We went to London and found the new British babes to watch

The music scene in England has always fascinated me. It’s birthed so many iconic names from The Spice Girls to The Rolling Stones all the way up to Harry Styles. So, when I had the opportunity to live in London over the last few months, I made it my goal to meet with some of London’s upcoming superstars. I found each of these girls either through YouTube or Spotify and was instantly captivated by their own unique talents. Though these British babes all range in musical style, they have one thing in common: we see them headed straight to the top. Check out my photo diary on them below.

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Laura Hayden

Though 28 year-old Laura Hayden now fronts the new-wave, indie band Anteros, she’s had a career in pretty much every path you could imagine prior. Spending her early years as a fashion model, Laura went on to become a DJ and a presenter for MTV Spain, then eventually found her home as the lead singer of one of my new favorite bands. I’d first found Laura’s powerhouse vocals on a Spotify suggested playlist, where Anteros’ “Call Your Mother” instantly had me hooked. I then spent the next week listening their entire discography, which is reminiscent of 70’s rock and Fleetwood Mac soul. I caught up with Laura in a London Starbucks, where we eventually made our way across town to possibly one of the coolest bars I’ve ever seen and created these epic photos.

You’ve had a very dynamic career. How did it lead you into becoming a part of Anteros?

When I’d gotten the job with MTV, it was a really good opportunity, I quit university and I thought I can always go back, but this is a link that’s closer to music that I’m actually going to get to see music from really close up. I thought if this is something that I want to do, I need to be comfortable with the world. I thought if I see all aspects of music and it’s something that I still want to do, then I’ll go for it. So I saved some money while working in Spain, I went to these amazing festivals, I interviewed the most amazing, talented people and I got to see things from the other side. The longer I did it, the more I realized this is what I wanted to be doing. So I quit and I moved to England, against everyone’s opinions! I met Josh (bass) through a friend and he was the first person I ever wrote with and this was before I even moved to London, I was still working at MTV.

You’re the only girl in Anteros, do you feel like that gives you an advantage on writing music?

Yes, absolutely! Sometimes I like to imagine I’m a guy and I’m writing a song for a girl. It’s quite nice to see things from that perspective. I like being able to put myself in that place. I feel very comfortable being on the road with my friends, with my brothers. We all know each other very well, it’s like a family unit.

As far as traveling goes, does it ever get difficult being on the road with only boys?

Well, we all still share rooms. When you’re touring, we’re a small band still, you need to save as much money as possible. The more you spend, the less you can tour and you want to take your music as far and wide as you can. So I’d rather three tours and share a room then do one tour and spend all of the money. I feel like this day in age where everything is so digital, the connection we are making live is bringing a whole other aspect to it. I mean, sharing a room with guys is never going to be fun! I have this rule where I always shower first. (laughs) But they’re really good with that! We’ve learned a lot from each other. We always try to balance the numbers out, like we always bring a female photographer with us just so we can have that. I think with time we’re respecting each other more and more and understanding what everyone brings to the table.

What’s one place you’ve never performed but would like to?

So many places! We haven’t performed in America but I’m dying to. I really really love America and I’m dying to take our music out there, I can’t wait to take it out there. I love spending time in different cities, wherever we go I always try to venture. So, I’d love to tour America, I’d love to tour South America… I’d love to go back to Japan. That’s where I found where I wanted to belong and it would be lovely to go back.

Lastly, if you were to show someone your music for the first time, what song would you play?

I guess it would be “Anteros.” That’s the song that made us. The song came first, then the band. We named the band after the song, so that for us was such a starting point of something.



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The first JGrrey song I’d ever listened to was “All For You,” an old-school, R&B anthem with a soulful flare. Though the track was already on repeat, the music video had ignited my admiration for JGrrey even more so. Following a storyline of her love for a girl who’s too busy hanging with a guy, the song is visually aided by dreamy colors, lens flares and a hint of vintage inspired clips to really hit you in your aesthetic feels. I knew instantly I needed to photograph this girl and was super excited when we were able to set it up. Just like her music, JGrrey is as genuine as you can imagine and I enjoyed every second of shooting with her.

When did you first start getting into music?

I’ve had a strong connection to music my whole life really – I wrote my first song at 8, it’s a great song, might try and do something with it.

Where did the name J-Grrey come from?

