I grew up on Motown records. Every weekend my parents listened (and while I watched with transfixed glee, often danced) to the soulful voices of artists like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes and The Temptations. Even before I took English class in school much later, I knew all the lyrics to those R&B songs perfectly by heart and had the moves to boot. I was an easy child and my parents were very young, so I’d hang out with their friends at Sunday afternoon dance parties. They called them ‘Thé Dansants‘. My mom also became a big fan of Sade. At the time Diamond Life came out I was only eleven years old and though my infatuation would reignite years later, I suddenly deemed the genre too slow and too groovy. I was getting into an entirely different kind of music by then…
New Beat, Belgium’s early answer to electronic dance music as a genre, was born in the early to mid 80s. It was a big deal, and extremely influential, even though very little of the movement was documented. Mostly because New Beat was banned from our radio stations at first. It was considered cheap and degenerate and later over-commercialized. At the same time all kinds of derivatives of New Wave and Acid House started to emerge in other corners of the world. The first real global hit I remember was Bostich by Yello. For me (personally) this record marked the beginning of a new era, of the electronic revolution. At 15 years old I was still too young to enter clubs but in those days no one cared. By the late 80s, people would come from all over Europe to party at Boccaccio, an infamous club that was conveniently located in my home town. I rode over on my little bicycle and locked it up right in front of the entrance. (Trust me, there were far worse illegal things going on inside… ) Fashion-wise these were heydays. There were smiley faces, Boy London, and John Lennon style round sunglasses. Yes, sort of like what you see on hipsters today…
And then there was the whole grunge explosion, with Nirvana and Pearl Jam leading the pack. There was no escaping the genre. We wore black leather jackets and dyed denim. I was definitely not at my prettiest then. Fortunately there are very few photos to remind me (or anyone else) of this godawful phase, maybe an embarrassing class photo. All I remember is pimples, unruly, curly hair and a new boy crush every week – my diary entries from those days are hilarious! Until I met my (really hot) boyfriend of five years. He put me in dresses and I stuck with them. Thank you, Jochen! I also developed a gnawing, to-this-day obsession with Faith No More and Mike Patton. When I saw them live for the first time, at a festival in Belgium, I must have been 18-years old and that same boyfriend had to come pick me out of the mosh pit because he thought I would die. After much resistance, and crying like a baby deprived of candy, I reluctantly retreated to the safe zone. I’d make up for my wussy act on their reunion tour three years ago – I saw them twice!
I didn’t know who Biggie Smalls was until I started attending school in London in 1996. A few of the girls in my class mourned the death of 2Pac like he was their own brother – it was fascinating. But my love for Hip-Hop and R&B wouldn’t really cultivate until I moved to New York (preceded by many, many sweaty nights at Twilo and Tunnel). I can dance to anything (except country, no thanks) but when those sexy, deep tunes come on, I just have to move. Last summer I was asked to DJ a couple of sessions at the Soho Grand and I started each set with a Sade song. I played everything from Gangstarr to Soul II Soul, from Aaliyah to P.M. Dawn. If my challenging life as a Capricorn wasn’t enough proof that I am nostalgic, my stubborn dedication to old music certainly gives it away.
It’s because of my undying love for music that Harper’s Bazaar approached me to collaborate with Olay on the Countdown to Beauty: The Grammy Awards Edition. The hero of the project is Olay’s Regenerist Luminous Collection, launching this spring. As we unwrap the countdown over four weeks leading up to the Grammy Awards you’ll see me in four videos getting ready for the big night. (Funny thing: I am not actually going, but that’s beside the point…) However, here’s where it really gets interesting (for you!): readers are invited to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2015 Grammy Awards show! I am absolutely jealous but I sincerely hope one of you wins and sends me pictures from your trip!
Enjoy and Good Luck!
Fashion credits (The Hair): White and blue top with ruffle sleeves by Maki Oh; Earrings by Mega Mega.
Fashion credits (The Make-up): Grey wool sweater by Burberry; Grey printed ‘Carla’ circle skirt by Peter Pilotto; Pink and green jewel necklace by Shourouk; Floral dress by Stella McCartney; Gold vintage necklace, my own.