites himself as the future hip-hop icon for up-and-comers to look up to. “I think I will be the most inspirational person in the music industry very, very soon. As soon as I release this new stuff!” Fortunately, the world will not have to wait too long: Big Sean’s new album, Hall of Fame, is due out this year.
“I don’t know what it is about it that I love. I don’t know why the sky is blue. I don’t know why the grass is green. It just is,” Big Sean says, regarding the inexplicability of what he loves about music. The rising star began rapping by the age of 12, after a neighbourhood mentor also by the name of Sean inspired him with music. “He was always trying to get kids in the neighbourhood to be better and not be in the streets. Where I’m from, Detroit, there’s a lot of bad things going on… He was trying to keep kids out of that. One of the things that he got me into was rapping and music…That was the beginning of it all.” Growing up in Detroit, he made the most of what the city had to offer, particularly its rich musical history. “Detroit has a certain mystique that you can only understand being from there. It translates to music.” He attended private school, where he was exposed to art and poetry, not to mention a diverse student body. “I’d have best friends at school that were different colours and from different places. It taught me how to manoeuver in certain situations. I could be in the middle of the ’hood and feel comfortable. I could be eating at the royal palace and feel comfortable there, too. The school I went to, it specialised in art and poetry. We even made our own textbooks. I wouldn’t probably be half of what I am now if it wasn’t for that foundation.” During high school, Sean got serious about rapping, and began performing for a weekly radio show at 102.7 FM: the station that would eventually be fate-defining for the future star. One day, word got out that Kanye West was there for an interview. A friend of Sean’s called him and convinced him to introduce himself to the icon – an idea he was not initially keen on. “Man, that sounds stupid,” he said. “That sounds like a dumb-ass idea. I hung up the phone, and then I called him back. I think I was kind of nervous.” Fortunately he decided to set his nerves aside and go see West. “I Alex wears a cape by Lulu Lui, shirt by Charlie saw necklace Kanye and entourage, andBelfield. I guess they thought I worked May, andhis bracelet by Imogen
Sean wears a jacket by Carven, t-shirt by Fear of God, sweater by Neroink, vintage glasses and necklaces by Shayan Afshar. Interview by Indira Cesarine
This page: Cassie wears a blazer-cape by Friend of Mine, a jumpsuit by Reem Acra, hat by SkinGraft, belt by Zara, ring by Le Vian, bracelets by Cartier and a necklace from her own collection. Opposite page: She wears a jacket by Catherine Malandrino, trousers by Anthony Franco, rings by Vita Fede, bracelets by Cartier and earrings from her own collection.
CASSIE PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist Elizabeth Watson Hair by Larry Sims Make-up by Autumn Moultrie Photographed at Milk Studios, Los Angeles
This page: Cassie wears a dress by Reem Acra and jewellery by Demarco. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Falguni and Shane Peacock.
out, I really need to come back much, much stronger. I want it to have more personality. Before, I had tracks delivered to me; you pick and you choose, and there’s no personality behind it, nobody knows who you are. I really want to tell a story when I’m doing a song,” she says. She’s revealed that while working on her current album, she’s been simultaneously producing a new mix tape, Rock-A-Bye Baby. The single “Balcony” featuring Young Jeezy was released in September of 2012, followed by “King of Hearts,” which was released on February 14th to critical acclaim. The sultry dance-pop tune has all the music critics buzzing, and music industry fans like Beyoncé raving, “I can’t stop listening to this song!” It seems 2013 will prove to the world that Cassie isn’t going anywhere and, in fact, is just getting started.
“If it could happen to me it, could happen to anybody. I’m just another girl at the end of the day.” Cassie, the model and R&B star, has managed to keep a clear mind and a humble heart, despite her quick rise to fame in an industry known for producing its fair share of divas. Her first single, “Me & U”, become a major hit in 2006, followed by her debut album, Cassie, which was released by Diddy’s Bad Boy Records the same year. Her much anticipated second album is due out this year on Interscope records. Though it seems she has maintained a relatively low profile since her first album came out, she was, on the contrary, quite busy plotting her next move, signaled by her featured verse in Nicki Minaj’s “The Boys”—which became a mass hit—with an accompanying video that catapulted the sweltering Cassie to the top of her game. “Based on my past and how my last album came
This page: Cassie wears a dress by Herve Leger and a diamond cuff by Le Vian. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Rafael Cennamo and a ring by Push by Pushmataaha.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICK RHODES Stylist: Charles Adesanya Hair by Elliot Bssila @ DWM Make-up by Jaimee Thomas Photographed at The Scotch of St James, London
Charli wears a dress by Craig Lawrence.
