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With her soulful voice and throwback sound, Bay Li — lead singer of the Bed-Stuy band The Skins — made her mark on the industry before she could even legally drink at the clubs she played. The Skins, rock-funk-and-hip-hop quintet, graduated from New York’s school of rock and funded its first recordings with a Kickstarter page. The band then promptly landed a deal with actor Adrian Grenier’s Wreckroom Records and started playing showcases like the Sundance and AFROPUNK festivals.
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The rest of the band — whose sound is like Black Sabbath meets Led Zeppelin meets The Strokes — is comprised of Bay Li’s brother Keef and sister Kaya, plus guitarists Daisy and Russell. All of them, amazingly, are under 20 years old. But, it’s Bay Li’s eccentric style and commanding presence on stage that has earned the band the right to call itself the new face of Brooklyn's music scene.
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BN_PostImage2_BayliPHOTOGRAPHED BY GEORDY PEARSON.
Why I play up my look onstage
"I love big hair and big cat-eyes. I only wear neons and patterns. I just like bright, flashy things. I feel like you should be unafraid to just show up and say, ‘I’m here, bitches!’ Make your mark. It boosts my confidence onstage — it kind of makes me feel like 'Yeah, I’m really hot right now; this is going to be an awesome show' — but it’s filtered into my everyday life, too. All these colors and patterns are inside of my head, so it feels good to bring them out and show other people."
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How I’m different from my onstage persona
"It’s almost like I’m channeling an alter ego onstage. And, when I get offstage, people automatically assume things like ‘Oh, you’re super-confident and awesome and sexy and hot, and you know it.’ Yes, sometimes I feel like that, but not always. I know that people have me on this pedestal, just because of the confidence I exude onstage, but it’s like a bittersweet thing. It does boost my confidence, but I also wish I was actually that perfect female they think I am, and that my self-esteem was at 1,000% all the time. I’m definitely confident, but I’m human, too!"
The most daring thing I’ve ever done
"This is going to sound really corny, but I just recently started singing. I’ve been a musician for a few years, guitar and stuff, but I’ve never taken vocal lessons. The first time I wanted to sing live, I was still in music school and I was so nervous. I really loved singing in the shower, but I could not do it in front of people — even people like my family and peers who would have only been supportive. But, when I was 15 or 16, I forced myself to audition for a recital and sang in front of about five people. I could have passed out I was so nervous."
GetTheLook_BayLi
Sandro White Mesh Elliot Top; Jinny Kim Yellow Strappy Heel; Edie Parker Multicolor Box Clutch; Vintage Wrap Skirt.
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Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Hair by Bethany Brill; Styled by Laura Pritchard