Nuevo Culture

Ant Clemons, Empress Of, Sir Chloe, and More Musicians Fashion a Festival All Their Own

Channeling that supremely summer abandon of mosh-pit surfing, puddle-jumping, and tent-pitching at places like Coachella and Glastonbury, a roving party of models and musicians fashion a fun-loving festival of their own.

From left: María Isabel wears a Louis Vuitton jacket; The Elder Statesman dress, $425; Empress Of wears a Matty Bovan dress, $2,013; Wallice wears a Sportmax jacket ($1,690), tie-dyed top ($475), skirt ($545), and belt;

Photographed by Ryan McGinley, Vogue, June/July 2021

R&B artist María Isabel released her first EP, Stuck in the Sky, last October, and she’s been champing at the bit to take it out on the road. “This is my first full body of work that I can go out and perform, and I’ve never been in that situation before,” she says. Electropop artist Empress Of, on the other hand, released her third studio album, I’m Your Empress Of, in April 2020, and started her own record label in the fall. Working primarily in electropop, she’s not only impatient to start touring again, but to just let loose. “I think my dream post-pandemic day is, like, the craziest party you’ve ever been to in your whole entire life,” she says. 

For Wallice, a singer-songwriter born and based in Los Angeles, making music while the world sat at home had its advantages. “It’s weird to say, because it’s been such a hard year,” she reflects, “but it’s been kind of good for smaller artists, because it’s given them an audience that may have been too preoccupied before to find the music.” Her first EP, the indie-pop-inflected Off the Rails, is expected in early summer. 

Singer-songwriter Ant Clemons, who appears here in his characteristic red cap, earned a nomination for Best R&B Album at this year’s Grammy Awards for his polished debut, Happy 2 Be Here. “It’s amazing to think that this dream that I had is actually coming into fruition in real time,” he says.

Model and singer-songwriter Yumi Nu has been working on a collection of songs called Hajime—Japanese for “beginning”—which she calls “an experiment using new sounds and exploring different genres that feels really true to me.” 

From left: Sir Chloe wears a Melet Mercantile hoodie. Sam Austins wears a Hedi Slimane cardigan; Venessa Arizaga necklace, $250;

Photographed by Ryan McGinley, Vogue, June/July 2021

Dana Foote—known to many by her stage name, Sir Chloe—was no stranger to the concept of working remotely; even before physical distancing became de rigueur, she’d send a melody and lyrics to her bandmate Teddy O’Mara, who worked on the harmonies and arrangements separately. But for their first full-length album, coming out later this year, they’re exploring a slightly different, more textual sound. “I’ve always been really into shoegaze, but I did a much deeper dive into the genre over these past few months,” Foote says. 

The rapper Sam Austins, who released the singles “Wings” and “Last Money” in the spring of 2020, went down certain rabbit holes of his own during lockdown. “Working through it was therapeutic for me,” he says. “Creating and pushing out my ideas, that’s what kept me pretty much sane.” 

From left: Foote (in Dior), Kaytranada (in a Balenciaga sweater and Marni pants), and Austins (in Marni).

Photographed by Ryan McGinley, Vogue, June/July 2021

From left: Austins wears a Marni top, T-shirt, and pants. Kaytranada wears a Melet Mercantile tank top. Champion wears a Prada denim bra top ($540) and jeans ($1,010); Akech wears a Marni sweater ($1,490) and skirt;

Photographed by Ryan McGinley, Vogue, June/July 2021

Although he moved to California in January 2020, Austins maintains close ties to his native Detroit; especially as he puts the finishing touches on Homeless Star, his forthcoming debut album. “Having my family around”—namely, the friends and producers who have figured in his process since the beginning—“was so important,” he says. The Canadian DJ and producer Kaytranada hasn’t forgotten where he came from, either. “I’m taking this one back to Montreal,” he said when his record Bubba won this year’s Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album. 

Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello minidress, $1,990;

Photographed by Ryan McGinley, Vogue, June/July Issue

“I love being home alone and writing,” María Isabel says, speaking for many young creatives on the rise, “but the music doesn’t feel super real to me until I’m playing it for somebody.”

Hair, Evanie Frausto 
Makeup, Holly Silius