Above: Charli wears a black bustier and skirt by Dolce & Gabbana, hat by Philip Treacy, leather gloves by Corlette, diamond bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels, ring by Seaman Schepps and tights by Wolford. Opposite: She wears a jumpsuit by Pam Hogg and hat by Stephen Jones.
supportive of me... On some nights I was playing to 65,000 people... It was insane... I felt like such a superstar.” Her second mixtape, Super Ultra, featured breakthrough hit “I Love It” with Icona Pop. Charli raves to us, “The other night, I saw it on the HBO show Girls. It’s my favourite show in the world, ever. I just thought, ‘OK. I’m happy now. This has made my year.’” When she’s not rubbing shoulders with her favourite artists, Charli XCX spends her time penning hits for them. “I’m always writing for people. Songwriting for others is one of my favourite things to do. You can really escape into another world and get into somebody else’s head for a while... I love how music speaks to everyone. It just connects and makes people feel emotion. It’s so emotional. And it’s so personal. I love how music can rescue someone. It’s just so powerful.” Look out for her debut full-length album, True Romance, out in April, and make sure not to miss her on her North American tour with Marina & the Diamonds, in Europe touring with Ellie Goulding, or on her own tour of the UK later in the year. As she says, “Make the most of your time on earth, because it will all be over sooner than you know it.”
The Untitled Magazine asked legendary musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran to shoot rising pop star Charli XCX for our music issue. The 20-year-old, English-born singer-songwriter Charli XCX has achieved musical notoriety far beyond her age. The music bug hit her early on. “I used to try and form bands in the playground when I was a lot younger...but we just sang into hair brushes and jumped around pretending to be the Spice Girls.” She was performing live by the age of 14. “I started going up to London and playing these raves at 4 a.m.,” and soon thereafter released two singles by Orgy Music. In 2011, she released several more singles, two of which reached “Best New Track” status. Her first mixtape, titled “Heartbreaks and Earthquakes”, released in 2012, contained entirely original songs, and catapulted her into the spotlight on a supporting tour for Coldplay. “I had never played in a stadium before,” says Charli. “It was like a total whirlwind dream experience. They’re one of the biggest bands in the world right now and it was such an honour to tour the world with them. They were really
This page: Charli wears a dress by Craig Lawrence and boots by DKNY, with bracelets by Symbolic & Chase. Opposite page: She wears a jumpsuit by Pam Hogg, sunglasses by Thom Browne NY, bangle by Boucheron and other jewellery by Symbolic & Chase.
Carmen wears a dress by Falguni and Shane Peacock and sunglasses by Mecura NYC.
CARMEN PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Elizabeth Watson Hair by Bobby Eliot Make-up by Joanna Berdzinska Photographed at the Jim Goldstein Residence
Carmen wears a black dress by Gaurav Gupta, shoulder piece by Anaikka, black cuffs and ring by Swarovski and sunglasses by Mercura NYC.
Carmen wears a dress by Reem Acra and sunglasses by Mercura NYC.
