Music has such a long history with beauty. What is the relationship with showmanship and beauty in your mind?
Specifically with Lion Babe, what we try to do—whether conscious or unconscious—is elaborate on our core things: what are we trying to make, the space we’re in. Visually and sonically, we always try to be unified in a sense. Whether or not we were thinking about it at the time, it’s manifested into that. What you’re hearing might be something that’s psychedelic or a little hip-hop or a little funk or soul, and you see visually those references as well. And obviously, it’s a separate space—you’re an artist, you’re in a world. I like to have this other person, a different version of me, represent the music. Some people don’t get the opportunity to start with their music, so they can only start with their image. Or, someone sees something, and they’re like, “Oh, that looks cool, I’m gonna check out that song,” or vice versa. It’s really hand in hand for us.
Do you consider your stage persona an alter ego, or is it more so a way to explore another part of your identity?
My stage persona is someone who I would be every day if I could, but it’s just exhausting. It’s like an embellishment. People say you walk around with auras or have your higher self that shadows you. I bring those things out. All the insecurities I feel, which everyone can feel, can be thrown out the window when I’m onstage. For me specifically, I feel very free onstage; it’s the best time to be the most vulnerable, and I love that. It makes me feel really empowered.
You’re starting your Lion Babe tour. What are you looking forward to the most about being on the road?
Everything, really. Touring is so exciting because you get to figure out your music. A lot of times, you don’t really know how a song works or what people are reacting to until you go out and play it. It’s always nice to do it in the present and arrive and see how it feels. That aspect of performance is super exciting. I grew up as a dancer; that’s the most consistent thing in my life, so that’s where most of my passions come from. If I had to tour for a year, I might. I’d love to do that. Sometimes if I’m in a dark studio for hours, I get frustrated, but being onstage is everything. And we have such a great team of people around us. We have amazing friends and it feels like a family. Being able to experience the U.S., and being able to travel around and have these moments where everyone’s working hard to make this thing happen feels great.
Are you guys working on new music at the moment?
We’re actually finishing up some new music, so we’ll have new music coming out for the tour, which is exciting. We just came out with an album in February as well, but just like with anyone, as soon as it’s out, you’re on to the next thing. A lot of the stuff on the album is stuff we had been working on for a year, so it was nice to have that out and keep going and growing with everyone else.
Have you seen a huge evolution in yourself since you started creating music?
100 percent. I think other people see the transformation more than I do. Sometimes you feel like you’re still struggling with this, or, “I’m still feeling this way about something.” Then you look at the scope of things. Sometimes if I scroll through my Instagram, I’m like, “Whoa. This is in the last month that we did all this stuff?” You’re living in the moment and have so much to think about in the future that you don’t really think about what you were doing in the past. If I think back to when I first vocaled “Treat Me Like Fire” in Lucas’ sister’s bedroom, with her photo collage of her fourth-grade friends, I had never even sung in a booth. Now, I’ve sung at Madison Square Garden, and I’ve played at Coachella on the main stage. These are things I wasn’t thinking about at all when I started. It’s pretty amazing how far we’ve been able to grow. We feel like we were thrown into the deep end and have been swimming ever since.
What artists are you listening to lately?
I’m obsessed with Anderson Paak’s new album; I keep listening to it in the car. The new Drake is great, and Kaytranada’s new album is really good.
What advice do you have for girls who are growing up and trying to find themselves, especially with social media?
I always try to think of my little sister; she just turned 16. When we were starting Lion Babe, I was thinking about her a lot. There’s a song called “Little Dreamer” that’s about her and younger people. The reason I’m able to do this is that I’ve always had a good relationship with my childhood self, and I’ve never really been able to let that go. I think it’s valuable to hold onto that: the roots of what you did and who you were when you were young, your earliest memories, and the feelings you loved more than anything. If you focus on those things, all the other things become outside chatter; they’re almost insignificant.
Once you also realize that there’s no one else like you and you embrace and own that, a lot of things start to happen. I’m not Oprah and I can’t say that I’m perfect; I’m still growing and figuring out myself. It’s about being kind to yourself, and knowing that self-love is important. And you have to work on that. It’s okay to go through things, so just calm down. Go through the journeys, and don’t think of negative things as negative things, think of them as lessons. Think of everything as a lesson—if it’s a bad person, or an experience that made you uncomfortable, or something you regret. You’re already supposed to be going a certain way, so they’re either shifting you in the right direction or the wrong one. It’s your choice. It’s just knowing that life’s a journey and no one’s perfect. Everyone’s human, and once you remind yourself of that, challenges don’t seem as crazy and you can hopefully feel good about yourself.