From dark cinematic sounds to Indie Rock and Trip Hop, music artist Laeticia de Valer (Formerly Misfit Dior) has seduced our eyes and ears. She’s been on various editorials such as Vogue and More Magazine, and landed major billboard campaigns, such as Top Shop, as well as acting in various indie films and commercials for MTV and The Graham Norton Show. You may have seen her in the MTV reality show Ibiza Uncovered. Dark Beauty went behind the scenes having a special one on one with this special artist…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in England, grew up in London. I moved to Ibiza for a while when I was a teen, then crossed the pond to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2003.
As a child in England you were exposed to your mother’s creativity in clothing. Has this carried with you all these years and in what way?
I was very lucky to have such a talented mother who was able to make all my fashion designs come to life! I come from a creative family on both sides, my father is an architect and my parents designed and made their own house by themselves. So designing and creating was something that has always come naturally to me, I’m self taught with everything I do in music, production, film and design etc.
Tell our readers all things that make up Misfit Dior:
I started out as a model in London when I was very young, which I really enjoyed, and still do now, but I always loved music and writing and wanted to have a my voice heard as well. My late friend and rapper, Proof (of D12) helped get me started in the music industry, and he gave me my ‘rap name’ Misfit. Then when I transitioned from rapping to singing, I decided it made sense to go back to using my real name Laeticia De Valer, which is how I go by now. During that transitional period I built a recording studio in my apt. Taught myself how to produce, and engineer so I was able to experiment with different styles until I developed the sound I have now.
Your a singer, songwriter, producer and DJ with a very rich history in the music industry. Let’s go back to your performance at the UK Hip Hop awards, what can you remember about that night?
I had just started rapping, back then it was way more male dominated. There especially weren’t any white girls rapping, so I felt I always had to prove myself more to be taken seriously. I even ditched my usual very feminine style and dressed down to fit in. Lucky for my mom though, as she had a break from sewing dresses for me for a while! I was at the UK Hip Hop awards, there was group of guys in cipher rapping, I joined in and surprised the shit out of all of them. A guy from a local indie label Street Dreams notice me and signed me right away. I then spend the next year or so under their wings performing and releasing mix-tapes until I moved to NYC in ’03.
Your cool, sexy, Trip Hop sounds are infectious. How did you come up with the recipe for that sound?
Over the years I had been pulled in different directions as to what I should and shouldn’t be doing. No one back then knew how to market a white English female rapper as it was pretty unheard of, so everyone was giving me different advice. I released a pop song Miss America, which although was a good song, I didn’t write it and never felt married to it. So I went back to drawing board as they say, this time by myself. I wanted to find a sound that was my own and that I believed in, and I went thru many! Even at one point producing an EP that lyrically was all history based (I’m a huge history nerd!), one favorite was a song I wrote called 1536 all about Ann Boleyn’s rise, then demise as the Queen of England.
However I realized that even tho I thought lyrically, it was really intelligent, not many people would get! So back in the lab I went again, pulling from my early teen musical influences such as Portishead and The Cure. This time writing Hitchcock Blonde, a dark, moody, more cinematic sound. It was then that I felt like I had really found my own style. I released it along with the video, which was influenced by my love for Alfred Hitchcock and mid century movies and fashion. I then wrote an 8 track EP named Gun Moll, with the same sultry, movie sound-track feel as Hitchcock Blonde. I released My Dreams for free on my Soundcloud this past summer and I plan to release the EP early 2017.
As far as your lyrics what topics are you drawn to write about?
Writing is probably my favorite thing to do, its the perfect therapeutic release. Like a musical version of my personal journals, I write from my own experiences and memories. I’ve been in some crazy situations since moving out here, probably more than the average, and that is defiantly reflected in my lyrics. They are mostly based on the dark romanticism character of a Gun Moll. I’m also inspired by old movies, which help to build the visuals in my head.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always love all things old, so vintage fashion is my signature style. Especially old Hollywood, it was such a glamorous and elegant period, and I sometimes swear I was born in the wrong era. I went through a goth phase when I was very young which never fully left me, so that slight mysterious melancholiness is still apparent, especially in my my music. I recently dyed my hair dark, after 15 years of bleaching it every week. A drastic change, but I love it, and now I really am on the dark side! ;)
In this industry we find ourselves going into many creative directions. You had a few movie cameo’s Sex In The City 2 and Premium Rush. How did you fit into the movie industry and can we expect more?
I started acting a little around the same time I started modeling, and I’ve always enjoyed being able to create different characters. Its similar to music, only your not playing an alter ego version of yourself so you really can have fun with it. I wrapped a movie called Night Job this past summer, and have some other projects coming up next year.
It’s only natural for artists with the passion for music to move that passion towards DJing. What genre or genres do you DJ?
I started DJing last year, which was fluid move coming from a musical background. Being from London and of course my time spent living in Ibiza, I love to spin House music. Its the most fun for me, and I can really get creative with different styles of blending. I do also play other genres such as Hip Hop, old 60s classic and Alternative, it all depends on the crowd and type of event.
You have some serious MC skills, love it! Your track ‘Cherry Sweet Smile’ has your own vibe and style. Any more tracks like this in the works?
Thank you. Right now I’m editing my music video for Hazel Eyes which I’m looking forward to releasing first quarter, then following up with my EP Gun Moll.
What’s in your iPod?
I have very diverse music taste! but I’d say my favorite genre to listen to is always on the moodier side such as The Cure, The Smiths, Marilyn Manson, Lana Del Rey. Then Trip Hop artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead. 60s music such as The Doors and The Kinks. Then on the happier end the of musical spectrum, Tech House. I probably have the strangest iPod library ever, I’m pretty sure if someone went through it they might think at least 4 very different people were all sharing the same iPod!
What’s coming up next for you?
I have a new weekly radio show called The Tres Amigas, on DTFRadio.com (Thursdays 9-11pm) I’m the DJ, and co-host with my two girlfriends Talia and Jen. Hazel Eyes single/video is set for release early 2017, followed by my EP Gun Moll. I also have a couple of other projects I’m excited about which I’ll be able to announce soon!
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
To me Dark Beauty is a metaphor for the way one expresses themselves. It paints a picture of a complex character that is never completely revealed for there are many layers to unfold. Sultry, with an air of sadness. Deep romance, with a hint of vulnerable innocence inside the soul. One will never really completely understand a Dark Beauty, but it draws enchanting curiosity…