Long before she was the Baywatch vixen and MTV personality that we know today, Carmen Electra was Tara Leigh Patrick, the smalltown girl from Ohio whose singing chops caught the ear of rock demigod Prince, who, incidentally, was the one who suggested she change her name. “We decided Carmen Electra was gonna be it. I loved it, so I decided to keep it forever.” She started her career off in dance and music, and in the early ’90s moved to Minneapolis to work with Prince and Paisley Park Records. She opened for him on his Diamonds and Pearls tour all over Europe. “That was pretty huge for me at the time, because I just left Cincinnati, Ohio, to pursue my dreams and try to make something happen. So meeting Prince and having that opportunity… for someone like him to believe in me was just so inspiring!” On tour, she learned the ropes of live performance – singing and dancing in huge stadiums as her first gig. “I got to dance and have my own band. It almost feels like it was a dream. Sometimes I think, ‘Did that really happen?!’” Prince went on to produce her first album, and with that in tow, Carmen left Minneapolis and the glamour of touring to make it as an actress in LA, starting from scratch on her own. “I walked away from everything. I didn’t have much,” she says. “I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have a bank account, and I struggled for a couple years. I remember just standing and thinking, ‘I made the biggest mistake. Why did I do this?’ Now I understand why… It makes me grateful for every opportunity!” Fast forward a few years, and Carmen Electra had become a household name, with numerous acting and modeling credits. Despite all of her success in front of the camera over the years, what she really missed was performing. “More than anything, I love to perform in front of an audience. I love to feel the energy. There’s no better feeling to me than sharing that energy. I love going into rehearsals, hiring dancers and I find the whole process is so much fun…” The time had come for her to go back to her beginnings and reinvent herself. With a renewed passion, she has released a new single, and hopes to light up the music scene again. “I’ve always loved dance music… Starting off as a dancer, I respect the music because that’s what makes you move. That’s what music is for me. It helps me stay in touch with my feelings and not ignore them.” While she has been romantically linked in the press to pop-culture deity Simon Cowell, her recording projects are done all on her own. “I never mentioned it [to Simon]. I just went in the studio and recorded. I did it on my own and didn’t say anything about it being released, and when it came out, I remember him saying, ‘Young lady, I want to hear your song!’” The ’90s pin-up icon isn’t losing momentum any time soon, keeping busy with a full album in the works and a forthcoming movie, Book of Fire, due out soon. Through it all, she remains independent, driven, and unhindered by disappointments, living according to a simple but powerful mantra: “If you’re not leaning, no-one will ever let you down.”
Carmen wears a jumpsuit by Catherine Malandrino, bracelets by Isharya, rings by Karine Sultan and Le Vian, and sunglasses by Mecura NYC. Interview by Indira Cesarine
This page: Carmen wears a dress by Falguni and Shane Peacock and a diamond ring by Demarco. Opposite page: She wears a black and gold dress by Misguided and shoes by Boutique 9.
Carmen wears a dress by Falguni and Shane Peacock.
Stylist: Vanessa Geldbach Hair by Christian Marc Make-up by Iris Moreau Photographed at The London Hotel, Hollywood
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORDAN DONER
Chelsea Tyler wears a top and skirt by Catherine Malandrino.
Above: Chelsea wears a dress by Catherine Malandrino and lingerie by Kiki de Montparnasse. Opposite page: She wears a top and jeans by G-Star.
Chelsea wears a top by Amber Sakai and shorts by Bec & Bridge.
Chelsea wears a jacket and shirt by Diesel Black Gold and a vintage scarf. He wears a jacket by John Varvatos.
MAR ION CORRALES PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANOUSKA BECKWITH
Marion wears a dress by Jil Sander, necklace by Chopard and vintage jade earrings. Hair by Richard Blandel @ B-Agency Make-up by Frederic Marin @ B-Agency
“Corrales is a Spanish name. It means theatre, open air, as in the theatre of Dionysus at the Acropolis in Athens. Marion Corrales is my real name; I wanted to be true, to present myself as I am.” Although true to her namesake, more than anything else, the French born musician Marion Corrales strives for something a bit more esoteric: to commune with a deeper creative force. “A collaboration is a human encounter between two universes. A real collaboration is rare and amazing.” Corrales studied philosophy at La Sorbonne, theatre at the Conservatory in Paris, and then received a master’s degree in performance studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, though she has loved music since she was a child. “I started to sing when I started to speak. As a child, I wouldn’t have a radio in my room so I had to learn by heart all the lyrics of the songs I loved. My goal was to be able to sing all those songs in my room, for myself, a capella. When I was sixteen I started to improvise on the drum ‘n’ bass set of my brother, DJ Pitch In.” However, it wasn’t until she returned to Paris after graduate school that she fell into step with her true calling. “Truth requires new beginnings,” she muses after all. “When I came back from New York I started a jazz band… I composed the song ‘Gun and Mustache’. It was the beginning of my personal path in music. I needed to write, to sing, to be free in the form and in the process. The duet guitar and voice gave me this freedom.” “Gun and Mustache” was posted
This page: Marion wears a dress by Jil Sander and a necklace by Zara Simon. Opposite page: She wears a top and trousers by Marni.
