Married to artist James Gulliver Hancock — the creative partner behind the singer’s album art, video art direction and Lenkaworld, the singer’s Broadway-worthy stage show — the happily-ever-after component of the couple’s affair is apparent from both Two’s lyrics and Lenka’s own gushings about collaborating with her husband. “When we first started dating, I was just beginning to make solo tracks and he would do drawings to go with them … so our creative collaboration has always been there,” she says. “It’s a big part of our love, and I think it has influenced both our styles as well. I can’t really imagine any other artist visually expressing my music so perfectly.”
With “I just want more home life” and “more time with my husband” on the top of her priorities list, Lenka — while dedicated to her music career — is far from letting herself become blindsided by her professional responsibilities. After all, where would the wellspring of blissful inspiration derive from if she did? “The adult gets heavy about all the worrying sides to life and the kid is there to remind [me] of a sense of wonderment and a silver lining,” says the singer. Without her philosophical whimsy, should “The End of the World” come as imagined in the final track of Two, it’s unlikely that Lenka would be able to sing through a pout and proclaim: “At the end of the world, I will be there with you, we’ll throw a party to celebrate the things we used to do.”
With husband James, the singer has created an entire visual world for her musical persona to inhabit: Lenkaland. “Lenkaland is an indulgence for me into all the creative things I love,” she says. “I would be making art anyway, so I decided to channel it all into my pop project. It can be anything that helps describe the world of the song.” And more often than not, this leans towards a sense of naïveté. “I go for a whimsical style because I think that goes well with the mood I create in my music,” explains Lenka. “Almost as if a child was behind it.”
In Lenkaland, the pint-sized singer plays the part of a loveable doll, a role reliant on cutesy fashion and rendered believable by her formal theatre training. Graduating from Australian Theater for Young People in Sydney, under the tutelage of Cate Blanchett, Lenka went on to a successful acting career in Australia, encompassing commercials, television and film. In the end — fun though it was — music just felt like the more natural career path. “When you get lost in a melody for no other reason than the joy of the melody, it’s unbeatable, really,” she says of the different artistic mediums she’s explored. Focused solely on music now, the singer’s acting chops haven’t gone to waste. As Lenka tells me, her former profession is the spunk behind her music videos (see “My Heart Skips a Beat” video below) and stage performances. “I still love it,” she says of acting. “So I actually look forward to getting to perform in those things.”
Fashion — or in this performer’s case, costumes — go part and parcel with Lenka’s stage persona, a detail the singer feels passionately about. “I think the way anyone dresses shows the world their identity, and with musicians, it’s just another way for the artist to show us who they are,” she asserts. “Without that intention the meaning gets lost, though. For someone to just wear the latest trend while promoting their album? I think that’s a bit boring.” Tongue-and-cheek references to female archetypes through costumey vintage dress has long been Lenka’s bit, but, as she shares, with the release of Two, there’s been a bit of a wardrobe change. “I used to dress like a doll a lot with the first album, but now my style has evolved slightly to be a little more womanly and sophisticated, which probably suits the new album better.” As for her personal style, well, that’s an area where her dramatic flare is shelved. “I’m definitely more casual in real life,” says the singer. “I still wear vintage, but obviously less sparkle, less make-up, less glamour. I only get recognized by fans when I’m ‘dressed up’ as Lenka.”
MY HEART SKIPS A BEAT – LENKA
The unwritten Disney princess, Lenka is a rare and consummate performer who begins the circle at visionary and closes it at entertainment, sprinkling pixie dust and frolicking with woodland creatures all along the way. The happy-go-lucky spirit of the bygone days of 1950’s pick-me-up pop, Two is musical Xanax. One listen to its tickled tracks, like the electro chirps of “Shock Me into Love,” and you will be transported to the end of the rainbow, where packs of pink bubblegum, puppies in tall fields of grass, and Lenka, perched upon a tuffet, await you.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Stylist – Fashion Editor Gabrielle Swan
Makeup – Lucky at NEXT Models
Hair – Lacy Redway at See Management for TRESemme
Special thanks to the Thompson LES in New York.