Over the summer, I was able to have a little phone session with budding electro-pop artist Sky Ferreira, who just happens to be one of my latest obsessions! (Pun intended.) Sky is hard at work putting the finishing touches on her debut album due out in the begining of next year. Read below to see what she had to say about her upcoming single “Obsession,” gimmicks in music, and how she is an “electro snob.”
E: Hello! This is Erica from Electrocutie Music Blog. It’s so nice to meet you.
S: It’s nice to meet you, too!
E: Where am I catching you right now?
S: I am at EMI in New York City right now.
E: Oh, cool. Are you getting the album all ready?
S: Yes, and I’m doing a lot of promo.
E: Oh, awesome! And when is the album coming out in the US?
S: It’s coming out on January 11, 2011. So it’s a lot of “1’s!” [Laughs.]
E: [Laughs.] That’s really cool, especially considering the single is “One” and then there’s “17…” Do you have a thing for numbers?
S: Yeah, I have a huge thing for numbers for some reason! I also have a song called “108.”
E: Oh really? Very cool! So this album – I’m very excited about it by the way, I’ve been a fan for a while, so I’m excited this is finally getting off the ground for you…
S: Yeah, thanks!
E: You’re relatively young. You’re 18, right?
S: Oh yeah, I’m 18.
E: Okay, right, so do you find there are any advantages or disadvantages to your age?
S: I mean, people judge me since I’m 18, or people try to take advantage of me being that I’m young. But then there’s also the advantage of people being impressed by me that I’m so young and doing what I’m doing, which is cool.
E: Yeah, well, I’m impressed, so you have me on your side. Now your music, it has an almost European flair. It’s very electro. It’s very different than what’s here in the US, which is interesting because you are American, right?
S: Yes. Well, I worked a lot in Europe.
E: And do you like those sounds better?
S: I wouldn’t say I like it better, but I feel like they’re more forward in electronic music right now. And I was always doing electronic music. It wasn’t like I did it because, like, it’s trendy right now on US radio. But I started with it a long time ago – since the start of my whole career.
E: Speaking of American radio, I heard somewhere that “One” wasn’t chosen for US radio ‘cause it was felt that it would do better in the UK, but “Obsession” was chosen instead ‘cause it sounds more radio-friendly for America. What are your thoughts on that?
S: I mean, it’s a little bit frustrating. I think they really under-estimate American listeners but then again even “One” is having a hard time in the UK surprisingly. But you know… Um, I mean it isn’t, there is a lot of good response to it as well, but for some reason it just isn’t doing as well as I expected. But whatever, stuff happens. You know? And I feel like even if it didn’t become a hit right away or something, I still feel like it’s a song that will be around years from now ‘cause I think it’s something really special.
E: I agree, and you know, I wouldn’t even worry too much about that…
S: [Laughs.] Yeah, people don’t even buy music anymore.
E: I buy Cds! I download when I have to, but I prefer Cds and buying my music. I always buy my music. I think it’s good to support artists.
S: Same! It’s funny, ‘cause everyone thinks I’m lying and stuff when I say that, but I’ve never really, like, illegally downloaded.
E: No, I get it! People work really hard to make this music and get it out there. It’s art, no matter what, and I feel you should always support art.
E: And I think it’s also better to not be just a flash-in-the-pan artist, so with you, you’re kind of building a fan base first.
S: Exactly! I mean, with Madonna that’s how it worked. A lot of people forget that’s how it was like. I mean, she was popular but she never had what Lady Gaga got so fast. It took her a few records to get to that point. And I’m not saying it’s any better than Gaga or anything, it’s just an example. Everyone tends to think that these things happen right away because they see it happen so fast, but I’m just building myself right now.
E: I think that’s so smart… so smart to do. And also, I hear you get a little frustrated by comparisons – and I won’t name them here – but comparisons to certain other female artists… And personally, I haven’t heard anything quite like you yet, but it’s kind of tiresome to always see these female artists getting compared to one another.
S: Exactly! They wouldn’t do it to a male artist. Well, I feel they don’t do it as much towards male artists as they do female artists.
E: Why do you think that is?
S: I have no idea! And plus there’s the whole sex appeal factor, too.
E: Right. Now, I hear you knew Michael Jackson while growing up. Can you talk a little about that?
S: Um, my mom worked with him for many years so I kind of, like, grew up with him.
E: That’s amazing. Have you found yourself influenced by his legacy of work?
S: Of course! Well, obviously Michael Jackson is the biggest pop star ever to exist, so that’s pretty inspiring. [Laughs.] But, um, I don’t think there will ever be, like, another Michael Jackson.
E: Of course. Well, now the album – do you have a name for the album yet, by the way?
S: Not yet! I’m still thinking of it.
E: Probably something with numbers though, right?
S: [Laughs.] Probably! I’ll try not to…
E: Now, you’ve been working on this album since you were 14?
E: And do you find that the songs you have are still an accurate representation of who you are now?
S: Yeah! I feel like it definitely shows what has happened to me over the past four years and how I’ve felt and everything.
