“I am a forest girl in the trees who grew up in Westchester and he is a true city boy who ran around Saint Marks Street,” explains Jillian Hervey of the sharp contrast in temperament between her and bandmate Lucas Goodman. The juxtaposition adds to the secret sauce behind the duo’s buzzy neo-soul band LION BABE. Following the release of last year’s acclaimed debut album BEGIN and collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Disclosure, they’ve become one of music’s coolest bands to know and download.
The NYC based platonic partners in crime performed at Tommy Hilfiger’s latest “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show on Venice Beach. “A lot of people say our music is made for warm weather which is ironic because we are usually in a chilly Brooklyn studio,” says 28-year-old Goodman who has fond childhood memories of hip-hop icons like Wu-Tang Clan and Aaliyah rocking Hilfiger. “In our minds we are sun babies,” responds 27-year-old Hervey sitting cross-legged and barefoot, no too-cool-for-school indie musician pretense in sight.
They initially met through mutual friends in 2007 when Goodman was attending Northeastern University and Hervey was a prospective college student soon to attend The New School. Their paths would cross again and again and eventually the Lion Babe cub was born. “When you find your team, you stay with your team,” announces Hervey, whose signature mane (worn in braids cascading down her back for the performance), combined with Lucas’ Leo zodiac sign, inspired the group’s moniker. “A lion represents strength, wildness and instinct and a babe is vulnerable.”
That yin and yang is most evident when the pair is in performance mode. Goodman plays the part of a musical mad scientist, meticulously mixing and mashing the beats to measure Hervey’s raw and commanding stage presence. “It’s my natural way of dealing with the world,” comments Hervey, who seems to have inherited her star quality and musical prowess from her mother, Vanessa Williams. “Music was an everyday occurrence in my family my whole life,” she recalls.
Following in the footsteps of independent artists like recent Grammy Award-winning Chance the Rapper, Lion Babe fearlessly parted ways with their record label in order to get back to basics, no record exec in sight. “We are trying to tap into things that we didn’t get around to the first time,” states Goodman.
The group’s current self-released single “ROCKETS,” featuring rapper Moe Moks, is sultry proof that the twosome is making all the right moves. “We wanted a feel good track, especially with where we are in the world right now,” explains Hervey. “We are a little left of center and we are steering our own ship, trying to bring good energy.” Full steam ahead, one roar at a time.
All images courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger