Ranging from bad-ass South African gangsterism to the fresh-faced grace of a Brit songstress, the tunes blaring on our iPod are almost as varied as the musicians who craft them. And with this mishmash of sound—think Zola Jesus’ ethereal operatics or Jessie J’s pop-friendly dance tunes—each artist comes with wildly different and incredibly covetable styles. Suddenly, on top of singing along to Oh Land’s “Son Of A Gun,” I now want to blunt-cut our bangs like Die Antwoord’s Yo-Landi, and go thrift-shopping for beach style with Tennis’ Alaina Moore. Not every musician has to be a fashion inspiration, but I must admit: It’s awfully awesome when my fave artist look as good as they sound rocking the stage. Here are the songbirds currently inspiring ME !
Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord
The Sound: Irreverent, grimy, and unapologetic, Die Antwoord became an Internet sensation in early 2010, radically popularizing the part-electro, part-crunk sound known in South Africa as “Zef.” Rapper Ninja aggressively alters between English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa, and Yo-Landi spits deceptively sweet-sounding rhymes on hooks.
The Style: With hyper-short baby bangs and a penchant for gold and glitter, her style is not for the faint-hearted. Of course, we love her fearless sense of self in a cropped top or a scene-stealing graphic tee.
The Goods: Adidas Originals Hi Cut Sneakers, $110, available at Adidas; Laura Lombardi Brass Bar Earrings, $32, available at Refinery29 Boutiques; Urban Decay Bobby Dazzle Eyeshadow, $20, available at Beauty.com; See By Chloe Pants, $295, available at Shopbop; VPL Bra, $95, available at La Garçonne; Baebae Geometric Double Knuckle Ring, $99, available at Refinery29 Boutiques.
The Sound: Emerging from mix-tape culture, the hard-hitting emcee Rye Rye was discovered by M.I.A., who called the young artist the “voice of Baltimore.” We fell in love when she brought her boogie-tastic beats to Alexander Wang’s post-Fashion Week carnival last year, and her kinetic energy and club-friendly tunes keeps our booties shaking.
The Style: Once a protégé of the always stylish M.I.A., Rye Rye has stepped out of her mentor’s shadow—but has borrowed a couple of her brightly colored tricks. Where M.I.A. embraced global patterns and an inherently Brit sensibility, Rye Rye rocks some real-deal Baltimore street style. We love matching her hair with her clothes, the excess of pink, and of course, those incredible door-knocker earrings.
The Goods: Manic Panic In Green Envy, $9.50, available at The Bruised Boutique; GirlProps Wing Earrings, $7.99, available at GirlProps; Jessica Simpson Ruffle Bustier, $29.99, available at Jessica Simpson; Deena & Ozzy Clear Metal Trim Purse, $39, available at Urban Outfitters; Diane von Furstenberg Miggy Poplin Shorts, $200, available at Net-a-Porter.
The Sound: We couldn’t be digging this influx of smart, savvy pop mistresses hitting our ears—Robyn, Adele, and now Jessie J., who sounds like Pink and Nicki Minaj’s love child…if she were born across the pond.
The Style: Imagine Katy Perry’s dark side, with flat-ironed black hair and thick swipes of black eyeliner. Except Jessie isn’t just vamp: Her playful style of pin-up elements with killer tights, cheeky hair accessories, and mega-hoops show the singer can switch effortlessly between sex-kitten and LOLcat.
The Goods: House of Holland Fringed Tights, $27.99, available at Modcloth; Vena Cava Bomber Jacket, $310, available at Refinery29 Boutiques; Juicy Couture Multi-Layer Fringe Bracelet, $100, available at Ssense; MAC Russian Red Lipstick, $14.50, available at MAC; Halston Heritage Sandals, $225, available at Net-A-Porter.
The Sound: With a flair for the dramatic (maybe stemming from her opera background), front-woman Nika Roza’s otherworldly vocals are dark but not goth, flitting through Zola Jesus’ echo chamber-like soundscapes. We love.
The Style: Aside from being haunting musically, Nika’s signature style leans to the dark. But the singer mixes it up, pairing a pencil skirt with a silk top or adding flowing layers of black for texture. Porcelain skin and red lips, however, is a must.
The Goods: LauraKranitz Two-Sided Headband, $29.95, available at KarmaLoop; ASOS Long Sleeve Slinky Dress, $32.27, available at ASOS; K-198 Nevin Hoodie, $315, available at Nicholask; Smashbox Brow Tech To Go, $26, available at Sephora; Pamela Love Cuff, $378.01, available at Pamela Love.
Alaina Moore of Tennis
The Sound: How’s this for an adorable story? Post college, married couple Alaina Moore and Patrick Reilly sailed around the world and returned to write beachy, nostalgic sounds about their experiences. Think slow dances, kisses under the boardwalk, and rubbing your toes in the sand.
The Style: A summer-obsessed retro sound should have a summer-obsessed retro style, and when it comes to casual shorts, convertible-ready hair, and rocking out on your organ, Alaina is set. We love her use of patterns, from nautical stripes to floral.
The Goods: Deena & Ozzy Foldover Boot, $68, available at Urban Outfitters; Warehouse Palm Print One Shoulder Dress, $113, available at Warehouse; Lowestoft Sunglasses, $89, available at Jack Wills; Living Proof No Frizz Styling Cream, $35, available at Sephora; Vanessa Bruno Hawaiian Print Shorts, $364.50, available at Matches.
The Sound: There’s something about the music of Nanna Øland Fabricius, or Oh Land, that reminds us of a romp through the mythic and mysterious Danish forests. Driving beats harmonize perfectly with her rapturous voice, like a percussive-heavy Florence and The Machine.
The Style: If you can ignore Oh Land’s model-like looks (if you can), you’ll see an imaginative, colorful world filled with capes, maxi dresses, and a couple beauty tips swiped from Twiggy. Of course, Oh Land learned from the best for her gorgeous stage style: Designer Christian Joy works with both her and our girl-crush Karen O
The Goods: Unique Printed Mesh Dress, $450, available at Topshop; Modekungen Space T-Shirt, $98.02, available at Modekungen; Modcloth Never Felt This Way Hat, $24.99, available at ModCloth; Nars The Multiple In South Beach, $39, available at Nars; Minimarket Space Shoe, $219.95, available at Solestruck.
The Sound: It will be nearly impossible to mention 2011 in music without talking about Ellie Goulding. The Brit It-Girl not only sweeped at the BRIT awards, but she’ll be at every summer festival you can name. Her upbeat sound and breathy voice is the soundtrack both to our workouts and our evenings at home.
The Style: Perfect for the warm weather, Ellie’s bright eyes and pale lips are anytime-appropriate. Girly, effortless, and classic, her girl-next-door vibe is always modernized with a bright print or her dreamy, flawless waves (can her hair be any more perfect?).
The Goods: Lover Coppelia Cotton Lace T-Shirt, $350, available at Net-a-Porter; Lancome Hypnose Waterproof Mascara, $24.50, available at Buy; Kyler By Joy O Coyote Pendant, $78, available at Kyler Designs; Topshop Cream Rose Dress, $75, available at Topshop; Madewell Striped Spring Polo, $59.50, available at Madewell; Beauty Is Life Lipstick, $28, available at Barneys.