If you saw Reb Fountain before you heard her, the long hair that cascades down to her waist is one of the things you'd probably notice first. Like her voice it's ethereal, powerful and a little bit wild.
Much like her onstage wardrobe, hair plays into how Reb expresses herself visually. The video for her 2020 song Don't You Know Who I Am captures three people shaving their heads to raise funds in support of Shave For A Cure NZ
"This video, in keeping with the song, creates an opportunity to experience a glimpse of what shedding one aspect of one's identity might feel like, might look like, and what new meanings and connotations might emerge from such an act."
As she gears up to perform her latest album, Iris, around the country including a date at Auckland's Town Hall as part of Elemental Nights on July 29, we asked the soulful songstress to reflect on how her tresses feed into her identity, both on and off stage.
Your hair is very long and is wonderfully textured. Is it high maintenance?
It might be – but I don’t maintain it.
How would you describe your relationship with your hair - today, and in the past?
We’re mates who wrestle with big concepts like identity, politics, feelings and a whole lot of knots.
How is your hair linked to your identity?
It feels much an expression of who I am – at times a doorway into who I want to be or who I am hiding from.
What products do you use to take care of your tresses?
Ocean swims and hot showers.
An occasional brush with my Caliwoods Bamboo hairbrush.
When frizzy I spray with Giovanni Shine Of The Times Finishing Mist.
When desperate I leave in Alba Botanica, Coconut Conditioning Leave-In Mist.
How often do you wash your hair?
Rarely, but when I do I use Ethique Shampoo & Conditioner Bars... perfect for touring and great for the environment.
I’ve heard you believe a dip in the sea does wonders for your hair, tell us more...
Ha – yes – wonders all round. Ocean swimming is vital for my health and wellbeing – I feel so grateful to live in Aotearoa where the sea is accessible.
I always feel cleansed and nourished when I swim in the sea… as does my hair. I make a point to give thanks to the ocean and all its creatures when I’m underwater and I always walk my local beach and pick up rubbish whenever I swim. It’s the least I can do.
Does your onstage approach for your hair differ to what you do (or don’t do) everyday?
I generally wear my hair out when I perform on stage... it’s a mane and helps me embody ‘Reb Fountain’ fully. At home I often toss up a bun or a ponytail to get it out of my way. It’s nice to be able to change up personas.
Who else do you think has great hair?
Tami Neilson is the queen. She did my hair and makeup when we were on tour together. I think she saw this rag doll and felt compelled to doll her up.