Sometimes, even years after the fact, there are lingering emotions that need to be processed and shared with others to help them through the same journey.
New Zealand indie rock and synth-pop artist Ladyhawke (born Phillipa “Pip” Brown) is unabashedly honest and courageous in her recent single, “Guilty Love,” with the help of Georgia Nott from the sibling duo BROODS.
The single will appear on an upcoming album whose title and release date are still unknown, but will be her fourth studio full-length release and her first with German label and publisher BMG. “Guilty Love” premiered with a music video set in a Catholic school, and she has since shared a behind the scenes clip from the filming process.
Self-described as “a sort of pop superwoman creating radio-friendly songs with a single bound,” Brown has drawn from inspiration such as Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, and David Bowie to shape her sound. The culmination of these influences has created a Hayley Williams of Paramore-like captivating attitude and boldness, also familiar to fellow blonde female idol Michelle Pfeiffer, whose role in the 1985 film Ladyhawke inspired Brown’s persona both in character and name.
Catchy and—dare I say—brooding, “Guilty Love” rides on a suspenseful and anthemic rhythm, taking full advantage of Brown’s low contralto vocal range in the verses so the chorus can shine out as a freeing, blastable hook. Between an 80s-sounding synth and a prominent bass, there is a charming vintage groove to the song that complements the more modern pop melodies within.
There is a deeper meaning to the religious themes it gives at first impression, such as when she sings, “you’re my new religion and I’m never gonna give you up,” as well as “every time I pray I just pray to be free.” Paired with the music video’s storyline of two schoolgirls running off together and a reference to “a struggle within,” there is good reason to believe Brown and Nott are processing questions about sexuality in the song. Brown married kiwi actress Madeleine Sami in 2015, and has spoken about her experience coming out before.
Over a decade into her solo career, Ladyhawke has already seen impressive international success, from an array of awards from home country New Zealand (racking up six wins in the New Zealand Music Awards) and its neighbor Australia (collecting two ARIAs) as well as multiple nominations globally, from Brit Awards to MTV Australia and MTV Europe Awards. Her songs have been featured in numerous commercials, and she has had albums chart in both New Zealand and Australia.
Before starting her Ladyhawke project, Brown was a member of a couple different bands, like Two Lane Blacktop, which she was a lead guitarist in from 2001 to 2003, and Teenager through 2006, where she gained enough confidence to pursue those Ladyhawke dreams. She grew up in a musical family, with her mother also being a singer and guitarist and her stepfather playing jazz drums, and she was a member of a few grunge bands throughout college.
In addition to making music, Brown is also an avid gamer, and has recently become a regular streamer on Twitch, an interactive way for her to connect with fans in a new way.