Lips (New Zealand band)

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Steph Brown as Lips
Background information
OriginAuckland, New Zealand
New York City, USA
GenresIndie pop
Years active2010-current
Associated actsFredericks Brown, Opensouls, Kimbra, Anika Moa, Calexico
  • Steph Brown
  • Fen Ikner

Lips is a New Zealand-based music group consisting of New Zealander singer and keyboardist Steph Brown, and American multi-instrumentalist/producer Fen Ikner, founded by Brown in 2010 in New York City. Lips is visually represented by the character of "Lips," a girl with giant lips for a head, who appears in their cover art and music videos.[1] The band has released three EPs, and produced the 2016 soundtrack of the stage play Daffodils, which they performed in and served as music directors for. The band’s song "Everything to Me" won them the 2012 Silver Scroll Award.[2]

In 2019 Brown and Ikner served as music directors and provided the score for the Daffodils film adaptation of the same name.[3]


Lips began as a music project of New Zealander musician Steph Brown in 2010. Brown, who had previously played keyboards for other New Zealand-based artists such as Opensouls and Anika Moa,[4] was living in New York City at the time and playing in an R&B duo called Fredericks Brown along with singer Deva Mahal.[5][6] She began Lips as a side project, playing around New York City both solo and with various Lips lineups.

In 2012 Brown met West Virginia-born musician Fen Ikner,[7] who had previously played with bands such as Calexico, Seashell Radio and Saint Maybe, and The Shondes.[8] Ikner became the permanent live drummer, contributing production and other instruments to the group's recorded output.[9]

"Everything to Me"[edit]

In 2012, the band released the song "Everything to Me" as part of their EP Look Listen. The song spawned several remixes by acts including Adventure Club, SATL[10], and Christian Strobe.[11] The song won the band the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award in 2012.[12]


In 2014, Lips arranged and performed the music for the musical stage play Daffodils, which was produced by the New Zealand based theatre production company Bullet Heart Club and written by Rochelle Bright. Brown starred in the play as a fictionalised version of Bright, telling the story of her parents along with her band (composed of Ikner and guitarist Abe Kunin). The story weaves together underscore, dialogue, and re-imagined versions of classic New Zealand pop anthems.[13]

The band went to New Zealand for the initial two-week run of the play at Auckland's Q Theatre.[14][15] The band then went on tour with the play for two years, performing the show in New Zealand, Australia, and eventually taking the production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.[16] The Daffodils soundtrack EP was released in February 2016.[17]

The stage play was adapted into a feature film, also called Daffodils, for which the band served as the musical directors for. Lips wrote three new songs for the film, and provided the soundtrack for the film.[18] The film stars Rose McIver and George Mason, and singer Kimbra taking on the role that Brown originated in the stage production, with Brown and Ikner playing her band. The film was released on 21 March 2019.[19] Brown and Ikner were nominated for an APRA Screen Award for Best Original Music in a Feature Film. [20]



  • Lipssongs EP (2010)
  • Look/Listen EP (2012)
  • Ghosts and Demons EP (2013)
  • Daffodils soundtrack (2016)
  • Daffodils OST (2019)


  • "Everything to Me" (2012)
  • "Traces of Teddy" (2015)
  • "This is Me" w/ Zeds Dead (2016)
  • "Silent Treatment" w/ Kimbra (2019)
  • "Guilty Talk" (2019)


  1. ^ "Q&A with Stephanie Brown AKA Lips". Stuff. 27 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Silver Scrolls 2012". Radio New Zealand. 2012.
  3. ^ "Daffodils Are In Bloom: Production Commences on NZ Musical Feature". New Zealand Film Commission. 21 February 2018.
  4. ^ Kara, Reviewed by Scott (9 October 2005). "Anika Moa and the Plastic Tiki Band at Herald Theatre". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Fredericks Brown - "Empire City"". Okayplayer. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Fredricks Brown". New Zealand Music Commission.
  7. ^ "Lips Argue Against Online Streaming". NZ Edge. 26 August 2015.
  8. ^ Swedlund, Eric. "New Lips Video, Directed by Alex Italics, Gets Strange with Vintage Sci-Fi Aesthetic". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  9. ^ "THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lips". Elsewhere by Graham Reid. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Everything to Me EP". Itunes.
  11. ^ Rugiagialia (22 August 2011), Lips - Everything to me (Christian Strobe Remix), retrieved 1 December 2018
  12. ^ "Lips Wins 2012 Silver Scroll Award - Music News at Undertheradar". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ Noted. "Daffodils - review - Metro". Noted. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Stunning piece of theatre". Stuff. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  15. ^ "REVIEW: Daffodils (Bullet Heart Club) – Theatre Scenes: Auckland Theatre Blog (Reviews and commentary)". Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Daffodils show returns to Auckland, film and worldwide tour in the offing". Stuff. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Bullet Heart Club to release: Daffodils The Lips Remixes EP | Scoop News". Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Daffodils Are In Bloom: Production Commences on NZ Musical Feature". New Zealand Film Commission. 21 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Daffodils: Crowded House, Bic Runga songs feature in New Zealand's first-ever movie-musical". Stuff. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  20. ^