FKA Twigs is one of the most exciting artists to emerge since the pandemic. On her sophomore album, EMOTION, the 24-year-old English singer and songwriter demonstrates an impressive range: from seductive pop (“Bad”) to devastating trap (“Feline”) to euphoric dance-pop (“Cellophane”) to soulful R&B (“Tricks”). She’s also one of the most outspoken artists of her generation, opening up about mental health, race, and body positivity in her music and her words. She’s previously spoken about her anxiety and depression, which she’s handled with great strength, determination, and a lot of help from her loved ones.
While many are undoubtedly aware of Twigs’ music—her track “Glass & Chips” was used as the soundtrack for Taylor Swift’s film, ‘Coy’—most know her for her work with Edward Pattinson. The duo met when Twigs was 19 and started working together after appearing as a support act on his UK tour. They’ve since collaborated on numerous critically acclaimed projects, working on EMOTION while she was pregnant with her daughter, Nahlia. On the eve of the album’s US release, we spoke to Twigs about her unique creative process, the inspiration behind her stunning new look, and why she finally decided to launch her own line of women’s wear.
An Unlikely Collaboration
“Glass & Chips” is one of the standout songs on EMOTION, an album that finds the artist experimenting with different sounds and textures. The track was co-produced by Twigs and Jimmy Napes, and features a funky guitar solo from Tom Barnes. Twigs and Barnes also contributed guitars to the track “Bad.”
Twigs and Barnes worked together on a range of other tracks, from the dance-friendly bubblegum pop of “Cellophane” to the anthemic guitar pop of “Bad,” as well as the menacing, trap-influenced bangers and beyond on EMOTION. It was while making these songs that Twigs developed a deeper understanding of guitar music.
“I started off just learning the notes and chords, and the theory behind them. Then, through making mistakes and learning from them, I started to have more fun,” Twigs said of her guitar education. “I love playing guitar, but it was never really my thing. When I was growing up, I always preferred singing and writing songs. But then through making mistakes and getting inspired by other players, I started to see the beauty in simple guitar chords and licks.”
In 2008, Twigs was featured on the track “In Case You Didn’t Get My Letter” by The Wombats. The group’s drummer, Dan Weller, remembered the moment they first encountered her music, and how it changed their lives: “We loved her. We connected with her on every level—musically, emotionally, and even spiritually. We started to see how her lyrics and melodies could speak to us, and the transformation that followed was incredible to behold.
Weller was one of many prominent figures who offered their support to Twigs during a heartbreaking period. A handful of years later, she was back in touch, this time with good news: she had a song that she wanted to share with them. It was called “Glass & Chips,” and it featured some of their favorite musicians, including Alex Arslanagić, the producer of their recent album, ‘Omens’.
“The song is about a girl who is in awe of the musician/singer/songwriter and decides to follow his instructions in exchange for his love,” Twigs said of the track. “The girl in the lyrics is me, but it’s written from the perspective of a musician who is probably very experienced and worldly, and wants to offer guidance to a girl who is still just a kid.”
Arslanagić, who produced the album, described the song as “a real conversation starter.” He also had some advice for fans of the song: “I would say to the fans of ‘Glass & Chips,’ that they should listen to it, and let whatever feelings it evokes wash over them. Don’t analyze it too much; just let it be.”
Why Pregnant At 24?
On her debut album, ‘Sleeping Night Music’, Twigs touches on the taboo topic of her mother’s mental illness. She’s opened up about her family’s struggles with depression and anxiety in her music and spoken about the importance of speaking your mind in today’s society. As she approaches the end of her second album cycle, Twigs discusses her decision to become a mother at such a young age.
“I feel like I’ve always been a bit like this,” Twigs said of her need to speak her mind. “I didn’t really understand what it meant to be keep quiet about something. There is always someone who is more vulnerable than us, and someone who needs help more than us. I think it’s important to stick up for them. If I’m being really honest, pregnancy at 24 was the best possible decision that I could have made. It has completely changed my life. It has given me a new sense of purpose. I want to be a good role model for my daughter, and this is the best way for me to do that.”
Designing My Own Line
Though she’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop and rock music, Twigs has always kept her fashion influences close to her heart. “When I was 14, my style started to change,” she said. “I loved quirky, eccentric clothing—all of the Alice coastal school [clothing]—but I started to notice more celebrities and public figures wearing more simple and structured clothing. It made me sad, because I don’t feel like I’m being true to myself if I’m not making my own style unique and creative. So I gradually started to take more fashion risks, and started to enjoy making my own style more.”
It was after this fashion epiphany that Twigs decided to launch her own line of clothing. While many creators may struggle with selling their designs due to a general lack of knowledge in this area, Twigs has been fortunate enough to have an example and a role model in Kate Spade, whose handbags and wallets she loved as a teen. “I can still remember going into a Kate Spade store as a 14-year-old, being completely in awe of the fact that they had made their own handbags,” Twigs said. “I thought it was so cool that they could be so creative and individualized as to have their own handbags. It was a lifestyle that I could see myself wanting to be a part of, and that’s why when I got the chance, I decided to make my own fashion line.”
In keeping with her fashion roots, Twigs’ first capsule collection is inspired by Kate Spade’s girl next door line, “Spade by Kate Spade.” The collection is named for one of Kate Spade’s most iconic accessories, the “New York Lunch”, and is designed in an attempt to recreate that style. But, rather than being a lunch box, the “New York Lunch” is a handbag. The collection includes a satchel in the shape of a New York City shuttle bus, a style that Twigs described as “versatile, fun, and fashionable.”
“He has a lot to prove. He’s a perfectionist, and he’s very passionate about what he does. He works hard at what he does, and I think that’s what makes him so exciting to watch and be a part of,” Twigs said of Eddie Pattinson. “He will never be a rerun, and that’s what makes him special. Even if he does something great, he’ll still want to do it again, because he feels like he can always learn from his mistakes. I think that’s why people admire him so much, because he’s very open to learning, and very passionate about what he does.”