Nadia Lee Cohen takes 22-year-old Londoner Liza Owen back to the 60s for a shoot with added hairspray. Wonderland got to know the singer along the way.
Dress by BALMAIN, Vintage Jacket, Bag by LONGCHAMP
Liza Owen loves burgers and Balmain, she’s a girl after our own hearts. The 22-year-old Londoner came to our attention when people started raving over her covers on YouTube and when we took a look for ourselves, we fell for her DIY but expert recordings. She’s gone a bit more profesh since then, gearing up for her debut release, “Better With Me” and recording with producer Ishi. Liza will even be appearing alongside Pusha T, Tinie Tempah and Raekwon (!) on Ishi’s mixtape.
With her powerful voice and penchant for pop, we’re already imagining great things from her debut. While we impatiently wait, we quizzed Liza about her long-time passion for performing, notorious Swedish football hooligans and her inspirational Mum.
Let’s go from the very beginning! When did you decide you wanted to be a singer?
I’m pretty sure I decided at about six years old. I would put on mini concerts in my living room and charge my family for tickets!
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Sounds cliche but, it’s my Mumma. She survived and escaped the holocaust in Cambodia during the 70s and moved to this crazy western world and had to face more challenges to completely rebuild her life. Somehow after all that, she’s still so strong, grateful and doesn’t think the world owes her anything. She has worked for everything she has. If I can be even a little like her I’m happy.
Tell us about your debut release, what’s it about? What do you write about?
‘Better With Me’ is a song about being in a relationship with a million grey areas and complications but still knowing you could be everything for that person. In the moment I was writing exactly how I felt and guess I was in a bad situation but still had hopes of change! The song is very honest and something everyone can relate to. I find it therapeutic to write about crazy situations I get myself into and relationship mishaps. We shot the video by a lake and at a forest just outside of Stockholm, Sweden. The leading man is a infamous Swedish football hooligan with tattoos covering 90 per cent of his body. I’m so excited to share that with everyone.
What did you enjoy the most about your shoot with Wonderland?
I loved the transformation that took place for the shoot. I’m obsessed with the 60s/70s era so it was amazing to work with Nadia and team to take me back in time. The best things…that’s easy, Balmain and burgers.
Is there anyone else you’d like to work with? Who would be your dream collaboration?
It was Michael Jackson for a long time, however that’s looking slightly unlikely. May he rest in peace! So now my dream collaboration would be with Pharrell or Major Lazer. I have a song coming out on iSHi’s mixtape out on May 1st. He’s an incredible artist and producer and has worked with people Rihanna, Pusha T & Tinie Tempah so its definitely a dream to be a part of his first release along side so many artists I respect.
Is there anyone you aspire to be like?
As a writer and vocalist, Sia. As my fashion queen, Rihanna. Can I add Will Ferell as my hero?
Of course! Everyone loves a funny guy. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Touring the world would be my dream. I’m really into every creative part of what I believe makes an artist. I’d love to see the merchandise I’m designing, which is inspired by my Cambodian roots, grow into something big.
What has been your favourite part of your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to travel the world to work with some incredible producers so that’s been great. Singing karaoke in Tokyo with Quincy Jones and my friend Parker (recently signed to Nicki Minaj’s new label) was also pretty epic!
Sounds like we missed out on a good party. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a singer?
Oh I’d definitely be about ten stone heavier and on a mission to eat at every McDonalds and Five Guys in the world. Music saved me…Seriously.
Photographer: Nadia Lee Cohen
Makeup: Scarlett Burton
Hair: Jake Gallagher
Words: Lily Walker