For Jillian Hervey the R&B singer-songwriter of the New York City-based duo Lion Babe, Lauryn Hill had a major impact on her.

“It was the way she was vocal in her songwriting, her sampling and even her music videos, like the 'Doo Wop (That Thing)’ video with a nod to the 1970s,” Hervey attested. “Lauryn Hill, and women MCs of that time, were just the blueprint for me in so many ways. Hip hop is all about celebrating where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. I think any artist is able to do that; it’s awesome.”

Hervey's Dream Job

Hervey dreamed of being a professional dancer growing up. "My whole life I’ve been a dancer. I started dancing when I was two years old. My siblings and I were all dancers and my mom, Vanessa Williams, was a dancer as well. She still is,” she shared. “Dance was part of my every day; I went once a week at least for modern class. When I was in middle school, I got into all sorts of styles and then I went abroad for dance. I was committed to being a professional dancer and I wanted to be in a company, like Alvin Ailey.” 

After meeting her music partner, record producer Lucas Goodman, at a party and reaching out for him to provide music for a college project, the two launched Lion Babe in 2012. “I’ve learned to incorporate my dance background in my stage presence and for what we do when we tour. So dance is still there.”

Lion Babe's New Music

A group that celebrates the authentic self, Hervey is back in the studio recording Lion Babe’s next album. “We’re in the dance world right now,” she exclaimed. “Post-Covid, everyone wants to dance and connect, so we’re just in a high-energy moment.” It’s great for Hervey who’s a new mom to 17-month-old son Sunny Rise. “Home is really quiet, so the music is my turn-up right now,” she says.

Vanessa Williams Is Mumsy

Her mom, Vanessa Wiliams, is having a blast being a first-time “Mumsy,” her chosen grandmother nickname. “She’s obsessed with him,” Hervey declared. “She’s so so vibrant and happy in this new role and helps out in any way she can. She never steps on my toes; she’s just there and if I need anything, she’ll do it. She’s been amazing.”