Getting Candid With St. Beauty, Wondaland’s Soothing Songbirds
There’s something extremely rewarding about watching Alex Belle and Isis Valentino—professionally known as the singer-songwriter duo, St. Beauty—slip out of character. Or rather, slip into their true selves. On a mild January day, rain is pouring down outside the brick walls of their Brooklyn Airbnb, rented for their packed week of New York promo for Running from the Sun, their debut EP. Within the trendy, cozy space, Alex and Isis, chicly clothed, professionally field questions about the genesis of the project’s 10 tracks from the comfort of a suede grey couch. Alex, an assumed perfectionist, apologizes for stumbling over a few words during the first few video takes. Isis’ responses are both full and diplomatically delivered.
However, once one question unravels the tense thread of natural nerves that come with sitting in front of a camera, hearty laughter ensues. With that fissure of discomfort gone, the warmth and playfulness of their true personalities start to shine. Occasionally, slivers of Southern twang slip into conversation when the anecdotes come tumbling out. (Listening to Isis recount a South African aviation excursion is gold).
The Wondaland Records duo hails from Stone Mountain, the Georgia hometown bearing the same name as one of Running to the Sun’s strongest moments. “I dont have the time to be wasting/What lies ahead is worth it, I’m patient/Head up in the clouds while I’m climbing/Won’t let nobody block what I’m chasing,” Alex and Isis sing ethereally on “Stone Mountain,” voices gift-wrapped in production made alongside Jon Jon Traxx. Here, they grapple with feelings of inadequacy, doubt, accountability, vulnerability and overcoming them all as they advance closer to where they are destined to go.
Aside from purely visceral dilemmas, the young women use their breezy, at time bouncy, brand of R&B to breath life into life’s most common folds—love, friendship, intimacy, self-reflection—with songs like “Borders,” “Not Discuss It,” “Tides,” “Lucid Dreams” and more. Watch along as they not only unpack their tracklist, but as they open up about the dynamic of the Wondaland family, overcoming fear and who makes the best macaroni and cheese in the kitchen.
Video by Jason Chandler