Ahead of her ‘Rising’ EP party, the musician breaks down her signature make-up look and why she’d bodyswap with a mermaid dragon
Greentea Peng’s sound is as distinctive as her look – track after dreamy track of soulful, languid lyrics with cosmic, self-love and city-centric themes, layered over experimental instrumentals. After dropping her first EP Sensi last year, a charming breather to mainstream hits, the London-born, singer-songwriter (real name Aria) worked this year’s festival circuit and appears in a new adidas Originals tracksuit campaign.
From face to ankle, Greentea Peng’s skin is a glowing canvas for her extensive and still-growing tattoo collection. Spiritual symbols, decorative animals, bold lines, key words, and an elaborate skull dagger running down the centre of her chest. “Some of them are thought out, some are quite unconscious or just for fun,” the 24-year-old explains. “My most recent tattoo is the throat chakra symbol on my throat to remind me to always sing.”
Earlier this month, the singer-songwriter dropped another EP Rising, hence the party and headline show at Hootenanny Brixton tonight (Nov 8). “I sing my words over nice sounds and I’m very grateful to get to share it with everyone these days,” she says. “I have a magical band called The Banana Klan and we just hope to spread the vibration. It’s wicked and I do it because I love it.”
Here, Greentea Peng talks us through the inevitability of her music career, loving lashes and lip liner, and the song she’d play hostile aliens.
What’s your earliest beauty related memory?
Greentea Peng: Watching my mum apply her lipstick. She’d always do it with a brush and I loved it but I prefer a gloss. I’ve been obsessed with lip gloss for as long as I can remember.
What is it you do and why do you do it?
Greentea Peng: I sing my words over nice sounds and I’m very grateful to get to share it with everyone these days. I have a magical band called The Banana Klan and we just hope to spread the vibration. It’s wicked and I do it because I love it.
How did you get into it?
Greentea Peng: I’ve always sung and loved music. I came away from it for a while but it’s what I’m meant to do ultimately, hopefully forever. My family are all big music lovers and my dad encouraged my singing a lot as a child.
“Beauty is becoming more of a nature-orientated thing. I make my own bits or buy organic natural stuff off a guy on the market. While I do enjoy wearing a bit of make-up, my favourite thing is to get my eyelashes done with my girl Oona Beauty”– Greentea Peng
How do you tell stories and assert your identity through your tattoos?
Greentea Peng: Some of them are thought out, some are quite unconscious or just for fun. I love tattoos and don’t think I’m consciously trying to tell a story but maybe subconsciously they do. My most recent tattoo is the throat chakra symbol on my throat to remind me to always sing.
What does beauty mean to you, and what are your go-to products?
Greentea Peng: Beauty is becoming more of a nature-orientated thing. I make my own bits or buy organic natural stuff off a guy on the market. While I do enjoy wearing a bit of make-up, my favourite thing is to get my eyelashes done with my girl Oona Beauty. I love a lash. Other than that it’s a strict lip liner – I can’t go anywhere without it which is a problem.
Who’s beauty look have you stolen for better or worse?
Greentea Peng: I don’t know if I’ve stolen anyone’s to be honest, the whole beauty regime thing is not that deep for me. I guess I could have adopted the lip liner addiction from my mum. I like oils for my body and hair and a bit of light make-up, that’s it.
You have to replace your body with that of an animal or a mythological creature. What do you go for and why?
Greentea Peng: A mermaid or a dragon definitely. Maybe a mermaid dragon if that’s a thing. I love to smoke and breathe fire and I wish I was a better swimmer as I’d love to explore the ocean. Mermaids are also very buff.
Tomorrow you wake up with another face of your choice. Whose is it and why?
Greentea Peng: Who knows man, that’s a dangerous question. I’d just prefer to wake up with certain improvements to my own face, it’s quite nice that we all look different.
You encounter a hostile alien race with an inability to see colour, while sound is their only mechanism for communication. What would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race?
Greentea Peng: I think I would play “Red Rolled and Seen’’ by Finley Quaye because they would understand it.
What is the future of beauty?
Greentea Peng: Self-love, acceptance, and love, in general, makes everything more beautiful.