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Your First Look at Daphne Guinness' New Music Video

The extraordinary fashion icon unveils her new track, The Long Now and announces the release of her upcoming debut album

The Honourable Daphne Guinness is no stranger to outlandish self-expression. At 48, the English-Irish heiress, designer and muse – with an affinity for frock-coats, heel-less platforms and dandified haute couture – has spun a rarefied legacy by wearing clothes in such masterful, magical ways that she's become an art genre of her own accord. Though fashion continues to play a powerful melody in Guinness’ world, her focus has shifted of late, allowing her passion for music to take precedence. “I was always a musician,” states Guinness. “Music was my first love, I wanted to be a musician above and beyond all else. I had gained a place at the Guildhall School of Music before my marriage and everything else took hold,” she adds.

Watching Guinness perform in the sparky, attitude-laden video to the preview track The Long Now from her debut album Optimist in Black, there's little doubt that she exudes the energy, confidence and conviction of a glorified rock veteran. From the satisfyingly biting lyrics (amplified by her acerbic annunciation of t-s and s-s), spontaneous melody and jagged guitar riffs, she looks, feels and sounds totally in her element. “Thank god I’m only really giving this a shot now, I would have had far too many hang-ups to do this when I was younger,” she confesses softly. “It feels like the right moment now – it’s been spontaneous. You know, David Bowie gave me the confidence to do this. Him and Tony [Visconti] said ‘you are very good at writing songs’, which absolutely meant the world to me. So, here I am.”

Below, Guinness reveals the inspiration behind The Long Now and sounds off on her formative musical education, David Bowie and her upcoming debut album, which drops on May 27th, 2016.

On the inspiration behind The Long Now
“The song – like many songs of mine – is intrinsically personal and is about a relationship which has, frankly, [laughs] gone really bad. I don’t need to be in pain to write a song, but I was. Everyone’s been through it. It’s about being heartbroken again and again and then screaming: enough! It’s a reflection. Yes, it speaks to me, but it can mean so many things to many people.”

On creating the video for The Long Now
“The video was created in one night by the incredible [visual artist] Luca Pizzaroni, who is a dear friend of mine and David LaChapelle’s. It was completely spontaneous. I played him the song and then said to him ‘why don’t we just shoot it tonight’ and he agreed. We took to the streets of Manhattan and just did it! Luca just totally got it, he knew exactly what I wanted. And, well, the frocks and make-up all came together in a few hours. That was that!”

On working with the legendary Tony Visconti
“Without a shadow of a doubt, Tony is the best music producer alive. He really is. He really immerses himself in the project. If there’s something that someone else can’t do perfectly, he’ll just step up with a bass guitar or percussion. You cannot deny this man! He’s also very funny and discreet and cool, and has helped me put together the most incredible band. We had such fun.”

“I realised in the process of making music, that if you let yourself off the leash, you can really start kicking down the walls” – Daphne Guinness

On her big album debut
“I recorded Optimist in Black in Avatar Studios in New York. I can’t reveal too much, but I can say is that everything is absolutely real. I wanted people to feel like they were on a journey with me. There are real screams, real shouting, real 60s-inspired overtones. There hasn’t been an album that’s been made in this way since 1965. I realised in the process of making music, that if you let yourself off the leash, you can really start kicking down the walls, you know? Optimist in Black is also the name of the title track, which denotes this chapter of pain and well, mourning, in my life for my brother and two of my dearest friends [Ed’s note: Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow].”

On what prompted her to start making music
“The first song I ever wrote came from absolutely nowhere. When my brother died several years ago, I had set out to record a cover of a Bob Dylan song and the floodgates just sort of opened. My Irish record producer hung a microphone over my head and the first one just came out. Then slowly, I learned how to write a song!”

On her songwriting process
“I’ll start with a melody and an unplugged guitar, and then the words just come. Sometimes I start cutting up my diary and linking various words and phrases. I do have co-writers, who act as a sounding board for me.”

On her greatest musical influences
"Classical first. Wagner, Bach, Chopin. Then I would have to say The Doors and [David] Bowie – they are my biggest musical influences, and it was my admiration for Bowie that inspired me to get Tony [Visconti] on board to produce the album. I also love Iggy Pop, Robert Johnson, Lou Reed, The Sex Pistols and The Doors were huge influences on my sound. My music collection stops in the mid-80s [laughs] the 90s were a total fucking mystery to me."

Optimist in Black is due out via Agent Anonyme/Absolute on May 27th, 2016. Pre-order your copy here.