These Are the Places The Black Belles' Olivia Jean Likes to Shop
The performer, who released a Jack White-produced debut solo LP in October, chats with us about working with The White Stripes frontman and her go-to shopping spots.
When your big break comes from Jack White, it's probably safe to say you're cool. After handing the rocker a demo of her work following a Dead Weather show in Detroit, Olivia Jean Markel went on to front Third Man Records' goth-garage band The Black Belles and back Karen Elson, Wanda Jackson, and White himself. At 25 years old, the multi-instrumentalist has since released her debut solo LP, Bathtub Love Killings (Third Man Records), and its dark gritty vocals, fuzz guitars and mix of freak folk '60s psychedelia prove White's hand as producer to be evident. Here, we caught up with the chanteuse, who cites Nina Hagen and Siouxsie Sioux as style icons, to chat about being in the studio with White, her favorite places to shop, and her go-to eyeliner brand for achieving that killer cat eye.
Pret-a-Reporter: How is working with Jack in the studio on his own material different from working with him on your own?
Olivia Jean: Jack is so creative and so open-minded when it comes to music. He encourages the artist he is producing to utilize all of his or her creativity. He is an expert at the instruments and equipment he owns in his studio, therefore his helping hand is crucial when searching for specific sounds from different equipment. Ultimately he cares that the artist is as happy about the final project as he is. It's a very exciting and inspiring studio to work in. He's taught me to tell stories with my lyrics, to create visuals and use beautiful language to entice the listener.
You play so many instruments, which one feels most natural for you?
The instrument that I feel most comfortable with is electric guitar. It's the first instrument I taught myself how to play. The most difficult instrument I've tried to teach myself is trumpet. I had to set the trumpet down, but hope to pick it up again someday, and I've always wanted to learn how to play a stand-up bass.
What are three of your favorite places to shop?
I love to shop online. I get ideas for outfits before seeing it, so I'm usually able to find exactly what I need on Etsy or eBay. I also enjoy shopping at Tatyana boutique — they sell reproductions of vintage dresses.
Your closet is on fire and you can only save three things. What do you take and why?
My Helmut Lang black leather suit — it's gorgeous; my vintage gown from Golyester (Los Angeles, CA) that I wore on the cover of Bathtub Love Killings, because of its beauty and sentimental value; and the Brooks Brothers suit that I wore on the Colbert Report for all of the reasons above.
What's your go-to eyeliner brand? How long have you been rocking the cat eye?
Definitely Stila 'Stay All Day' Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black. I've considered having the "cat-eye" eyeliner tattooed on. Someday I hope to work up the courage.