Quick-fire questions with the Brit creatives shaping their scenes: meet the names we’re watching as they take their diverse talents in uncharted directions this year.
TALENT PORTFOLIO 2019
Meet the Brit creatives who are taking their industries by storm.
Model, creative and YouTuber – Chanel “Chanelly” Taylor is master- ing everything, and she’s still just a student. Having been cast by Nasir Mazhar, she’s since modelled for the likes of Koche, Nike and Vivienne Westwood, as well as being one of Marques Almeida’s MA girls. She also featured in the official Black Panther zine, repping Wakanda in some powerful images. Now she’s studying at London College of Fashion on the prestigious Fashion Design course between running a YouTube channel alongside her siblings. Watch this space, or rather, these spaces, for Chanelly.
How long have you known you wanted to go into fashion?
I remember when I was in primary school, in like Year Four, I learned to sew. I really wanted to be a fashion designer, and then my mum told me about LCF, so I knew I wanted to go there from early, and then I just worked towards that.
What is something you think needs leaving behind in 2018?
What are your hopes for 2019?
To be able to do more projects that I produce myself, and to get more young people, people under 25, involved. Where do you see yourself in a year’s time? Hopefully having
started producing more of my own projects, and I’d love to make it into an app! It’s something I’m working on at the moment.
Who would be your dream designer to walk for?
I like Louis Vuitton, but the men’s stuff. I feel like I prefer the men’s show. What’s one iconic period in fashion history you’d love to make a comeback? I really like 70s style. Cher and Diana Ross – nowadays, people are less glamorous, but Diana Ross was over the top for no reason: big hair, outfits, all of that.
Jenn Nkiru is one of the UK’s most promising filmmakers. Her first film EN VOGUE, was shot by Bradford Young (of Selma fame) and Arthur Jafa, and screened internationally to critical success. Perhaps her best-known work is as the second unit director on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s music video for “Apeshit”. Nkiru worked alongside director Ricky Saiz, shot in the Louvre to create something visually awe inspiring.
When did you first realise you wanted to go into art and direct- ing?
When I was 11 or 12 I started picking up a Hi8 camera; I’d get truckloads of DV tapes from Peckham Rye, and just shoot every key occasion that happened: holy communions, birthdays, primary school discos. When I was 15, I got the opportunity to do a summer scheme for young filmmakers at the Tate Modern, in collaboration with BBC2. We had to conceive, write, edit, direct and produce films, and they liked my film and put it on BBC2. Me and my dad stayed up really late at night and watched it, and it was there that I understood that something I conceived in my bedroom could make its way to TV.
What is something you’re leaving behind for the new year?
I think people should stop thinking that you need anyone’s acceptance to make your work, and stop seeking permission to create.
What’s coming up for you in 2019?
I have a film I’ve made for Gucci and Frieze that’s premiering at Paramount Studios in LA. The film looks at Detroit techno-culture, and its influence over Berlin. I tend to take an anthropological approach to my work, so I’m not looking at techno itself specifically, but more looking at all the political, social and geographic things that allow a sound like this to be created, and why somewhere like Berlin that’s so far from Detroit can create what I call “an alien alliance” with the city.
No female directors have been Oscar nominated this year, what do you think about this?
The idea that there are more women than men, and that they are not represented in front of the camera and behind, means that our view of society is going to be a skewed one, and we’re only doing ourselves a disservice on that level… In an ideal world, I’d be working in an industry solely based on merit, and I hope that’s what we can get closer to. In the past, structurally, things have been skewed to a small minority of people that happened to be white rich men, and that’s such a minority. Most of us are not rich, white and male, and we need to see voices that speak more to the majority of us, that live real lives.
Having grown up singing alto in choirs, 20-year-old Georgia Lowe aka Glowe is a singer, songwriter and actor from London who is combining impeccable vocal harmonies with Kate Nash-style relatability to create something current, fresh and unique. There is some- thing for every listener here: adult experiences; love, heartbreak… Glowe tells it as she sees it, her songs acting as lenses through which the listener can experience the world through her eyes. As versatile as she is talented, her vocals are equally comfortable over a mellow RnB instrumental as they are over drum and bass, and debut single “Realise” sits atop danceable melancholic electronica.
How long have you done music for?
Ever since I could talk, I was singing, just being really loud [laughs]. Singing is something I’ve always done! I decided at school, when everyone was picking their university options, that I didn’t want to just go and do English some- where; I realised throughout school — doing music lessons, being in choirs, school plays — that I wanted to be involved with music.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
It’s not that I want to see myself in the same place as another artist, I just want to be confident that I’m working at a pace that’s right for me, continuing to make music that I love, and not doing it for anyone else.
Does London inspire you creatively?
