Reminiscing on St. Beauty
Before fall hit, I was musing over the concepts of summer romance, summer heartbreak and summer self-discovery. These stages occurred quickly for me following a big move to Atlanta in June of last year. Intense right? Romantic evolution is inevitable after moving to a brand new city full of adventure. My rapid-shifting relationship metamorphosis introduced me to dozens of unique creatives from every walk of life. This lead me to experience some of the best local music and art of the decade. It was during this time of transformation that I was introduced to the ethereal Atlanta duo know as St. Beauty--composed of bandmates Alex Belle and Isis Valentino. I had no idea how delicately their music would guide me through some of my most troubling and exciting times. I would have never predicted how connected I felt to their message and how much it would still resonate with me for months to come. Let me share my discovery with you.
The Wondaland Arts Society (headed by Janelle Monáe, joined by labelmates Deep Cotton and Jidenna) signed songstresses came into my life via a good friend and greater SC producer at Kaminsky’s Dessert Bar in Columbia during Fall of 2017. However, my proper christening wasn’t until January 19th, 2018 in popular landmark Little Five Points of Atlanta. This date marked the release of St. Beauty’s debut EP Running to the Sun and the evening of their celebratory dance party. When I strolled into the event venue Space2, it had been transformed into a mesmerizing fortress of shimmer and soul. WERC’s first lady DJ Hourglass ripped the boards as I gawked at yards of foil fringe hanging proudly along the walls, giant disco balls ceiling-strung, a photo shoot section full of props serving polaroid strips adorned with the Beauties’ logo for memorabilia and most importantly waves of excited, supportive friends and family coming together as playbacks of Lacey Duke-directed videos such as, “Not Discuss It” (released that day) streamed from projectors. One of the most memorable moments was witnessing Janelle Monáe honor St. Beauty with a speech of recognition and congratulations. After the candles on the cake were extinguished and “Not Discuss It” blared through the speakers as confetti fell, I knew I had become a lifetime fan and supporter. I proceeded to dance the night away and give a teary-eyed hug to Isis Valentino while thanking her for the impact her music had on me. I was also introduced to RCA-affiliated, BYSTORM Entertainment-signed Deante Hitchcock as he jumped into my photo session with a pink flamingo prop and Hennessy. This southern rapper features on enticing Track 4, “Tides” of Running to the Sun. He’s making great headway with his own music and is as warm-spirited in person as his genius wordplay is on the track. I can’t wait to hear new music coming from him soon. Be sure to check out his recent video release for Goldlink featured on track “Wide Open” on YouTube. Before you do that, read more on Dem Beauties below.
St. Beauty’s genre--self-described as ‘Confetti’--is one of healing and celebration. A sonic-waltz of triumph and transparency is evident in every song. The EP is a 10-track production of intoxicating strings and 808s you can’t help but close your eyes and groove to while getting dressed in the morning. I love how every song delivers a different vibe and tempo, ready to be played in a variety of settings. One of their most notable tracks “Borders” (originally released in 2016) appeared in Season 1, Episode 5 of Issa Rae’s HBO hit-series “Insecure” during Issa’s bathroom revelation scene after she got busy with ex-boo Daniel; if you know, you know. The EP intro “For What” is a composition of soundbites that every woman can relate to thinking at least once upon a time, “What’s the meaning of all of this; I feel so awkward; my hair feels terrible; why is this n**** texting me?” Through this and an interlude titled, “Poor Little Rich Girl” that follows a skit of an embarrassing shopping trip due to penny pinching in front of a long line at the register, they manage to remain extremely relatable. “Lucid Dreams” is another one of my absolute favorite songs from St. Beauty. I can recall having an emotional exchange with my, then, crush and blasting this melody during a outpour of tears at the dinner table. Melodrama was in full effect, but St. Beauty came swiftly to the rescue.
Whether meeting them in person, vibing to their tunes or watching them perform live, there is such a soothing effect they have on a listener’s spirit. Their sincerity can be felt through each declaration of emotions most of us are too prideful to have. Their EP leaves you refreshed, inspired to go out and experience every emotion with fullness and vulnerability. Needless to say, this body of work is still on repeat frequently to soothe my scattered, emotional hysteria. Give them a listen and tell me how they make you feel. I promise you’ll be glad you did.