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Wrenn Wants You to Get Angry

Music
Photos by Brendan Blaney

And embrace your most troubling emotions

For the internet and her many fans, Wrenn is a mysterious, monster-making enigma, one dedicated to the art and image she so carefully curates. That isn’t to say her artistic persona is meant to keep fans at arm's length; instead, the 20-year-old connects with them with her music, that's both a rehabilitative and an often spiritual experience for both the creator and the appreciator.

Born in L.A. and known to friends and family simply as Zoë, Wrenn is the daughter of Paul Mirkovich, who was not only the duet singing partner for Cher—for 16 years—but was also the band director for Janet Jackson and current musical director for The Voice. It's easy enough to say that Wrenn has some mighty footsteps to fill; however, she is prepared to do so based on what she's observed over the years: a tendency toward perfectionism, a constant search for technical excellence in music (clean, crisp, and direct), and an intense drive for success. She says, “My dad’s career pushed me to keep getting better. You look around and listen—everything is incredible—and you're like, ‘Man, I want to do that.’” 

Upon turning 18, Wrenn spent a year in New York, where she attended NYU’s Clive Davis School of Recording Music and slowly built her artistry. This was also when she came to terms with her intense mental state, as she battled anxiety and depression. “When you have crazy anxiety, it's always, ‘Man, this isn't good enough, it is never good enough. How do I make this better?’ My mind is always going,” Wrenn admits. “I felt it was a real battle between my incredibly strong emotions, that I got from transitioning to this insane city, and the downers that were like, ‘Keep it down!’” 

But Wrenn feels that this type of constant, anxiety-ridden spiral actually affected her artistry in a somewhat positive manner. “Me overthinking a particular color scheme made me create an entire language for this record,” she said. “There would be a manic moment where I would spark up and be so creative for such a short period of time before I went back into this other state.”

Photos by Brendan Blaney 

Having returned to Los Angeles after school, Wrenn reflects on how the two cities affect her creative process:

Los Angeles me and New York me are two halves of a whole. My time in L.A. is a train that slowly gains momentum. In New York, I threw a whole bunch of coals in the furnace and said "GO!" Sometimes, I do miss the way I used to create in New York. It was a lot more poetic because it was a lot more sporadic. In L.A., I had a lot of time to come down and relax and take a moment. I'm very much a product of my environment.

Good Mo(u)rning, her latest work, is ultimately a result of that moving train, one fueled by unapologetic emotion. “I want my fans and listeners to know it's cool to be sad, it's cool to be angry,” Wrenn mused. “You should feel those emotions and take pride in them because they are so true to you as a person.”

Feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, and anxiety are all littered across the six-track record. Unlike the intense emotions of “Cease Fire,” a previous single, “All My Friends (Are Sh!t),” premiering here on NYLON, takes a different path, a fresh reminder of what it means to say goodbye to toxic friends.

Wrenn says, “It’s pretty self-explanatory. Basically, I had shitty friends. I got rid of them and cut that toxic energy out of my life. I was over putting up with people that bring negative energy into my life. I’d rather be friends with people that deserve it, or [with] the things I create in my head, aka 'the monsters.'” 

Wrenn has talked about "the monsters" before; she says that they're basically “a couple cool friends up inside [her] head... They’re called the monster people, and they live in the field.” Never fear, though, Wrenn's not the only one who can see these monsters; she's made illustrations of her pals, a project she's worked on for four years now. The eight-piece "monster" collection began as an “intent to create a visual extension of the music, something to enhance the listener’s experience and show them greater insight into what I believe is the emotion, or intention, behind the work.” For Good Mo(u)rning, then, there's a monster for each song, which “we’ll all be seeing more of, very soon.” The one that stands out most is Abbott, a little flying dude with a wicked mane who can be seen on all of the merch, most of the visual content, and also happens to be tattooed on Wrenn’s wrist. 

Until Good Mo(u)rning drops in early summer, SoundCloud is chock-full of Wrenn’s entire discography, from the sweet acoustics of years past, such as "a lullaby for the boy who knows who he is," to the the intensity of “Cease Fire,” which exhibits just how far Wrenn has transformed and reminds us of just how much is to come.

More info on the upcoming album, the monsters, and Wrenn's current tour with Gnash can be found on her (self-coded) website, WrennMusic.com

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."

Her Smell | OFFICIAL TRAILER HD www.youtube.com

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."