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by Charlotte Whiteway

FKA Twigs – re-defining the artist

From being a back-up dancer for the likes of Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Plan B to the experimental singer-songwriter she is now most known for, FKA Twigs is more than just a singer. She is an artist that stretches herself across all meanings of the word.

FKA Twigs first came on to the music scene in 2012 with her debut EP titled EP1 under the name Twigs. The fact her debut EP had a music video for each song immediately separated her from popular female British artists. This self-produced EP showcased FKA Twigs as an experimenter of genres with her whispering vocals, synthetic drum beats and ethereal sounds with visuals she helped to create only adding to this sense of individuality and innovativeness.

FKA Twigs’ second EP released in 2013, EP2, followed much of the same pattern, releasing a music video for each track on the EP. This EP developed FKA Twigs’ sound, still recognisable in her ethereal style but becoming more experimental with in the electronic sounds and structure of her songs. Her film (because that’s what these creations are, they are more than just music videos) for the track ‘Water’, has reached over 13million views on YouTube.

LP1, FKA Twigs’ debut album, was released in 2014 receiving wide acclaim being shortlisted for the 2014 Mercury Prize and being Grammy nominated for Best Recording Package. Once again, FKA Twigs avoided being put into a single genre this debut almost creates a genre for herself. It is her diverse sound that is what is so refreshing about an artist that breaks down boundaries like she does. Whether she is labeled as R&B, electronic, alternative, none of these categories can be correct because she employs so much into her sound she works around the genres rather than in them.

For her follow-up EP, M3LL155X, FKA Twigs directed a 16-minute film to accompany it, featuring pregnancy and blow-up sex dolls. Her latest single ‘Good To Love’, carries on themes of voyeurism of the female body, focusing on FKA Twigs herself as she is intertwined in bed sheets. Unlike many mainstream artists, FKA Twigs uses the female body as an art piece rather than a sexual object, a refreshing way of deploying women through the camera than what is seen on most music channels. This is one of the reasons to why FKA Twigs is so important and groundbreaking, constantly defying limits that have been etched in the music industry for years.

Most recently, FKA Twigs has given an insight into her creative mind through Soundtrack 7 having invited audiences to witness her create a brand new dance piece in one day for a week showing how her experimentation with platforms of expression are endless and there are rumored plans for her to release an exclusive fragrance that will be a “channelled work of liquid music, a compounded high spirit, natural, raw and sacred.”

FKA Twigs isn’t just a back-up dancer turned singer-songwriter; she is an inventor of sounds and visuals. She is a creator of her sound, employing this with her music videos becoming a filmmaker. Her performance as FKA Twigs in an art itself, she is an artist that refuses to be contained in one box (even having created and directed an advert for Google Glass). Whether that box is the genre of her music, her role as a singer-songwriter, a producer or as a director of her own work, she has constructed a platform for herself where she is able to be all of these things refusing to be restricted by labels.