Heroes: Stevie Nicks

Heroes: Stevie Nicks

"The Photography of Stevie Nicks : The 24 Karat Gold Collection" will debut at Morrison Hotel Gallery, 201 Mulberry Street, NYC, on October 10 and 11, and will move to the Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft at 116 Prince Street for the month of October, 2014. For a special online-only sneak peek of our upcoming issue, the rock icon supplied us with some extra selfies (above) and some words of self-reflection

"The Photography of Stevie Nicks : The 24 Karat Gold Collection" will debut at Morrison Hotel Gallery, 201 Mulberry Street, NYC, on October 10 and 11, and will move to the Morrison Hotel Gallery Loft at 116 Prince Street for the month of October, 2014. For a special online-only sneak peek of our upcoming issue, the rock icon supplied us with some extra selfies (above) and some words of self-reflection

Text: T. Cole Rachel

Within the glittery pantheon of rock-and-roll royalty, there is no higher queen than Stevie Nicks. Her influence as a songwriter, singer, and style icon is practically unparalleled. Both in Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, she’s had a hand in writing some of the most indelible songs of the 20th century. Her own personal style—an aesthetic marked by scarves, ribbons, tambourines, and witchy platform boots—has spawned decades of aspiring, Stevie-worshipping sisters of the moon. Her life is both an inspiration and a cautionary tale, and is one of the most dramatic and chronicled in all of music history. Having endured heartbreak, drug addiction, and the ruthlessly mercurial tastes of the music industry, Nicks has not simply survived, she has thrived. While so many of her peers have perished, retired, or simply been relegated to the dustbin of nostalgia, Stevie Nicks—the eternally wild heart—continues to forge ahead.

Over 40 years into her career, the 66-year-old Nicks is busier than ever. In 2011 she released In Your Dreams, her first new studio album in ten years, and then followed it up with an accompanying documentary and nearly two years of solid touring. And this fall she premieres 24 Karat Gold—Songs from the Vault, a newly recorded collection of previously unreleased songs that span the entirety of her career. Around the same time, Nicks will once again rejoin her old bandmates in Fleetwood Mac—including a newly unretired Christine McVie (“I can’t even tell you how much fun she is and how nice she is and how funny she is—she just lightens up everything”) for yet another massive world tour. Even though she remains steadfastly committed to forward momentum, mining her catalog has proven fruitful for Nicks, providing some fascinating perspective on her tumultuous career.

“I think in my heart of hearts I always knew that we were going to make it,” she says. “I did. I believed that I was going to make it before I ever even met [former love and songwriting partner] Lindsey [Buckingham]. So, you know, I always had high expectations. I was going to jam my songs down people’s throats if I had to, but I was going to be a singer-songwriter, no matter what.”

Her own tempestuous personal life is now the stuff of legend—“I always remember, about three weeks after going to rehab, walking across that Palm Springs desert in the grass of Betty Ford, after actually meeting Betty Ford, and thinking, If the First Lady can do it, I can do it”—and much of it is reflected in these songs. Tracks like “Lady,” from 1971, blueprint her signature style: a keen sense of melody and the kind of emotional immediacy that make her work feel like personal property to audiences across the globe. According to Nicks, one of the pleasures of at long last properly recording the songs is that doing so reactivated so many good memories.

“‘Lady’ was probably the first song I ever wrote on piano,” she recalls. “I think ‘Rhiannon’ is probably the third or fourth song I wrote. At the time, Lindsey and I had moved into a house with our friend Keith, and I remember going, How am I going to live in this little, tiny house with these two guys and try to do music? I remember listening to Keith’s big, fantastic stereo and vacuuming to Chaka Kahn’s ‘Sweet Thing.’ You know, just vacuuming like a madwoman and singing along to Chaka. I remember it like it was yesterday.”

Though Nicks continues to write music, she also embraces her role as mentor, dishing advice on The Voice, popping up (as herself) on American Horror Story, and most recently striking up a friendship with Rookie’s teen phenom (and avowed superfan) Tavi Gevinson. “Tavi is like my newest, youngest child,” she gushes. “I brought her golden Chanel platform boots from Paris. She’s going to be a huge force in this world.”  And on her role as rock and roll’s reigning elder stateswoman?

“You know what? It feels like a great honor,” she says. “To be able to do what I love and help people is great. I’ve talked about this a million times, but it’s good to throw out a few little nuggets of wisdom. You know, a few little things that I’ve done that I would not do if I had it to do over. Also, just to put a few little things in my songs that might just open your eyes a little bit about where you are going. I feel good that I can do that.”

24 Karat Gold—Songs From the Vault is out now from Warner Bros.

Credits: Retouching Bespoke Digital Inc.

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Sofia Boutella