online, and soon she and her guitarist Alexandre Bellando were chosen to perform at the French festival Solidays, which was a breakthrough for them, “We found our booking agent right after that performance.” Corrales, who counts Fiona Apple as one of her favourite musicians, also happens to be the sister of one of the members of the band Dirtyphonics. “I am inspired by my brother and his band. I love their violence on stage. When you’re there, it’s a special moment that could never happen again.” Yet she prefers to find her personal inspiration from outside the music scene. “The most inspirational people for my songwriting and creative process don’t belong to the musical scene. When I see a very beautiful picture by Alvarez for example, I’m grateful to be alive to witness that kind of beauty. Nature and family is also really inspiring. Time, duration, and patience is really important in the process of making art.” Wherever she draws from, Corrales will continue to inspire her audiences with her creative sound and image, telling us, “The look is really important to me…scenography, music, it can be really strong and powerful. I love pluridisciplinarity in performance. When I opened for Ludovico Einaudi at Casino de Paris last April, it was my dream and the great designer Rosa Tapioca, created a ‘paradise dress’ for me. It was white, as a shell, and my guitar player was also in white, as a knight. This concert was unreal to me, and I wanted to share that feeling through my appearance.” Between her extraordinary performances and recording, Marion is keeping herself busy, having already released songs, including “Meet My Neighbor” and “Bali”, this year. In 2013, look out for the release of a new live album, a new music video produced by Drixxxé, as well as various collaborations with Gotan Project, amongst others.
This page: Marion wears a dress by Hakaan and shoes by Viktor & Rolf. Opposite page: She wears a jacket by Viktor & Rolf and vintage jade earrings.
This page: Kate wears trousers from Karen Walker, top by Mathieu Mirano, jewellery from Noir clutch by Lulu Guinness, and her own shoes. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Honor, necklace by Avant Garde, rings by Goshwara, Judith and Noir, with sunglasses by Mercura NYC. Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine Stylist: Brendan Cannon Fashion Assistants: Katy Younger-Hadwiger and Mika Alexander Hair by Miok @ Judy Casey Make-up by Ido Raphael Zabok @ Next
KATE PHOTOGRAPHY BY INDIRA CESARINE
This page: Kate wears a sweater by Issa London, skirt by Zayan, blouse by Brood, glasses by Mercura NYC, bracelets by Gypsies + Debuntantes, rings by Goshwara and Joseph Mimi, and shoes by Manolo Blahnik. Opposite page: Dress by Zac Posen, necklace by Pluma and rings by Noir and Tsura. Interview by Indira Cesarine
“Don’t let the bastards get you down.” These fighting words, passed from mother to daughter, were surely echoing in Kate Nash’s head the day she decided to quit her job at a Portuguese chicken fastfood restaurant and pursue music full-time. After being rejected from university and suffering a fall which left her with a broken foot and bedridden, Nash made the decision to quit her job to devote herself completely to music. “Even if I weren’t a successful musician, I would still be making music,” she says. “I’d probably be a waitress, as well.” Armed with this tough mentality, the career of this London-based singer, songwriter, musician and self-described feminist has continued to soar. She admits, somewhat brazenly, that she never had a back-up plan. In fact, she doesn’t believe in them. “I never wanted a back-up plan, and I don’t agree with having one. I think if you give yourself a back-up plan, that’s where you’re gonna be headed. You either choose to pursue your dream, or you choose to pursue your back-up plan,” she told us in her interview. She describes herself as “tough but feminine” and is inspired by other female musicians who have paved the way, such as Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. “She really kept her shit together.” Nash is much more than a pretty voice; she has campaigned for a variety of causes across the world such as Plan USA, a women’s advocacy group focusing on Africa, as well as projects in the UK directed at young female musicians. “For me, it’s just common sense – if you care about life and equality, then you are a feminist. If you don’t, then you’re not a feminist. