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Due to her own airtight schedule, the shoot needs to be completed in a single day, and the video needs to be finished—as in, shot, edited, and ready to ship for the entire universe to see on the You Tube Music Awards—in less than seven days. In two hours, the crew starts charging the production triple rate. This doesn’t escape the woman born Tahliah Barnett, who, at 27, has already been compared to everyone from Björk to Prince.
Whose music, videos, and live performances yield copious critical accolades.
And who, lately, has become the subject of a new kind of scrutiny (a reality hammered home by the paparazzi who somehow made it near the shoot's remote location).
But neither those distractions nor the reality of that ticking clock gets in the way of her checking in on, well, everything: “Have the dancers been fed?
” “Is Mikey”—her manager of seven years—“getting ‘Mother Creep’ mixed?
And of course, a new reality of fame came along: racist swipes and vague threats on social media, made over her mixed-race heritage.A career as an art therapist emerged as a distinct possibility.Fate, in the form of government budget cuts, intervened: Her job was eliminated. Twigs soon crossed paths with Tic Zogson, producer and A&R at innovative London-based label Young Turks.By the time her debut album, , arrived last August—with twigs’ face brazenly stamped on the cover (as if it had been bruised or spray-painted red, no less), underground buzz had turned into a deafening roar of hype.
Augmenting twigs’ own production—merging R&B, choir, trip-hop, and electronic music—heavyweights Arca, Emile Haynie, Dev Hynes, Paul Epworth, Sampha, and Clams Casino contributed work to the record.
Tic introduced her to the Tempest, the Dave Smith Instruments drum machine she credits with “allowing me to create sounds before I understood how to use programs,” adding, “if it wasn’t for the Tempest, I wouldn’t have started producing my own music.” In December 2012, she released her debut, , released in September 2013, was finished with the help of a new producer, Arca (who’s since worked with Kanye West and Björk).