band crush: alexandra mcdermott

this up-and-coming singer gets her big debut during fashion week.

by rebecca willa davis

Every season, a new designer emerges from the Fashion Week pack as one-to-watch. But the musical accompaniment is usually somewhat predictable; it's the bands we already know and love that are soundtracking the shows. But for her spring '13 presentation today, Erin Fetherston will be going with an unknown: Alexandra McDermott.

The two first met at an Erin Fetherston casting, but that was only the beginning. "She saw one of my YouTube videos and called to see if I would perform at her show and be in her lookbook," recalls McDermott, a striking blonde not even out of her teens. Those lo-fi, acoustic sessions--where she covered everyone from Amy Winehouse to Cake--proved fruitful, as Fetherston joined McDermott's growing fan base (Kanye West's music producer and Rihanna's former musical director are also among them).

It's her surprisingly sultry voice that has helped the 17-year-old turn heads, but that doesn't mean she's without a rock'n'roll bone in her body. "Vocally, I have been influenced by Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Etta James," explains McDermott, adding, "but musically Jack White is my biggest inspiration." Having spent the past year working with "a couple of voice coaches--I'm currently working with a local voice coach in my hometown of Portland, Oregon," McDermott is ready for her big debut.

Today's show marks her very first live performance (although we bet it will make its way onto YouTube before too long). "I'm performing songs that fit the feel of Erin's show and will also give you a sample of my vocal abilities. You can expect some new music and some eclectic covers" she says. And the influence goes both ways; "I feel like my music is very feminine, in a powerful way, and Erin's clothes fit that description as well," says McDermott. "I think Erin's clothes would make any girl feel beautiful--and I hope listening to my music will do the same." As for what she does to feel her best? The singer, who plans on releasing an album next year, puts it this way: "I like to wear red lipstick when I perform; it makes me feel confident!"

HERE ARE MORE BANDS WE'RE CRUSHING ON: Say hello to California Wives! Or famous friends Gus + Scout. And the chicest French psych-pop star we know.