Meet Lion Babe: the New York duo bringing soul to sole

Jillian Hervey and Lucas Goodman talk to Grazia about culture, touring and mentorships with Pharrell. No biggie.
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Meet Lion Babe: the New York duo bringing soul to sole

It is perhaps unsurprising that Lion Babe was born at a party. Singer and dancer Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman connected - both sharing a mutual love of music - and since that meet a few years back they have created a unique sound relished worldwide.

Fusing funk, R'n'B, soul, hip-hop and pop genres, Jillian and Lucas work to transcend limitations set forth through their music. And after the release of their first single, Treat Me Like Fire, in 2012, the two gained global recognition, catching the attention of music legends Pharrell Williams and Childish Gambino.

After Pharrell was made aware of Lion Babe through an industry friend in 2013, he quickly flew the twosome out to his recording studio in Miami to work closely on their music and serve as a mentor. The result? A featured production of their hit track Wonder Woman. Amazing. 

Ahead of their performance at Sole DXB on Saturday, the enviably cool pair sit down with Grazia and discuss everything from inspiration to the life lessons they've learned. We're hooked. 

What triggered the idea of creating this twosome?

We’re both into music, but the idea of being a band happened really organically. We were both entering into adulthood after college and wanted to do it as a hobby, but then once we released our first record, we saw that there was an opportunity to make the band into a real career.

How do the two of you balance each other out?

We have a lot in common, but we are also very different. But when it comes to making music, we tend to match up in what we do. Lucas always creates a sound that knocks you off your feet and I provide the soul and femininity. I grew up in the countryside and Lucas grew up in the heart of the East Village in NYC, so I think those two energies come through. The balance of calm and funky. 

Where did the name Lion Babe come from?

We wanted to have a name that was ambiguous, like the band Blondie. The name represents duality. Lions are a strong symbol in both of our lives. In astrology, the Leo sign is in both of our charts and we like what the animal represents. The opposite of that is babe. It represents the strength in being vulnerable. 

What were some of the most important lessons you took from working with artists like Childish Gambino and Pharrell Williams?

Donald and Pharrell are both genuine people - humble, educated and authentic. Those qualities are so important in our eyes for creating the right energy to make amazing music, and when you have talent attached to that, it can take you so far. Pharrell was one of our earliest sessions, which is still crazy to think about in retrospect. We were so new to song writing and producing at the time. It was like being thrown into the deep end, but it taught us quickly how to swim. He helped us to focus on visualising what we see for ourselves. He also pushed us. Wonder Woman was the first song I had sung at that time that exposed my full voice. He told me just to wait and see, and the moment I sang that song live for the first time I was so excited, because my voice needed a song like that to match the live energy. We left both experiences with more confidence to continue following our sound.  

Finally, what does it mean to you to be a part of this year’s Sole DXB? 

We always love to play festivals and travel to different places, so it’s exciting to be invited all the way to Dubai. We have heard big things about the festival, so we hope to have fun and connect with all the other amazing artists playing. We are looking forward to doing a water park adventure, too! 

Photos: Supplied