If Janelle Monáe, Björk and Misty Copeland were gene-spliced together to create a new pop star, she might step out of the transmogrifying machine fully formed as the surreal electro-R&B artist FKA Twigs. A dancer by trade who toured with British singer Jessie J just a few short years ago, FKA Twigs was born Tahliah Barnett in sleepy Gloucester, UK to parents of Jamaican and part-Spanish heritage. They named her Twigs for the way her joints crack when she dances. The twentysomething performer has dropped some really weirdly wonderful videos throughout her relatively short music career, ranging in styles from cartoonish to carnal.
Twigs’s latest visual, shot by Nabil (Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Nas), is an eyeful, blending Afrofuturism, Katherine Dunham technique and Hindu mysticism. In the video, FKA Twigs is serving us “golden goddess Devi” in an ornate temple lightly smoldering with incense, seated atop a simple throne, waving sharp gold talons for nails. She’s surrounded by identical twin Twigs. Their limbs and torsos glide; they isolate; they fall into splits and spellbind with tiny movements.
Then, we travel into the temple’s blue netherworld—an enormous, light-dappled pool where Twigs the mermaid floats suspended like a black-haired sea horse. Was that a sea eel wiggling by? Like we said, it’s an eyeful. Dive into the weirdly wonderful world of FKA Twigs.—Sun Singleton