How do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
There’s this line in John Green’s The Fault in our Stars: “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
I write lyrics the same way. Slowly, and then all at once.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing in songwriting?
The melody. You can be the most beautiful lyricist to grace our finicky planet and nobody will care if your melody doesn’t land with the same kind of impact.
Are you ever scared of revealing aspects of your personal life/experience to strangers through your music?
I would only be scared if I wasn’t telling the truth.
They’re just words. They’re things. Why shouldn’t I use them, especially if using them means spreading my wings and learning to fly?
What is the best lyric that you ever wrote (the most meaningful for you)?
“She was one true thing in a miserable crowd.”
What inspired “Pretty Genius,” your latest song?
My darling, yet ruinous ex-boyfriend turned me against myself. Like penning a song, it was slow and then it was all at once. That’s how betrayal hits; quiet, lurking, and then it’s everywhere.
I’ve always been remarkable when it comes to reading people. I was torn between parents as a high schooler, one of which was charming and evil—so I know a toxic entity when I see one. As I was falling in love, I started noticing that we weren’t just in close proximity to a toxic person, we were surrounded by them.
I remember saying things here or there, trying to tug the blind fold from his eyes so he could see what I was seeing, but each time, I felt like he added a brick to the space between us, like my truth, inconvenient as it was to the support system he’d built, needed to be hidden away. It was too much, too revealing.
But that came towards the end.
In the beginning it was little things. It was being introduced as a girlfriend, rather than a musician. It was being his accessory as he adopted somebody else’s personality, and, therefore, the way they interacted with the ones they loved. It was being angry at myself because I couldn’t just blindly trust the people he called best friends.
As we spoke our last breath together, I felt guilty and self-conscious. I felt like maybe I was the crazy one. The toxic one. Maybe it was all me.
But as I began my journey from the empty shell I’d become to the character I now call “Pretty Genius,” I found that it really wasn’t about me. It was about them. See, when there is one true thing in a miserable crowd, there is a common enemy. Because the one thing that is true among miserable people is this: truth is a threat.
And truth is my superpower.
And “My Worst”?
“My Worst” was a red moment in my dating history. A fuming, burning flame. I don’t normally let them catch, but this one I did.
Really, what can I say beyond this: I was fucking pissed. Being led on, it’s a cruelty our icons and poets and essayists will toss onto their office floors in crumpled pieces of paper, frustrated because the drug is there and you want to give into it, but you can’t, and no words can do it justice.
“My Worst” was a sweet release I don’t regret indulging.
Do you remember the day you wrote “King’s Cup”?
I do. I’d flown to LA for two weeks to work with a songwriter and producer out of a West Hollywood home studio. The most poignant memory was how very LA it was. The songwriter was orange almost—I swear he had peck implants and hair plugs. The producer was tall and eager to sink his teeth into anything that smelled like money. I was naïve and a worthy victim.
I remember the threat I presented: I actually knew what I was doing. I could pen a better song than someone who’d worked with LA’s biggest artists. The shock of that, it’s stayed with me to this day. It was one of the first times I decided to reassess the value I’d placed on myself and tack an extra zero onto it.
Are you currently working on new songs? Maybe a new album?
I’m currently mixing—and devastatingly close to a first draft—the final song from a full-length LP I plan to release January 17th.
What is the best suggestion your producer gave you?
I produced this music myself, so what I’d like to pass on is this: you can say just as much with your production as you can with your words.
What are your plans for the upcoming months?
Be present. I have a really hard time reaching into the future these days. It gets tiring looking at a calendar and seeing plan after plan after plan. I love the namelessness of letting the universe shape time around you, rather than trying to shape it myself.
To conclude the interview a short Q/A session, please answer the first thing that comes to your mind:
- Define in one word your song “Pretty Genius”: Heroic.
- The best show you ever played: I haven’t had “the one” yet. Performing… it’s asked me out a few times, but I haven’t yet been on an earth-shattering date.
- The one thing that you must have in your backstage: At least one of my friends.
- The soundtrack of your childhood: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Remastered / Deluxe Edition).
- Your favourite song lyrically speaking, but not written by you: “Vienna” – Billy Joel.
- Last question is “unusual,” we want to know your best relationship advice: If you have to sacrifice your peace for him, he’s not your person.