We are so happy that the beautiful and incredibly talented Zoë Sundra has taken the time to answer a few questions this week, her music and style will blow your minds, like it has ours!
KSD: First things first, we love your music and your personal style, it is so distinct to you and your music. Who are your music and fashion influences?
ZS: Oh man! Ani Difranco was my savior from ages 8-22. Literally couldn't get enough of albums like Dilate, Out of Range and Little Plastic Castle! Neko Case and Neil Young really influence my sound, but Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith both play a huge role with their lyrics and incredible style.
Fashion wise it started at an early age. My dad has always been a stylin' dude, and watching shows like Clarissa Explains it All and Roundhouse on Nickelodeon played a huge part in shaping my sense of style. I lean red to sew in 5th grade and started creating genius one of a kind pieces that I would wear to school with some rad day glow pink saddle shoe, but unfortunately I was way ahead of my time and wasn't received well amongst my Connecticut peers. I've been heavily influenced by the work of Leigh Bowery, Frida Khalo's wardrobe and eyebrows, Klaus Nomi's signature stage costumes, and the culture of Patricia Field. I am a drag queen at heart. Once I found her store on Bowery, my mind has been consistently blown ever since.
KSD: When and why did you start playing and what made you decide to get into the world of fashion?
ZS: Well I would say making music was in the stars, while fashion and wardrobe styling was a happy accident. I started playing trumpet when I was 8, singing in choirs around the same time and eventually I got a guitar at 15. It was really just a hobby and even more so once I went to art school. I didn't trust my songwriting ability and had a major case of stage fright. I took this incredible class at MassArt called Sound Performance that basically taught me everything I know about commanding an audience's attention, being in charge on stage and creating a powerful performance. After that I move to Brooklyn and couldn't stop writing songs and performing!
Fashion was just a series of lucky meetings. I got an internship my first week of living in NYC in the wardrobe department of this makeover show (which was cancelled after like, 6 episodes) but I got a ton of experience in a short period of time. After that show ended I started getting paid jobs assisting really great stylists and one thing lead to another. I guess a certain amount of hard work went into it, but I was also very lucky to meet the people I did!
KSD: What was the first tune you learned, and is there a tune you are dying to learn?
ZS: I can still play the first tune! Overlap by Ani Difranco baby, and I'm proud of it! Literally that was all I could play for like two years, until I started taking guitar lessons and finally learned proper chords, scales, etc. I am currently practicing Whole Lotta Love by Led Zepplin and let m tell you, it's gonna RAWK!
KSD: We Know you juggle being a musician and stylist, do you find that the two worlds influence/inspire the other creatively?
ZS: Absolutely! I like to say I'm bringing sequins back to folk music (despite them never really being there in the first place) and injecting the scene with a much needed dose of swag. The first thing anyone looks at when a musician takes the stage is their look! So many musicians don't know what their look is or how to achieve it (worse they deny that is matters at all) and become stuck with this generic image of "folk" or "rock" or "pop". I try to make it clear that my style is not tied to how my music sounds. It's the energy of my performance, the honesty of my lyrics, the message I'm trying to communicate. People like Grace Potter, David Bowie, Bjork, and Florance + the Machine really utilize the fashion world to their advantage and always have a dynamic wardrobe to match their stage performances. The stage is a vehicle to showcase my style and i love using every opportunity I get to bridge these two worlds!
KSD: What are your fondest musical memories, and is there a styling gig that you are most proud of?
ZS: Musically it had to be going on my first national tour with Laura Ganci of American Echoes. It was a perfect 5 weeks spent traveling this great nation with one of my best friends and OH MAN did we have a good time!!! We even kept a blog.
With styling it has to be my work with Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear. I worked with her in various capacities for 5 years and each experience was so diverse and fun, it was definitely the best learning experience I could ask for.
KSD: What songs/artists are you obsessing over right now? What piece of clothing/designers are you obsessing over right now?
ZS: HAIM!!!!! Guys if you aren't listening to Haim then you are truly missing out. Those ladies not only write a great song, but they are incredible musicians and performers. Check out their live show as soon as you can! Also Danny Schmidt, Shakey Graves and Jessie Ware.
I'm loving the loudness of Prada, Pucci's fringe and Saint Laurent's general bad-ass-ness. But lately, the fashion world has been annoying me with their shapeless bags in these stiff fabrics that a curvy lady like myself simply cannot wear! In those cases I skip over to my favorite thrift store (which will remain a secret) and dig for perfectly worn sweatshirts and kaftans a la 1978. I love living in New York because the street style keeps e inspired and constantly evolving my personal style.
KSD: You are playing shows all over the NYC area, what upcoming show are you most looking forward to and what your you going to wear?
ZS: March 31st Im playing Rockwood Music Hall, it will be a glorious affair! I am hoping for weather slightly warmer than 17 degrees, in which case my look will be inspired by Givenchy's latest campaign with Erykah Badu. Tribal realness through the lens of Keith Haring. Before that I'll be touring Massachusetts March 14th - 20th, playing some really great venues and cleaning out every Salvation Army in my path.
KSD: Can we expect a new album from you soon?
ZS: Nothing is being recorded now but Im going to drop a sick album Beyonce style and blow the competition out of Brooklyn!
Thank you Zoë Sundra for an awesome Q+A, we can't wait to catch an upcoming show. You can check out upcoming show dates and her music here! Trust us when we say, a live show from this chick will not disappoint.