Inspiring Women with Autism – Phillipa Margaret “Pip” Brown, aka Ladyhawke

Phillipa Margaret “Pip” Brown is a musician and singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She was born in 1979, in Masterton, a town in the Wairarapa Region of New Zealand.

Ms Brown suffered from several illnesses during childhood, including erysipeloid, a rare disease that that is more common in seagulls than in humans. She was also allergic to antibiotics, penicillin, and antihistamines, which complicated doctors’ efforts to treat her.

Her parents were both musicians. Her mother was a singer-guitarist and her father was a jazz drummer. Ms Brown was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at an early age, and credits the disorder with her fascination with music.

In 2001, she formed the band Two Lane Blacktop with some friends. The band broke up in 2003, and Brown joined the band Teenager with Nick Littlemore of Pnau. Teenager had several hits, including the song “Pony,” which is featured in the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

Brown credits Littlemore with giving her the confidence to go out on her own as Ladyhawke. She named herself after a character played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1985 movie Ladyhawke. She says,

“I wanted to make music that could put a smile on people’s faces and give them a feeling of nostalgia even though they may be hearing my songs for the first time. I love how music evokes memories of a certain time. I wanted to see if I could find a method of songwriting that would evoke those feelings from me on writing the song and then on the individual when listening to it for the first time.”

Her debut album, Ladyhawke, was released in 2008, and went on to be certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. It reached number 16 in Australia and the United Kingdom. Her biggest hit single was “My Delirium,” which charted in the top ten in both Australia and New Zealand. She was nominated for an NME Award for Best Solo Artist. She won Breakthrough Artist awards in both album and single categories at the 2009 ARIA Music Awards.

She started working on her second album, Anxiety, in 2011. It was released in May 2012. It’s first single, “Black, White and Blue” was released in January 2012. “Sunday Drive” was released in April, and “Blue Eyes” in July. She returned to the studio in 2013 to work on her third solo album.

In February 2014, her song “Blue Eyes” was featured in a series of Verizon Wireless commercials in the United States.

Her music is influenced by the hit songs of the 1980’s and 1990’s. She says,

“Listening to Nirvana takes me back to being fourteen at the school disco. Bands from the 90’s have that effect on me.”

Her five favorite albums of all time include Hunky Dory (1975) by David Bowie, Time (1981) by ELO, Fleetwood Mac (1968 or 1975) by Fleetwood Mac, Rumors (1977) and Tango in the Night (1987), also by Fleetwood Mac.