A lot has changed since FKA Twigs’ last album. Not only did she go from being a relatively unknown UK singer, to becoming one of the biggest pop stars in the world. But as life imitates art, the 24-year-old has also found herself in the public eye, battling rumors of her affair with musician, Robert Pattinson. After welcoming a son, Robby, into the world in June 2016, the singer has decided to open up about motherhood, and her desire to create a ‘normal’ life for herself and her baby.
Normal Is The New Abnormal
In the lead up to the release of her new album, Need To Feel Something, FKA Twigs spoke to Billboard about motherhood, and how she’s finding life beyond the spotlight:
How has motherhood changed you as a person?
I think it changed me for the better. I’d always felt slightly uncomfortable with the attention that came with being a singer. I mean, I loved what I did, but I didn’t feel like I fit in with regular people the way I do now. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true! I don’t feel like I miss a thing now that I’ve become a mother. Everything feels brand new again. I feel like I can connect with people on a more emotional level. I’ve got this little person in my belly that I’m responsible for, and I want to be there for him. I want to be a good role model, make the right decisions and be there for him when he needs me. That’s all I want, to be a good father.
You’re one of the most successful female artists in the world right now. How does motherhood compare to what you imagined it would be like?
It’s definitely not what I imagined! Like, at all! I mean, I always wanted to be a singer, and to be able to express myself through music, but I didn’t think it would ever happen. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be able to give birth to a baby, let alone have a successful career. I’m just so grateful to be where I am, and to have this opportunity. It’s just such an incredible feeling.
How does your new album, Need To Feel Something, differ from your previous efforts?
I’m really excited about Need To Feel Something. It’s the first album I’ve made since Robby was born, and I think it’s the most personal album I’ve made to date. I’ve got a lot of stories to tell, and I wanted to make an album that reflected that. I’ve talked to a lot of women like me, who are in the same situation, and I wanted to tell them that they’re not alone. I feel like I can connect with listeners on a more personal level, and help them to feel less isolated. My last album, Human, was a mixture of different influences. This time around, I wanted to focus on my own experiences, and tell stories about real-life events that have influenced me.
Creative Minded, Family-Focused
Your new album starts with the brand new single, ‘Pale Horse,’ which is available to download now. The song is an ode to your newborn son, and the title track, ‘Need To Feel Something,’ follows closely behind. Talk us through the songwriting and recording process of these two tracks, as well as the rest of your new album.
‘Pale Horse’ and ‘Need To Feel Something’ took shape very differently. ‘Pale Horse’ was written pretty quickly after Robby was born. I had been looking for a song to represent him, and ‘Pale Horse’ was the result. From the moment I heard it, I just felt like it described him perfectly. He has this wonderful ability to make you feel like you’re the only person he’s ever seen or heard of. He’s so sweet, and he makes everyone around him feel special too. I just wanted to write something that would make others feel the same.
I wrote ‘Need To Feel Something’ a couple of months later, after coming back from Los Angeles, where I’d been working. I’d been trying to write a song about my experience there, about the lifestyle and the dreams that came true. It was a really emotional experience, and something that I’ve required therapy to process. That’s what the song is about; trying to find your place in this world, and trying to make the right decisions for yourself and your family. Trying to feel human again after having a baby. That’s what the song is about.
You mentioned that ‘Need To Feel Something’ is the most personal album you’ve made to date. Is there any particular song on the record that he inspired? Anything that you consider to be a ‘bump’ in the songwriting process, or any particular recording that he made that you referenced when writing the lyrics?
There’s A Vibe Kidz Around Here Somewhere
I loved the album, “Ode To My Son,” by the Weeknd, which features Twigs’ vocals. I thought the album was really beautiful, and it definitely had an influence on me. It was such a moving record to make, and such an achievement. I love the honesty and rawness of it, I think that’s what attracted me to it in the first place. Every song on the album seems to fit perfectly into the narrative of a father-son duo. Every song is a love letter to his son, and I think that’s what makes it such an incredible album. It’s raw, it’s real, and it shows how much he cares.
The song ‘Skeletons’ in particular, speaks to me. I think a lot of men can relate to that, and can see themselves in that song. It articulates all of the fears that a father might have, for his son. I think it’s an essential song for anybody who’s a parent, or who’s going to be a parent. It can provoke an emotional reaction in people, and make them connect to the lyrics, and to you as a singer. I love the way the song builds, it starts slow, and gradually increases in intensity. It’s a beautiful example of musical composition.
A Different Approach
This album deals with heavy topics, but it’s not a dark album. For the first time in a long while, you won’t hear or see any traces of the occult in my music. Nor will you hear any references to drug use or addiction. Those things don’t exist in my world anymore. It’s different, and I think that’s what makes it interesting. I wanted to make an album that adults could listen to, and be affected by. It’s not just for kids.
I was really worried that ‘Need To Feel Something’ would be described as ‘pink’ or ‘bubblegum’ music. I didn’t want people to think that I’d changed, or that I’d lost my ability to express myself. But nothing could be further from the truth. This album is as personal and vivid as my last one, and it really shows how far I’ve come.
I think it’s important to make music that you feel passionately about. If you don’t feel anything when you listen to it, it’s not going to mean anything to anyone else. I wanted this album to give me, and others, the strength to face the world again, and to feel optimistic about the future. I think that came across in the lyrics, and I hope that listeners can relate to that.
Finding The Unexpected
If there’s one thing that comes through in your music, it’s that you’ve found your own voice, and you don’t sound like anyone else. Every song is distinct, and it has its own vibe. This is probably, in part, because you are a 24-year-old woman, and in part, because you are the mother of a one-year-old. It is not an easy task, being a mother, especially when your son needs you, and you have to go away for work. How did you find the energy to keep going, and to keep trying?
I didn’t, actually! I was really worried that I wouldn’t have the energy to be a good parent, and to keep trying to make music. I love being a mom, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. I’ve always felt like I didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the world, and having a baby has shown me that there are so many people out there like me. It’s a community, and that’s what I love about it. I can sing about all of the things that make me happy, all of the things that I love, with someone who understands me.