Occupation Singer, songwriter, musician
You’ve said your Great Aunt Lillian taught you how to be a lady. How so?
Just about etiquette, how to carry yourself. She imparted a lot of wisdom to me. She was a seamstress who worked for Filene’s for 30 or 40 years. I still have her sewing machine. She bought me my first suit. I was in 9th or 10th grade. I think she was looking ahead to college, interviews, that sort of thing.
You’re petite — 5 foot 2. How does that affect your style?
I’ve learned to embrace it. It gives me a lot of flexibility — with shoes, especially. I like simple, clean lines and adding a little flair with eye makeup and lip gloss and accessories. On stage, I don’t want to wear anything constricting. I like to keep it simple and memorable and fierce.
Your hair is gorgeous. Have you always worn it natural?
I cut all my hair off in 2007, and from then on I never put any chemicals in it. I always look back to powerful women, iconic women — [funk singer] Betty Davis, Pam Grier, Angela Davis, and of course my mother. She was like, “I wore my hair like that when you were born!” -- Hayley Kaufman
Interview has been condensed and edited. E-mail comments to email@example.com.