Childhood & Early Life
Justine Elinor Frischmann was born on September 16, 1969, in Kensington, London. Her father, Wilem Frischmann, was a Hungarian refugee who had moved to the U.K. at the age of 15 after surviving the Holocaust and later served as the chairman of the London-based multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy 'Pell Frischmann.' Her mother was Russian Jewish.
She spent her childhood in Twickenham, London, with her brother, Richard Frischmann. She attended the 'St Paul's Girls School' and then studied architecture at the 'Bartlett School of Architecture' under 'University College London' (UCL).
Frischmann was 11 when she started studying music and writing songs. However, she initially aspired to become a painter. She took up architecture because of her parents' persuasion, as they did not believe she could make a successful career as an artist.
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Frischmann established the London-based English rock band ‘Suede’ ('The London Suede' in the U.S.) in 1989, along with her ‘UCL’ mate Brett Anderson, who became the lead vocalist of the band. The band also included guitarist Richard Oakes, bass player Mat Osman, drummer Simon Gilbert, and keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Neil Codling. She quit the band in October 1991.
The following year, she and former 'Suede' member Justin Welch decided to form a new band. Bassist Annie Holland and guitarist Donna Matthews were roped in, and together, they formed 'Elastica' by October that year. The band experimented with punk rock, post-punk, and new wave music.
Toward the beginning of 1993, Steve Lamacq, head of the label 'Deceptive Records,' scouted 'Elastica' and signed them for their debut single, 'Stutter.' The single was released in October that year.
'Elastica' was soon at the height of popularity. Their fame soared with their singles 'Line Up' and 'Connection' in 1994 (both entered the ‘U.K. Top 20’). Around the same time, Frischmann's relationship with Damon Albarn, the lead vocalist of the rock band 'Blur,' also made headlines.
The debut self-titled album of 'Elastica' released on March 14, 1995, and became the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the U.K. since the release of 'Definitely Maybe,' the debut studio album by English rock band 'Oasis' in 1994. The record remained unbroken for over a decade, until the release of the debut project of the band 'Arctic Monkeys,' titled 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not,' in 2006.
Frischmann met visual artist and upcoming British rock artist M.I.A. at a concert in 1999. Damon introduced them. She hired M.I.A to design the cover art for her band's second album, 'The Menace,' which released in 2000. M.I.A. also shot the video of their American tour. The two eventually became friends and flatmates.
Their second album was not as successful as the first, and in 2001, 'Elastica' disbanded. The members cited their hectic touring schedules as the reason for the break-up. The band was also legally accused of plagiarism. The case was eventually resolved through an out-of-court settlement.
Frischmann continued to write songs and simultaneously pursued arts. She and M.I.A., along with Ross Orton and Steve Mackey, penned the lyrics of the song 'Galang' for M.I.A.'s debut album, 'Arular.'
In 2003, she co-hosted the ‘BBC’ documentary series 'Dreamspaces,' which was about modern architecture and interior design. The following year, Frischmann presented the British TV arts magazine show 'The South Bank Show,' which was the U.K.'s longest-running arts program back then. She was also one of the judges on the 'RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture.'
in 2005, Frischmann joined the Buddhism-inspired arts school 'Naropa University' in Boulder, Colorado, to study painting. There, she not only learned the art but also enriched herself spiritually. After graduating from the university, she pursued a career as a visual artist and almost stopped making music.
In 2012, Frischmann's artworks were nominated for the U.K.'s 'Marmite Prize' for painting and she was listed as one of the ''1000 Living Painters.'' She has exhibited her paintings internationally. Her paintings reflect her evolving relationship with spiritualism and her approach toward life. The aesthetics of her artworks depict her internal struggles and the origins and history of her family.
She has exhibited and put on sale her series of greyish abstract paintings, called the 'Lambent' series, at the 'Volta' art fair. She also did a short film for 'Volta.' Frischmann is represented by the 'George Lawson Gallery' in San Francisco.
Frischmann came under the spotlight as a vocalist again in 2017, when 'Rough Trade Records' released a remastered version of 'Elastica.'
In the 2018 documentary 'The Insatiable Ones,' Anderson mentioned Frischmann as the driving force behind the creation of ‘Suede’s first album.
Family & Personal Life
Frischmann dated Brett Anderson while 'Suede' was being formed. She was also in a relationship with Damon Albarn from 1991 to 1998. In Anderson's memoir, 'Coal Black Mornings,' he revealed that they had broken up for the sake of the growth and success of 'Suede.'
Speaking on her break-up with Albarn, Frischmann once cited ''pressure, alcohol, and youth'' as the reasons for the split.
Frischmann is now married to a climate scientist named Ian Faloona. They live in the scenic hills of North Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area.