FROM THE MAGAZINE

Meet the Contributors Behind the 2021 Music Issue

The creative teams who made the covers happen share their favorite albums and musical icons.

by W Staff

Martine Syms
Courtesy of Martine Syms.

Martine Syms

Photographer, “Bad Bunny”

Have you ever made a mixtape?

All the time, and I’m very proud of their titles; I have a monthly show on NTS Radio. Last month’s was the Benito Seduction Special. This month’s is DED, and I’m working on a mix called 1 Earthy Mfckr. I also make a quarterly sex playlist.

What was the first CD you ever bought?

The Cranberries, and the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. I was 7 years old, singing about the Troubles and infidelity.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

“Not Gon’ Cry,” by Mary J. Blige.

Which album have you listened to the most in your life?

Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. I just learned recently that it was regarded as a flop when it came out. Which is crazy, because I’ve listened to it religiously for 20 years.

What do you think is the ideal music for a dinner party?

It depends on what kinda freaks are gonna be at this party. Do I want to fuck them or nah?

Photo by Myesha Evon Gardner.

Jazmine Sullivan

Interviewer, “The Originals: Chaka Khan”

What was the first CD you ever bought?

I don’t remember, but I do remember being in love with “So Anxious,” by Ginuwine, and getting in trouble once my mom realized what the lyrics were.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

“Killing Me Softly With His Song,” by the Fugees.

Who is your musical idol?

Stevie Wonder is my favorite singer-songwriter. Aretha and Chaka have two of my favorite voices. And Frank Ocean is my current favorite writer.

What was the first concert you ever attended? What did you wear?

The first major concert I ever attended was Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, and Alicia Keys. Missy gave me tickets, and of course she killed it. I literally left in awe of Bey. I don’t remember what I wore, but I probably looked crazy and thought it was cute.

Photo by Michelle Levine.

Joshua Levine

Writer, “Rosé All Day ”

What was the first record you ever bought?

Cream’s Disraeli Gears. (I know. Dad rock. Guilty.)

What do you think is the ideal music for a dinner party?

Some kind of pretty, nonaggressive jazz. Bill Evans might fit the bill.

Which album have you listened to the most in your life?

Blonde on Blonde, by Bob Dylan.

What was the first concert you ever attended?

Not sure I can remember the first, but I did see Talking Heads in that theater on Second Avenue, right when More Songs About Buildings and Food came out. That was pretty special.

Courtesy of John Edmonds.

John Edmonds

Photographer, “Saweetie”

Have you ever made a mixtape?

No, but I’ve always wanted to do my own mix of house music.

What was the first CD you ever bought?

A Destiny’s Child album.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

“Up Where We Belong.”

Who is your musical idol?

I think Luther Vandross is one of the greatest singers of all time. Next to him, someone I really admire is Marvin Gaye.

What was the first concert you ever attended? What did you wear?

I can’t remember the first, but the last one was a Yaeji concert. I wore Army fatigue cargo pants, a gray hoodie, a jean jacket, and “beef and broccoli” Timbs.

Photo by Julian Dakdouk.

Zerina Akers

Stylist, “Saweetie”

What was the first CD you ever bought?

Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly.

What do you think is the ideal music for a dinner party?

Disco! Donna Summer, please.

Who is your musical idol?

Lil’ Kim.

Which song do you think you’ve listened to the most in your life?

“How Do I Love Thee,” by Queen Latifah.

What was the first concert you ever attended? What did you wear?

Some sort of Summer Jam; Destiny’s Child was on the bill. I wore a red Bebe shirt and blue Parasuco stretch jeans.