Whitney Fierce, DJ and Vocalist
If you haven't heard her sing at one of Hercules and Love Affair's sweaty, banging concerts or been wrapped up in one of her DJ sets, pay close attention to the text below. Because Whitney Fierce is about to break, big time. Already long in demand by brands and venues alike, Fierce has parlayed her mass appeal and work as a vocalist for Hercules and Love Affair into a new solo EP project — one that's already tapped the talents of dance-music titans, including members of New Order and The Rapture. As she gears up for a new stage in her career, we chatted with the former fashion designer about breaking into music, singing, and her amazing hair.
After starting out in fashion, you’ve become a huge DJ and, right now, you’re on the cusp of breaking as a solo recording artist. How did you get to this point?
“I'm going to be honest. My career trajectory was a product of random/awesome decisions, and everything falling into place in perfect time with absolutely no effort on my part. I moved to New York after bunking with LCD Soundsystem in L.A., while they were recording their last album. I was going through a sticky breakup. And after arriving in the Big Apple and securing jobs as a designer and consultant in the fashion industry, I realized I didn't belong in fashion at the moment, and I moved on. A friend of mine jokingly mentioned that I knew more people after being in NYC in eight weeks than he did after eight years. He suggested I throw a party. So, after finding a location and getting a weekly shored up, I realized I didn't know who would DJ. So, I taught myself with some quick questions to trusted allies — I had a lot of amazing people and artists around me to look up to and learn from."
And when did you realize that this could be your career?
"Within weeks, I was DJing for Nylon and Topshop. Apparently, I wasn't too terrible. I fell in love with the mixer, the craft, and the unending hunt for serious jams. I swear, being a DJ is kind of like being a psychotherapist — you poke and prod until you find the trigger. Every crowd is its own beast — but you get to know that beast and figure out how to blow that beast's mind. That's the art of it, the finesse of it, the fun of it! Not too long after, I was DJing in the basement of Lit in the East Village when one of my idols, DJ Harvey, came into the booth and complimented my set! While almost losing it, I thanked him and officially knew that I was doing something right.”
And the original music?
"I was a guest vocalist with Hercules and Love Affair for a while, and recording and touring with them was some of the most fun I've ever had. If there's one thing I like doing, it's performing. And, if there's one thing I know how to do, it's make a party. I love nothing more than yelling (singing) into a microphone, running and writhing about on stage like I've lost my mind, getting out of my fancy clothes on stage, and faffing about like the wild child I am. So, now I'm doing a solo project — singing, writing, and producing. It's so fun. I'm working with some of my idols — writing with members of New Order, talking production with members of the The Rapture, and collaborating with electronic artists far and wide. I've started secretly slipping my own jams into my sets, and they set clubs off! An EP is in the works and will be out soon, and you know what that means? Tour!"
What do you say to people who think what you do is just one long, endless party?
“It can seem like an endless party. Sure, it's ‘totes amazeballz' fun and crazy. It takes you to wild places and you do wacky things, and it's awesome. It's still one's career. Endlessly raging balls forever is totally not sustainable, especially if you're on tour — you don't want to puke on a plane. If you’re in charge of the party, you have to be able to take the reins. Being obliterated isn't wildly helpful."
By the way, we love your hair. What’s your secret?
“Oh yes. Good hair is epically key to everything, especially when your top half is the only part people will see of you in the booth. One also has to remember that headphones are going to try to steal the show, no matter what. I feel like I won the DNA raffle with this one. I have curly hair, and I generally stick to that and play it up. My secrets are not washing it too much, leaning into its natural state, backcombing, embracing the nonsense that is my hair, and Silvikrin hairspray. I bring a few canisters back with me every time I go to England. When it comes down to it, you know you're going to have the most fun when you get to a club that has no mirrors, even in the bathrooms. Because you need to get your head in the party, not be distracted by how you look. Your hair is going to get wrecked if it's a good party, and it's honestly a badge of honor. Leave home with confidence — that's going to be your hottest accessory all night.”
Styled by Danielle Combs; Hair and Makeup by Liset Garza.
Mike Vensel dress, Baby Alpaca shawl, Margiela for H&M jacket, Vintage Esprit glasses, Zigi Soho pumps.
Photographed at The Spare Room, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard; 323-769-7296.