She'll sing. She'll bounce. She'll do both in style. Petite, pattern-loving firecracker Nora Patterson, 26, fronts Royal Teeth, the party-starting indie pop act that broke out in 2012 by signing to Dangerbird Records, launching a national tour and putting CNN in the band discovery business at South by Southwest music conference and festival in Austin, Texas. After turning heads at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this month, the band will release its full-length debut album, Glow, on August 13.
"We wanted it to have the same energetic vibe as our EP (2012's Act Naturally), but to sound more live," the Uptown resident says. "That was important to us, and I think it comes across. This one sounds more intimate."
From a tour van en route to Dallas, Patterson tells CUE about her fashion favorites, love of weird accessories and answers the question: "What's the best shoe for jumping up and down on a stage?"
I want to know if you can get away with wearing whatever you want because you're a redhead. Seems like that might mean that anything goes.
PATTERSON: I do like to mix and match a lot of things — different colors and patterns. But I also have to stay away from colors that clash with my hair.
Should I have said "ginger?" I think Americans are saying "ginger" now.
I do hear that, yeah (laughing). But I think the other concern as a performer is being too over the top. For stage clothes I look for things that are dramatic, but at the same time kind of understated. I like there to be some kind of intricate detail or a pattern that pops for photos.
Where in New Orleans do you like to shop?
Funky Monkey has great vintage pieces and jewelry. I'm really into necklaces and rings. I like weird things.
Where else do you get clothes?
Hattie Sparks. A friend of mine opened it over a year ago, and it carries a lot of great local designers. American Apparel is always good for the basics. I love their high-waisted disco pants. They're shiny, and I wear them on stage a lot. I have two pairs, but there are 10 different colors. I plan on collecting all of them.
Do you have a style icon?
Right now it is Annie Clark (St. Vincent). I've seen her a couple times now, and she's always classy but still catches your eye. That's what I try to do. Keep it classy.
How many outfits do you pack for a tour?
I have this trunk I bring. They call it the "caboodle." It was my old trunk I had at summer camp as a kid. I can pack about three months' of clothes in there. Also, I have another case just for shoes.
On stage your shoes have to be stylish but comfortable, right?
That has changed a lot over the years. I used to wear real fancy heels. But I jump around so much, and I'm just terrified of breaking an ankle, so now I wear boots or much smaller heels. Some of my favorites are these ones with spikes on them that are perfect. Basically, I like a dramatic shoe I can jump around in.
Last question. Say you're not touring, just out and about for the day in New Orleans. What do you put on?
Probably a maxi skirt and boots, or I wear skinny jeans all the time, too. Something very comfortable, but still put together. I never go out in sweats or anything. And then just a T-shirt with it. I love show shirts, actually. I have an Andrew Bird shirt I've just about worn out. My favorite is a Blonde Redhead shirt with a horse on it that my sister gave to me. Actually, I stole it from her. I don't think she realizes I still have it.