lion babe is reimagining '70s r&b

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Photographed by Aaron Richter

It’s a dreary, drizzly night in Manhattan, but spirits are high at the Fendi flagship, where guests are packed around a small stage for a concert in celebration of the brand’s new sunglass capsule collection with Thierry Lasry. All eyes are on the striking songstress in a black leotard and furry, floor-length coat, her voluminous blonde curls haloing her head as she twirls about, her bandmate jamming out on a keyboard beside her. A red LED sign behind them beams the words Lion Babe.

“It’s future soul,” says the singer, Jillian Hervey, a week later, when she’s traded her performance ensemble for a black tank top and high-waisted jeans. We’re seated before a large mirror in SoHo’s Neo Studios, as a makeup artist dabs her flawless skin with little-needed foundation for her NYLON shoot. She continues: “We do pull from the stuff we were introduced to by our parents, and a bunch of different genres, but the essence of it is what feels right to the soul.” 

The “we” that Hervey refers to is the act collectively known as Lion Babe: herself and Lucas Goodman, the man behind the beats that, when paired with her sultry vocals, create the band’s signature reimagined ’70s sound. Before making their first single, 2012’s “Treat Me Like Fire,” Hervey and Goodman were mere acquaintances, but working on that fateful track cemented their shared musical destiny. “From the moment she first sang, I knew she had something to say. I really admired that,” says Goodman.

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