My personal style signifier really depends on the day, because my style depends on my mood. If you were to ask someone else though, they would probably point out that you’ll always catch me wearing heels. I can wear them 12 hours a day and not even bat an eyelid. My feet can take anything – it’s my superpower!
A place I can not wait to go back to is southern Albania. I went for two weeks last summer and the beauty there is unmatched. The water is the same as Greece, and the food is amazing. I’m trying to get as many people to go out to Albania and Kosovo as possible: I want to change their perspective on what these places are like. Our festival Sunny Hill is happening again in Kosovo in August this year, and then I’ll be going back to Albania for sure.
My style icon is Kristen McMenamy. Her Versace campaign from 1993 [where Kristen is holding Naomi Campbell piggyback] inspired my video for “New Rules”. I’ve made friends with Kristen now, and she is just as fabulous in real life. She loves to dance, she tells all kinds of funny jokes; she’s just a big bright ball of light. Stunning!
The last thing I bought and loved was Pink Pong natural wine from Yard in Paris. It’s a wine bar and restaurant founded by my friend Clovis, who is passionate about natural wine. Something like Pink Pong is a bit fruitier and lighter – this one is a red / white blend. I’ll definitely be recommending Yard in my new newsletter, Service95, which gives you tips on where to go and what to do all over the world. 6 Rue de Mont-Louis75011 Paris
There are two books I’ve read in the past year that I’d recommend: the first is Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. As women we’re often taught to shy away from our sexuality and our desires, so having her write about sexual experiences so openly was really interesting. Also, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara had me blubbering like a baby. She has that ability to make you feel things I did not know you could feel.
The best gift I’ve given recently is an astrology reading to friends. Sometimes when they’re having a wobble, or they just need a bit of guidance, a bit of astrology really helps. It’s a kind of reassurance, often telling you things that you already know – but having them confirmed is always nice. I have this lovely astrology reader, Rosie, and I always pass her number on and say: “This session’s on me.” I’m a Leo, but Libra rising and Cancer moon, so I’m a nice mix of all kinds of things. I’m tough when it comes to the Leo thing, especially in my work, but then I’ll cry, because I’m Cancer, so I’m also very sensitive.
I have a huge collection of mugs. Recently I was at an airport in Helsinki where there’s a Moomin shop full of mugs, and I felt like I needed every single one. I remember buying one on my first writing trip to Stockholm; another favorite one is from Colette [the former Paris boutique]. I do like an extra-large-sized mug, because I love my tea.
In my fridge, you’ll find an extensive collection of hot sauces. I’m really big on condiments in general: I’ll have everything from vegan mayo to normal mayo to mint sauce. Basically, I’m a very “saucy gal”. And then there’s a Balkan pepper paste called Ajvar, made from chopped peppers, which is also delicious. I always have spicy peppers and feta cheese because mixed up, on toast, it makes for an extravagant but banging breakfast. I also put face masks in the fridge, because it’s always nice to have a cold one when you wake up in the morning – I love the Sarah Chapman ones. And I just discovered you can put beauty rollers in there too. There’s no better feeling than rolling one all over your face after you’ve put your face cream on: it’s great for de-puffing. Oh, and lemony desserts. Basically, it’s all fun things in my fridge. It’s always got a little bit of an edge.
I’ve just rediscovered pajamas. I’ve always enjoyed nightwear, but preferred nighties until I recently bought some yellow silk pajamas from Miu Miu and now I’m in love. They’re super-cute in bed, but I’ve worn them out with trainers, a hat and a jacket.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a skirt by Chopova Lowena. I love discovering new designers, especially British talent, and this brand duo is just so cool. They make these gorgeous pleated skirts that are so fun and unique: you look at them and immediately recognize that it’s their work. farfetch.com
I could never do without my lyric notebook – I take it everywhere. On my past couple of albums I did so much of my writing on my phone – I was on it too much. So I decided for my last album to handwrite everything from the very beginning, just to have it all in one place. Now if I think of a concept or a little poem, I write it down. The notebook itself is just from CVS – it’s nothing special – but I’ve drawn all over it, and it’s gone a little bit yellow and looks worn and used.
