Josephine de La Baume: The Stylish Songstress

A s one-half of the band Singtank, international fashion plate and wife of music producer Mark Ronson, Josephine de La Baume is used to being in the spotlight. But last year, while shooting Otar Shamatava's movie Ursus in Ukraine, the singer-actress enjoyed being off the grid.

"Silence and privacy are a real luxury today," says de La Baume, 29, of the time she spent disconnected from her phone and computer. Despite being part of a generation that thrives on technology, de La Baume and her brother, Alexandre, 28 - who's the other half of Singtank - sing about this and weightier issues on their sophomore album, "Ceremonies," out this September.

"Being disillusioned about your city, your generation, the people you love and you lose, somehow there's still some kind of poetry and charm in these moments of melancholy and darkness," she says, her voice deeper and seductively scratchier than her breathy, light singing voice. "We wanted to celebrate that."

Buzz surrounding Singtank has been building since 2010, when the Parisian siblings opened for former Libertines frontman (and Kate Moss ex) Pete Doherty, and once they signed to Warner France, a division of Warner Music. The siblings released their debut album, "In Wonder," in 2012. Earlier this month, the video for the first single from "Ceremonies," "Can You Hear Me," which was co-produced by Ronson and co-directed by Nova Dando and de La Baume, hit the Web.

The children of music-loving parents - their father, Baron Francois de La Baume, a theater critic and producer, and their mother, Anne, a former model - Josephine and Alexandre became serious about Singtank in 2009, when producer Nellee Hooper (Bjork, Massive Attack) heard one of their songs and brought them into his studio.

"Alexandre and I understand exactly what the other is feeling," de La Baume says of her brother. "It certainly makes the collaborative process much easier."

She describes "Ceremonies," while still a pop album, as more mature than Singtank's critically praised debut and reflective of emotionally tough times the siblings were experiencing.

"When we entered the studio, a really good friend of mine had just passed and my brother was going through a painful breakup," she says. "This record became our healing process."

De La Baume met her producer-musician husband through mutual friends in New York and the couple married in 2011 in a high-profile wedding in Aix-en-Provence, France, that was attended by Moss and Mario Testino.

Although Josephine's profile rose in the United States thanks to her spouse's fame, she was already known as an actress and fashionista in Europe, where she splits her time between Paris and West London. In 2009, she was cast in the play L'Une de l'Autre; in 2010 she got her big-screen break, a supporting role in Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier; and in 2013, she played a vampire in Kiss of the Damned, which was directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of independent film icon John Cassavetes. She also had a part in Ron Howard's racing film Rush.

Off-screen, she has appeared on red carpets and best-dressed lists but shrugs off such accolades, preferring to talk about them in relation to her music career. "I have always dressed myself according to the type of music I listen to," says de La Baume. "When I was younger I dressed like Kurt Cobain for about a year. I had a [Nike] Air Max and sweatpants phase. More recently, when I was working on our first album, which was straight-forward pop, I dressed in a lot of prints. Now I don't wear prints at all." And those looking to emulate the trendsetter's style, take note: "With this record, because the visuals are a bit more graphic, I'm dressing in much more black."

Her style in the sci-fi inspired "Can You Hear Me" - an all-black ensemble, made up of brands Gareth Pugh, Commes des Garcons and Iris van Herpen, plus a cropped leather bra (see sidebar, right) - personifies this phase. "I'm obsessing over that thing!" she admits. "I should have stolen it. I think every girl has dreamt of having some kind of Madonna bra."

-Luisa Graca


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.