FKA Twigs: The Dignity Of Relinquishing Control

Sometimes in life, there's extraordinary power in accepting the things you can't do anything about

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As an artist that is plainly disruptive of gender norms and traditional pop culture, who uses her lyrics to question sexuality, emotional freedom and power dynamics, FKA Twigs is widely considered a force of nature.

It seems peculiar then, that 'force' is a guest unwelcome in her regular vocabulary.

But that's FKA Twigs for you, she's nothing if not surprising.

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In our relatively brief conversation, the singer turns the tables on strength, power and what it means to have autonomy in your own life.

M3LL155X was as powerful visually as it was for its audio - with contortion, bondage, pregnancy and sex dolls all featuring and a controversial dialectic about eroticism in the abuse cycle. As an artist and singer, FKA Twigs is singularly in control of her own artistry.

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But for all the Madonnas, Naomis, Mariahs and Grace Joneses in the world, there is only a small, rare breed of woman who manages to retain full autonomy, on and off the stage, without being branded a diva.

'I don't really use any force,' she tells me, when I ask her if she's had to push hard to retain as much creative control over her work as she is famous for.

'I am not a forceful leader,' she goes on. 'I think I am a very gentle and encouraging leader and I think it's important to allow my collaborators to breathe.'

FKA Twigs wearing Tiffany and Co. City Hardwear collection jewellery in London

Standing to the side of the room, dwarfed by the giant wrecking ball sculpture that Tiffany & Co. had erected to celebrate their new City Hardwear collection, she cuts a diminutive figure. Striking, but fragile like a bird.

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There's nothing feeble, however, about pushing open the door for self-expression or bending the boundaries of what's normal or acceptable as a female artist.

You might think I'm making too much of her womanness as, in many ways, its a crude portrait of the FKA Twigs identity. I'd argue, though, that gender is at the crux of what FKA Twigs does.

Hanging from the ceiling trussed up in black bondage ropes, as she does in 'Pendulum,' or lying in submission on a bed with the body of a sex doll as she does in the video for M3LL155X - FKA Twigs is inexorably wedded to the public perception of womanhood, coercion, the body and its limitations. It's a lens through which she challenges you to view her.

Behind the scenes, she chooses not to experience her gender as an obstacle, perhaps because it would encourage others to think that it is. 'Obviously there are people who will create problems. There will always be issues and you could say it could be down to gender, but it could also be down to their ego. I don't think it's always got anything to do with my being a woman, sometimes its just their own problems.'

Control is an issue that's been much picked over - the time she spoke to the Evening Standard about the potentially addictive quality of the abuse cycle has been much maligned.

But she speaks about it now with a stirring candour, admitting that there's actually enormous dignity in submitting to things outside of our own jurisdiction.

'I just work by this saying,' she says to me, 'which is: "In life, there's my business, there's your business and there's nature's business and the only thing I have control of, is my business."

She continues, 'So I don't need to worry about what you think or what you're doing. I don't need to worry about if it's going to rain or if a volcano is going to erupt, there is nothing I can do about it. The only thing I have control over is the way that I handle myself and my feelings.

'As soon as I do that it allows me to breathe and be myself.'

The Tiffany & Co. City Hardwear collection, featuring Lady Gaga is out now,here.

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