Interview with Wendy BevanWritten by Mari Florer by Fashion Tales
“Each song tells a story and opens a door into another world”
Wendy Bevan arrived home to her hometown Los Angeles in the nick of time, right before Trump closed the airport gates to protect the Americans against COVID-19, the virus that is on top of every human's mind nowadays.
Bevan has been working in London, finishing her upcoming album – a collaboration with the producer Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran). She is proud of the result and excited to release the album later this year.
I video call Bevan, when she is back home in her classic 1930´s Hollywood Apartment. She is in a good mood after have talked to her parents in London. We start talking about the weather in California. “It´s morning and the weather is nice — a perfect day for hiking!” She smiles.
M: Are you staying home?
W: Yes, I will do, but I don´t have to yet. I think it´s quite easy here for me. Because in London I’d have been in a small place with lots of people. Here I have my own place, which is big enough and even includes my studio.
M: Please, describe your home. How does the interior look like?
W: It’s a classic 1930’s Hollywood apartment, pink from the outside; and reminds me of a little space ship in its shape. I have a papaya tree, roses and birds of paradise in my courtyard and the apartment itself has a huge amount of natural light, which I absolutely love. Its beautiful throughout the day and the light constantly shape shifts through the windows from morning to evening. The interior is very simple, chic 1970’s meets a mid-century modern vibe. I’ve tried to design it so the shadows cast from the light are not disturbed.
M: Tell me about your collaboration with Nick Rhodes – how did you two meet each other?
W: Nick and I met through mutual friends and we have been collaborating on my second album for the past 18 months.
M: Why is he producing your album?
W: We both think in a very visual way, what constitutes a huge asset for our album collaboration, including building mood boards, finding picture references that create a visual world, echoed in the music. He completely understood the sound I wanted, what usually appears to be difficult to find in a collaborator. I love the world Nick has conceived with his projects in the past, including Duran Duran. Furthermore, he still very much continues creating an amazing, rich world that stands the test of time. It possesses a permanence that makes the songs sound like they were from another world.
M: What is your favourite Duran Duran song?
W: That's a tough question!! To name a few, I love; Hungry Like a Wolf, A View To A Kill and Union of the Snake.
M: Tell me about your new songs – what is your inspiration behind them and how does this “record” stand out from your earlier releases?
W: This album is one of my favourite projects so far. For me, as an artist, it’s a big step up from my past releases. It feels like we’ve captured something extremely special; Nick and I have sonically created a very, otherworldly, unique sound that is hard to put into words. We have cast a wide inspiration net for this project. Hopefully, it conjures up different feelings for every listener to relate to and question.
M: Do you write all the lyrics yourself?
W: Yes, I write the lyrics for the songs. Lyrically, it’s my world and Nick is a great source of inspiration when it comes to support and nurture my ideas. It makes my lyrics become something strong. I’m proud of my work, where each song tells a story and opens a door into another world.
M: What projects do you have during 2020?
W: This album is my main project this year, which I will be focusing on the most. Setting up up a live show and performing all the songs live is one of the things that I’m most passionate about but, may now may have to reaches how this will happen under the current situation. But, now we have the album completed, this can start to develop as we understand how to adapt to the new world. It’s an exciting time.
M: You have fantastic outfits and are a true inspiration. Do you have any favorite boutiques?
W: Thank you! I have always loved dressing up. I think I got this from my grandparents, who were terribly glorious and worked in the wool trade. I also inherited my love for theatricality and costume from my parents, who were theatre actors. My grandfather's first wife, Doris Langley- Moore opened a museum in Bath, England with her clothing collection, which is still open today and where you can visit her archive. She was one of the first female fashion historians and a truly dynamic and rather scandalous woman for her time…. I’ve always found a huge amount of inspiration in fashion and costume. It informs some of the characters I have created in the past through music and pictures. There are some labels that I love older and new, but I do like to buy a lot of vintage pieces that possess real elegance and shape. Some of my favourite designers are Thierry Mugler, Westwood, Comme des Garçons and Dries Van Noten. I’m also a big fan of the newly vamped label Ganni. I particularly love their 70’s flared pants! In fact, anything with a 70’s edge, also 1940’s & 50’s is my vibe.
M: How does an ordinary Friday look like for Wendy Bevan?
W: No day is ever the same for me, as I may be in the studio from early hours either recording or taking photographs. If I’m not, I have a routine that works for me. Before working out every morning, I get up and meditate for at least 20 minutes. Later, I try to squeeze in a hot yoga class during the day at some point or go for a hike. While living in LA, it’s easy to get into a healthy lifestyle, fresh juice and amazing vegan food. Normally, I start the day by writing some lyrical ideas, I try to discipline myself into this routine otherwise words are in my head during the day and the written page is lost. By the afternoon, I may be in a rehearsal or even in the studio recording something. By late afternoon and before sunset, I try to practice the violin and spend some time practising on my vocals. Since living in LA, I have also started to draw and paint a lot. If time allows, I might spend some moments doing this during the day - it's a great creative release for me. Throughout the quarantine, I’ve been working on several different projects including a new series of surrealist self portraits.
M: If we want to look at your art projects – where can we see them?
W: Follow me on my instagram @wendybevanofficial or check out my website www.wendy-bevan.com. I’m also represented by RSA (Ridley Scott Associates) for my photography and moving image work, you can follow my work there too.
M: What dream of yours haven´t you realized yet? Why so?
W: I have so many dreams, it´s hard to realize everything by now, but surely, I will one day. I look forward to the future. Mainly, it´s about remembering those dreams through the hard times and keeping focus on your long-term goals. That´s not always easy, especially when life throws so many surprises on your way. But these days, I stay focused and dream of the future with my feet on the ground. In 2020, I’d love to be performing my work more, it´s how I build my world. But, it´s hard to plan right now, no one knows what the future will look like.
M: Which of your qualities are you most proud of?
W: One of the things I most enjoy about life is the opportunity to be kind to one another. I have a big heart and like to be there for the ones I love. I have been practicing Buddhism over the last few years which has changed my life perspective. As an artist, things are not always secure and life offers a lot of uncertainties. At some point, I needed to understand how to create balance, which I feel I can now easily achieve with meditation. This foundation allows me to be who I am with some clarity. Maintaining self-belief throughout your career is a real challenge that I have faced many times. It has also helped me maintain stability throughout the isolation period of COVID-19. I’m proud of the quality of strength and courage that somehow I seem to be able to sustain no matter how hard the storm is.
M: Name three people that have inspired you the most in your life?
W: My sister, my mother and my father. They have been my foundation, my house, my day, night and sky of everything I have learned and become. As I grow in this world, my understanding of human nature has become integral to knowing and loving my family. I now can imagine having my own one day.