Friday, January 15, 2010

Sky Ferreira: About To Blow

Another one of my 2010 picks, I first met Sky in LA in June 2008, literally the same week I met a then-unknown Lady GaGa. I'd seeN Sky on MySpace, thought she was really interested, dropped her a line, and before I knew it, we were arranging to meet at a diner in Santa Monica when I arrived in La-La later that month.

>>FF two years, and since then we've kept in touch as she hooked up with Bloodyshy and Avant (Toxic, innit) and signed to EMI. Late last yera, I visited her at Paul Epworth's London studio late and the music the pair have made is really quite incredible. I know this time of year is a one big, massive hype season, but I really think the 17 year-old is ace.

Here's my feature on her that ran in RWD this month:

I know we get excited about new artists here at RWD, but seriously, welcome to the future of pop music. They may be nothing alike, but we feel about Sky Ferreira the same way we felt about Lady GaGa in June 2008. It’s. About. To. Go. Off.

The paparazzi might be the bain of many people’s lives, but sometimes they get things right. Outside of a west London hotel recently, one of the picture-grabbing goons spotted a young 17 year-old and started snapping. “Er, I’m really not anyone, you’re not going to make any money from that picture,” the girl insisted. “Well, you look like you could be someone,” came the reply.

While the papp might have been a bit premature, he had a point; Sky Ferreira is about to be ‘someone.’ Talented, intelligent, self-aware, outspoken, a great songwriter and the owner of an incredible voice, this LA singer is our big tip for 2010. “I think my record shows that I have an opinion for my age,” says Sky when we meet up with her at the studio of uber-talented producer, Paul Epworth (Kano/ Florence & The Machine]. “I’m not trying to be so bold, but I’m saying what’s on my mind. I have a song called Anonymous Haters about people who talk shit on the Internet all day for no reason. If you’re going to say something, you might as well say it with your name. It’s so lame,” says the Madonna, Vanity 6, Nancy Sinatra and Kim Fowley (check his film The Runaways) fan. Her sound, like her influences is bold, outspoken and very true to herself. “I don’t have a lot in common with people my age, but at the same time I do,” says the part-time blogger who hated high school. “I wasn’t in the mood to make something deep, I wanted to make something young. Not to exploit my youth, but while I have it, I don’t want to be 25 and singing about this stuff. I’m at the right age when I’m allowed to sing about stupid stuff and sing stupid things.” Hence tracks about haters, or Cherry Bomb, a song about losing your virginity. “I’m 17 and I have opinions on things. I don’t want to say I’m better than anyone else; I say stuff, but not in a rude way. If I do something, it’s going to be tasteful and not for the ‘shock factor’, which I feel happens so often now,” she says of other singers, mentioning no-names. “I wrote that song about my virginity or whatever, but just cos I wanted to write about it. It’s natural for a girl my age to sing about sex or going out with fake iD and getting grounded, rather than prom queens and cheerleaders...”

Her forthright songwriting and fantastic gospel and opera-trained vocal (“I can hit the Mariah notes, but I’ll leave that for record No.2”) has already won over a legion of fans. Tipped in the tabloids and working with Bloodshy & Avant’s camp (Britney), production is being handled by Dallas Austin, Radioclit, Greg Kurstin and the aforementioned Epworth who thinks Sky is “incredible.”

Her journey into music began properly at 14, when she started hanging out in clubs and bars, making her name for herself as somewhat of a ‘Lolita’ character. “I wasn’t doing anything bad,” she insists. “Well I was,” she laughs, “but I wasn’t doing drugs or doing it to guys.” Since then, she’s signed to EMI and enlisted an a-list team, yet she’s from pretty humble beginnings. “I was bought up by my grandma, cos my parents were very young when they had me. I’m not angry that they had my grandmother raising me because I wouldn’t be in the position I was if she hadn’t.” Sky had a fairly unusual upbringing in other ways too; her mum was a hairdresser for, among others, Michael Jackson. “He helped my family a lot, financially and stuff,” she remembers. “He was a nice person you know. He always helped people and that’s what a lot of people seem to forget. Neverland wasn’t some creepy place, it was for kids that couldn’t afford to go to Disneyland or for kids that were disabled so they could do the same stuff that everyone else could do.” With Michael’s encouragement, Sky who started singing literally as a baby, began writing songs at 13. Spotted via the Internets by Bloodshy, she’s now waiting in the wings as 2010’s Next. Big. Thing. “I think it will definitely be the pop record that people have been waiting for,” she decides. “And I promise I won’t shove myself down your throat too much! You won’t see me in the tabloids...” Hmm, seems like the Mr. Papparazzi might have something to say about that. For Ferreira, we reckon the Sky’s the limit...


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