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Lion Babe are an alternative R&B duo whose pop-oriented sound has drawn from soul, disco, and house -- and has integrated progressive hip-hop inspired by producers ranging from J Dilla to Timbaland -- while always sounding current. Vocalist Jillian Hervey and producer Lucas Goodman described their approach early on as "futuristic nostalgia," and while scores of artists across genres have claimed to be similarly paradoxical, Lion Babe can justifiably lay claim to the term with the albums Begin (2016), Cosmic Wind (2019), and Rainbow Child (2021). The two met at a party on the campus of Boston's Northeastern University. Hervey, the daughter of Vanessa Williams, overheard tracks that Goodman, aka Astro Raw, had created and struck up a conversation with him. Soon the two were collaborating on music, slowly trading ideas and fleshing out songs. Their first release, "Treat Me Like Fire," was uploaded to SoundCloud in November 2012, and they were subsequently snapped up by Polydor in the U.K. Lion Babe resurfaced in January 2014 with a self-titled four-track EP that featured "Treat Me Like Fire," as well as "Jump Hi," a strutting number assisted by Childish Gambino. After a highlight contribution to Disclosure's second album Caracal ("Hour Glass"), as well as a stint opening for that duo on tour, Lion Babe completed Begin, their debut album. It was issued in February 2016 and featured the Pharrell Williams-produced "Wonder Woman" among its highlights. For the next few years, the band kept fans sated with a steady stream of new singles and festival appearances. The year 2017 saw them issuing new songs "Rocket" and "Hit the Ceiling" as well as remixes for both tracks. Several new songs including "Honey Dew" and the Leikeli47 collaboration "The Wave" arrived in 2018, and the next year Lion Babe previewed the release of their second album with the single "Western World." Self-issued in March 2019, Cosmic Wind featured "The Wave" and tracks with appearances from Raekwon and Bilal. Between albums, they offered more singles, such as imaginative covers of Mos Def's "Umi Says" and Odyssey's "Native New Yorker." Hervey and Goodman's third album, Rainbow Child, followed in August 2021 with Ghostface Killah featured on the opening song, "Rainbows." Lion Babe then joined another hip-hop legend, Busta Rhymes, for the 2022 single "Harder."
© Andy Kellman /TiVo


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