With an aesthetic between cowgirl, American Indian and dark seductress and a heritage so inspiring that it’s what great books and films are made of, Larkin had no chance of ever fitting in and was forced to be herself from day one. “There was just no way I could pretend that I had the same experiences of watching the same TV shows or being apart of the same things that people my age had experienced…sometimes it’s hard because the only people who really understand me are a very small tribe.” In a world that prides itself on uniformity and more is more, it is rare to meet someone like Larkin, who grew up on a hippie commune in Memphis, Tennessee and the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia then found herself at Yale University, “suddenly in the epicenter of American power and and with friends like Barbara Bush,” let alone someone who has a mother that actually “walked the walk” away from a wealthy socialite family to the unglamorous life of monastic orders and communes where at times she never had more than seven dollars in her pocket, but was happy. Larkin’s dad, one of nine kids who grew up in a German town in Ohio with his gypsy-Romanian family, is descended from the legendary Grimm Fairy Tale creators and was a “bad boy” biker in the ’60s who got swept up into the “whole commune thing” when he fell in love with a blonde German girl escaping empty bourgeois values. One glimpse into Larkin’s out of culture’s current boxes, in which convenience, money and youth are worshipped, and it’s obvious that her parents have done something unusually right, with four kids who were all home schooled and went on to become artists and musicians after attending Ivy League universities on scholarship and another studying to become a doctor.
Larkin has made six official albums and it wasn’t until she turned twenty-one that she realized that putting on more lipstick might sell more of them. Her mom was determined to have her daughter focused on her accomplishments rather than being beautiful by making sure that no one on the commune complimented Larkin on her looks. This was in part her manifestation of a rebellion against the fashion industry’s effects on Larkin’s grandmother, who was a model and suffered from a lifetime of bad eating habits which eventually killed her. It wasn’t until the age of ten that Larkin had a notion of what being pretty was, which gave her the indescribable gift of being confident in her thoughts and opinions and unconcerned with the prospect of growing old and nobody finding her attractive anymore. “People were always complimenting me on being outwardly creative…[my mom] was teaching me how to sew and how to paint and fix things, and there was always this idea that if we want something, first we’re gonna try to make it.” Instead of spending money on a wedding dress, Larkin bought a sewing machine and made one herself for the first time out of a bunch of older wedding and lace dresses and feathers. The result wasn’t something hippy dippy, but instead a sculptural, three-dimensional couture creation that lends her more of a regal air than a Stepford wife in wedding white.
Endlessly multidimensional, Larkin is as much a sweet country girl in her floral dress with a hyper crinoline, as she is a slick and dark sophisticate in a coat she made out of Persian upholstery fabric. She plays psychedelic folk music and travels all around the world singing about “morbid and grim things” that are “definitely influenced by the Grimm fairy tales which my mother read to me all the time because she was so proud that my father was somehow distantly related to the Grimm brothers. Children fairy tales are so dark and I always wanted to make music that was kind of like that, that children would love and people would find beautiful but just below the surface, there’s all of the strange and dark things that are very real in human life.” Whether in haunting wings on a lace-up corset dress or earthy and authentic Cherokee moccasins, she is as omnipotent on the stage as she is in life with what she refers to as her freak sensibility. When studying sculpture at her alma mater, Larkin discovered her inner musical artist by turning her art exhibits into performances in an effort to exaggerate what she felt was her misfit status there. “Some people are just never satisfied [with the status quo] and I think a lot of those times, those people become artists,” Larkin keenly points out.