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First Published Thursday, 5 March 2009


Ladyhawke

By Michael Corcoran | Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 10:59 AM


New Zealand-raised singer songwriter Pip Brown started calling herself Ladyhawke after she left the duo Teenager a couple years ago to work on her own musical project. The name, which comes from a 1985 fantasy movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, made Brown feel as if she had supernatural powers for infiltrating the pop mainstream with catchy, ‘80s-influenced numbers not unlike Kim Wilde’s “Kids In America” and “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.


But Brown is a true hero for some of the things she had to conquer in her real life. Long before she made the music magazines, Brown was the subject of articles in medical journals. At age 10 she contracted a disease thought to be common only to seagulls. When doctors treated her with penicillin, she had an allergic reaction that put her in a coma. She’s also allergic to antibiotics and antihistamines and has been lactose intolerant her whole life.


As a teenager, Brown went to the doctor to see if he could explain her paralyzing shyness and discomfort with crowds. At the time, she was playing guitar for local garage band Two Lane Blacktop and would freak out onstage whenever she made eye contact with someone in the audience. She was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, which causes idiosyncratic social behavior.


Finally, Brown understood why she was such a loner, with a penchant for saying the wrong things. Those with Asperger often engage in long, one-sided conversations, without any empathy for the listener.


Another quirk, though unrelated to Asperger, is that Brown refuses to wear women’s clothing. Even backed by a cello and piano for a recent gig in a British cathedral, Ladyhawke wore a flannel shirt, jeans and work boots.


A symptom of Asperger is a preoccupation with a single subject and in Brown’s case that was music. She’s been consumed with beats and melodies since she was very young. Now 27, Brown played almost all the instruments on her 2008 self-titled debut and co-wrote the songs, including “Paris Is Burning” and “My Delirium,” which both charted in the UK, where Brown currently resides.


“Music that came out of the eighties had such a unique and definitive sound,” Brown wrote on her Web site. “Big production, big synths, and big guitar riffs. The songwriters were incredibly significant, and the whole musical era left an everlasting impression on me.”


She still gets nervous before shows, but Brown recently told NME that the fear subsides when the music starts. That eye contact thing is still a concern and Ladyhawke is an unrepentant shoegazer. If, by chance, your eyes do meet hers onstage at Stubb’s Wednesday March 18 at 9 p.m., please don’t smile. That will really freak Brown out.


Image from myspace.com/ladyhawkemusic


Source:   http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/music/entries/2009/03/04/behind_the_sxsw_buzz_ladyhawke.html


Related Articles


“Ladyhawke: ‘You have no idea what I have been through”:

http://aspie-editorial.blog-city.com/independent_article__ladyhawke_you_have_no_idea_what_i_ha.htm


“Ladyhawke: flying high”:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/4787685/Ladyhawke-flying-high.html



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