FKA twigs

FKA twigs

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About FKA twigs

FKA twigs knows the importance of discipline. It’s what has made her such a formidable dancer and martial artist. But she also knows that creativity requires freedom as well as focus. “I daydream all the time,” she told Apple Music. “I’ll call up the people I work with and be like, ‘I’ve got an idea. All I need is three elephants, a shoelace, a penguin and a large umbrella.’” She’s joking, but if anyone could pull off a scenario like that, it’s twigs. Born Tahliah Barnett in Cheltenham, England, in 1988, twigs studied dance and opera as a child and began writing her own songs at 13. (She earned her nickname for a habit of loudly cracking her joints; she’d eventually add “FKA” to avoid confusion with another act called The Twigs.) At 17, twigs moved to London to dance in music videos, but she wasn’t destined to remain in the background for long. In 2012 she made her debut with EP1, pairing ASMR-like whispers with lush electronic beats; she pushed into even more experimental territory with 2013’s EP2, co-produced with Arca, and 2014’s LP1, her debut album, perfecting her avant-R&B signature over beats by Arca, Devonté Hynes and Clams Casino, among others. Her 2019 album MAGDALENE assembled a similarly wide-ranging roster: Nicolas Jaar, Skrillex, benny blanco, Oneohtrix Point Never. From the beginning, twigs’ work was emotionally daring, pairing profound vulnerability with bulletproof resilience, and her visuals were as striking as her music. Whether bound by ropes (“Pendulum”) or seated atop a throne (“Two Weeks”), she’s capable of making the simplest scenario seem larger than life, and when she pushes herself conceptually—like the sword-fighting video for “sad day”, for which she learned the Chinese art of wushu—twigs’ imagination knows no limits. She’s trained her whole life so that her mind may run free. As she told Apple Music, “My favourite motto is ‘Preparation plus opportunity equals success.’ I’ve been thinking about that since I was a teenager.”

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
16 January 1988
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