Friday, April 13, 2012

Women in Music 2012 - ELLE Magazine May 2012

ELLE Magazine is celebrating the women currently rocking the charts with their Women in Music feature in the May 2012 issue. Read excerpts from the ELLE article and see pics below, including Lana del Rey, Kelly Clarkson, Azealia Banks, Santigold and more. Also check out Rihanna's full editorial here.

 Lana Del Rey

In a year in which female singers have taken a Pope impersonator as a date to the Grammys and flipped the bird during the Super Bowl halftime show, it’s surprising that the one who has managed to incite the most controversy is a soft-spoken 25-year-old from upstate New York, whose primary output consists of string-drenched songs about first love. Since the release of her debut single, “Video Games,” in October, Lana Del Rey (née Elizabeth Grant) has enjoyed an intense love-hate relationship with the public: on the one hand, a much-maligned SNL performance; on the other, a Mulberry bag named for her. Why the fascination? Her voice, for a start—one moment a laconic drawl, the next a sex-kittenish chirp—and the strangely haunting songs on her album Born to Die, which broods on bad boys and small-town beauty queens. By being both captivating and difficult to pinpoint, Del Rey may have committed the most subversive act of all: keeping us guessing.

Kelly Clarkson

When Kelly Clarkson first started churning out fist-pumping breakup anthems a decade ago, we couldn’t help but wonder: What kind of jerk would wrong her? “What’s funny is that most times I don’t even write about a boyfriend,” she says. “A lot of it is about work relationships.” After winning American Idol’s first season in 2002, the steel-lunged Dallas native signed to RCA—a label she admits “didn’t pick me, I just won”—then publicly argued with chairman Clive Davis over creative control on her five albums, which have sold 20 million copies worldwide. Her latest, Stronger, is the most rock-tinged—she lets out guitar-backed rebel yells with an unmanufactured honesty that carries over into her personal life. “There’s not a lot to say about me because I’m not dramatic, or in rehab, or doing something stupid,” she says, though speculation around the 30-year-old’s perpetual single status persists. “If people think I’m a lesbian, that’s fine, but it’s not helping me in my cause to find a man!”

Azealia Banks

When Azealia Banks’ DIY video for “212” first hit YouTube last September, featuring the 20-year-old London-based Harlem native decked in an acrylic Mickey Mouse sweater and spitting out raunchy, swaggering rhymes, she became the instant infatuation of more than just music bloggers: Interscope Records signed her; Karl Lagerfeld invited her to perform at his Paris home; Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted about her. Banks’ daredevil humor and compulsively catchy mix of rap and throbbing house beats also prompted Mugler designer Nicola Formichetti to task her with scoring his fall 2012 men’s runway show, for which she teamed up with producer Paul Epworth (who won four Grammys for his hand in Adele’s 21 and will work with Banks on her major-label debut, out in September) to record the show’s techno-hip-hop hybrid track, “Bambi.” How’d the girl in the Disney knockoff become a fashion icon? “ ‘212’ is arrogant,” says Banks, “and fashion is arrogant. Selling beauty means convincing people that you have something they want.”


It’s been four years since Santigold (then known as Santogold, born Santi White) debuted the self-titled LP that established her as a pop polyglot. From its clique-defining anthem “L.E.S. Artistes” to the frenetic yips of dance-hall burner “Creator,” the album blended such an expansive roster of rock, punk, electro, and world music that it didn’t so much bend genres as shred them. After a life-changing Mount Kilimanjaro climb and a year of battling label red tape, the Philadelphia-bred, Brooklyn-based 35-year-old finally returned to the studio to create Master of My Make Believe. This time, having switched record labels (to Atlantic), she was without the team of producers who helped her develop her sound. “It was definitely a growth process,” she says. Santigold designed the album artwork, wrote the songs, and enlisted her collaborators (Switch, Karen O, and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, to name a few). She also tackled her first ballad, a “Peter Gabriel–big” ode to her idea of the American dream. “[‘Riot Song’] is to those people who don’t give up and who have the courage to think for themselves and, like me, create their own reality.”

Shirley Manson  

When Garbage ruled the airwaves in the ’90s with its unmistakable amalgam of goth, grunge, and industrial-strength dance beats, ruby-haired vocalist Shirley Manson was the ultimate alt-rock chick: outspoken, intelligent, fiercely unconventional, and usually clad in a might-kiss-you-or-might-kick-you combo of miniskirts and motorcycle boots. In 2005, when the band went on hiatus, “I waited for an influx of feisty female-fronted bands to take our place,” she says. “When it didn’t happen, I was shocked.” After seven years, Garbage is back with a snarling, slick, instant-classic-caliber new album, Not Your Kind of People, to remind us what we’ve been missing. “I love pop music,” Manson says. “Who doesn’t? But I want some balance. I want to hear an alternative viewpoint, and I don’t want girls to be defanged and declawed and pretty and mute.” As the Garbage-reboot world tour rolls into action this month, expect her to go at it tooth and nail.

Ellie Goulding  

“I suppose it’s a reflection of how my life has been,” says singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding of the breathy, sugar-coated edge of her electro-folk-pop hybrid. Growing up in bucolic Hereford, England, “all I had was my guitar,” says the 25-year-old, whose main venue was folk night at the local coffeehouse. Spotted by a scout at a music competition at her university, Goulding moved to London and fell into “a whole new world of electronic music.” The blitz that followed was literally anxiety attack inducing (“My heart just wouldn’t stop pounding,” she says): Her first effort, Lights, was the UK’s biggest and fastest-selling debut album of 2010; fan Prince William asked her to serenade his nuptials; and by 2011, she was playing sold-out arenas on tour with Katy Perry. Her in-the-works second album will be more vocals-centric, orchestral, and “a lot more raw,” Goulding says. “Everything came so quickly the first time around, I think I found it hard to deal with. Now I’m ready to smash it.”

Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry

“I’ve always been attracted to soul singers, from Etta James to Janis Joplin. It’s like they’re wearing their hearts on their sleeves and in their throats.”  While country music act the Band Perry scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist this February, Kimberly Perry, 28, is an industry veteran: Starting at age 15, she logged almost 13 years on the road with younger brothers Reid and Neil before the trio felt ready to hit the recording studio. Their self-titled debut album, featuring the nearly quadruple-platinum country-pop crossover hit “If I Die Young,” has since garnered the Greeneville, Tennessee–based band an army of loyal fans, while self-proclaimed tomboy Kimberly has proved herself unique among female country stars, channeling Queen’s Freddie Mercury onstage and, offstage, discussing how Southern Gothic literature has influenced her lyrics. “When you’re writing these songs in your basement, you hope they’ll walk as far as they can,” Perry says, “but you can never really fathom how life-changing they will become.”

Images and text @ ELLE Magazine

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...