Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.
Recently we’ve met electronic experimenters Lunch Money Life, pop superstar in the making Remi Wolf, Oxford-based songwriter Rhys Lewis, indie songwriter Taylor Janzen, and now we’re introducing you to genre-blending NYC collective MICHELLE.
Recently signing to Transgressive Records, the group are made up of singers Jamee Lockard, Layla Ku, Sofia D’Angelo, and Emma Lee, with production and arrangements by Julian Kaufman and Charlie Kilgore.
Blending elements of synth-pop, R&B, jazz, and more, they recently shared new track ‘The Bottom’ to mark their new signing, having originally featured on their 2018 debut LP ‘Heatwave’. A carefree and fun number, it’s destined to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
We sent them over a few qs to get to know them a lil’ better.
Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
Charlie: Greater than the sum of its parts.
Layla: Great to party with, but can also bring it home to your parents.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Sofia: Probably when in diapers with my friend Brittany dancing on the living room couch to 'Freedom' by Wham! and 'Don’t Tell Me' by Madonna. I also have distinct memories of sitting in the carseat with my mom’s first-generation iPod listening to 'Only You' by Yazoo on long drives.
Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?
Sofia: I started really doing music at 13, and hearing that The 1975 started their band around the same age really inspired me. The fact that they have worked so hard and have continued to grow openly as songwriters and artists has given me faith while pursuing a career an industry that tells you to have a singular “brand” and stick to it. Also Matty as a frontman is brilliant, he inspires me to make the stage a home, and I’m so grateful I get to share that home with the 5 other people in the group (god I miss shows). And Prince and Bowie, no explanation necessary.
You’re from New York! What do you think of the music scene there at the moment?
Emma: I think it's a good place to be. When you have friends who make music too, seeing live shows can mean worshipping your friends and their art and that's the best. You go out on a Friday to see a bill that's made up of people you know and love, and come away from it having found new artists you wanna follow. NYC has people coming up through rap, indie rock, and experimental scenes (and everything else, damn), and I appreciate how connected all of that can feel just because it's all based here. With no live shows happening now, artists from the city have been hosting livestreams and being creative about reaching out to those who support them, and that determination to continue feels very of the city to me. Definitely feel that void, that loss of the live performance, but that's where we are right now.
Are there any other artists breaking through at the same time that you take inspiration from?
Julian: I constantly take inspiration from all my peers who surround me. A shortlist of my biggest inspirations would be Sofia D’angelo, Eliza Moon, Layla Ku, Isa Reyes, Bby Carrots, and Badabing. They are all on the strong come up, and I’m always in awe of everything they release. If you see someone who is similar to yourself and absolutely killing it, try to reach out and connect with them!
Who would be your dream collaborator?
Julian: I would love to do some sessions with Max Martin. Even if the songs we made ended up being crappy, I would love to have a peek at his process. The way one approaches writing and producing is extremely influential on the end result. Martin has managed to stay relevant not by bringing an aesthetic to his sessions, but an excellence, and I would love to see what that excellence did to my music. I would also love to ask him what I should be listening to, and how to practice.
Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to this year?
Emma: It's a scary and wild time in the world right now, I am most looking forward to hugging my friends. It's exciting to have new music to share soon so that's definitely very real, but it's a different experience to sing with and for the people you wanna share it with most. When all the music sharing happens, I'm trying to dance around and cry in the same room as everyone - right now that's not safe. So I'm looking forward to a lot of reunions when it's a safe time to do that.
If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?
Jamee: I hope people find comfort in our music, especially now. Whether people vibe with the production of a song, the lyrics, or MICHELLE as a group, I want our music to radiate positive energy and make people feel connected.
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