Profile of a Wild Child: Baby Alpaca

by: Veronique Hoebeke

July 9, 2012

I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet and sit down with the musical artist and fashion designer Baby Alpaca in his New York City home. Upon entering his lovely brownstone and taking a seat in his garden, I got to hear his story of both personal and artistic growth.

Baby Alpaca by Mike Mabes
Photograph by Mike Mabes

I first saw Baby Alpaca back in March as he played an opening act for the band Crystal Fighters at The Studio at Webster Hall. The first thing I noticed was his height as he stands at 6’5. The second thing I noticed was his hauntingly beautiful voice. As I listened, I was impressed how this solo performer could capture my attention so easily. The minimalist set of just Baby Alpaca and his microphone and keyboard made the listener focus on his voice and the wonderful lyrics of his songs. His style of performance made an intimate connection with the audience.

Earlier this month, I attended the Williamsburg store Beautiful Dreamers’ Summer Solstice event. There I was able to view Baby Alpaca’s clothing line consisting of delicate lace tops and paint splattered tank tops and long dresses. I was also able to see him perform again, which only added to my appreciation for his music.

Upon starting the interview, Baby Alpaca told me that his artistic side was nurtured as a child by his mother and grandmother. He reports that it was The Wizard of Oz that inspired his love of music and theater. At the age of eighteen, he ventured to New York City pursuing a career in film and theater. Baby Alpaca modestly admits that he was very naive at the time. He returned to his home in Ohio after a year where he began a long process of self-discovery.

He entered the University of Cincinnati and began studying an array of subjects. He took classes in Psychology, Sociology, Business and Economics. “I am interested in how people function,” he told me, explaining the variety of classes he has taken. It was in Fashion Design and in Creative Writing where he really develop a sense of himself.

Poetry was a major influence. He suffered some painful critiques at the hands of his professional poet friends but this only aided in his artistic development. The exposure to other student’s work in poetry workshops helped him get a feel for what his writing style really was. The poems he formed were easily turned to song lyrics due to his musical talents. He said he would spend many nights coming up with different rhythms and melodies on the steering wheel of his car as he drove.

His life has followed a more sporadic chain of events than a linear one as he longed for a different lifestyle other than the traditional suburban one he knew in Ohio. He has traveled to Morocco, Paris, London and spent a lot of time in San Francisco. His adventurous spirit reflects in his music.“I have a wild side, maybe you should know,” is one of the lines to his song “Wild Child.”

What I admire the most in Baby Alpaca is that he has learned to take his time in developing an album. “The album you put out is out forever. You can’t take it back,” he said commenting on the long process he is now going through in developing his next album. He is going to travel to San Francisco and Seattle to record music with various other artists including his younger brother in Colorado. Baby Alpaca is different from other musicians, he is neither a solo artist nor is he in a band. He likes to think of the people he involves in his music as a family. He estimates that this album will be released sometime this Fall. I look forward to hearing the finished product and seeing what else Baby Alpaca has in store for us down the road.


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