Lion Babe gives new life to "She’s a Lady"
Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe doesn’t want diversity and individuality to be just a trend. We discuss astrology, beauty and Tom Jones with the singer behind this season’s most empowering soundtrack.
Through the history of humanity, a woman who’s strong, successful, and independent has always been considered a threat – a force – that needs to be tamed.
She’s a Lady, written by Paul Anka and originally performed by Tom Jones, was released in 1971 – a time when the Western world experienced feminism’s second wave and women demanded equal opportunity, full freedom and full control over their bodies. The song’s lyrics (“she always knows her place”, “she’s never in the way”, “I can leave her on her own”) run counter to the ideals of the movement, and in ways diminishes women to being the man’s accessory. Lions can’t be tamed and society is an organism in constant movement and transformation. That’s why H&M tapped Lion Babe to make a new version of She’s a Lady.
“The song and Tom Jones are both iconic, but the message is so far off from Lion Babe. In the back of my mind I thought, I hope they let us rework this to feel like us and when we heard they wanted to give new life into it from the woman’s perspective it got a lot more exciting,” Lion Babe singer/songwriter Jillian Hervey tells H&M Magazine.
Despite the misguiding name, Lion Babe is in fact a duo and consists of vocalist Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman. They’re behind hits Treat Me Like Fire, Jump Hi and Hourglass (made in collaboration with Disclosure). Besides creating the anthem for the campaign, Jillian Hervey also stars in it together with a big group of strong women acting and doing things that are contrary to the definition of the term ‘ladylike’.
HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR OWN MARK ON A SONG LIKE THIS?
“Covers are exciting because it’s already different before you start. Our aim was to fill the song with our style and to give it a current attitude. I naturally sing songs my own way when I sing along to them, and Lucas has his style too and uses a lot more programming than Tom Jones’ team did, so that is what we wanted to show. Modern meets the past.”
WITH THIS CAMPAIGN, THE LYRICS TO SHE’S A LADY GET A NEW MEANING. WHAT ELSE SHOULD BE REDEFINED?
“I want to redefine expectations about people based on their sex and class. It’s exciting to see ‘diversity and individuality’ on trend, but I don’t want it to be a trend, I want to push the boundaries so that the weird, left and unique are the aim for the larger part of the population. But also that cultures are honoured, understood and respected. I want empathy, intelligence and self awareness to be what our society aspires to consume, not division, material needs and fear.”
I want to redefine expectations about people based on their sex and class.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN SHOOT?
“The video was shot in Barcelona which was a treat! There were a lot of different people involved so my segment was really just part of the puzzle. It was a quick busy day of hanging out with my ‘friends’ who turned out to be my real friends by the end of the day! A lot of hair, laughter and food fights.”
TALK US THROUGH THE PIECE YOU WORE ON THE SHOOT!
“You can never go wrong with a black dress. The vibe felt very 70s because they were looking to have intense curls going on. I think it’s actually the curliest I have ever worn my hair. My favourite was the neck tie part of the dress, it felt very Bianca Jagger meets Pam Grier.”
MUSICALLY, HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK FOR YOU? WHO DOES WHAT?
“Lucas and I work together to create the music but more simply put, Lucas is the producer and I sing and songwrite. The whole process is very collaborative though, we create our world together. We will be up late working on photo shop for a mixtape cover or searching the web for tour references in addition to making music. We just always try to balance each other out.”
YOU'RE NAMED LION BABE PARTLY BECAUSE OF YOUR ASTROLOGICAL SIGNS. DO YOU IDENTIFY AS YOUR SIGN?
“Well, our name has many meanings but it’s not that literal. I am a Gemini, and Lucas is the Leo, but lions are my spirit animal. I definitely identify as a Gemini though, Geminis are ruled by the lungs, arms and hands and we are big communicators so it makes sense that I love dancing with my arms and writing. I don’t follow it like a religion, but I use it because I am interested in it.”
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?
“We are growing and want to be in a place where we are playing to huge audiences all over the world! Hopefully a few more albums under our belt and many more artistic endeavours. Acting, dancing, singing, more dogs, money, space and memories!”
OCCUPATION: Singer/songwriter in Lion Babe
LOCATION: New York
TOP 3 BEAUTY TIPS
Wash your face before bed every night
Drink lots of water
Coconut oil is your friend
TOP 3 FASHION INSPIRATION
TOP 3 SONGS OF ALL TIME
Fall in Love – J DILLA
Castles Made of Sand – Jimi Hendrix
Treat Me Like Fire – LION BABE
TOP 3 INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS