ROLLACOASTER MAGAZINE: EMERGING TALENT: FASHION & MUSIC. AW19 COMING SOON!

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MORGAN SAINT

In typical millennial fashion, I’m in the midst of a deep insta stalk. A different type of “research” to the usual Tinder inquest, I’m diving into the visual world of pop’s latest phenomenon, Morgan Saint.

Photography by FINN CONSTANTINE

Styling by JESSICA GARDENER

Words by ROSIE BYERS

Suit by TOPSHOP

“If you were to look at my Instagram two years ago, you wouldn’t have seen any pictures of me,” she smiles. Not something you’d expect to hear from the girl dubbed as pop music’s next starlet, but after chatting with Saint for a few minutes, I’m not too surprised by this admission at all. “It was always photos of other people who I’d style and shoot,” she continues. “That was my outlet for creating.”

I’m currently grabbing half an hour with the latest singing sensation before she’s ushered into an Uber bound for the airport, then back to America after a busy two-day stint in London. I’ve already thoroughly delved through the archives of the Instagram page in question: a dark aesthetic masterpiece reflective of the melancholic pop tunes she now uses as her main output of creativity. “People always ask, ‘who curates your Instagram?’” She laughs, accepting that not many of us have the eye for perfecting the ‘gram. “I don’t even really do it consciously, I just make art.”

Despite her unassuming nature, it’s clear that the 24-year-old is fiercely independent about her work: Saint writes her own songs, directs her own videos and styles herself whenever possible. But far from betraying any early signs of divadom, her incentive stems from a firm assurance in her identity as an artist. “I’m quiet, but I have a very strong opinion on who I am and what I want things to feel like,” she explains. “I want it all to be as cohesive as possible.”

Having studied Illustration with Photography and Graphic Design at New York’s prestigious Parsons School of Design, the Staten Island native’s got all the right credentials to take the lead on the visual side of things. For her final thesis she created a book of photographs paired with poems, a project that translates perfectly into making music videos. “I’m just as much a visual artist as I am a musical artist,” she insists, detailing that to create a compelling story, the words, images and sound should “go seamlessly together, they need to be together.”

Jackets by TOMMY HILFIGER X URBAN OUTFITTERS and MIHARAYASUHIRO, t-shirt by URBAN OUTFITTERS, jeans by MIHARAYASUHIRO and boots by JESSIE WESTERN

True to her philosophy, Saint even created visuals to accompany her recent cover of Cardi B’s “Thru Your Phone”. Her version reworked the hard-hitting rap verses into mellow, shimmery, pop and - given that it pretty much went viral - it’s fair to say she pulled it off. “It was a challenge for me!” She laughs. “Obviously we’re totally different artists, we couldn’t be more opposite on the spectrum.” Still, Saint’s quick to emphasise that she only makes music she genuinely enjoys and connects with: “I really related to the song, it was beautifully written. And Cardi B’s really funny. I relate to her honesty a lot.”

Honesty is paramount for Saint, especially when it comes to writing. In contrast to the diluted lyrics that characterises a lot of pop music, she’s committed to complete vulnerability in hers. “I want to create music that’s super catchy, but still has a lot of substance in the story,” she affirms. “I’m writing about really personal aspects of my life, so I hope that translates.” In turn she’s earned a community of fans who genuinely resonate with her, but I get the sense that fame is something she’s still getting her head around. Clearly flattered by the volume of messages she receives, she describes a feeling of disconnect from the number of people identifying with her. "It almost doesn’t click,” she muses. “I guess that’s the goal, it’s just a little surreal that it’s actually happening.”

Her quiet confidence makes it easy to forget that Saint only recently made the transition from writing poetry in her bedroom to penning pop songs. With the successful “17 HERO” EP already under her belt and a debut album lined up for release this autumn, I wonder why the past year felt like the right time to take her music public? “I think I was just ready. I’m the most comfortable with myself I’ve ever been; it’s a very liberating feeling.”

As the Uber pulls up and I’m back to scrolling through her Instagram, gushing comments from fans make it clear she’s paving the way for other young girls to feel exactly that way too.

T-shirt by URBAN OUTFITTERS, jeans by MIHARAYASUHIRO

Suit by TOPSHOP

T-shirt by URBAN OUTFITTERS, jeans by MIHARAYASUHIRO and boots by JESSIE WESTERN

Jacket by MIHARAYASUHIRO

Hair by ASAHI SANO using BUMBLE AND BUMBLE

Makeup by REBEKAH LIDSTONE at STELLA CREATIVE ARTISTS using GOLDFADEN MD

With thanks to INDRA STUDIOS

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