As the daughter of actress/singer/producer/former Miss America Vanessa Williams’, Lion Babe frontwoman Jillian Hervey is no stranger to the spotlight. With the other member of the duo, Lucas Goodman, the two are one of the freshest faces in music.
Initially planning to pursue a career in dance, Hervey met Goodman at a party losing touch for a while, until she moved out to New York for a college dance audition. After expressing an interest in singing, Goodman encouraged Hervey to try a soulful brand of music, akin to Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. Goodman had begun producing records in his dorm room at Northeastern University before interning at Truth & Soul Records. The pair named themselves “Lion Babe,” stemming from Goodman’s horoscope sign (Leo) and Hervey’s signature hairstyle.
After releasing “Treat Me Like Fire” towards the close of 2012, the duo was asked by rapper Childish Gambino to open for him. Gambino would in turn feature on the lead single “Jump Hi” from their self-titled EP, which was released in December 2014 after they signed to Interscope Records. Their debut project was produced and written solely by Hervey and Goodman, receiving positive reviews from critics, calling it “a warm-blooded blend of soul R&B, and electronica,” many pointing out the similarities between Hervey and Badu.
Along with Badu, Hervey draws inspiration from The Beatles and Tina Turner, while Goodman studied the work of Timbaland, Kanye West, and Just Blaze. Their sound consists of quick-fire vocal delivery usually on top of 90s-inspired synth tracks, capitalizing on the best aspects of the pair: Goodman’s knack for incorporating the perfect sample over a laidback 808 soundscape and Hervey’s wide range of vocals.
In addition to their EP, Lion Babe has released “Wonder Woman” (which was produced by and features vocals from superstar producer Pharrell Williams) and “Impossible,” the first offerings from their first studio album, which is set for a 2015 release and is slated to feature production from Mark Ronson and Williams in addition to Goodman. They collaborated with British electronic duo Disclosure on their single “Hourglass,” with Hervey’s vocals soaring elegantly over the thumping house track.
Having recently played an amazing set at Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, Lion Babe, while completing their debut album, have a few more festival stops both here and overseas. So be sure to check out their EP before their upcoming slew of music sure to debut in the coming months.