I want to perch Margot up on my right hand shoulder! Like in the old Disney cartoons when a character is battling their conscience and the devil sits on one side, laughing maniacally into the confused character’s ear, whilst on the other side a beautiful angel twangs away on a harp, whispering what is right into the other ear. Margot would be my angel! With her white blonde hair and giant, beautiful, blue Japanimation eyes she certainly looks the part and being that she is perfectly pint sized, she wouldn’t cause too much damage up there either! But it is her attitude to life, her passion and self-discipline, that makes me want her up there (on my shoulder) more than anything. Having walked around for most of my life with the smug street limp of someone thinking they have ample amounts of the latter two, it was a little jarring to discover that, in comparison to Margot, my efforts were more akin to that of a Ritalin riddled nine year old! From the age of four Margot has willingly practiced violin for eight hours a day. It is a discipline and passion that she still keeps up with, writing and playing new music from sun up to sun down in her small east village apt until nighttime arrives, whereupon she joins forces with her band mate Mia Moretti and together they become The Dolls. These beautiful ladies of the night see Mia dj-ing mega dance tunes, while Margot stands front and centre stage accompanying the mixing and scratching with her violin. Always meticulously dressed and looking super cute, she dives into the music, throwing herself and her violin around the stage, her performance vacillating between energetic ecstasy to a trance like state.
Their work eventually caught the attention of a certain mega star and this summer The Dolls found themselves touring around Asia as the opening act for Katy Perry. From Japan to Indonesia to Singapore to Hong Kong they travelled from show to show and then as if that was not enough, threw in some after shows as well.. Naturally I asked Margot what Katy Perry was like, she was of course, awesome.. More interestingly though she said that after each show Katy did not intricately dissect her performance rather she just let it go. It was in the past, time to move on. So much healthier, what’s done is done there is absolutely nothing you can do about it so why worry about it, like Katy says… “the story’s over now, the end..”
As with all people creative though Margot too gets her blocks, but rather than distracting herself by surfing the web for things she really doesn’t need, or scrolling with increasing annoyance thru Instagram, she instead goes inwards for inspiration and connects with the most important tool of creativity, our most precious commodity that we should all try and hang on to with all our might…….her inner child…..When lightning fails to strike Margot grabs her favorite beautiful clothes and dresses up like a fairytale princess, floating around her apt in tiaras et al, full face of make up, the shoes, the works. Playing like a child ignites even the most stagnant of pools…I use to be a stylist many moons ago and still have a draw full of dress up, so I thought I would try this out while writing this intro. Which is why I now find myself sitting here at my desk with a short black wig perched on top of my long blonde locks, a fisherman’s hat precariously balanced on top of the wig, yellow tinted Terry Richardson glasses and a pipe clenched between my teeth. Do I feel inspired? Well when I take the pipe
out of my mouth and tap it against my bottom lip while staring off into space, as if in deep, deep thought, I feel somewhat like an old Oxford professor, so let’s see what that brings us…
So how does a rock star violin player start her day? Oh you know like most of us mere mortals she grinds her own almonds to make almond milk before throwing the pulp away into her compost which she keeps beneath the sink. After that she wipes down the sides with cleaning fluid that she made at home out of vinegar and lemon and all things non-toxic. From there she will breathe into some meditation before tootling off to the local farmers market to buy organic fresh food. Along the way she may see some furniture or clothes that catch her eye, but they will most likely only make it home with her if they are vintage. Are you beginning to see now why I want her sitting up on my angel shoulder. But before you gasp in wonder at how anyone can be so good, you should know that this bad ass angel has a little bit of the devil running thru dem veins. Nights vanish into creative blurs while mornings appear out of nowhere and she’ll often just disappear off the grid for weeks on end to find herself again. Lubricating these adventures is the devilish rogue godfather of creativity, the amber “liquid sunshine” of whiskey. There is something about women drinking whiskey that I think demands respect, with just a little sprinkling of intimidation. I have tried to be one of those Ava Gardner, “I want to die with a cigarette in one hand and a whiskey in the other” types, but I can’t seem to get past the first few sips before the rooms starts spinning and there ain’t nothing cute about a lady (or gent) that can’t hold their whiskey!
Speaking of liquid sunshine that reminds me that by the time I post this, Fall will be encroaching on us, a thought which depresses me to the point of bridge jumping!
But one thing that could keep me from the edge is the release of Margot’s yet to be named debut solo album. I got to listen to her play the violin while I photographed her, it was fairly tale magical, you could see the elves sprinkling their dust over the world. This album will be the sound track to the how I’m gonna get thru this winter, it will be what is playing as I dive into my dress up box to hide from the grey chill in a sea of childish creativity… this fashionista fisherman that sits here writing to you now is just the beginning. Roll on winter let the games begin….
Who is Margot?
Margot is a singer, composer and classically trained violinist. She dreams in black and white, travels with pen and paper, and keeps a wild heart.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I picked up the violin when I was 4 and nothing else has crossed my mind since.
How did you get to be where you are?
I moved to New York City after high school with my violin and a suitcase. I didn’t know one person when I moved there. Every night I would sneak into venues in downtown Manhattan or wait outside and ask bands if they needed a violinist. Eventually my name got passed around and I started getting hired to arrange and record strings for pop sessions. A couple of years later I met DJ Mia Moretti and we formed a band together called The Dolls.
If you could go back in time and give your 16-year-old self some advice what would it be?
Learn a language and take some dance lessons. Don’t stress, you’ll still be living on the road in 10 years.
If the cupboard in your bedroom would lead you to another world what would your Narnia look like?
A room scattered with upright pianos. Cases and cases of sheet music and an orchestra ready to try out what I’ve been writing. No furniture but a few rugs and lamps. A stove to make coffee, a cupboard full of whiskey and wine and a landline so friends and lovers can call to say they’re coming over. I’m sure there would be some puppies there too.
By day you are a …..? By night you are…..?
What was one of your favorite past projects?
From performing inside the Guggenheim and the Louvre to recently opening up for Katy Perry for the Asia leg of her Prismatic World Tour, I’ve had some pretty incredible experiences touring with The Dolls.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on my debut solo record and will be releasing my first single Isn’t She Lovely this fall. I’ve also been writing a piece for orchestra and solo violin.
What do you dream of happening in the future?
Every morning when I wake up, I turn on the radio to the local classical music station. My dream is to one day have my own program on a classical station. Growing up, I remember loving to hear the woman talk in between the pieces and give the history behind each piece; sometimes she would even share what the piece meant to her. That’s the dream.
What song do you love that you keep secret cause its too embarrassing to say publicly you like it?
I don’t think any music is embarrassing; but some of my favorite guilty pleasures are listening to 90s film soundstracks, especially “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Romeo and Juliet” (Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation).
Which version of Missing you do you prefer Stings or Puff Daddy and Faith Evans?
Puff Daddy and Faith Evans. That said, I’ve got to admit I had no idea Sting could play the upright bass.
Are you a morning person or night person?
I try not to allow my body to believe in space or time. Some days I’m up at 7am, other days I’m just going to bed then.
Any advice for peeps just starting out?
Be you. Be kind.
Is there a quote or mantra you live by?
“The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things.” – G. K. Chesterton