Who’s next? In that eternal, windmill-chasing quest, which young talent will be pushed, perhaps prematurely, through the revolving door of Next Big Thingdom? Although famous for a mere nanosecond each, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen are currently being escorted out—for the moment at least. It’s not because they lack talent, nor due to the considerable personal issues that have kept them in the tabloids, but rather because their initial moments have expired. Today, especially in music, a perfomer’s influence often teeters on the pinnacle that unites an underground aura with mass appeal. Balancing atop that delicate point is no easy feat, especially for the young and green. So while the masses have only recently co-opted Winehouse’s exaggerated beehive and Allen’s party dress–and–sneakers look, their pop-culture princess usurpers are currently being groomed. Are the Pipettes, Kate Nash or Lady GaGa (featured, actually, on page 150) next in line? Similarly, the Misshapes, led by beautiful Leigh Lezark, have seen overexposure dull the cool edge of their photogenic dance party.
Leigh Lezark, flanked by her Misshapes cohorts, Geordon Nicol and Greg Krelenstein
Are comebacks possible? Hello, Madonna and Gwen Stefani. The key lies in shrewd orchestration of one’s own ongoing reinvention, while always turning people on to something fresh, whether yoga, Kabbalah or innerwear as outerwear. Take recent darlings M.I.A. and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Both have maneuvered the ebb and flow of relevancy and have made their sophomore albums not only statements of good musicianship but also declarations of Yeah, I was cool then, but I’m way cooler now.
Left: Lily Allen.
credit: Allen: Phil Loftus/Capital Pictures/Retna ltd.; Misshapes: Roger Kisby/Getty Images; Winehouse: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images; Nash: Tristan Fewings/Camera Press/Retna Ltd.