shamir, kelela and novelist: meet the sound of 2015

Alasdair McLellan shoots three of today's most visionary musicians for our 35th Birthday Issue.

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Jun 3 2015, 12:25pm

Shamir Bailey

What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm a musician, I do it because I have to. 

Describe yourself in five words.
I don't know how. Languid? 

How did you start your career?
I sent my demos to a 30-year-old man in Bristol. 

What was your big break?
My first single If It Wasn't True. 

What are you working on at the moment?
Tucking a turtleneck into my jeans. 

What advice would you give young people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Don't lose sight of your dreams. 

We're celebrating the 35th Birthday Issue of i-D, when did you last celebrate and what was the occasion?
A friend's sister's birthday, yesterday. 

What excites you most about tomorrow?
The warmth of the West Coast. 

Tell us one thing that no one knows about you.
I lost my birth certificate. 

What's your party trick?
Snapchat.

Photography Alasdair McLellan, Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois. Hair Tina Outen at Streeters London. Make-up Maki Ryoke at Tim Howard Management using Tom Ford Beauty. Shamir wears blazer Paul Smith. Rollneck John Smedley. Nose ring model's own.

Kelela

What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm a singer and songwriter. I do it because it's healing.

Describe yourself in five words.
Content, talkative, thorough, connected.

How did you start your career?
I started by downloading tracks off MySpace, writing songs over them, and then sending them to their respective producers.

What was your big break?
I made a mix tape with some friends called Cut 4 Me that seemed to resonate with people.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm finishing up an album.

What advice would you give young people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell them to never stop. The universe only makes room for those who are ceaseless.

We're celebrating the 35th Anniversary Issue of i-D, when did you last celebrate and what was the occasion?
I celebrated my friend feeling better about herself the other day. We support each other's little strides, as well as big ones.

What excites you most about tomorrow?
That whatever I do, it will contribute to my fulfillment as an artist and it will pay my rent.

Tell us one thing that no one knows about you.
I used to be the best at a chi flat iron, I used to do hair.

What's your party trick?
STANDARDS (Nancy Wilson guess who I saw today that's the one).

Finish this sentence: 35 is the new
I might need the whole "25 is the new…""40 is the new…" thing to stop! Lol.

Photography Alasdair McLellan. Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois. Hair Tina Outen at Streeters London. Make-up Maki Ryoke at Tim Howard Mangement using Tom Ford Beauty. Kelela wears dungarees Rokit. Bra La Perla.

Novelist

What do you do and why do you do it?
Grime music, because I like the sound of it. 

Describe yourself in five words.
A legend in the making. 

How did you start your career?
On the block MCing. 

What was your big break?
Nothing. It don't stop till the casket drops. 

What are you working on at the moment?
Loads of tunes. 

What advice would you give young people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Take no advice. Go with your heart. Be happy. 

We're celebrating the 35th Birthday Issue of i-D, when did you last celebrate and what was the occasion?
Last night I had a party with my Gs, celebrating loyalty. 

What excites you most about tomorrow?
That I can bring an idea to life. 

Tell us one thing that no one knows about you.
I'm never gonna die. 

What's your party trick?
Smiling at girls. 

Photography Alasdair McLellan. Styling Max Clark. Hair Matt Mulhall at Streeters London. Make-up Hiromi Ueda at Julian Watson Agency using Sisley Skincare and Cosmetics. Novelist wears earring model's own.