We're hooked on buzzed-about three-piece girl band known as Cruel Youth, which makes sense considering their soulful with a side of sass sound, hypnotizing debut single, “Mr. Watson” (which recently hit over a million plays on Spotify, #nbd), and magnetic front-woman Teddy Sinclair (FKA Natalia Kills).
From singing her face off to writing songs for the likes of Madonna, RiRi (“Kiss It Better,” anyone?!), and Alicia Keys, Teddy is a total boss babe and our favorite new member of the #aosquad!
Naturally, we almost lost our minds when Teddy visited us at a+o HQ to play a little leopard-heavy dress-up and give us a taste of the musical magic she's been brewing behind-the-scenes. It’s also important to note that Sinclair loves her some Alice + Olivia.
In short, Cruel Youth’s debut EP (dropping September 16th) cannot come soon enough! Until then, check out our chit-chat with Sinclair, who holds nothing, we mean, nothing back. Teddy’s our kind of cowgirl.
Describe Cruel Youth's sound in 5 words:
Love Letters Written From Broadmoor [Editor’s note: Broadmoor Hospital is an insane asylum in England.]
What’s it like writing and recording with your husband, Willy Moon, in your home studio?
It’s a bit like ‘Fawlty Towers’ meets ‘Natural Born Killers.’ We make music about 12 hours a day, so it’s lovely to spend time together playing with the ideas in each other’s heads. I love writing songs with Willy -- he has a particular vision of me and the bits of my voice and personality to shine a spotlight on… and his brain goes to such extreme places that we could be sat right next to each other, but he’s as far as Mars between his ears. We work on his record, too, and he always has a particular way of playing guitar that’s really memorable, as if it’s a person singing, not just noise in the background… it balances the detail in my lyrics better than anyone else I’ve ever worked with, and we still mess around and have all the fun that regular married couples enjoy.
How would you describe your look these days?
Excessive. Cowboy hats with kimonos, ball gowns with Adidas football jackets, tiaras with t-shirts…Willy describes it as Mallory Knox [Juliette Lewis’s character in ‘Natural Born Killers’] goes to Woodstock dressed as Iris [Jodie Foster’s character in ‘Taxi Driver.’] I think that’s fairly accurate. I think I’m caught in a landslide of overindulgence in all the things I wasn’t allowed to be when I was signed to a major label. All the things that make me… me. My Uruguayan grandmother raised me, and when she died she left me every piece of jewelry and furniture she had collected from the 60s and 70s, so I’ve been wearing every ring and necklace every day all at once… There’s no space left on my body so I’m just stacking rubies, on gold, on Cristo Redentor pendants. We bought midcentury wall paper and used all her furniture to recreate her home in our studio, and that’s where we make the Cruel Youth records.
How do you unwind after a long day/week of working?
Karaoke… like, all the time. At least 3 nights a week.
If you could raid anyone's closet, whose would it be and what would you take?
Bianca Jagger in the 70s. I’d take everything, especially her accessories and headpieces.
Perfection! What’s the last song you listened to?
“Alexis Texas.” It’s a song off the Cruel Youth record we have been finishing this evening. It’s about one of the first few dates my husband took me on… He said we were going dancing, so I got all dolled up, and we jumped in a taxi, and a few moments later we pulled up at the Eurostar train station. He never mentioned his favorite club was in Paris! That whole weekend was… well, I don’t remember most of it, but I couldn’t tell if we were in Paris or in heaven. Afterward, I had a headache that lasted at least 2 weeks… but it was well worth it. A few months later, we got married.
WILD! OK, now for some of your favorite things…
Favorite Album Artwork of all time?
‘Total’ by Sebastian.
One of the first magazines to ever do a full feature on me and my music was ‘Wonderland’ magazine. So, that will always have good memories for me, plus it’s British, and I do feel very at home reading an English angle on things. I remember the shoot -- my hair was in a choppy bob, and I looked lost and blissfully unreachable, like if Leeloo from ‘The 5th Element’ was played by Louise Brooks.
Favorite memories working with Madonna?
Eating cookies and watching her teach me how to seduce boys.
Getting high, laughing and talking to each other about wanting to make more songs about getting high.
She knew I didn’t like big, grey-walled, air-conditioned recording studios because I find it harder to access my ideas in such an unnatural environment. So, after our first couple of sessions, she surprised me by having her team move the electric piano and all of the recording equipment up onto the roof so we could look out over all of the New York lights and write our songs under the moon.
Favorite music video?
Chemical Brothers - ‘Let Forever Be’
Right now I’m reading ‘Be My Baby - How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness’ by Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes. Some people need Jesus; some people need a glass of wine, but all I need is Ronnie. I’m usually reading Oscar Wilde though -- I really like plays and savage social satire that highlight how most humans have never really evolved past our self-indulgent, judgmental and shallow dispositions… thank God.
Hermes Voyage. It’s what my husband wears. I’m addicted to the smell of his neck. It smells like a warm summer night laying in an English flower garden. Personally, on myself, I love the smell of violets, especially the Diptyque solid perfumes.
Makeup Forever’s Aqua Lipliner shade 7C. I stopped filling it in a while ago since it always rubs off in the middle anyway. A few days ago someone called me a “chola,” which I took as a marvelous compliment. I’m proud of my Black and Latina heritage. I’ve been drawing in my eyebrows and lip liner for years, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Even if they stopped making the liner pencils entirely, I’d still find a way… trust me.
I always buy ‘Blackest Black’ - L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Kohl Pencil on the bottom… Maybelline Stiletto liquid liner on the top lids.
I wear a ring on every finger, sometimes 3 or 4 stacked up. I think that’s a statement.
And last but not least… Karaoke jam?
“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys.
Written by Alex Catarinella