Petite Meller, the lolita-inspired philosophy graduate with a penchant for blusher and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan is making waves with her breathy vocals and songs that rely just as much on the visuals as they do her self-penned genre, “Le Nouveau Jazz”. The current Londoner with Parisian and New York heritage has recently released dance anthem Baby Love, a hybrid of a cool London voice and an almost too-hip-to-handle music video, shot in Nairobi, Africa.
“As a child I was always listening to records of [African Artists] Fela Kuti, LadySmith Black Mambazo and the Graceland album by Paul Simon,” says the songstress of Baby Love. “They’e all been huge influences on my music and from the moment I wrote Baby Love, I knew where we had to shoot the video.” Including a kiss scene with a female giraffe and choreography courtesy of an African school, she says of the record, “it’s about a broken heart experience and feeling powerful as a woman.”
Meller began her music career living in Brooklyn, writing first hit NYC Time on the streets of Bed-Stuy. “When I wrote the song I was thinking about the music that I grew up on, and the idea of it taking me back on its shoulder to where it all began, New York,” she says, “after I put it online a British manager contacted me who’d found the video by chance after checking what the time was in New York on Google! He later brought me to London.”
It was soon after this she wrote hits Backpack and Baby Love inspired by the two jazz melodies she grew up listening to and her time in New York, including her friend Justin, who carries Meller in the video for NYC Time. “The magic of the city brought me back to the Jazz and blues records of my childhood,” she says, “but London inspires me with its history and its literature, the streets hide its culture inside every street corner and that inspires my writing everyday”.
The talented musician proves that you should never judge a book by its cover, juxtaposing her sickly-sweet aesthetic with intelligent lyrics, inspired by her MA studies in psychology at the Sorbonne. This passion infiltrates everything she does musically, penning most of her songs during lessons. “Writing my master in philosophy while writing my album is a really a symbiotic relationship. It’s everything you absorb that comes out in your creation,” says Meller, “Baby Love is a an A’Cappela of pleasure coming out of pain which is basically the Lacanian meaning for the Lacanian Philosophical term – Jouissance.”
She is a true pioneer of the new, digital age that the music industry currently resides within, being seemingly as interested in how her songs look as to how they sound. “Looking at my videos as a series I can see a long discussion with my unconscious, it’s a bit like a Lacanian treatment,” she says of waterskiing in Backpack and piggyback rides in NYC Time, “Every video of mine is like a lil’ acknowledgment on life. Backpack was about discovering sexuality for the first time and NYC Time was about how the magic of this city doesn’t let you run from your passions.”
Her style is also gaining her recognition, naming big Italian actresses from Italian Classical Cinema like Anita Ekcerberg and Monica Vitti as her inspiration. Adorning herself with two-pieces, a pastel palette and fluffy accents, Meller is perhaps best known for her signature pink cheeks. Actually the outcome of a traumatic ski burn she suffered as a child. However, she doesn’t look back in anger, “this is the first time I’ve thought about it but It’s like I carry a symptom of the past which is a very psychoanalytic element when I think about it,” she says.
Currently working on her next single, Schön! has tipped Petite Meller as one to watch very closely in 2015, injecting intelligence back into pop music.
This Schön! online exclusive editorial was produced by
Talent / Petite Meller @ Island Records
Photography / John Michael Fulton @ johnmichaelfulton.com
Styling / Michelle Tomaszewski @ Magnet LA
Make Up / Amy Strozzi @ Tmg-La using NARS Cosmetics
Hair / John Ruggiero @ Starworks Artists Using Bumble and bumble
Retouching / Sandra Ojuri
Photographer’s Assistant / Joe Gunawan