Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
I can only think of three words … New. York. City. I mean, it’s the mental stimulation and creativity exuding from it’s streets alone that brings me alive when I’m here. Never have I lived in a place that can lift you up, rip you down all in a day, and still leave you in awe of it’s magic, wanting more.
It’s been a few months now that I have been back living in NY, and it has been one of the most pivotal points in my life, by far. Since I’ve been back, I was offered not only a great job at the new (and first EVER of its kind, globally) MAC Make Up Studio, but also the opportunity to become part of a new business venture with really great friends (that is going to be fucking rad & I look forward to sharing more with you soon!).
My favorite part about being home, however, is that I am able to catch up on lost time with a lot of great individuals that I haven’t been able to see in almost four years. I really feel so lucky to be able to come back home, after being gone for so long, and still have the same bad ass, inspiring friends to spend my time with. One of these friends, in particular, is my friend Emily Wolf.
Emily and I were first introduced by our friend Sarina a few years back, at what I remember was a singles party at a local venue in Brooklyn, on Valentine’s Day! Ok, this wasn’t a “lets go to to a singles party to meet other singles on Valentine’s Day” thing – cause that’s just lame. Ok, maybe thats the whole idea behind it, but for us, we were just 4 girls rocking out to live music, sharing stories and laughs over over-poured cocktails. Needless to say, we had a blast and have all been great friends ever since. But back to Emily … Emily is not only an original in a sea of copycats, but she’s a killer jazz performer from London, with a voice that soothes the soul and keeps you hanging onto her every word.
Her uniqueness in singing and style is what really draws my attention the most. Being a make-up artist, I love to see the connection between style and persona when it comes to the artist themselves. When Emily’s up there on stage, she’s in her element, but from her effortlessly chic style (and bold orange lip!!) to her alluring personally, for Emily I think the world is a stage.. and we are all watching in awe.
Being originally from London, what made you decide to make the move over to New York? :: My college (The New England Conservatory of Music) is in Boston, and I went there with the intention of moving to NYC after. In fact, I had a gut feeling when I was around 10 years old that I should be moving to NYC in my twenties. And being invited to study music here was the catalyst.
How did your career begin? :: It really began since I was born, as I was around a lot of music with a Jazz Educator as a father. For a while, I was having classical voice lessons with a teacher who thought I should go into opera. But I applied to music school for Jazz and got to work with the singer Dominique Eade, who really encouraged me to find my own sound from all the styles that speak to me. I have been giggling ever since that time – you could say that was the serious beginning.
What makes someone a jazz singer? :: A great sense of rhythm. Once you have that control, even if you don’t have much of a voice, you can be a jazz singer. Another thing is producing an emotion. That is invaluable.
What are the qualities that you look for in your band? :: Good people, soulful players, good sense of rhythm, and the ability to listen and adapt to the overall sound we are going for. My band members are free to express their artistic personalities and it compliments me very well.
For our readers who have never heard your music (yet!), describe your sound in 5 words: Soulful, Clever, Funky, Artistic, Charismatic.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when you write songs?! :: Often either my dreams or from my unconscious. Once I woke up with a full blown carnival song in my head and I wrote it down straight away and turned it into a Calypso dedicated to my friend. Or an idea is stuck in my head that I can’t shake. So I make a tune out of it to get it out! That’s how Love For Me was born.
The one piece of makeup you can’t live without :: LIPSTICK. Red, pink, burgundy or even skin color. It just makes me feel like I’m ready! And it can distract from any tiredness or lack of wardrobe preparation. Who wouldn’t love that!?
In my purse at all times :: At least a couple lipsticks, moisturizer, small hairbrush, and my phone and keys of course. Sometimes my phone will be carrying SECRET NUGGETS OF MUSIC as I’ll record little ideas into the voice memo and turn it into a tune later. So beauty, artistry and organization all in a tiny purse!
My daily beauty regimen :: It’s pretty easy, as I’m lucky to have low maintenance skin! Washing, moisturizing and using an SPF for the face. I’m a bit late in the game with worrying about SPF so I’m making up for lost time now. I use pretty basic products like Nivea and Oil of Olay. Also, I have always sworn by cocoa butter for hydrating and healing my skin. I fell over once and had quite a scar on my chin. I applied a lot of cocoa butter to it and now have NO SCAR! It’s a magical cream.
Keeping skin from breakouts while performing :: This isn’t as much of an issue for me as preventing a shine in a photo of a gig! It might be hot and the lighting might be bad, who knows! So, it’s just a case of finding a good tinted moisturizer and a little powder. After a gig I like to hang out and have a good time, but it’s essential to take that crap off before you hit the sheets! My days of waking up with eye makeup on are a thing of the past.
My signature look usually consists of :: Eyes and lips. I usually have a plain black eyeliner on the top of my eyes with black mascara, and a red or hot pink lip. For a gig I have a similar theme but since I may not have time to re-apply lipstick at a show, I accent the eyes more than usual. Sometimes a smokey eye, or a cat look with the eyeliner, and again tinted moisturizer or foundation and some light powder. I like bronzers that add a little shimmer too!
My beauty and style influences are :: Anyone who knows what they’re about! Classic, sassy and poised. If I could name one singer whose beauty look I would emulate, it would be Whitney Houston back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Bold lipstick, with an always elegant, yet dynamic, wardrobe. Her jewelry choices made her outfits really come together. She was such an inspiring artist with a beautiful smile, and really great posture!
My favorite lipstick :: Well, there’s a few. Sometimes I buy really cheap lipstick from the drugstore so I can have a variety of colors rolling around in my different bags and areas of my apartment! Ideally, with these you would want to use lip liner. But some of my favorite lipsticks right now are MAC Vegas Volt (a cool orangey red that really stands out) and Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Shine in Empowered; just a classic red at its’ best!
Make-up makes me feel :: expressive, intentional, strong, connected and ready for what I’m about to do!
A personal story about makeup :: Like many kids, I noticed my mom was gorgeous and would look through her room at her makeup and clothing! She was, and still is, a pretty classic lady, and knows how to be subtle and gorgeous – all at once. In my early teens, she and a friend went to the make-up counter at Harrods (this is in London where I grew up, and Harrod’s is a pretty nice place to go) for a girls day out without me – I was annoyed that at age 12 I wasn’t included in this! She came back with all this advice and color palettes. As we have similar coloring I took it on myself to wear all the Bobbi Brown makeup she bought that day; and we both wore it well! (Don’t worry, for a 12 year old, luckily it was some mellow color choices!) But that was my introduction to how fun and liberating make-up can be.
Be sure to check out Emily’s latest EP, Love For Me! She also just released an album called Re-COVERS, which is a unique blend of Jazz, Soul, Pop and Reggae covers. Connect with her on her website + follow her on Twitter to stay updated on her latest shows!
– Naturally inspired. Locally aware. Universally beautiful. With love, Kerri.
** Makeup done by Kerri McCarthy