Featured Artist: FKA twigs

“FKA Twigs @ Primavera Sound 2014” by laferry is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Black History Month Featured Artist: FKA twigs

FKA twigs is one of our featured artists during Black History Month. She is an English singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress best known for her genre-bending electronic music.

She got her start as a backup dancer, appearing in music videos for big names such as Kylie Minogue and Ed Sheeran. Then came her own career in music, with the release of 2012’s EP1 and 2013’s EP2, the latter of which launched her into the spotlight with the lead single “Water Me”.

FKA twigs Bends But Doesn’t Break

FKA twigs cannot be pinned down to one genre. For one song, she could be considered avant-garde. The next, she’s industrial, trip-hop, or art-pop. She has also been labeled an alternative R&B act, but she rejects that label. In an interview with The Fader, she said this to say about ‘alternative R&B’:

“It’s just because I’m mixed race. When I first released music and no one knew what I looked like, I would read comments like: ‘I’ve never heard anything like this before, it’s not in a genre.’ And then my picture came out six months later, now she’s an R&B singer. I share certain sonic threads with classical music; my song ‘Preface’ is like a hymn. So let’s talk about that. If I was white and blonde and said I went to church all the time, you’d be talking about the ‘choral aspect’. But you’re not talking about that because I’m a mixed-race girl from south London.”

FKA twigs is not afraid to take a stand. Always passionate about doing what’s right, she’s long been an advocate for racial justice, gender equality, and LGBT rights. In late 2020 she opened up about her own story of surviving domestic abuse and is currently in the legal process of getting her justice. Still wanting to help others, she’s used the conversation around her story to direct attention to organizations that support abuse survivors. For example, she’s recommended Sistah Space, an organization supporting African heritage survivors of domestic & sexual abuse.

Looking Forward

Though she’s in the middle of a legal battle, she is also making new music. FKA twig’s last multi-track release arrived in 2019 in the form of Magdalene, a 9-track LP with a sonic range that encompasses punk rock to electronica to Bulgarian folk.

She has an upcoming album planned, with a single titled “Don’t Judge Me” released in late January. It’s a collaborative effort, featuring the talents of Headie One and Fred again. This new album is to have multiple collaborations, like Magdalene that featured the likes of Skrillex and Benny Blanco. An album title, tracklist, and release date are to be determined.

In the spirit of Black History Month, FKA twig’s record label Young Turks Recording is donating their profits from “Don’t Judge Me” to The Black Curriculum, a UK-based organization that addresses the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum.

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