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To be a fan of something is a wonderful thing. It’s sort of what we do for a living here at THE FACE. Be excited about people in the hope that you will be, too. And few people inspire excitement like this issue’s three cover stars.
Take Beabadoobee. Despite releasing her debut album just weeks before the UK went into its second lockdown, the 21-year-old indie star has managed to build a fanatical following: one that walks like her, talks like her and dresses like her. As writer Emma Garland notes, Bea’s style “embraces today’s environmentally-conscious looks, while taking inspiration from the archives of legendary Tokyo street fashion mag FRUiTS”. And Bea received her own fan moment when FRUiTS’ 67-year-old founder, Shoichi Aoki, flew to London to shoot her for this cover story (safe to say Shoichi became a fan of Bea, too – watching the two of them hang out on set possibly being the sweetest moment of making the issue).
Then there’s Tems, the Nigerian superstar whose famous fans include Drake, Justin Bieber, Adele and former US President Barack Obama. As Olive Pometsey writes in her interview with the singer: “Afrobeats is now just as much of a part of wider British music culture as it is a cornerstone of West African immigrants’ heritage.” And judging by the roof-raising when Tems joined Wizkid to perform their Grammy- nominated collab, Essence, at London’s O2 last December, the 26-year-old is the scene’s most exciting prospect – with a red-hotly- anticipated debut album due this summer.
Last but not least, we have Manchester City footballer Jack Grealish. Has there been an English player since Beckham that has transcended the game quite so much? In the unbeatable words of TJ Sidhu: “Tough blokes think he’s alright, the girls and gays hold up ‘Mrs Grealish 69’ signs and follow Instagram pages dedicated to his legs and arse. The rest only think he’s one of the most naturally gifted talents to have run out for his country since Gazza.” If the office’s swooning reaction to his cover story, shot by Alasdair McLellan, is anything to go by, it’s fair to say Jack has a few fans at THE FACE HQ, too.
Yours, a fan of it all.
Matthew Whitehouse, Editor