Domino Kirke, Singer

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'I moved to the States from London when I was 12 years old. My father was in a band and wanted to tour, so we moved here, but it wasn't until I moved to Williamsburg and had my son that I felt like I finally belonged. I grew up always around music through my father—I would play in music studios with him as I was growing up—and my high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. I loved it, but I felt so English and not New York. It was a really competitive and gratifying experience. If you started flunking math they would tell you that you weren’t going to sing. It was good training for the hustle. It taught us that when we get out of there we would have to fend for ourselves. I was in every choir chamber, like gospel, jazz…I was learning all the languages. By the time I came out of there I was such a trained singer that I had to almost untrain myself. I had a really good voice, I could read music, but the problem was I didn't even like music anymore! I didn’t want to play it, I didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t want to go to a show. I took a break, went to college, and kicked around for another year. Then I decided I would play some shows. Of course. I ended up trying on the whole 'rock outfit' thing. I had a band for three years called Domino with Mark Ronson. I was like that 'performer front woman,' and I just hated that trope. I think I'm more of a team player than that. Now, I'm releasing an EP with Luke Temple called Independent Channel.

I put on a little bit more makeup when I perform. I have friends who tease me about it. They’re like, 'You’re under lights. People are coming to hear you sing, so why not put on some lipstick?' and I’m like, 'That’s not me!' I’m growing into it. I have a very bizarre relationship with makeup. For so long, I just wanted to match how I felt and wear no shoes and not care about my appearance. Having a baby and listening to your body, in the sense of not caring about how big you're getting or about your hormonal breakouts because you're building a person, did that to me. For a few years I was overly aware of it, but now I am somewhere between the two.

If I could play up just one thing, it would probably be my eyes. Lashes as far as I go and the only makeup I really use is mascara. I'm not super picky about brands. Right now I'm using Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara. I use it in Sierra Brown during the day and Black at night. Lipstick just makes me feel like I can’t talk, like I am going to suffocate—like I’ve been locked in a cupboard and can’t get out. I'm so aware of it. I did go through a bit of a lip liner phase as I was obsessed with Mary J. Blige. I wore really intense lip liner—that was it. No filler, just lip liner. But then, I'd always reach a point where I'd be like, 'OK, that’s enough.' Now I’ll put black mascara on and make sure my skin doesn’t feel like cardboard and call it a day.

I have chronic dry skin. I went to a dermatologist and found out it was more about hydration, like drinking water. I was putting on the most expensive, thick, goopy stuff, but it just wasn’t sticking. I feel best when my skin is soft. Right now, I'm only using products from One Love Organics—I use the Morning Glory Caffeinated Firming Serum during the day, Oh Mega Calming Chia Oil at night, and the Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum over my body. It smells so subtle and kind of like a baby, which I love.

When I’m not doing music, I work in hospitals a lot. I’m a labor coach and doula—I assist women through childbirth, so I am there for the whole experience of labor. I had my son and loved it…well, I had the worst experience ever but then realized that I love it and wanted to find a way to be more of service. Midwives are about the natural process. As a doula, I'm more there for mental, physical, and emotional support for a laboring mom. It’s really intense. I have moms who put on a little bit of deodorant before the baby comes out, but I’m just like, why? All that B.O. is good for the baby. Babies want to smell their mom when they come out—not like a stranger. Though I have found a good substitute for smelling like that when you're not in labor, and it's my favorite scent in the world— Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. I wear it every single day, now. It reminds me of the time when I had my son. It’s really intense.”

—as told to ITG

Domino Kirke photographed by Tom Newton in New York on May 8, 2015.