British pop siren Natalia Kills only released her chart-topping debut album, Perfectionist, earlier this year, but she’s hardly a musical neophyte. In 2005, the singer-songwriter released a rap single, “Don’t Play Nice,” under the moniker Verbalicious. Since then, she’s adopted a new stage name (big improvement) and dropped the baggy jeans, embracing a darker, edgier style that she says is inspired by Daphne Guinness and surrealism. The diminutive singer stopped by our office wearing a cute pair of Ralph Lauren sunglasses and two layers of high-waisted pants (she pads her hips to look taller). Kills is moving to New York in December, and, while she wouldn’t tell us exactly where, she happily answered a couple of questions about her current fashion obsessions.
BULLETT: As someone who’s obviously very style-conscious, do you get obsessed with particular fashion items?
NATALIA KILLS: Of course, but then when I finally get the piece, I’ll be torn: I’ll either want to wear it all the time (I’ve seen a lot of pictures of myself on blogs, where I’ve literally been wearing the same outfit since August), or I’ll like it so much that I’m terrified of losing it, so I’ll never wear it, ever. I have hundreds and hundreds of things that I’ve never worn because I’m so afraid that they’re going to get damaged. It’s terrible. Right now, I ‘m obsessed with Karen Walker sunglasses. I did a cover of a magazine recently and at the photo shoot I got to wear these divine, enormously round sunglasses, and the stylist said, “I can call the office and see if they can get some to you. They should be available within two or three weeks.” And I was like, No, I can’t wait that long. I have to have them now. I ended up buying them online.
When sitting down to write a song or conceptualize a music video, how do you begin the process?
I started writing songs when I was an unhappy actress, and I realized that I just wanted to be writing, whether it was songs, or scripts, or stories. Since then, I’ve written various unfinished screenplays. I’ve written songs for other people and for movies, and now I’ve finished my album about myself. As I write the songs on my album, because they aren’t club songs or party songs—they’re about revenge and desire and feeling unapologetic for wanting the impossible—I usually get visions for what the music video should be. Depending on how long it takes between finishing a song and making a video, the idea will usually evolve.
As for inspiration, I watch a lot of films and I collect books. I could watch Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange on repeat just for that one scene where they’re in the the milk bar, and for the set design of the house. There’s definitely inspiration everywhere. When I was a little girl, my mum used to take me to the Dalí Theatre-Museum; we spent a lot of time in Spain because of our Spanish culture. What’s beautiful about beauty is the pain that reside within it. What makes beauty interesting, in anything, is the stuff that’s wrong with it. The most beautiful things aren’t beautiful because they’re perfect—it’s actually because they’re not. That’s, kind of, what my whole album is about.
Photography by Matin Zad