E: What kinds of sounds and themes can we expect to hear on this album?
S: Um, well I think definitely a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t say is exactly like “One,” but obviously there’s a lot of Bloodshy & Avant tracks. And then Dallas Austin made stuff… I wouldn’t say it’s all over the place, but… Like I think it really has something different to it than just another dance record or another pop record. I think it’s taken a lot of not only effort but I think it’s really personal. I mean, a record is always pretty personal for an artist but for me it’s really personal.
E: Also, you’re very, very fashionable. Is your style something that you find is intertwined with the music or with the whole “Sky package” now?
S: I feel like, um… Yeah, I mean nowadays I feel you kind of have to have a certain look or whatever. People constantly say that. Basically – I’m trying to find the right way to word this – you know, I’m trying my best also not to turn into a gimmick with my style.
E: Right. I think if you can bypass the kitsch factor, the gimmick, I think the music will have a longer shelf life and have a legacy rather than just be popular at the time.
S: Yes, exactly.
E: Now, a lot of your music is very electronica, electro-pop – not like dancey in the sense of Lady Gaga or the diva dance music from the 90’s, but it’s very synthy, it’s very cool. Are you a fan of electro music? How did you get into that?
S: I mean, electro music is something I was exposed to when I was really young, like 13. I remember, like, Daft Punk, and all my friends liked Daft Punk, and I remember going to that show. And then also at the time Justice was like the biggest band around – maybe not in the pop charts, but it was at the time the biggest band.
S: Like, the thing was I was always paying attention to Justice and the whole Ed Banger thing before it exploded – well, a lot of people knew about it – but before it exploded into the whole I guess what you would say mainstream attention of the time. So I was really influenced by that, so I started doing music like that, you know. And at the time it was with the Bloody Beetroots and The Shoes and I did The Virgins remix and all that type of stuff. Like it all started kind of at that point and I started talking to Justice and making friends with them and stuff. And it broadened me a lot. And also working with people in Sweden, where all their music is like that. And I still talk to the Swedish House Mafia, and they’re starting to get a lot more attention which is really good. Like, what I consider electro and electronic music is way different than what I guess a lot normal people might consider. Like… I don’t really consider Kesha electro… or Katy Perry or any of that.
E: No, I hear you.
S: I mean, I kind of like took parts of it and then put it into pop, but I feel like is it electro? Not really. But I’m electro snob though.
E: Do you plan on touring for this album?
S: Uh, yes, obviously. Well, I have to. [Laughs.]
E: Have you done any shows before yet?
S: I’ve done… Um, no. Not really. I did one show in New York but that wasn’t really, like, a show. It was some kind of thing where I did like two songs. Well, I did one show in Paris. Yeah, that was cool. And I’ve started doing live performances like literally a week ago.
E: Are you excited or more nervous about the touring aspect?
S: I’m excited but yeah, I’m also nervous, but I also just love making records so it’s like I want to perform but I don’t wanna do it for three years and not be able to make another record for three years ‘cause I’m gonna be touring. I mean, I know that’s how a lot of people do it but that’s not really what I want to do. I just want to be able to be really focused ‘cause I always have new ideas and stuff.
E: Is your debut album completely finished now? Have you picked the track listing and everything?
S: Um, I mean, it’s not confirmed but kind of. It’s pretty much done.
E: Are you itching to get it out now?
S: Yeah, yeah, yeah! I am, definitely.
E: Have you even started thinking about your next album?
S: Yeah, of course.
E: Why is that I always hear artists do that? It’s like, you just finished one and you’re already onto the next, huh?
S: I don’t know! [Laughs.] But it just always happens that way! I also have a side project thing I’m doing, too, so I’m excited about that.
E: When is “Obsession” coming out, by the way?
S: It is coming out September 13th or 14th.
E: Did you start a video for that yet?
S: Yes, I filmed a video. It is in the process of getting edited. I think it should be done pretty soon. And I have a special guest in it.
E: Ah, that’s so exciting! Now, your video for “17” was very different from the video for “One,” so is this going to be similar to or different than those two?
S: Oh, yeah, it’s completely different from both of them! It’s very different. I mean it’s not lo-fi but it’s gonna be just like, “Why is she doing that? Why didn‘t she do something like ‘One?’” Some people are going to be a little disappointed because it’s not glamorous, but it’s funny. The video is totally like a… well, not like a skit, but it’s funny.
E: Well, I’m super excited about that. And I think I’ve basically asked you everything I wanted to…Thank you so much for chatting with me.
S: No problem!
E: Before we go, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
S: Um… Thanks for the support!
E: “Buy my album when it comes out…”
S: Yes! Please buy stuff! [Laughs.]
E: Alright, Sky, thank you so much for everything and good luck with your album. Take care!
S: Okay, thank you! Bye!
Thanks so much to Sky, her management, and Heidi Anne-Noel at EMI for arranging the interview! Be sure to check out Sky on MySpace here and stay tuned for more news regarding her upcoming album.