by Steven J. Horowitz
Photography by Miguel Starcevich
Styling by Dechel Mckillian
Pop misfit Porcelain Black is no one’s sweetheart. “I’ve got a genuine rock ‘n roll attitude, it’s not like I’m going to try to fucking be that girl. There’s a lot of wishy-washy shit out there – but whatevs,” giggles the 25-year-old. “I’m like, I will fucking drink your ass under the table, bitch! And walk a straight line. Whatchu gonna do about it?”
Her choice of rebellion: rock-tinged odes for outsiders. The Detroit, Michigan native (nee Alaina Beaton) sings as if straining through a maze of razorblades on “This is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like” the Lil Wayne-featuring single off her upcoming summer debut. Helmed by Lady Gaga’s production wingman RedOne, the album takes her split personality – “If Marilyn Manson and Britney Spears had a kid, it’d be me” – and funnels it into middle finger anthems that put the smackdown on conformity.
“Have fun, party, don’t take anything too seriously,” she advises, though drawing distinction. “Everything with me is balance, like my hair. Each piece is crazy – one is rock ‘n roll, drink like a motherfucker. But the other [represents] the important thing – that you’re a good person.”
Chalk it up to her humble beginnings, where she learned how to put the “fun” in dysfunction. Shook by her parents’ separation, she turned to teenage defiance. Porcelain was kicked out of two high schools in three months after she learned that her father – who schooled her in AC/DC and Led Zeppelin – was dying from cancer. He didn’t pass without leaving his mark. “I grew up in a super creative environment,” recalls Porcelain, who’d been writing songs since single digits. “He owned a hair salon and would, like, be playing guitar while hair was setting and shit.”
Coached on songwriting, the aspiring bad girl ditched 8 Mile (eulogized by “Rock City” tatted across her knuckles) at 18 and shipped off to Los Angeles. No one was feeling her swagger – “People who were just like, ‘Ugh’” – until a mutual friend introduced her to RedOne, who saw her vision.
“I was like, holy fuck, thank God somebody gets it,” says Porcelain of the Grammy-winning producer, who signed her to his 2101 Records last year. “There are just some people you work with that you just click with. I can’t describe it.”
The pair set to work on her pending debut, featuring her Weezy-assisted single that plays like a Courtney Love redux (appropriate, since the Hole front woman asked her to sing backup on her 2004 solo debut). Sharing the same manager, Wayne enlisted Porcelain to hop on his sold-out “I Am Music II” tour, putting her on the same bill as Nicki Minaj, Travis Barker and Rick Ross. Disregard the fact that she’s the token pop girl – she doesn’t really care what you think.
“It doesn’t matter what type of music you do. If it’s rap, if it’s country – especially with rap and rock ‘n roll – it feels like everything is intermixed together. Pop music is good music,” she says, blurring her own musical lines. “I’m not sure what else you’ll get from me but good music that’s honest and real and rock ‘n roll – and badass at the same time.”