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve read about it, if you’ve read feminist books or watched Third Wave feminism movies. It’s like, if you give a fuck about having rights as a woman or about women having rights, then you are a feminist.” For Nash, who is currently playing in an all-girl band, music and empowerment go hand-in-hand. “I really understand now what it means when people say that music makes them feel safe. It’s really the only haven that you have got. It’s always there and can really help you through crappy situations. It’s really the backbone of my life. I think it’s really empowering.” After bursting onto the scene during the British Invasion 2.0 of the mid-’00s, which saw the likes of Lilly Allen, Amy Winehouse and Adele crossing over with huge success in the US, her first album, Made of Bricks, went to No. 1 in the UK. She was named Best Female Artist at the 2008 Brit Awards when she was only 20. Nash had what she described as a “proper breakdown” due to her hectic touring schedule and catapult to sudden fame. “It’s been a very interesting journey,” she said, speaking on the subject of the added expectation brought by a quick rise to the top. “I was exhausted. I toured like crazy. I didn’t get any time off, so I just needed out, I needed to get away. Then you know, there was pressure with the second record. You’re kinda freaking out!” Her second studio album, My Best Friend Is You, followed in 2010 and spawned what is still her biggest chart hit to date, the single “Do-Wah-Doo”. In November of 2012, Nash released an EP, Death Proof, with the titular single inspired by the Quentin Tarantino film of the same name. “Now I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt. I think before, I was like, ‘Oh my God. It’s a fluke.’ Now I feel like this is my craft, and this is what I do: I’m a musician, I’m a songwriter, and I don’t have that fear that I’ll never be able to write ever again, whereas before I used to worry about that… Right now I’m feeling good!” Her full new album, Girl Talk, released March 5th, and she is also acting in a film set for release in December called Powder Room. With so much happening for Kate Nash in the coming year, she has clearly been following her own words of wisdom: No bastard will be getting her down anytime soon.
Stylist: Irene Manicone Hair by Elvire Roux Make-up by Gosia Byliniak Photographed at Wonderland Studios, London This page: Ren wears a dress by Marina Qureshi and choker by Sophie Breitmeyer. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Spijkers en Spijkers, bodysuit by Jeffrey Michael, sunglasses by Bernard Chandran and earrings by Phillip Gogo.
REN PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERTO AGUILAR
“I’ve worn black for too long. I want to bring some light and colour into my life, now that I’m feeling more positive. I’ve started by dying my hair bright red,” Ren Harvieu says of her new look, which replaced her dark shag. This type of rebirth talk makes sense for the 22-year-old singer, who got a second chance of sorts after suffering a horrific back injury last year that threatened to leave her paralysed. Instead, the self-described “tougher-than-nails” Brit has recovered against all odds, and not only is she performing regularly, but her album Through the Night has received glowing reviews. Ren grew up playing Irish folk with her dad in Salford, Manchester, which still holds a special place in her heart. “I won ‘Salford Superstar’ when I was 15. That’s still my crowning glory. I was the queen of Salford for a day!!” To this day, she considers herself a “proud working-class Northerner”. Heavily influenced by the likes of The Smiths, Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez as a teen, she began writing pop songs with a drawling alt-country twist and uploading her tracks onto Myspace. This soon led to her discovery by manager Paul Harrison, who brought her to London, where she began recording. Setting her apart is her vocal subtlety and depth, as well as the timeless, nostalgia-inspiring aspects of her songwriting. Indeed, she is clearly a romantic, who uses music “as a form of meditation, therapy, comfort, guidance and enlightenment.” And if it weren’t for music? “I’d work on a boat. I’d sail the world looking for new life in the sea. And every evening I’d jump into the ocean, gliding on my back and watching the sunset.” What does the future hold for the new redhead? “I’m writing my second album. I finally feel strong enough to show you what I’m really made of… Watch this space!”
This page: Ren wears a vintage dress by Pucci, necklace by Aqua by Aqua, gloves by Beyond Retro and earrings by Rachel Elentwistle. Opposite page: She wears a dress by Alpana & Neeraj and gloves by Beyond Retro.
This page: Ren wears trousers by Paul&Joe, shirt by Sophia Khan and bikini top by Varley. Opposite: She wears a top by Rachel Freira and choker by Fiona Paxton.
