FKA twigs (vocals)
FKA twigs (real name Tahliah Barnett) has burst onto the music scene in a whirlwind of accolades and excitement. Specialising in a dreamy, ambient electronica so subtle you may well dismiss it as nothing more than pretty clicks, beeps and whirs, she’s joined the ranks of dubstep-inspired artists who’ve been flourishing over the past couple of years. However, scratch beneath the watery basslines, and you’ll uncover vulnerable lyrics whispered through your speakers like a secret. Think Portishead having a late night whisky with the xx.
The Gloucestershire-born, London-dwelling artist infuses her tracks with genuine longing. “He won’t make love to me now” she laments sadly on ‘Water Me’, while on the impossibly beautiful ‘How’s That’ she’s lost in a world of erotic bliss. Signed to Young Turks, she’s recently worked with producer Arca (of Kanye West’s Yeezus fame) and has one EP under her belt, as well as a handful of newer tracks available online for streaming. She’s currently working on a follow-up, EP 2, and has definitely honed the kind of brooding melancholy that is quickly becoming her signature sound.
At first glance it’s all too easy to dismiss FKA twigs as another east London hipster more concerned with aesthetics than music. She has, after all, been on the cover of i-D magazine, and a quick Google Image search demonstrates the kind of Dalston-ite image she’s cultivating. However, as the discussion around women artists’ appearance often is, this assumption is reductive and unhelpful. There is a subtlety and understated charm to FKA twigs that suggests this is an artist with depth, with soul. If there’s one thing she’s not it’s phony, maintaining in a recent interview with Pitchfork that, while all the other stuff is exciting, she’s completely focused on her music – “the reason why I moved to London and the reason why I’ve been on this journey is because I really love making music. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
And it shows: saturated with floating, feather-lite vocals and an uncanny knack for guiding the listener across layered, undulating melodies, twigs bears a passing resemblance to AlunaGeorge – honey sweet vox underpinned by smart beats. We’re yet to see how twigs’ lightness of touch will translate live, but we’re excited to see if she manages to keep making the kind of quiet storm trip-hop she’s so good at.