A happy accident really, Grey is my favorite color, and J is the first letter of my name, just felt nice to say out loud, and it stuck.

How would you describe your musical style?

Right now, my music is always evolving, it’s always a new place to be when writing or listening back to demos, but I’d like to think it’s honest, mellow, smokey and soulful.

What is your favorite music video that you’ve released?

Ready 2 Die.

What are your favorite lyrics that you’ve written? 

I put gold in my mouth, just so I would smile. This isn’t gods house we haven’t spoke in a while.

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Fenne Lily

Before I left for London, I’d asked a bunch of people on my Instagram story if they had any British artists they recommend I listen to. When someone suggested Fenne Lily, I pretty much forgot I’d even asked for new artists because I got so lost in her music. Fenne’s sound basically hits you right in the soul. It’s the kind of music you listen to while staring out a car window and pretending your in the dramatic finale of a movie. My personal favorite is For a While, but really you’ll probably love any of her songs if your into acts like The 1975 or Daughter. Though the songstress doesn’t actually live in London, she frequents there to play sold-out headline shows and other musical events. I met with Fenne at Islington Assembly Hall before she played in October.

Tell us a little bit about your background. When and why did you get into music?
I started piano lessons when I was 8 but picked up the guitar around 15 after I got stoned for the first time and was stuck in a loop of listening to the same Fleet Foxes song for an hour. This coincided with me losing pretty much all my friends at school (girls are weird at that age) so writing songs allowed me to remove myself from social politics and escape the feeling of not being good enough. It was a life raft, of which I’ve never let go.
I know you structured your album around a vinyl format. What was your reasoning behind that? What draws you to that nostalgia? 
The process of choosing a record, positioning the needle, realizing you have it on the wrong speed, readjusting, flipping it when the side ends – it’s a ritual. You don’t get the same level of focus and absorption from putting on a playlist, and I massively appreciate artists who consider and create albums that work as coherent, dynamic pieces of art as opposed to a collection of songs intended for shuffling. Music shouldn’t be something peripheral to fill a silence or become background noise – I’m selective about what I listen to and it makes sense for me to give it my full attention. The vinyl revival can only be a good thing in terms of reinstating music as an art form worth our time and money.
What’s something that separates you from other artists? 
 I try to stay away from comparing myself to other artists too much. It’s a path I go down when I’m low and I always regret it. I guess, at this stage, a notable detail is the fact that my manager and I released the first record ourselves, without a label. I write all the music myself – no co-writes, which I’m told is rarer than you’d think. But apart from that I guess I’ll never know because I’m always me and can’t see it from the outside! Maybe I’ll ask twitter.
What’s the most personal song you’ve written?
Honestly, probably something that I never released or played to anyone – I’m pretty open as a writer but some things are better kept to myself. In terms of album tracks, though, it’s probably Car Park – I wrote it about someone I barely knew but desperately wanted to. At the time I was very vulnerable to people and the world in general. I was looking for validation as a woman and a body and a mind, which eventually culminated in a complete breakdown and the eventual acknowledgement of the unhealthy patterns that were making me sick and miserable. It marks the end of a bad era; the start of taking responsibly for my own emotional wellbeing and not looking for answers in strangers.
You have a degree in art, does that help you as a musician? Do you ever work on visuals for yourself?
Yeah! I got massively into analogue photography around the time of the first release so I was shooting and processing my own images that were then used for single artwork. I find it helpful to have another artistic outlet – it can become claustrophobic and stressful to try and express everything through one medium. Some feelings work better visually than sonically and vice versa. Before I started taking photos, though, I specialized in oil painting and the course was heavily focused on analysis, of your own work and the artists that inspired it. At the time it seemed tedious but in retrospect it gave me the ability to be objective about my creative expression which is a massive part of writing and recording and performing.
What’s the one song you’d want people to listen to of yours if they’ve just heard of you? 
Maybe “On Hold”. It’s one of only two positive songs on the record (along with ‘”Rother”). I wrote it after meeting and being saved by a close friend. I also made the music video with a friend of mine who filmed it while skateboarding – I roller-skated around central London giving flowers to strangers, and edited it myself overnight. I feel like we pulled it off! Or if you’re in a sad mood, ‘More Than You Know’, the second song I ever wrote. They all feel like my children at this point, though, I can’t pick favorites.

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