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Teddy Sinclair for VOGUE

Natalia Kills

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Most recently, she has kicked off her most enchanting and impressive project yet, Cruel Youth. While it’ll take the form of a girl group onstage—Sinclair and two others, who aren’t very camera friendly and therefore mostly yet to be seen—the music comes from Sinclair and her husband, one-man-band Willy Moon. It’s retro-meets-hip-hop with fringes of beach rock, brought to life with some of the most beautifully candid lyrics we’ve ever heard. Today marks the release of the project’s first EP, +30MG. Vogue.com ventured into Sinclair and Moon’s apartment in New York City’s West Village to speak with the artist about her colorful background, marrying Moon, and why this project has helped to set her free.

You’ve worked under a couple of different names, with Cruel Youth being the latest project. Did this ever bring about an identity crisis?
It’s almost like asking somebody, “If you wear blue one day, and the next day you tie your hair

back and wear red, do you feel like you’re a totally different person, and each time you walk past a reflective surface, do you scream and run and go, who is that?!” No. Every day, I’ve made this choice because I’m enjoying it and I’m proud of it. Just like with a song. If I feel like writing a song that’s suddenly more uptempo, or that’s suddenly sadder, then I’ll do that. I won’t deny myself the pleasure of being able to explore the different ideas that are in my mind. Now it’s easier. If I write a song that I don’t quite sound right singing, I send it to my team and go hey, someone should sing this, and Rita Ora sings it, or Rihanna, or Alicia Keys. Before it wasn’t like that. I would sing it and put it out on the Internet. Because I was a kid with a computer. Or not a computer, but I had an Internet café 25 minutes down the street. I used to go there, like, three times a week and put songs on the Internet.

What has changed for you as a singer?
I wasn’t confident in my voice until really recently—until after I met Willy. And he said, “Hey, when we go to karaoke and you just sing the songs you choose, you sound great.” And when you try to sing the way people have told you to—don’t sing like this, don’t sing down your nose, don’t sound so raspy, try sounding more straight, we can’t understand what you’re saying when you sing like that—the more I tried to straighten out my voice and sound the part, the harder I found it to actually get a note out correctly, and I think I really struggled on my first album because a lot of the conversations with my team back then were: “If you don’t redo it, we’re not going to release this.” And those were my words, those were my lyrics, those were the songs I loved. That was really painful. I was like, what do you mean you’re going to bump it up to 125 BPM and change it from pianos to spaceship noises and I have to re-sing this whole thing but without my personality in it? Yeah, I want to ****ing sing down the nose, I’m raspy, I sound like I’m drunk when I’m not. I know that. But that’s what I ****ing sound like! That’s who I am. It was devastating. It was really upsetting. http://www.vogue.com/13478746/singer-teddy-sinclair-cruel-youth-first-ep/



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