Definitely. Growing up in Watford, people will say that I’m not really from London, but I love living in a city – I would never want to live in the countryside an- ywhere. I hate the word “urban”, but I guess I am. London’s so di- verse, and there’s so much going on – you can never be bored here. My mum’s an immigrant — she’s half Somali — so I love listening to her experience of moving here, and living in London. Making her proud is something I’m really keen on doing!
What are some themes that run through your music?
Nothing fake, just stuff that’s going on in my life, which often is about boys and relationships, with my friends as well. I’m writing a song at the moment which is literally about stressful stuff that goes on in the life of someone in their 20s: train fines, your bills…
If you could have one person feature on one of your tracks, who would it be?
Mac Miller. Hands down, Mac Miller.
Webster’s Dictionary defines icon as: Crystal Rasmussen. The drag persona of writer Tom Rasmussen, the candid and often risqué Crystal is the girl we all want to be when we grow up. Tom orbits London’s creative circles — or perhaps more fittingly, with such a magnetically magic voice and vision, is orbited by them — writing about fashion, sex, culture and the LGBTQI+ community, while Crystal does pretty much the same only with all the more raucous anecdotes and occasionally breaking into sweet song on stage as part of band, Denim. As the cover of Diary of a Drag Queen — Crystal’s new book — clearly states: “I am a superstar”. We knew that already, but you might still find some surprises inside.
Tell us about yourself…
I’m 27, but my drag alter-ego, Crystal Rasmussen is 108. I am from Lancaster, but Crystal is actually from pre-Revolution Russia. I am a writer and a drag queen. I’m releasing my debut book, Diary of a Drag Queen, in February.
Did you always know you wanted to write?
Buggery no! I grew up in a really working class town, and the goal was basically to survive high school and get a job… I went to uni to study veterinary medicine, lol. About two years in I discovered drag and Judith Butler, and then I quit. My parents were fuming. So I left, and sent an email to Wonderland, saying, “Please can I write?!” What is something you think needs leaving behind in 2018? White supremacy, homophobia, transphobia. It’s so obvious to say, but prejudice of all forms. That, and influencers. Or as I like to call them, “influenzas”.
What are your hopes for 2019?
I hope Brexit doesn’t happen, and I hope we have some amazing candidates come up for the US president, as we are already. Left wing women of colour: that’s the president we need, someone who understands what it’s like to be marginalised. Same with the government in the UK. I also hope you buy my book!
Describe Diary of a Drag Queen in five words.
Honest, queer, funny, lots of sex, political. And accessible.
Did you really crash your car while giving a hand-job?
Where I went to school, there were a lot of straight boys who were very intrigued by me, because I was out and gay. I used to drive this boy to school who was my neighbour, and I was giving him a hand job, the sun was bright, and I crashed into a car in front of me. The woman who I crashed into tried to sue me for whiplash, but I was going at seven miles an hour.
Peckham’s own Michael Colvill, aka Pinty, is the latest in a line of promising south London rappers ready to take on the spotlight. Having released a 10 track tape in 2015, Pinty’s profile has risen, with memorable Boiler Room sets and live gigs showcasing his low-key flow and garage inflected instrumentals. Coming from the same crew as Jamie Isaac and close friend and collaborator King Krule, Pinty’s lyrics display a mature introspection beyond his years, replicating the moody urban surroundings from which he hails, with latest single “Tropical Blue” making various waves in London’s underground scene.
What sort of age did you realise you wanted to go into music?
Probably when I was 15 or 16. I was doing a lot of theatre at the time, and I started doing a radio show, and hanging out with my friend Archie [King Krule] a lot. I knew that’s what I wanted to do since then.
Did you act as well? Yeah – I have done since I was really little. But then I felt that it was portraying someone else’s life, and I wanted to show the world my own, do you know what I mean? At the moment I’m writing a short-film/musical kind of thing. You’ve got to wait and see!
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
I wanna be living in the same house that I am in Peckham at the moment, with my lovely mum. Drinking a cup of tea, thinking about my world takeover plans.
Who are some musicians who’ve inspired your work?
Moodyman has inspired my work quite a bit… Then the bait ones: The Streets, King Krule. What’s the best live gig you’ve ever done? I did a really good show in Paris a few years ago, supporting Rejjie Snow. That was just brilliant, a really receptive crowd. It’s interesting playing to French audiences, because they don’t really proper go for it while you’re doing your thing, as opposed to the way a London crowd would. But then afterwards, they’re really receptive. You don’t realise they’re enjoying it until afterwards!
Founded by Becky Richardson, Ami Bennett and Frankie Wells, Foundation FM is London’s finest female-led radio station. Seeing a lack of safe spaces for female talent to create, grow and express themselves, Foundation has made it its mission to showcase the most exciting emerging talent, spearheaded by a diverse group of women, LGTBQI+ people, and talented creatives. Boasting DJs such as Lotte Andersen, Rachael Anson, Kelechi and more, the station promises to grow bigger and better in 2019.
How long ago did you start Foundation?
Frankie: We launched in November, it’s still a baby. It was a very quick process; we started working on it in April 2018.
What are your hopes for 2019?
F: A lovely time! That Trump gets impeached, Brexit doesn’t happen, and femininity is accepted by all.
Where do you see Foundation one year from now?
Becky: Hopefully having its own stages at some really cool festivals, which are booked with some really exciting, emerging female talent.
What’s the number one tip you have for running a radio station?
F: Throw yourself into it, do your research, and ask all the questions you could ever ask: there’s no such thing as a stupid question! Ask for help.
Amy: Also, have a really good team around you. Make sure the people you work with are people you can work with for a long time.
Who would be your dream guest on the show?
A: Right now, I’d love to get Jameela Jamil on. I think she’s doing really important things, and using a platform.
B: Also, hopefully she’d bring James Blake, because his new album is incredible!
Who are some women that are inspiring you at the moment?
B: I find Kelechi, one of our DJs, really inspiring: she has an amazing show, and also runs a twerk workshop. F: I’ve been! I learned to twerk upside down, and now I get it out at every party [laughs]. Loads of women on our station are really inspiring actually – they’ve been hustling till they were teenagers, some are mums, some have started their own businesses – they’re just amazing! A:Any woman who puts themselves out there fearlessly is really inspiring. It can be a really frightening thing to do, but it shouldn’t be. We’re socialised to believe that this is our place and this is what we must do, but I think we are the generation that’s breaking all of those boundaries, and anyone who is doing that is super inspiring!
Having graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2012, Tristan Pigott has carved out his own unique brand of figurative painting. Residing somewhere between realism and surreality, his works explore the notion of how human ego is translated into image. Everything is known here: Mars bar wrappers, dinner tables and Lycra all appear. Each painting, however, is filled with the sense that something is not quite right: windows are awkwardly slanted, skin tones and facial features just off, resulting in both a familiar and unnerving sensation that makes his work so brilliantly unique.
How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?
It was one of the things that was always most enjoyable at school, so I guess from a pretty early age it’s been a thing that I’ve wanted to explore. When I was 16 or 17 I decided that art school was an option, but I’ve always been drawing.
What is something you think should be left behind for the new year?
Too much! Screens, generally. Every week or so I’ll lock my phone and laptop upstairs, and I just feel so much better working without having screens there.
What’s 2019 got in store?
Concentrating on finishing my degree. I love doing exhibitions, so more shows would be really
great too! Keep it simple [laughs].
What are some of the main themes that run through your art?
Identity is one which has been a constant. Lately, I’ve been exploring more general ways of how we see, perception, and that relates to the digital, virtual world, and the idea of ocular fatigue that arises from looking through multiple screens, or images on the sides of buses that reach out at that sense of desire. Basically roots that lead back to identity, and ways of seeing.
What is one useful piece of advice you learned at art school?
I don’t know if it’s necessarily advice, but I had a crit where a guy started crying because he didn’t want to be alone. The idea of being an artist and investing time in the studio alone scared him. So I guess it wasn’t advice, but gaining that awareness that you have to enjoy your own company, and use time in a wise way was something I learned. Then, that technique is a very useful thing to have, but can also limit you if you rely on it.
If you could exhibit your work in one place in the world, where would it be? I’ve been around the National Gallery quite a few times recently, and they’ve got some of the best paintings ever in the world there. So that would be an amazing place to have work shown in!
One of those artists that have you hooked at first listen, Chi Virgo’s bluesy neo-soul is at once soft and luscious, but also commanding. January’s “Thinking” is a funky, synth-imbued banger dealing with sexuality, female empowerment and friendship. “I wrote this song straight after a night out at uni,” she says, “That night my friend asked me to keep her away from a guy she knew was bad news. I failed, the heart wants what the heart wants, after all.” Hashtag relatable, no?
Where are you from?
I was born in Nigeria, then I moved to Cheltenham when I was young. Now I live in North London, and have done so for just over a year.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a musician professionally?
I’ve loved music my whole life; I grew up listening to my mum’s favourites, like Whitney Houston and Donna Summer. Growing up, I wasn’t always steered in a creative direction — education was super important — and it wasn’t until uni that I started considering it an option. I studied information management and business, so very different!
What is something you think needs leaving behind this year?
I would like to see a bit more care: for people, for the environment… I’d leave carelessness! What are your hopes for 2019? I hope my journey grows organically – that I’ll meet good people who don’t hinder my progress.
Who is an artist at the moment that really inspires your work?
My number one at the moment is Steve Lacey. I love him, he’s so fun, and all the music he brings out is so good.
How would you describe your sound?
I try to bring in a bit of everything that influences me, but mainly soul and funk.