With her soulful voice and powerful performances, Cynthia Erivo sings the notes that unite us all. The Broadway star, Oscar-nominated actress and activist stars on the cover of InStyle’s October issue, where music was at the heart of it all – with looks inspired by Cynthia’s all-time favorite songs. Here, she opens up on feeding her creative soul and how her past, present and future will always be connected to music.
On harnessing her singing superpower: “I was 5 years old the first time I sang, and I noticed right away that it made people happy. You might not have the words for whatever you’re feeling, but I might have the song for it. Let’s do that. I’ll keep doing that.” “I always say that music is universal,” says Erivo, who recommends that everyone take singing lessons at least once in their life for this very reason. “Whether or not you can sing, we all speak that language; we just have different dialects.”
On using her Instagram as a space for comfort through song: “After George [Floyd], after Breonna [Taylor], I was, like, deeply sad. I was just sad, tearful, crying. I couldn’t really shift the feeling. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if I could use this platform to spark joy?’ If anything, that’s my job.”
On not hiding her Blackness: “I do think there has to be a point where we stop being afraid of seeing Black people be Black. And people are afraid when it’s on display proudly. I don’t know how to hide my Blackness, so I live in it as it is. I really love it.”
On her activism to support free therapy for women of color: “[Black women] aren’t always given the opportunity to take a minute to discuss how we’re feeling, to process our feelings, and to get other people’s help to do that. I am aware of how brutal this time is, and some of us just don’t have the space or the means to have people help us. So I want to help.”
On standing out wherever she goes: “I have never put limits on what I want to wear and what I want to look like. I love high femme, I love high glamour, I love all those things. I guess you can call it androgyny. It all feels very much like me.” “I’m arms wide open. What’s next? If it works, then I’ll do it.”
The October issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download September 18.
[Photo Credit: Joshua Kissi for InStyle Magazine]