Afrobeat-pop’s Little Bo Peep: enter the French New Wave-inspired world of Petite Meller.
Taken from the Horror Issue of Wonderland
Sporting cheeks of pink blush warpaint and candy floss hair, French-Isreali pop doyenne Petite Meller leaped around the stage of London’s Heaven in October like she was the lead in an LSD- infused nursery rhyme. Little Bo Peep on acid, if you like.
Arriving in the capital for her first ever UK headline show, Meller whipped up something of a media scrum. In the venue’s dark and dusty back room – with yellowed newspaper clippings of forgotten pop icons on the walls (Rachel Stevens, you’re forever in our hearts) – photographers, film crews and journalists bundled together to meet her. First in the seemingly endless queue, I sat down to speak with the strange chanteuse in the company of 20 others.
Donned in a gargantuan hat and skyscraper heels, Meller exaggerated the doll-clown caricature she’s been crafting since her 2012 breakout single, “NYC Time”. “I used to get looks when I went to buy a coffee or go to the bank,” Meller, who was spotted on the front row at Chanel’s SS16 Paris Fashion Week show in October, grinned. “Through the years though, I’ve felt like this is me and as an artist I feel comfortable with it, so I want everyone to wear their trauma proudly!” The trauma she speaks of, in her baby-pitched, elongated French drawl, is a sun-burn she got as a kid, igniting her now signature fiery-cheeks look.
Childhood psychoanalysis aside, who else inspired the look? “I’m very inspired by classic cinema,” she piped up, plucking a dictaphone out of my hands and holding it closer to her lips, which are that glassy-pink colour you get from drinking too much Cherry Lambrini.“French New Wave, Godard,Truffaut, Bergman, Tarkovsky: in my videos, I make a homage to scenes from movies. In [the promo for last June’s poppy afrobeat anthem] ‘Babylove’ we did And God Created Woman, in ‘Barbaric’, we have some scenes from Zelig by Woody Allen. So I think my passion comes from cinema mostly!”
“I never write before [going into a recording studio],” Meller who is currently prepping the release of her 2016 debut LP Milk Bath, admits. “I just like to get inspired by books and cinema and philosophy and just sing it out! Then I discover, in my videos, what the song is really about. I just discovered what the giraffe means in “Babylove” – which is like a lover, my lover, and his other girl! It’s funny for me, this whole process of creation.” I got a sense Freud would have had a field day with all this.
All clothing CHANEL RESORT 16
Photographer: Paulina Otylie Surys
Make up: Pablo Rodriguez at CLM Hair & Make up using M.A.C COSMETICS
Hair: Hiroshi Matsushita using KIEHL’S
Fashion assistant: Carla Reinhard
Photographer’s assistants: Candice O’donnell and Aleksandra Klicka
Words: Lily Walker