(AFP) – They play with their image and remain independent to design their album: Billie Eilish, still impressive success, and Little Simz, growing fame, evolve off the beaten track.
At the time of the release of her second album, “Happier Than Ever”, in the height of summer, Billie Eilish took everyone on the wrong foot with the front page of Vogue. Known for her green locks and her loose clothes, here is the young woman (19 years old) in Hollywood fatale blonde in a bustier hugging her curves.
“She always tries to deconstruct things”, analysis for AFP Benjamin Manaut, project manager at Polydor / Universal.
“I wondered if I had not locked myself in a box, if society did not whisper in my ear: + Be this image until the end of your days. + It is exactly the reverse of what I’m looking for! I don’t want to stay the same all my life, “explained the person in Madame Figaro, one of the few interviews granted.
The same approach can be seen with Little Simz, a London rapper, who is releasing her new album “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” this Friday (the initials form Simbi, her real name).
So far, she has appeared on stage in a rather sober urban style, far from the “+ show off +” of American rappers, who are themselves in the highlighting, decorum, + entertainment + [le divertissement à grand spectacle]”, as Stéphane Amiel, at the head of the Les Femmes S’en Mêlent festival, which has twice programmed the phenomenon, summed it up to AFP.
– “I can do it” –
Surprise there too with the clip “Woman”, where she appears in a mansion with sheath dress and extravagant diamonds. “She plays with her image, she says: + I can do it, as well as the others, but it’s not me either +”, summarizes Stéphane Amiel. And the lyrics deliver an unchanging message: power to women!
To compose their records, these two artists do nothing like the others either. With the pressure around her second album, Billie Eilish could have summoned an army of sound architects (producers, beatmakers, etc.). But no, the American composed and wrote with her brother Finneas, in a closed circuit, as for her first opus.
“The first album sold over 18 million copies worldwide, any producer would have agreed to work with her, but she stays true to her brother, it’s quite fascinating and even more surprising, she continues to be unique and singular “, comments Benjamin Manaut.
Contrary to the current production, Billie Eilish offers an album at slowed down tempo, in the purity, which sticks wonderfully to the theme of a notoriety heavy to carry.
– “I am a boss” –
And at the time of eclectic playlists acclaimed by young audiences, the Californian offers a disc “that can be listened to in its entirety, with a beautiful homogeneity”, continues the project manager. This Friday, Billie Eilish also presents a concert-film where she performs the titles of “Happier …” in full and in order, accompanied by the orchestra of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (on Disney +).
Same principle of the creative cocoon at Little Simz. However, from the start of her recording career in 2015, the rapper (now aged 27) was dubbed by her peers. Stéphane Amiel remembers seeing Mos Def, a New York rap figure, “at the back of the room at his first concert in Paris” at Les Femmes S’en Mêlent. That was six years ago, and since the praise of Kendrick Lamar or Jay-Z has been raining down. She has even just made her first American TV in the Jimmy Fallon show.
The big structures gave her golden bridges, which she refused, remaining on her own label Age 101. It was enough to listen, she announced the color in her song “Boss” (2019): “I’m a boss in a fucking dress