John Lennon photographed by Bob Gruen, 1974
BOB G RU E N NEW
The Rolling Stones, 1972
Kiss in New York City, 1974
“New York City is basically built on a rock,” Bob Gruen says when describing the unique nature of the city he’s called home since he was 18. And if anyone knows something about rocks—be it of granite or of the more ear-splitting, sonic variety—it’s Bob Gruen. The 63-year-old rock photographer has been in the business of capturing pop culture’s most high-energy moments for over 40 years, and has shown no sign of slowing down. This past January, New York’s Broome Street Gallery celebrated Gruen’s prolific career behind the lens of music history. The retrospective of his images showed just how powerful the role of Gruen’s lens have been in capturing the atmosphere that permeated the late ’60s and early ’70s—the time in which rock ‘n’ roll went from a budding genre to all-encompassing mentality. The Untitled Magazine caught up with Gruen to talk about his experiences capturing rock history. “There’s an idea in rock ‘n’ roll about living on the edge, living in the extreme,” Gruen explains.“but it’s a fine line between how crazy can you be and how can you stay alive. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve been lucky enough to live to show it and have my photos tell it to the people.” The exhibition brought together friends and fans alike, all marveling over what amounted to some of music’s most memorable moments, while standing in the same room as the
man who made looking back at them possible. Mick Jagger in action, his hips moving as only he knew how; John Lennon and Yoko Ono sharing a laugh; Richards scowling on stage and off. “Rock ‘n’ roll is a powerful thing,” Gruen says. “It’s something that people around the world can relate to. It’s the freedom to express yourself very loudly.” “When you’re older, you’ve seen more,” says Gruen. “I’ve been a part of history, and lucky to have helped capture a lot of it.” Broome Gallery’s series served as a proverbial time machine, sending guests back to a time when the genre of rock ‘n’ roll was free to test the limits, and push its audience far past their comfort zones. “When you hear a band,” Gruen explains, “you want to know immediately what they look like. And when you see a band, you want to know immediately what they sound like. The image is very much a part of the music—your thoughts are sort of formed by the image.” The Broome Street Gallery’s selection of photos captured not only just the general oeuvre of Gruen’s work, but the general sense of what America’s most nostalgic era looked like, what it felt like, and – if you listened close enough– what it sounded like. Article by Rod Bastanmehr
THE UNTITLED MAGAZINE GLOBAL LAUNCH The Untitled Magazine celebrated its global launch this past autumn with an issue dedicated to Cinema, marking the occasion with three international soirées taking place in New York, London, and Paris during each city’s respective fashion week. The events brought together talent featured in the magazine, as well as the photographers, journalists, artists, directors and designers who made the pages come to life.
The London Fashion Week event was held in collaboration with Forward PR at the chic Embassy club in Mayfair. Hosted by Indira Cesarine and Lady Victoria Hervey, guests at the event included actress Kiera Chaplin, actors Ray Stevenson and Luke Brandon Field, designers Corrie Nielsen, Sabine Roemer, Tatum & Rocky Mazzilli, and Lilly Becker, amongst many others. After the cocktail party, the guests made their way to an after-party at Salon.
Hosted by editor-in-chief Indira Cesarine and editors Jackie Astier, Lady Victoria Hervey, Brendan Cannon, Carla Popenfus and Bernadine Bibiano, the New York launch party was held at the Gansevoort Hotel’s recently opened TOY restaurant and lounge in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan. It was a night to remember, with signature “Untitled” champagne cocktails, a video installation of original films featured in the issue and the celebrated DJ Coleman on the decks keeping everyone dancing. Guests at the event included actresses Lotte Verbeek and Paloma Garcia-Lee, designers Chris Benz, Simon Spurr and Chadwick Bell, Princess Khaliya Aga Khan, Whitney Fairchild, Peter Brant Jr., Marilyn Gaultier, Liliana Cavendish, Kim Vernon, Daniel Koch, Alex Lundquist, Tziporah Salamon, Nancy Ozelli, musician Laura Comfort, and photographer Patrick McMullan amongst many others.
During Paris Fashion Week, The Untitled Magazine celebrated their launch in France, with an expansion of the title to many Parisian shelves, including Colette, Palais de Tokyo, WH Smith and Drugstore Publicis. The event was also the opening of the new venue Twister on Rue de Berri in the 8th arrondisement. Hosted by Indira Cesarine, Forward PR and Cyril Peret, it brought together an international crowd of fashion, film, and entertainment guests. Guests included designers Craig Lawrence, milliner Victoria Grant, Corrie Nielsen, Fannie Schiavoni, David Longshaw, Lee Lapthorne of On/Off, photographer Michael Daks, the LA band Early Morning Rebel, and many more. The new venue, themed after a bar featured in Quentin Tarantino’s film From Dusk To Dawn, was the perfect setting for the cinema-themed launch party. Event photographs by Patrick McMullan (New York) & Sarah Skinner (Paris)
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