A year and a half since our print debut, we thought it would be fun to branch out a bit from full-fledged fashion and try something new: music.

Music and fashion aren’t so unrelated, though; it goes without saying that these two fields go hand-in-hand, with some of the most iconic musicians’ moments further bolstered by their fashion influence. A bigger challenge, we thought, would be making our approach to the archetypal “music issue” feel fresh and new. With that in mind, we embarked on a quest to highlight some of the most promising and exciting new musical acts of the moment, many of which are much closer to takeoff than any of us could expect.

We also found it important to emphasize the contributions women have made to music in particular, spotlighting a diverse range of up-and-coming songstresses with a new approach to pop, soul, R&B, and a mélange of other genres. We sat down with New York natives Leaf and Maxine Ashley to understand what they’re bringing to the table, while girls like Quiñ and Mafalda provide us with even more to be excited about.

We can’t talk about our first music issue without mentioning arguably its biggest moment: Azealia Banks. The stunningly talented, polarizing, fascinating, outspoken (the list of adjectives goes on) artist has undeniably been a lightning rod for controversy over the years. But as the world is finally ready to move forward, we’re proud to have had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss new projects, her new direction, and why she still deserves a shot at greatness. A musician has the platform to shed light on important issues, sparking meaningful discussions and in-depth thoughts, and we aimed to do just that with Azealia.

Not everything has to be stone cold serious, though; fashion should be fun, and there’s no better opportunity for a fun time than with a music issue. From reimagining punk to spending a night out with Grace Jones, our fashion stories sought out the energy and vitality that the industry so desperately needs right now. Reinventing the pop star trope and taking a trip to the islands for a dancehall extravaganza as well, we jumped into and highlighted some of the music world’s most exciting corners.

As always, we hope to have put together a portfolio that celebrates a diverse, multifaceted range of new visions and voices. In a world that seems to get darker every day, it’s important to acknowledge where we’re at, and music is easily one of the best outlets to do so. And we can’t get anywhere without a little bit of fun.

Tune in and listen up. Welcome to the music issue.

For more on Phosphenes #4 – “Music,” click here. To purchase directly, click here.