story/ LOGAN BRENDT
photos /JOSHUA SHULTZ
Foxes is the nom de plume of Louisa Rose Allen, the pop phenom which caught our attention with her solo offering “Beauty Queen”, and the hit song “Clarity”, a collaboration with DJ and music producer Zedd. Poised to release her full-length debut this fall, her enrapturing, crystalline voice is a bright and soaring melodic force that will fit nicely amongst the pantheon of great pop vocalists and chart toppers.
When we conducted this interview, Allen had been spending time in Los Angeles for three weeks while continuing work on the forthcoming album before returning to London and “back to her life” as she put it. Though, she was reluctant to leave as the pleasant weather had been quite irresistible to the native Londoner.
Everything you’d expect her to be, this bubbly and sweet ingénue in her early 20’s has a penchant for the 90’s, is a fashion expert (thanks to her mother), and is remarkably fond of Eminem. Since this seems to definitely be her year, does the future hold a possible collaboration with the legendary rapper? Find out as Foxes answers our questions about her album, influences and crushes, and her dreams..
How different is London compared to where you grew up?
I’ve always described London as the beginning of the rest of the world, because Southampton [where I grew up] is a really small town and moving to London is a lot scarier and it makes you kind of piss yourself because it’s a city with bright lights.
Is there any sort of culture shock with being in LA?
Los Angeles is like a big bubble. I feel like I’m kind of floating around. It’s very chilled out, it’s very spread out. The food is amazing, the sun is out. It’s dreamy but you kind of forget that the rest of the world exists which is quite dangerous.
He had actually heard my song “Youth” and then he got hold of me and we ended up Skyping and I didn’t actually know who he was at the time, but we talked and arranged to do a song together. Then I ended up looking him up afterwards and was like “Oh shit, he’s worked with Lady Gaga.” I was a bit shocked. I think I would have been slightly nervous if I had looked him up before we Skyped. He’s a genius, he really is.
Was your song “Beauty Queen” directed to any particular event or person in your life?
It’s about the darker side of beauty, which I think is sad and there are always elements of that in life. At the time, I felt like a lot of people were afraid to be different, so I wanted to write about that.
Do you ever watch beauty pageants?
I haven’t…well, the video that I made with my friend has footage of beauty pageants in it. I find them quite funny. I think beauty pageants are quite mad. It’s a very strange, bizarre situation I think.
Who are your style inspirations?
My mum is my biggest style inspiration. She actually owns a vintage store in East London which is where I get most of my clothes. She’s constantly dressing me, so she’s definitely a style icon for me.
Do you have a particular era that you like to borrow from?
I love the nineties and the eighties. I love Chloë Sevigny.
Who are your musical inspirations?
It comes from everywhere actually. Growing up, I used to listen to Eminem and used to think I was Eminem for a long time. I used to write all the rap lyrics down in a diary. That was like two years of my life. I loved the Spice Girls, all of that stuff. And also, my mum and my sister have great music taste: Kate Bush, Bjork, Prince, and Nina Simone. I’m inspired by it all, even Drake, and The xx.
Why did you leave music school?
Originally I felt you couldn’t be taught music in a classroom and that it was kind of a robotic way of learning music. When you’re writing, it’s life experiences that you write about and sitting in a classroom doesn’t really help that. So I wanted to run off, experience life and write about it. Luckily, that kind of worked.
How early on did you start experimenting with music?
I was banging pots and pans in the kitchen when I was 4. I used to do shows, make tickets and make my family watch me perform. I was making music at 14, really, really crap music.
Do you ever go back to listen to the stuff you recorded then and have you ever found something that you sort of like?
I haven’t found anything that I really like. You get better and get more skills. When I was 14, it was like a toddler stage of music. I was very young and it was just guitar and voice. It wouldn’t be right for now because I think I’ve grown up and matured, but it’s funny to hear that stuff back and see how far I’ve come.
How many songs have you trashed along the way while writing your full-length?
Not that many. I signed my record deal with the album pretty much done. I haven’t written hundreds of songs. I’ve only written twenty, and I’ll pick eleven. I still haven’t chosen what I want on the album so I need to sit down and do that. It’ll be difficult to know what to keep and what not to keep.
Have you ever had an internal conflict with the style of music that you wanted to write?
Oh yeah, I think every artist does. In the beginning, I thought I wanted to be a rapper. And at one point I thought I wanted to be like Ashanti and do R&B. I love all music and I think it’s really hard to find your identity in the beginning. I struggled for a long time, but then actually I did just wake up one day and it all fell into place and I wrote “Youth”. I think “Youth” was the first song that I felt like made sense and then I could see a vision.
Well, since you’re totally our girl crush over here at the magazine, we want to know who are your girl crushes right now?
I’m always getting girl crushes. I think Daisy Lowe is hot. She’s stunning.
I’m obsessed with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I don’t know why, but there is just something about him.
Are you in a relationship right now?
[Laughs.] Can I not answer that? I can’t answer that right now…
What’s a dream of yours that you’d like to see become a reality, for this year?
So much has happened already. I keep having to pinch myself. This year, I’ll be putting the album out and I never thought I’d be doing that in a million years. I’m so blessed everyday to be doing something I love. It would be crazier if people actually buy it. I’d like to do a tour and a dream would be to tour in Japan.
What’s a dream of yours that you’d like to achieve in your lifetime?
Meeting Eminem and having some sort of rap off with him. Actually, I’d want him to do the singing and I’d have to do the rap. That would be the only way it would work. But, I don’t know if he’d be willing to do that.
.We’ll have Eminem’s people call her people…