You’ve probably heard of Lion Babe. The neo-soul-hop tinged, alternative R&B, funk, electro and rock elements fusion duo comprised of Lion Babe and AstroRaw, otherwise known as Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman.
Lion Babe’s vocals are often compared to many of the legendary artists amongst us. You may have seen them perform their genre blending music at one of the many popular music festivals they’ve played nationally and abroad alongside acts like Lauryn Hill, Jaden Smith, Wu Tang Clan, Little Dragon, Erykah Badu, Jhené Aiko, Miguel, Lizzo, Nas, and Grace Jones, just to name a few. Notably, in 2018, Lion Babe was part of the Coachella lineup with acts such as Beyoncé, Cardi B, Sza, Eminem, The Weeknd, Kygo, and Tyler the Creator, and they’ve also shared a stage with the likes of Alicia Keys and performed for Tony Bennett recently in New York City.
The millions of views they’ve garnered on YouTube via their music videos, the magazine covers (including a very sweet and special cover moment for Essence Magazine with her mother), and the other publication features, along with the award shows/events, like the Grammys and VMA’s, and Fashion Week appearances have caused many an eyeball to gaze their way in awe.
The fashion world simply cannot get enough of Lion Babe! Jillian has walked in multiple Fashion Week shows and they were invited to perform personally for Armani in Milan. Perhaps, readers may recognize Lion Babe’s striking beauty from her H&M commercial, her gig as a Pantene brand ambassador in national commercials and ads, and her collaborations with Mac cosmetics and Ray Ban. Likely though, this striking star has caught your eye due to the fact that she shares the same genetic jackpot lottery as her legendary mother, the iconic star of film, music, and theatre: Vanessa Williams.
With a second album out, Cosmic Wind, and having wrapped an American tour, Lion Babe next graced Australia this past holiday season, which coincides with the release of their beautiful take on the New Year’s classic “Auld Lang Syne,” available on all platforms. So how did Lion Babe come to be the stars they are today? Let’s journey back through history briefly.
It all began back in the year 2012, when Lion Babe officially hit the scene with their debut single “Treat Me Like Fire.” Well, to be truthful, it really began years before that when the talented duo met for the first time at a party. Staying somewhat internet connected, super casually, throughout the years via the social media at the time, Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman, decided to team up when they both found themselves living in New York City, re-connecting over music, naturally, for one of Hervey’s dance projects at The New School University. After Goodman’s producing of original music for Hervey’s modern dance performance, magic blossomed soon after. It was around this time, after initially working together, that they decided to join forces as a duo called Lion Babe. This was after spending time together and familiarizing themselves with one another musically, of course. Like their debut single sings, fire spread rapidly for these gifted young performers.
With Goodman handling the record producing/beats and Hervey serving as the face of the band with the vocals, the pair dropped their music video and hit single “Treat Me Like Fire” in December of 2012, and oh, man, did that fire spread! Next thing they knew, Childish Gambino was requesting them to open for him at SXSW festival and they were signed to two record deals; one with Interscope and the other with Polydor. 2014 would see the release of their debut self-titled extended play, featuring the popular 2013 song “Jump Hi” featuring Childish Gambino, their old friend. 2015 would see the musicians gear up for the official release of their debut album. They did this by teaming up with Disclosure for a track on the English duo’s 2015 album, and by working with creative geniuses such as Pharrell in the recording studio on the official Lion Babe debut album.
Released in February of 2016 by Interscope and Polydor, Begin was the first full-length album Lion Babe released. It included the ever-so catchy singles “Wonderwoman,” “Impossible,” and “Where Do We Go.” The next few years saw Lion Babe release stand-alone singles, but it wasn’t until 2019 that Cosmic Wind, their second studio album, was released to much anticipation on March 29th, also marking their first independent release. Led by the single “The Wave,” it features other fan favorites such as: “Western World,” “Honey Dew,” “Hit the Ceiling,” “Different Planet,” “Sexy Please,” and “Into Me.” We were lucky enough to get a chance to catch up with the multi-talented Lion Babe.
The Knockturnal: What inspires your music?
Lion Babe: Life, people, feelings and dreams.
The Knockturnal: Who were your music inspirations growing up and who are they today?
Lion Babe: I’ve always been drawn to vocalists with distinctive voices. My favorites growing up were Lauryn Hill, Chaka Khan, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. They are all still inspirations to this day, but now I appreciate song writers as well. I’m always excited about new music from Frank Ocean, Anderson Paak and Erykah Badu to name a few.
The Knockturnal: Dreams collabs?
Lion Babe: Any artist mentioned from the previous question. Also, would love to do something with Missy Elliot.
The Knockturnal: Does your mother give you advice and guidance?
Lion Babe: She is always there when I need her, like any great mother. I appreciate her ability to guide me without forcing her ideals on me. She doesn’t judge me for being authentic.
The Knockturnal: After your last album and the newly released holiday single, what’s next for you? What’s coming up?
Lion Babe: We are wrapping up some new visuals, along with writing new records. We are always creating, so 2020 will be more LION BABE in all ways. Records, shows, visuals and more.
The Knockturnal: Still touring? How’s that been?
Lion Babe: Life on the road is always an adventure and tons of fun. It was great to share “Cosmic Wind” with the world after working on it for sometime. This tour was incredible because our audiences knew the words to all the records we played which was really a trip. It awesome to be able to see the faces of our listeners and to explore the world in such a unique way.
The Knockturnal: How would you describe your last album Cosmic Wind?
Lion Babe: “Cosmic Wind” was our first independent album, so for us it was really important for it to further define our sound and world. It is really about our own personal life journey and the magic and growth that comes with inevitable change.
The Knockturnal: Anything exciting you want to share with your fans or a special message for them?
Lion Babe: We are very excited for 2020 and the next decade to solidify our presence in the art and music world. There we will a lot more of everything. If we had to leave any message to our fans, it would have to be what is always has been. Love and gratitude for your support and engagement. It is a blessing to be able to create what we love, but to also know that it strikes a chord in others.
Lion Babe’s first headlining festival stop since the pandemic is coming up in Delaware at September’s Firefly Festival, alongside heavy hitters, such as Lizzo, Billie Eilish, The Killers, Cage the Elephant, Phoebe Bridgers, Wiz Khalifa, tame Impala, Diplo, Glass Animals, Megan Thee Stallion, Machine Gun Kelly, and many others. Also, in September, they will be playing in their hometown, NYC, at Elsewhere Rooftop, and a new album, Rainbow Child, will be released this summer, as well. Their current singles, in heavy rotation, are: Frida Khalo, and the newly released Signs and Get Up feat. Trinidad James (video dropping June 24th, 2021). This year, and the previous ones, are looking very jam-packed and fruitful for this talented lady.