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Nicole Frehsee

Nicole Frehsee began interning at Rolling Stone as soon as she graduated from Northwestern University抯 prestigious journalism program. Frehsee spent the entirety of her music-writing career at the esteemed music magazine, where she focused on up-and-coming artists, interviewing the likes of Adele, Nicki Minaj and Cage the Elephant before they rocketed into superstardom. We asked Nicole which rising stars are destined for greatness, her pick for the artist with the best hair and how fashion and music intersect.

Which new album releases are you most excited about?
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience, 2 of 2: I felt indifferent about Part 1, but I have high hopes for this one. I've been a JT fan since his N'Sync days, so I'm almost bound to like anything he does.

HAIM, Days Are Gone: Their debut is long-awaited and, based on what I've heard from them so far, I don't think it'll disappoint.

Lady Gaga, ARTPOP: Just because she's Gaga卬o further explanation required. Plus, I love her single "Applause."

Who are your three top picks for rising artists to watch?
The band HAIM is a trio of sisters from SoCal that has been getting a lot of hype. Their sunny harmonies have racked up comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac梑ut I think it's deserved. Even though they are all in their 20s, one of the sisters has toured as a guitarist for Julian Casablancas and Jenny Lewis卬ot bad resume builders.

Chvrches is a synth-pop threesome from Glasgow, Scotland, who have a knack for catchy 80s-flavored tunes (they cite Prince as a huge influence). They've gotten major buzz and exposure this year, from opening for Passion Pit's US tour to snagging spots on several "Best of 2013" lists.

I may be a little behind the curve on Jake Bugg since his debut album was released last October, but Bugg is seriously impressive. The British singer/songwriter churns out catchy folk-pop and is only 19! He was a breakout star of both Coachella and Lollapalooza this year, and he's working with Rick Rubin on his new album, due out in November.

Which artist or band do you think has the best hair?
I think the artist with the most unique hair is Janelle Monae, who has a Little Richard-style pompadour. I asked about her hair when I interviewed her years ago, and she said she achieves the look with a "hair machine." I pressed her for details條ike, what a hair machine even is梑ut she wouldn't reveal her secrets!

How does a musician抯 style (fashion and beauty) impact his/her career?
Today抯 world is all about branding. This obviously extends to pop culture. If a celeb has a "look" it makes him or her that much more popular梤egardless of whether people want to copy it. I don't know if anyone's career has taken off because of a new haircut/look, per se, but I definitely think edgy style generates buzz. Style has become a conversation piece卝ust as much as the musician's actual art.

Many musicians are either creating their own fashion lines or becoming the faces of established brands. What are your thoughts on this intersection of fashion and music?
Music and fashion have always been intertwined. Think back to the 1960s, when the Beatles' haircuts (the mop-top look) were copied the world over, or the 1980s, when Madonna pioneered ripped t-shirts and cropped leggings. (I mean, I dressed up as Madonna-circa-1984 for Halloween last year, more than 20 years later.)

Celebrities are fashion icons, and they give us something to aspire to. The fact that musicians are capitalizing on their influence means that they recognize their clout...which makes them smart businesspeople. I can't say this for certain, but I'm betting that a celebrity-branded/endorsed collection sells better than one that's not attached to a name, and it probably also increases music sales, just because of the extra visibility.

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