Singer/Songwriter/Producer/Dancer/Filmmaker, Tahliah Barnett, a half-Jamaican resident of Gloucestershire, England, was inspired by her mother, a Spanish-English salsa dancer, to pursue a career in ballet and opera. She started singing with a jazz band at age 13, earning the moniker “Twigs” for how loudly she can break bones.
She received a scholarship to attend a private, Catholic secondary school for all girls; yet, as the only student of mixed ethnicity, she frequently felt alone. By the age of 16, Barnett had started writing songs seriously. She drew her inspiration from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, and post-punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as legendary jazz and soul singers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Marvin Gaye.
Barnett relocated to London when she was 17 in order to pursue a dance career. She quickly understood that she really wanted to be a professional musician when she started to participate in music videos for songs by Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, and Taio Cruz, among others. She founded Delirium Tremens, a punk band in the spirit of X-Ray Spex (whose Germ Free Adolescents is one of Barnett’s favorite albums), with her pals CY AN and LJ Howe.
Barnett recruited a manager in addition to working as a bartender, who helped her establish connections with producers like Mike Chapman, who assisted her in honing her songwriting.
Twigs self-released EP1 in December 2012, along with visuals she directed for each song. She resurfaced in September 2013 with EP2, a striking collection of tracks with production by Arca, after changing her stage name to FKA twigs at the request of a pair of twins by the name of Twigs who had been performing under that name for almost 20 years.
In May 2014, EP2 was made available in America. The June release of FKA twigs’ LP1-titled debut album was announced with the more opulent-sounding tune “Two Weeks,” which served as the lead single.