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A publicity stunt gone wrong is enough to destroy any career. And that’s exactly what happened to international pop star Natalia Kills and her husband, alt-rock singer Willy Moon. The duo served on the judges panel for X Factor: New Zealand and were told to be a bit more outspoken and opinionated when it came to performance critique.
After contestant Joe Irvine’s very Willy Moon-like rendition of “Feelin’ Good,” Kills verbally thrashed him, calling Irvine a “laughingstock” and “artistically atrocious,” while Moon followed suit, branding him as “cheap,” “absurd,” and “creepy.” After being asked to resign their positions on the show, Kills and Moon found themselves looking for a new outlet for the mean-spiritedness that got them into so much trouble in the first place. One apology note later, and Cruel Youth was born.
Now going by the stage name Teddy Sinclair, Natalia has decided to leave her bad-girl pop counterpart behind and delve into something fresh and more mature. A notable songwriter, Sinclair has played a hand in penning hit songs for other massive pop stars, like Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better” and Madonna’s “Holy Water.” Sinclair croons woefully in the chorus of their new single “Diamond Days”:
The diamond days are done. The diamond days are gone. And I would be a fool to carry on.
Listen: “Diamond Days” – Cruel Youth
Sinclair and her husband wave farewell to their international megastar solo careers that failed to survive their misbehavior. But like the saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens,” and this power couple built their very own mansion and opened its doors to the world. The Sinclairs are the modern-day Frank and Nancy Sinatra, but they embrace everything that makes humans imperfect. The artistic embodiment of malevolence, Sinclair sings:
“You smile at the sunrise. I long for a landslide.”
A band celebrating all of humanity’s vices in the most extravagant of ways, “Diamond Days” is a nod towards the reconciliation of their past misdeeds. It’s soulful; it’s sinful; its cinematic. Possessing a grandiose sound poisoned with villainy, “Diamond Days” is a conscious recognition of their curtain call, a “there’s-no-looking-back-now” to the good ol’ days kind of memoir.
Coming to terms with a mistake they have made and publicly apologizing was their first step in the public redemption they sought. Their new band is their penance, the uncensored manifestation of a mistake that will never be made again — a mistake that arose from Natalia’s need to defend her husband and artistic integrity in general. Of course the mistake went a little too far, but without it, Cruel Youth — born from the boundless dedication and respect these two incredibly talented artists have for each other’s craft — would never have blossomed so authentically.
A musical phoenix, Cruel Youth will live as a timeless reminder to all that something new and beautiful can be reborn from the ashes of wrongdoing. It is a sin, a reconciliation, and a necessary evil all in one.