Generally speaking, crossover careers more often than not turn out to be an experiment in hubris. Countless film stars’ musical projects have become punchlines and musicians turned actors rarely survive that turn (unless their co-star is Steven Seagal.) Whether it’s the overwhelming evidence or perhaps that we mostly assume nobody can (or should be able to) change lanes mid-career and be successful in every endeavor they choose because then that just means they’re super-talented and screw the fates for being so generous to them…but I digress.
The point I’m trying to get to is that the phrase “model turned singer” isn’t typically met with an open mind or heart from this particularly cynical writer. In fact, my response is usually something more like a “:\”.
That being said, there are exceptions to any rule.
And then there are revelations. Those that underneath it all have seemingly been something other than what they’ve been altogether and have just been waiting to become.
Former Vogue model Carmen Villain is a spectacularly beautiful butterfly who’s actually a squirming, spindly, moody caterpillar. Her first single, “Lifeissin” is a gorgeously brooding track that sonically splits the difference between the fragility of early Cat Power, disintegrating loops, and Chicago post-rock.
Co-produced by Scandanavian disco prince Prins Thomas (who also turns in an excellent 8+ minute space disco remix,) “Lifeissin” is as lush and textured as it is claustrophobic and heavy with religious existential dread about the “fear of forever” and “going to hell.”
It’s a genuine stunner and hopefully the rest of her debut album (out in March on Smalltown Supersound) will carry the weight.
Carmen Villain has made a believer out of cynic like me by simply singing “Lifeissin.”