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GIRLBOY, a new collaboration between award-winning feminist author Abigail Tarttelin and British singer-songwriter Michael Reeve, presents first single, “Jennifer Lawrence”, at once an indie rock floor-filler and a tongue-in-cheek satire of society’s view of women, with the Hunger Games actress held up as a role model for how women should be, and be seen.
“Jennifer Lawrence” is a powerful, layered, catchy track with a sound reminiscent of The National and a deep, soulful, female vocal influenced by the band’s love of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Debbie Harry of Blondie.
The song’s lyrics present a feminist take on what society asks of women, with regards to their own bodies. Tarttelin says,
‘Society, the media and many individuals ask women to be skinny, to shut up, and to accept the sexualisation of their bodies by the media. This song is about celebrating women for their make-up-less beauty and power, for their strength when they choose not to give a fuck about what other people think, and for the times when they stand up to those who insult and abuse them.’
Reeve and Tarttelin are both huge fans of actress Jennifer Lawrence, for her talented performances in films including Winter’s Bone and American Hustle, and for her refusal to conform to Hollywood’s exacting standards of what women should be. GIRLBOY says,
‘Like many Jennifer fans, who know she is someone who takes pains to stand up to misogyny and sexism. Particularly in regards to the recent hacking of her icloud, she has shown extraordinary bravery and dignity in calling the incident out in Vanity Fair as a sex crime, and refusing to apologise or be shamed. We think she’s a phenomenally strong human being and we want her to know how grateful we are that she’s around to be a role model for young women (and men, and trans, and non-binary folk). We hope this song will make her smile.’
Singing from the point of view of a fan in love with Jennifer Lawrence, Tarttelin encourages the star to be free to forgo the rules society sets for women, singing ‘eat that donut’, ‘you can fart, whatever’, and ‘don’t shave for me’.
Abigail Tarttelin’s seminal 2013 novel Golden Boy, ‘a dramatic, thoroughgoing investigation of the complexities of sexuality and gender’ (Booklist, starred review) with a ‘radically non-binary, pro-intersex message’ (Autostraddle), was published by Orion in the UK, Simon & Schuster in the USA, and in a further 8 languages and over 75 countries, resulting in a 25 date book tour across the USA and Canada and tours in the UK and Spain. Winner of the 2014 American Library Association’s Alex Award, shortlisted for best LGBT debut fiction by the LAMBDA Literary Awards, and featured on numerous industry “best of” lists in 2013 and 2014, Golden Boy’s initial six figure sale in the UK prompted the London Evening Standard to devote a two page spread to Tarttelin and name her one of their ’26 under 26’ and top 1000 most powerful in London in 2013.
Michael Reeve is a singer-songwriter and was a staple of the 2014 summer festival scene, with packed appearances at The Great Escape, Beacons and Tramlines and supporting gigs with Young Rebel Set, Nadine Shah and James Walsh of Starsailor fame. His 2014 EP ‘Unfold’ saw pundits compare Reeve to Ryan Adams and Bon Iver, citing ‘a great voice’ (Dermot O’Leary, BBC Radio 2), and ‘highly impressive artist’ (Right Chord Music), combining ‘passionate vocals and swelling guitar melodies’ to ‘spine tingling effect’ (Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music). Reeve’s music has its roots in folk, and combines stripped back, intimate acoustic tracks with larger soundscapes, and an almost pop-like aesthetic, with memorable, emotional lyrics and catchy, simple hooks.
Reeve and Tarttelin met at high school in Northern England, and have been friends for ten years. They wrote the track together spontaneously one night in Reeve’s studio in 2013, after Tarttelin brought some of the lyrics by. Reeve says,
‘Writing for GIRLBOY gives me the freedom to explore other sounds and genres I’m interested in that don’t necessarily fit with my personal music project. I’m always intrigued by musicians like Britt Daniel, who fronts The Divine Fits as well as his more established band Spoon, or Ben Gibbard, whose Death Cab For Cutie has such an archetypal, but completely different sound from The Postal Service. For me, GIRLBOY is both an experimental collaboration and the natural culmination of a great friendship.’
The video was directed by Tarttelin and shot in East London by Leigh Keily, photographer and editor of queer magazine Jon. The concept was ‘set in a future dreamworld where we all accept each other as we are, at a chilled, fun party where everyone can be themselves, whether they’re an astronaut, transvestite, cyborg or alien’, and features LGBT actors and allies, including a recently married gay couple.
The track was produced by Leeds-based Lewis Foster, and mastered at the Salt Studios in Melbourne, Australia, by Charlie Daly from Studio A. Charlie has recently collaborated with Swedish producer WOODZSTHLM, worked with Madeleine Hunt on her debut album, and mixed Allday’s debut album which charted at Urban ARIA #1 and ARIA #3, the official Australian Record Industry charts.
GIRLBOY are available for interviews on firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Jennifer Lawrence’ is available globally on https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/girlboy/id946487046 from 8 Dec 2014. Preorder available immediately.