London-based Lion’s debut single “Self Control” channels White Stripes and “AM”-era Arctic Monkeys via the 70s-inflected rock of Jefferson Airplane. The new single is playful yet still self-assured and sees Lion’s ferocious, Joplin-esque rasp acknowledge the singer’s inability to deal with confrontation, offering up a memorable and instant ‘sorry/not sorry’ apology.
The first time Lion (aka Beth Lowen) sang in public, a woman she didn’t know approached her. “You sound like you’ve smoked 20 cigarettes,” she told her, “and drunk a bottle of whisky.” Given that Beth was 10-years-old and unsurprisingly had done nothing of the sort, she started to cry. “I thought that was a bad thing,” she recalls, laughing. “And my parents were like, ‘No, no! That’s good!”
Nowadays, Lowen embraces the ferocious, Janis Joplin-esque rasp of her voice. In fact, it’s one of the reasons she chose to adopt the name Lion. “Someone said I sound like a lion,” she explains, “Also, everyone says I have lion hair, and ‘Löwen’ means lions in German.” Still, declaring herself deserving of such a fierce moniker wasn’t something that came easily. “I didn’t mention it to anybody for months,” she admits. “It’s a big statement, it’s pretty extreme. But I was looking at people like Lorde, and I was like, that’s f*cking cool. And then I was like, f*ck it. So now it’s Lion.” The stage name never feels more apt than it does when Lion performs live. Her husky but powerful voice, already so potent on record, is unleashed to its full, roaring potential, as she jitters a little behind the mic, bathed in red light.
Before Lowen became Lion though, she grew up in the small New Forest town of Ringwood, England. “It was a small town where everybody knew everybody,” she says fondly. “But that gets quite sickening after a while. So many of my friends from Ringwood are artists, and we’ve all come to the conclusion that we had nothing else to do.” Being naturally creative helped too. “I guess it was just in the blood and in the boredom,” she says. Creativity certainly runs in the family – she would go to gigs with her comedian father as a young teen, and her brother Sam is a multi-instrumentalist who now tours with her.
Lowen doesn’t make music than can be easily compared or categorized. Each song differs from the next – though there’s one thing she hopes they all manage to achieve. “I hope people feel something,” she says, “like I do when I’m playing it. Take what you want from it, but feel. I want to make boys cry.”
+ Executive Produced by Linda Perry (Adele, Courtney Love, Pink)
+ We Are Hear and Fiction Records partnered for Global Release
+ Radio Premier With BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq
+ Coming off a Strong SXSW including showcases at The Townshend, W Hotel Second Play Stage (and Keynote Speaker Pre-lude)
+ Upcoming UK Tour supporting The Vaccines and Girli followed by UK Festivals