There is a touch of the theatrical about Remi Lewis‘ music. Born in London, and raised in Brooklyn, she made her way into the limelight through modeling as well as other creative mediums such as photography and creative direction. Although, Remi welcomed a new era in her artistry upon the release of her debut single “Spacey” in 2021. Shortly followed by an acoustic iteration and her sophomore effort “No Escape,” the rising singer-songwriter enters the conversation as a confident pop newcomer with irresistible melodies.
Despite only having three singles out—with March’s “Bag$” serving as the latest—Remi is no stranger to creating intoxicating and captivating melodies, having started singing and songwriting at the age of thirteen. Now, we get a taste of the best-kept secret with her latest string of songs and accompanying music videos. Her haunting, gravitational voice interweaved with blossoming progressions and vibrant visuals, have made her the darling of the genre. Inspired by pop’s strongest women like Gwen Stefani and Princess Nokia, but brazenly forging her own path, Remi is on her way to becoming the next generation’s breakout pop star.
As she works on her debut EP, the rising songstress continues to propel herself into newfound stardom. For our latest interview installment, we chat with Remi Lewis in regards to her latest single “Bag$,” fashion, songwriting, and more. Read on for our conversation.
Last year was a phenomenal start for you both musically and individually. What were some of your career highlights in 2021?
Finally putting out music! Collaborating with amazing female creatives like Augusta Yr who directed my “No Escape” video. And right before the holidays, I had a little single release party, and really just having people show up and know the words to my songs was amazing!
Prior to putting out your debut single “Spacey,” you had taken an interest in music from an early age. Were there any moments or experiences that feel like they were a catalyst for that shift into making it a career for you, or was it just time?
I have been singing and songwriting since I was about 13 but I really started thinking that this could be something when I went to Brooklyn High School of the Arts, I was around a lot of other kids who wanted to do something creative with their lives and it just inspired me. Fast forward a few years and I started working at this creative compound in the LES, called LAAM’s, and I just started to get more confidence in myself, that’s when I teamed up with the producers, Killer to Lovers, who just got the sound I want trying to make—I worked with them on “Spacey,” “No Escape,” and “Bag$”!
You also moved around a bit, being born in London and later raised in Brooklyn—do you feel like that places a role in the freeform way you approach your music?
Growing up in London I definitely feel like I was inspired by some of the female artists there. I love Lily Allen’s sassy lyrics and playful flow! But I’m equally inspired by New York artists like Princess Nokia. I feel like I’ve got to experience the best of both worlds.
2021 was brought to a close with the release of your second single, “No Escape,” which delves into the ever so relatable feeling of being trapped in a relationship. How would define love, and what are some qualities of a “perfect” relationship?
To be honest I’m really just figuring out what love is in terms of relationships. But I would want someone supportive, hardworking, fun, and not controlling! I’m an Aquarius so you know the vibes!
How did you go about conceptualizing the music video?
It was really the opening line “picture perfect” that inspired me to start thinking about what perfection is to people, which led to the concept of this perfect doll-like world where everything is not what it seems. I was also super inspired by Jane Fonda workout videos and loved being able to incorporate that vibe. It was a dream come true teaming up with Augusta Yr to bring the video to life!
Your affinity for clothes and style speaks to how fashion can often be a form of empowerment and extension of self-confidence. What does your personal style and aesthetic say about you?
I’m inspired by so many different era’s in fashion – Farrah Fawcet in the 70’s, a 90’s Winona Ryder moment, then early 2000’s Lil Kim and Gwen Stefani. So I just love to have fun with fashion and mix them together and come up with my own take on it!
Across your Instagram, you’re seen embracing emerging fashion labels while also styling some staple brands from the past decades. Are there any other brands that you’re really loving at the moment? Explain a little about the role that clothes play in your self-expression.
I love mixing indie brands with vintage pieces. Some of my favorites right now are Hu Die Gong Zhu a designer from Beijing, Adriana Sahar, and Heaven by Marc Jacobs has some cute pieces. Then I mix them with all my Y2K Baby Phat and Rocawear finds!
“Bag$” is another pop-trap anthem that channels your inner boss and Y2K swagger. What was the inspiration behind this record?
Feeling empowered and like the baddie that you are! The music video was inspired by the movie the Bling Ring which Sofia Coppola directed. I wanted to create a Y2K New York-inspired take on it—Baby Phat actually provided the looks me and my girls are wearing in the deli scene, which was really cool.
When approaching the task of songwriting, what are some topics that come naturally to you? And, what are some ways you incorporate personal experiences into your music?
I definitely pull inspo from things that are going on in my life at the time. Relationships, friendships, etcetera, but I just try and put a fun, sassy, and empowering twist on the lyrics and delivery.
Where are you hoping to take your music next—any new inspirations or influences that are steering it?
Definitely putting an EP out very soon! And I can’t wait to start performing more. I am actually opening for Tay Money—a career highlight for me!—on April 13 at the Knitting Factory, so pull up New York!
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