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Rebellious candor, existentialism, and friendship are at the crux of what drives and motivates songwriter, producer, and artist duo Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis. How the band came to be was a series of sliding door moments and necessity, with both women 5,000 miles apart during the pandemic and having their hearts broken again and again. Bonding over literature and lyrical precision, the name Tommy Lefroy was born out of Jane Austen's real life Mr. Darcy—the original 19th-century womanizer Thomas Langlois Lefroy—a man who broke the author's heart. The penny dropped when Mouzourakis and Bethel thought, "why can't we be the strong female lead and challenge literature's traditional role of the male character: the heartbreaker?" From meeting in Nashville in 2018 to continually crossing paths at house parties, when Mouzourakis went to see Phoebe Bridgers's supergroup Boy Genius play in her hometown of Vancouver, she watched in awe and thought, "I want this, I can do this." She posted a cover of their song "Ketchum, ID" on her Instagram story and Bethel responded, "Can we start a band?" Both strong and "laughably existential" female characters in their own lives, and together, a musical powerhouse with an enduring soul connection, Tommy Lefroy moved to London and released their first single "Northern Towns" in 2021, followed by highly praised debut EP Flight Risk.
Connecting with young female fans through perseverance, honesty, and lyrics that move you, make you cry and make you angry, the best friends have already won fans at NME, Apple, and now have over 1 Million monthly listeners on Spotify. But seeing the tangible effect their music has had on fans this summer at live shows has blown Bethel and Mouzourakis away, for a project that started over Zoom in a dark time when collective effervescence was taken away. With queues around the block for their performance at The Great Escape, Tommy Lefroy played their second London headline to a sold-out Lexington last month, with fans singing back every lyric from Flight Risk, and are set to perform at UK festivals this summer, including Barn On The Farm, Kendal Calling, and Secret Garden Party.
Built as an anchor to get them through the uncertainty of 2020, the project has felt like an act of rebellion against the constraints and expectations they had of themselves, derived from societal expectations of what it means to be a woman, especially in music. Capturing care-not independence in their lyrics and a do-all approach to their creative process, they find inspiration from unapologetic female storytellers like poet Anne Carson, as well as Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, and Phoebe Bridgers, and creative contemporaries Sharon Van Etten, Samia, and Haim. As multi-instrumentalists and producers, they excel in sonically experimenting with the details of the world around them—from samples of the tube in their new home city of London, to friends mid-laughter and clinking glasses around the kitchen table.
Haley Blais is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician who has been turning out song after song of defiant scream-into-your-pillow anthems. Her lyrics riff on the joys and banalities of every day, on the need to break apart and away from an uninspiring life, on radical acceptance, and on manifesting a world where you feel proud of yourself and who you're surrounded by.
"Canada's nostalgia pop queen" – I-D magazine.