Pulled From Print Music

Ultra-Private Musician 070 Shake Lifts the Curtain on Her Most Vulnerable Album Yet

070 Shake wears a suit by Gucci and vintage button-down from Palace costume.

The loamy funk that emerges from the earth after rain falls on dry ground is called petrichor. This substance stems from the spontaneous release of aerosols and oils trapped in soil that bursts upwards, champagne-like, when it meets water. 

The term has its roots in the Greek words petra (stone) and ichor (the golden fluid that ran through the veins of Greek gods and goddesses). Some researchers believe that humanity’s reliance on rain throughout history has cultivated an innate love of the aroma.

Petrichor is also what 070 Shake has named her newest project, which she just put the finishing touches on in Malibu. “It’s going to feel like a breath of fresh air,” the singer says of the forthcoming album, her third. “Petrichor is a feeling—the perfect word to describe this body of music.”

070 Shake wears a vintage jacket from Palace Costume, pants by Loewe, and shoes by Gucci.

Shake—who was given the name Danielle Balbuena at birth—associates the scent with her childhood in New Jersey. Her mother loved it, and would draw her awareness to its emergence every time the skies opened. The musician hopes that, when Petrichor is released this fall, people will welcome it like a burst of rain in a drought: “I hope they’re willing to take it in, to be thirsty and invigorated by it.”

Music has always been a technology for healing to Shake. "It’s a medicine in itself," the artist muses. "It heals the unseen, the brokenness in people. It’s one of the most powerful things we have." She credits music with saving her life on numerous occasions. “I know we’ve heard this before, but it’s true,” she asserts. “As a kid, it was the only thing that was talking to me … It still saves me to this day.” (She points to Kid Cudi and his aching, cynical lyrics as a particularly effective salve.) 

Soaking up Cudi, Jay-Z, and the neo-soul staples her sister played on repeat, Shake began layering poems over tracks found on YouTube as a teenager. Her early experiments found an audience on SoundCloud and landed her a contract with kingmaking label G.O.O.D. Music. A tour opening for the 1975, a debut EP with cult currency, and a feature on Kanye West’s 2018 album Ye followed. 

Soon enough, Shake’s hypnotic and haunting vocals were everywhere. Her first album Modus Vivendi—“a way of life” in Latin—crystallized her status as a voice for a lost, lovesick generation perpetually “in their feelings.” But throughout Shake’s rise, the artist herself has remained a mystery, her face often hidden by her hair, her vocals digitally obfuscated, her public appearances sporadic. 

With Petrichor, Shake is ready to be heard more clearly. The album is, in many respects, her most vulnerable—“less synth, more guitar, and less autotune,” she explains. To establish an unfiltered connection with her listeners, Shake tapped two longtime collaborators—composer Johan Lenox and writer/producer Dave Hamelin, who worked on her previous albums—to strip down the sound.

070 Shake wears jeans and hat by Acne Studios. T-shirt is stylist’s own. Below, left: 070 Shake wears a shirt and jacket by Loewe. Below, center images: 070 Shake wears a jacket by Loewe. Hat is model's own.

That aural transparency won’t afford her fanbase more access to the person behind the music, however: Shake’s presence remains ethereal. Lately, she’s been using the moniker “Dani Moon” on her Instagram profile, even as she continues to release music under 070 Shake. And despite her youth—Shake is 27—she insulates herself from social media as much as she can, revealing little about her personal life save for the occasional homage to her partner, actor Lily Rose-Depp.

“I don’t feel like I’m supposed to share my life with the world in that way. Everyone else is oversharing,” she says. “That’s completely fine for them,” she’s quick to add, but notes that her own carefully drawn boundaries represent an effort at self-preservation. The musician has also been living in Los Angeles, closer to nature, in a way that allows her to “see the world for what it is.”

This inner compass and unclouded lens were molded early in life by a connection to something greater than herself. Shake often references her religious upbringing and a pastor uncle who produced worship songs for church. “Being in touch with God from such a young age made me a deeper feeler,” she reasons. Sitting in service and watching her uncle command the pulpit, the artist was mesmerized by the clarity and expansiveness that washed over her.

“[Those moments] gave me a more grounded perspective,” she says. “I can see things from a bird’s-eye view.” The musician steadies this zoomed-out frame of mind with a surgical precision, scanning each lyric before she releases a body of work. “I’m very particular,” Shake asserts. “It’s like food—if I’m a chef, I wanna use the best ingredients. I wanna make sure that it’s good for people.” 


Makeup by Leo Chaparro
Hair by Takuya Sugawara at WSM using Bumble & Bumble
Retouching by Anthony Goble
Production by Dylan Brackpool
Production Assistance by Sammy Bass
Set Design by Francesca Wadsworth

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