The Naked and Famous

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The Naked and Famous
The Naked and Famous performing in November 2016
The Naked and Famous performing in November 2016
Background information
OriginAuckland, New Zealand
Years active2007–present
Past members
  • Ben Knapp
  • Jordan Clark
  • Aaron Short
  • Jesse Wood
  • David Beadle

The Naked and Famous are a New Zealand indie electronic band from Auckland, formed in 2007. The band currently consists of Alisa Xayalith (vocals, keyboards) and Thom Powers (vocals, guitars).[7]

The band has released four studio albums: Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010), In Rolling Waves (2013), Simple Forms (2016) and Recover (2020). Since 2012, the band has been based in Los Angeles, California.


Xayalith (born 1986 in Auckland) is the daughter of Laotian refugees and was raised together with a younger brother.[8] Her father introduced her to his native folk music and, at the age of 13, she taught herself guitar.[9] Powers had been playing in local bands from an early age after he had been taught to play guitar by his father.[10]

2007–2008: Early years[edit]

The band formed in 2007 when Powers and Xayalith were working on what became two extended playsThis Machine and No Light—that they recorded with engineer Aaron Short, a fellow student at Auckland's Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand.[11][1] The EPs were subsequently released on local independent label Round Trip Mars. Powers and Xayalith began performing live with Ben Knapp and Jordan Clark on bass and drums respectively, while Aaron Short became a performing member of the group. Knapp and Clark left the group in 2009 and were subsequently replaced with Jesse Wood and David Beadle.

2009–2011: Passive Me, Aggressive You[edit]

The Naked and Famous at the South by Southwest festival in 2011

After recording "All of This", the group then set about recording the single "Young Blood" and their debut album, recording mostly at home and at Auckland studio The Lab. "Young Blood" debuted on the New Zealand chart at number one on 14 June 2010—the first New Zealand artist in three years to do so.[12] The Naked and Famous released their debut studio album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, on 6 September 2010 on their own label,[13] Somewhat Damaged.[14] The album was produced by Thom Powers and Aaron Short, and mixed by Billy Bush.

On 6 December 2010, the BBC announced that The Naked and Famous had been nominated for BBC's Sound of 2011 poll.[15]

In 2011, the band garnered six nominations at the New Zealand Music Awards for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Best Alternative Album and the People's Choice Award. They were also nominated for the NZ On Air Best Music Video and won the MAINZ Best Engineer Award and its Best Producer Award.[16]

2012–2013: In Rolling Waves[edit]

The band settled in Los Angeles in mid-2012 after completing touring for Passive Me, Aggressive You.[17] They had performed over 200 shows in 24 countries between 2010 and 2012. Sharing a home over the back of Laurel Canyon, they began work on writing and demoing their second album. They intended to record an album that could be played live, not relying on backing tracks—something the group had always eschewed.

On 28 February 2013, the band announced One Temporary Escape, a concert film recorded at The Warfield in San Francisco in 2012. It was released for free download on 18 March 2013.[18]

Entering Los Angeles' Sunset Sound studio in March 2013 with engineer Billy Bush (who had mixed the previous album), they began the process of recording In Rolling Waves. The album sessions were completed in a month and then in June 2013, The Naked and Famous headed for London where Alan Moulder spent a month mixing the album at his Willesden studio, Assault and Battery. The album was mastered at Sterling Sound in New York by Joe LaPorta, who had also mastered Passive Me, Aggressive You, and was produced by Thom Powers with Aaron Short. Justin Meldal-Johnsen co-produced two tracks with Powers.

On 23 July 2013, the band revealed their new single "Hearts Like Ours" along with the release date for their second studio album In Rolling Waves, on 16 September 2013 in the UK.[19]

2014–present: Simple Forms, Recover and Xayalith solo career[edit]

The Naked and Famous performed at Coachella in 2014.[20] On 20 November 2014, the band announced that they had begun working on a third album.[21] The band began tracking for the album in September 2015. In March 2016, they performed at the Wanderland Music and Arts Festival in Manila.[22]

On 3 July 2016, the band announced their new single "Higher" would be released on 7 July. Upon the single's release, the band revealed that their third studio album, Simple Forms, was set to be released on 14 October 2016 via their label Somewhat Damaged in conjunction with Kobalt Label Services.[3] On 24 August 2016, they released another single titled "Laid Low".[3] The album was recorded at Powers' Echo Park studio and released as per the announcement.[3]

In February 2017, it was announced that the band would perform as opening acts, alongside Wavves, in Blink-182's 2017 spring tour which would visit mostly the southern United States.[23]

The band released an acoustic compilation album titled A Still Heart on 9 March 2018,[24][25][26] at which time they indicated that they were working on their fourth studio album.[27] That same month, it was announced that founding member Aaron Short and Jesse Wood had departed the band.[7] Following their departure, Luna Shadows joined the band on piano.[28] The group released A Still Heart (Live) on 8 June 2018.[29]

Sometime before March 2020, the group parted ways with Beadle and Shadows.[30]

In April 2020, the band announced that Recover, their fourth studio album, would be released on 24 July 2020.[31]

Xayalith solo career[edit]

In late 2021, lead vocalist Alisa Xayalith broadcast a tune called "High Fidelity", the debut song from the singer's forthcoming EP.[32]


The Naked and Famous took their name from English musician Tricky's song "Tricky Kid", which expressed ambivalence about the notion of celebrity. In the song, Tricky quotes the line "everybody wants to be naked and famous", from The Presidents of the United States of America's song "Naked and Famous".[33]

Band members[edit]



Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Nominated work Award Result
2010 APRA Silver Scroll "Young Blood" Won[37]
New Zealand Music Awards[38][39] Passive Me, Aggressive You Critics' Choice Prize Nominated
2011 Passive Me, Aggressive You MAINZ Best Producers Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You MAINZ Best Engineers Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You Album of the Year Won
Passive Me, Aggressive You Best Alternative Album Won
"Young Blood" Single of the Year Won
The Naked and Famous Best Group Won
The Naked and Famous Breakthrough Artist Won
The Naked and Famous People's Choice Award Nominated
Taite Music Prize Passive Me, Aggressive You Nominated[40]
NME The Naked & Famous Phillip Hall Radar Award Won[41]
2014 New Zealand Music Awards - - -
- - -
- - -
The Naked & Famous Best Group Won[42]


  1. ^ a b c d Collar, Matt. "The Naked and Famous | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ Brody, Caitlin (27 August 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: The Naked and Famous' New Song, "A Stillness." Listen In!". Glamour. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Geslani, Michelle (7 July 2016). "The Naked and Famous announce new album, Simple Forms, premiere "Higher" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  4. ^ Libman, K.C. (20 August 2014). "The Naked And Famous Keep The Pressure on Themselves". OC Weekly. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  5. ^ "The Naked and Famous". Radio New Zealand. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (5 November 2015). "Review: We've Awaited Kate Boy's Debut 'One' Since the Midnight Sun". Spin. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Maher, Natalie (8 March 2018). "The Naked and Famous Reveal Departure of Two Members, Drop Nostalgia-Filled Video For Stripped Version of 'Young Blood'". Billboard. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  8. ^ Mejia, Paula (14 October 2016). "The Naked and Famous Frontwoman Alisa Xayalith Isn't an Asshole, Okay?". Elle. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  9. ^ Shafrir, Doree (26 September 2013). "How The Naked And Famous Will Make It in America". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  10. ^ Russell, Nicola (10 October 2010). "The Naked and Famous truth". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  11. ^ (11 December 2014), The Naked And Famous – Interview Part 1 ( Sessions), archived from the original on 15 December 2021, retrieved 12 November 2016
  12. ^ Lambourne, Tim (16 June 2010). "Naked and Famous album set for August release". 3 News. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  13. ^ a b c "SOMEWHAT DAMAGED LIMITED". Open Corporates. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  14. ^ Graves, Shahlin (17 August 2010). "The Naked and Famous – 'Punching in a Dream' music video!". Coup de Main. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Sound of 2011 – The Naked & Famous". BBC. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  16. ^ "THE VNZMA 2011 FINALISTS". FOUR. 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  17. ^ Zemler, Emily (17 September 2013). "Everything You Need to Know About The Naked and Famous' Sophomore Album 'In Rolling Waves'". Elle. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  18. ^ "'One Temporary Escape' Now Available". 18 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  19. ^ "The Naked And Famous Hottest Record". BBC. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  20. ^ Robinson, Michelle (15 June 2014). "15 minutes ... with The Naked and Famous". Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  21. ^ "The Naked And Famous – "What an honor to win Best Group at the NZVMA's last night. Sorry we couldn't be there New Zealand – very busy working on album #3"". Facebook. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  22. ^ Maria, Bong Sta. (3 March 2016). "Wanderland 2016: The Naked and Famous' Alisa Xayalith on travel, fans, and a new album". GMA Network. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  23. ^ Hartmann, Graham (6 February 2017). "Blink-182 Reveal 2017 U.S. Tour Dates with The Naked and Famous + Waaves". Loudwire. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  24. ^ "The Naked and Famous Announce March Release Date for A Still Heart". 18 January 2018.
  25. ^ "The Naked and Famous Announce New Album A Still Heart". 8 January 2018.
  26. ^ "A Still Heart by The Naked and Famous on Apple Music". iTunes Store. 2 March 2018.
  27. ^ "The bittersweet continues. Our stripped... – The Naked And Famous". Facebook. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  28. ^ a b Bowman, Lisa (30 May 2018). "The Naked and Famous chat procrastination, sexism and 10 years in the industry". NME. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  29. ^ "The Naked And Famous". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  30. ^ "The Naked and Famous duo move into the recovery phase". 11 March 2020.
  31. ^ "The Naked And Famous". Facebook. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  32. ^ "The Naked and Famous' Alisa Xayalith drops debut solo single "High Fidelity"". Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  33. ^ Kitty Empire (10 April 2011). "The Naked and Famous; Big Audio Dynamite – review". The Observer. London. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  34. ^ a b Leeson, Josh (11 March 2020). "The Naked and Famous duo move into the recovery phase". Newcastle Herald.
  35. ^ "Cadenza | Building the world's largest stage". Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  36. ^ @TNAF (16 January 2020). ""BURY US" IS OUT NOW. Beyond excited to share this with you all.... and our new album "Recover", will be COMING OUT IN MAY. Stay tuned!🍇🍉🍈🔪" (Tweet). Retrieved 17 January 2020 – via Twitter.
  37. ^ Sundae, Hugh (8 September 2010). "The Naked and Famous win APRA Silver Scroll". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  38. ^ "Winner Found". New Zealand Music Awards. 2010. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  39. ^ "Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2011 Winners" (Press release). New Zealand Music Awards. 4 November 2011.
  40. ^ "Taite Music Prize 2011". IMNZ. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  41. ^ "NME Phillip Hall Radar Award 2011". Independent Music New Zealand. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  42. ^ "New Zealand Music Award Winners 2014". Retrieved 20 May 2015.

External links[edit]