“People wonder why there’s always a massive gap between my albums,” says Pip Brown, better known as Ladyhawke, the one-woman synth-pop act from New Zealand. The reason is both complicated and easy. The simple explanation: “I’ve never released anything I’m not proud of. That’s important to me. I don’t want to release anything that I have a weird feeling about.”
Those instincts have served Brown well, starting with her self-titled debut in 2008, which peaked at No. 16 on the U.K. album charts and No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand’s album charts. It won Australia’s ARIA music awards for Best Breakthrough album and Best Breakthrough Single. Brown also took home six New Zealand music awards and was nominated for The Brits’ much coveted Best International Artist.
Her first album’s joyous, ’80s-electrified breakout singles, “Paris Is Burning” and “My Delirium,” made an impact Stateside as well, sound-tracking Ugly Betty, CSI: Miami, Top Gear, and other shows. (An avid gamer who devotes one tour suitcase to her PlayStation and its paraphernalia, Brown credits early videogames for “sparking my love of electronic music.”) “My Delirium” likewise vaulted up New Zealand’s and Australia’s Top 10 singles chart (it was also certified platinum in the latter country) and hit No. 33 in the U.K. Three years later, Ladyhawke’s more aurally angular follow-up, Anxiety, yielded the stand-out, synch-friendly single, “Blue Eyes.” Like its predecessor, the album charted in the U.K.’s Top 40 and in Australia’s and New Zealand’s Top 20, respectively.