An indulgence I would never forgo is the leek focaccia and green garlic butter at Lilia, a restaurant in Brooklyn that I absolutely love. It’s insane: you order it as a starter at the beginning of the meal, and you’re like, “Jeez, I can not believe I have to eat pasta after this.” But you do anyway, because that’s also to die for. They also do amazing breadcrumb clams, and gelato with olive oil. But this garlic butter … If someone were to ask me, “What does heaven look like?” it’d be a swimming pool of green garlic butter, and me in it, with a mountain of leek focaccia on the side where every day I just take a little piece and dip it in. 567 Union AvenueBrooklyn, NY 11222
An object that I would never part with is a vintage diamond ring that Elton John gave me. Last year Elton invited me to sing at his Aids Foundation’s Oscars pre-party, and before we performed together I got invited to his room to hang out. It was already a major pinch-me moment, and then he said he wanted to give me something special that belonged to him, and he produced this gorgeous gold band ring with a diamond on it. I never take it off – I feel like it brings me luck.
I never leave the house without my brown lipstick. Every single type of lipstick that you will find in my house, in my make-up bag, wherever, is just different shades of brown. I feel like it brings out my features: when I can not really be bothered with make-up, all I need is face cream and brown lippy and I leave the house. I’ve used all sorts, but there’s currently a brown lip gloss, Affair, from Lisa Eldridge, my make-up artist in London, that I love. I just feel like brown lippy represents me – I do not know why. I can not live without it!
An artist I’d love to collect is George Condo. I probably first came across his work when he did the cover for Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. I also have two little Keith Haring tattoos on my thumbs – I’ve long had this attachment to New York’s Lower East Side and the art scene there. I thought: well, I can not afford the art, so I might as well put it on my body. So I’ve got the classic Haring figures, one on each – they’re like my dancing thumbs.
I get my best ideas when I’m hungover. I think it’s because you have no inhibitions: you’re not trying so hard to get the best word to fit the story and so on. It’s all free-flowing. I loved that movie Another Round, which talks about how if you have 0.05 per cent alcohol in your blood, life is so much better. Well, they turn into alcoholics, so I would not recommend anybody follow that. But it’s true that it’s good to not overthink things.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is a framed butterfly from Jakarta. When I’m touring, I always like to get out and do some touristy things: I do not like the feeling of having been somewhere and only seen the inside of an arena. In Jakarta, I found this butterfly in a shop – it’s called a Papilio ulysses, a beautiful large blue-and-black swallowtail. I loved the audience in Jakarta – they were so receptive and lovely.
My favorite app is Insight Timer, for meditation. I use it every night. After a busy day, I like to wind down with something like a body scan or an affirmation. It just slows me right down and puts me into a deeper sleep. I need it because I have a really overactive brain. Sometimes I could stay up all night, being like, “Oh, I have to finish this, and I have to message this person…” I need to shut off completely, and the app really helps. It grounds me.
The best gift I’ve received recently is an infrared face light, from my mum. You can fold it into your suitcase and take it with you, which is handy because I’m always traveling. Before bed, I lie down and I pretty much sleep under it. It has this really relaxing, warming feeling, and I see a difference in my skin: I do not break out as much. celluma.co.uk
My wellbeing gurus depend on where I am – wherever I go, I like to exercise. It’s vital for my mental and physical health. One of my favorite places is Gotham Gym in New York – I love to go boxing there. I do hot Pilates in LA with my teacher Sora who’s also incredible. Then there’s my yoga teacher Chau, who sometimes comes with me on tour or trains with me in LA. But when I do not have those people around, my two close friends also do amazing workout classes online: Sculpt by Ella and Body by Bunny. Those are really great when I’m on the road.