FKA twigs: The chameleon artist 

FKA twigs is an artist like no other. (Jamie Taylor/ Flickr, Creative Commons)

Trying to describe the artist known as FKA twigs in a single sentence is impossible. Trying to describe her genre in a word is also impossible. Her personal style? Forget about it. FKA twigs defies all categorization.

FKA twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, is one of those artists that thrives on her enigmatic nature. In 2012, she self-released her musical debut entitled EP1 on Bandcamp. The otherworldly beats and mystical sound of her voice were extremely unique, making twigs’ music more a form of performance art rather than just simple songs. In 2013 twigs released her first single “Water Me” along with a music video that quickly went viral on YouTube. In the video, twigs’ doll-like features, including huge eyes, cupid-bow lips and perfect skin fit with the otherworldliness created by the track. This mystery and alien-like aesthetic has continued throughout the rest of her music.

In 2015, twigs released the EP entitled “M3LL155X” (pronounced Melissa) along with a short film that included four out of five songs. The intertwining of twigs’ music and visual work has always been an important part in her distinction as an artist.

Although she hasn’t created a full album since “M3LL155X,” twigs has not been stagnant. In 2016 she directed the dance film entitled “Soundtrack 7.” She’s also done a plethora of advertising and directing work for Nike and Apple. Just this year, twigs was featured on ASAP Rocky’s album “Testing,” on the track “Fukk Sleep,” and stars in the song’s music video. And just this month, twigs released issue four of her Zine AVANTgarden, complete with fashion, poetry and a cameo by Rocky himself.

While twigs has always been a working creative, it appears that she took a sort of hiatus between the years 2016 and 2018, at least from the public eye. In May 2018, twigs announced on her Instagram that she had been recovering for the past year from a laparoscopic surgery to remove six fibroid tumours from her uterus. As she described it, “I tried to be brave but it was excruciating at times and to be honest I started to doubt if my body would ever feel the same again.”

Twigs’ body is important to herself and her work; after all, she moved to London at the age of 17 to pursue a career in dancing. After appearing in a number of music videos, twigs finally signed to the London-based record label Young Turks, where her music career launched. She never lost her love for dancing and continues to utilize her skill both in her own music videos as well as many Instagram videos. Most recently the artist has taken up pole dancing, both as a form of creative expression and a way to deal with the pain that still lingered from her surgery.

It’s clear that FKA twigs is a chameleon: part singer, part dancer, part director, but full artist. To say we’ll never know what’s next for her is an understatement: twigs is at her best when she’s pleasing herself and her own creative whims, rather than doing anything for anybody else. As twigs told The Guardian, “As long as I'm happy, I'll keep on doing it. But if I'm unhappy, I'll just disappear...I will shave off my hair and live in the south of France, and I'll be learning a new language where no one gives a shit about who I am. I need to be happy.” Whatever makes FKA twigs happy, makes us happy.


Lucie Turkel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucie.turkel@uconn.edu.