LIVING OUT LOUD.
Hear her roar.
Never has the name of a musical group so perfectly encapsulated it's lead singer.
Jillian Hervey is Lion Babe.
One half of the electro soul duo hailing from NYC, the singular songstress is enigmatic both vocally and visually. She is king of her jungle. After Pharrell watched one of the duo's first music videos on his phone, he flew Jillian, and band producer Lucas Goodman to his Miami studio.
That song, "Treat Me Like Fire," released in 2012 was only the beginning of Lion Babe's spark. With songs like "Wonder Woman," which talks about female empowerment. Jillian has soul in her DNA. The daughter of singer/actress Vanessa Williams and music manager Ramon Hervey II (Babyface, Natalie Cole), she was raised listening to the likes of Chaka Khan.
She fierce, fresh, and unapologetic, recently explaining, "I honestly think that any women or person that says you should be dressing [or behaving a certain] way to avoid unwanted sexual advances, or else, is inviting negative behavior . . . Please, I have no time for it.”
But man, do we have time for her. (And you should too.)
More from Jillian below.
When you first made the jump from dancer to singer, was it as smooth as your voice? (JK but not really. We jam to your music in the office all day.)
Thank you for the love, I definitely know my dance experience informs my rhythms and influences. The transition to singing was actually pretty drastic for me. With dance, you are moving through large spaces with lots of light, bodies, and sweating, whereas with singing, it's more introspective, still, and you're usually creating in dark small spaces. I've never been one to sit still, so that was hard to adjust to. The creative space is crucial to me.
Your mom was the first black Miss America but had her titled unfairly taken away. And then went on to have an amazing career. What has she taught you about resiliency and strength?
She has taught me that we come from a long line of strong individuals. She always told me and my siblings about women and men in history who are black that have paved the way because of their resilience. It's in our blood. But mainly her teaching is by example. She always stays true to herself. She always takes risks and does the things she wants to do, because she knows she can. She has that will and believes in herself.
You've been compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. What does that feel like?
It doesn't really feel real still, those two women, in particular, have such a special place in my upbringing, that it's too nice of a compliment. I wanted them, The Spice Girls and Brandy to join a supergroup. The only thing I think people really are comparing is the feeling. Both women have super unique tones, flows and artistry and a very strong sense of self. Those are definitely attributes that I value and try to do for LION BABE.
What do you know about self-love today that you weren't so sure of ve years ago?
5 years ago I was just getting out of college, so I was still very scattered and was just beginning to dive into myself. I now know through more experience, practice, break ups and time, that I have a formula that when it's honored I am good. Staying creative and dancing always gives me confidence, traveling always keeps me grounded and allows me to experience and know myself differently, and gratitude for the things from the littlest to the biggest helps to put it all into perspective. The more your honor your spirit and soul, the more that energy grows around you. Also, I remind myself that life is always transforming, each moment, so there is always the opportunity to change.
When you come across a career obstacle what drives you forward?
The vision. If you can see something, the battles aren't so scary, you just have to adjust your map on how to get there.
What makes you feel powerful?
Being on stage is powerful because it is pure energy.
What would you call your superpower?
Did you always know you wanted to be a performer?
I have been performing since I was little so it was just a part of me. I didn't know exactly how it would manifest but I have always loved it.
What's been the hardest part of the music industry world for you?
The number of egos, fear, and pressure that get created for no reason.
Since the beginning, you've chosen to work with and be represented by a group of women. Why did you make this decision?
Being a woman, and writing as a woman, I can't help but think of our perspective so it just came naturally. I've always wanted to lift women up. Lucas aka Astro Raw and I are LION BABE together though, so I think there is just as much of a male presence as well. Our goal is to be universal and inclusive.
What's your favorite time of day to write?
Anytime after 3pm. I need my sunlight.
What do you sing in the shower?
Warm ups, jazz or Christmas songs (when it's in season.)