In Defense of Ultragrrrl

Sarah Lewitinn has become New York’s premier tastemaker—and that's what makes the haterati squirm

When she likes a band, she goes the extra mile, which might be what separates her from rival bloggers all chasing the same thing. "People at the label realized they were getting a three-fer," says Hirschorn. "She's got good instincts, she'll promote the band on her blog, and she'll actively sell the band to a network of people who know who she is."

"She's a huge cheerleader for her acts," concurs Billboard's Martens. "But it doesn't necessarily translate to sales."

"I'm a born promoter, ultimately, because I have a big mouth and I'm obsessed," Lewitinn says. "All I do when I get into a band is talk about them nonstop, and I send e-mails to so many people every day that, like, a band that is unheard-of is suddenly known, but nobody knows why, because all I do is, 'Muse, Muse, Muse.' "

Ultragrrrrl: Photograph by Howard Huang; styling by Curtis Davis for Ken Barboza Associates; hair by Hair Q Hardy for Illusions; makeup by Brandon Zimoiyer for Williams Image Group; dress by Bonaparte NY
Ultragrrrrl: Photograph by Howard Huang; styling by Curtis Davis for Ken Barboza Associates; hair by Hair Q Hardy for Illusions; makeup by Brandon Zimoiyer for Williams Image Group; dress by Bonaparte NY

Details

See also:
Acquired Tastes
A quickspin through New York nightlife's trendsetting hall of fame
by Elizabeth Thompson

Related Stories

More About

Indeed, when Stevenson first met a teenage Lewitinn at an EMI Christmas party, she was balancing a drink on her head and going on about Muse, an operatic rock band from England. "I thought, 'This girl had some amazing energy,' " he says. His next real encounter would be when she was managing My Chemical Romance. After that, they kept in touch, and when he first heard of the Killers, he asked her to dig up an MP3 and find the band. She did, and urged him to sign them.

"Here's this downtown blogger saying she loves Linkin Park—not saying it's a guilty pleasure, but as a fact, just like her telling me how much she loves the new Interpol record," he recalls. "When she told me that, I knew she'd be a good a&r person, because she wasn't trying to find things that were cool. Some people think they have an ear because they are trying to find things that are around a cool scene—not music."

Several years later, Stevenson and Lewitinn officially teamed up—he benefiting from her hyper-attuned ear, she benefiting from his vast knowledge of how to run a label. They just released the Photo Atlas' record, No, Not Me, Never, and are gearing up for Play Radio Play's The Frequency EP in late April and the Horrors' full-length, Strange House, in early May. The skeptics will be watching.


So far, the success of Ultragrrrl has hinged on her ability to turn herself into the ultimate fan. Now, she has to turn herself into the ultimate music mogul. When the hype and the cacophony of hate fade, it all comes down to her ear.

"You just get that feeling," she says. "It's not a matter of taste, or just looking out for different things. It's like, when I listen to something, I know within the first minute if I'm gonna like it. I know immediately. Rob thinks I have really good instinct. Like I said, I am not very calculated; I just feel it."

As we left the Hammerstein that night, I noticed that the blonde superfan from earlier had managed to get in after all. "I tell people I'm psychic," says Ultragrrrl, as our taxi pulls away. "I know what's gonna happen. They don't believe me." Maybe someday they will.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
New York Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • September
  • Tue
    30
  • Wed
    1
  • Thu
    2
  • Fri
    3
  • Sat
    4
  • Sun
    5
  • Mon
    6
Loading...