By Alex Catarinella , June 29, 2010
People started making a big deal of Sky Ferreira’s age after Katy Perry posted a picture of her on Twitter. And not because Perry was tweeting about a 17-year-old girl most people hadn’t yet heard about, but because that 17-year-old girl was holding a bottle of Vodka between her legs, which were spread wide open. “I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much,” says Ferreira as she looks back on the incident that, let’s face it, helped forward her career. Now, much is being made of the her beyond-her-years aura. She’s not much older than Justin Bieber, but magazines likeNylon, Dazed and Interview are pouncing on the Los Angeles native, transforming her into the new darling of art and fashion circles. Like most things these days, it all began online for Ferreira. A song posted on her MySpace page made people take notice, including the Swedish production gods Bloodshy & Avant. The duo behind Britney Spears’ “Toxic” began mentoring Ferreira, and produced “One,” the first single off her debut album out later this year. Here she is on her influences, being BFFS with Katy Perry, and why famous people are a drag
You recently moved from L.A. to NY. Why the move and where have you been spending your time? I needed a change. People my age move away to go to college, so I decided to move somewhere else and learn to be on my own. I’ve been working so much, I still can’t really give you a place. But I did find some pretty good clothing for my live show atThe Reformation.
There’s a lot of people talking about your age and your getting into clubs with famous friends. I’m really not all that wild. Maybe on occasions. And when I go out it’s mostly just to see people I don’t get to see during the day because of this insane rehearsal schedule. It’s awkward how people get fascinated by the “who knows who” thing or whatever. I just like to be nice to everyone. P.S., famous people are a drag. They have to be careful of everything they do. Yawn.
Was the song “17” a response to the fascination about your age? It was a bit of an inside joke about me being 15 when I wrote it.
The Twitterverse went crazy when Katy Perry posted a racy picture of you and a bottle of vodka. How did you react? I found it really funny, but my mom and PR, not so much. I’d much rather avoid being part of the tabloid circuit in the future.
Speaking of Katy Perry, has she ever given you a great piece of career advice? We both do the same profession and it’s really nice having a friend on the same record label that can give me advice. At the moment, though, I just like to hang out with her and not really talk about work stuff. I’ll let everyone else bug her about that shit.
You mentioned to me once that you loved The Runaways. How do you relate to their story, and what did you think of the movie? I’ve loved the Runaways since I was 13. I was obsessed. I watched and learned and read everything about each member and Kim Fowley, who I almost worked with. At first I was pissed about them making Neon Angels a movie because I’m a selfish person. In my mind they were mine. Even though I was born about 30 years later. I’m glad they got the attention they deserved. I related to them as young women in the music industry and how people manipulate and take advantage of you because you are young and a girl.
Who else would you consider your major music influences? It seems like you avoided the Britneys and Christinas.I listen to tons of Madonna, Britney, Christina! I used to go through all my dad’s CDs. He was a big Elton John fan, so I learned all of his songs when I was like 9. Then I learned how to play them on the keyboard. I’d sit there playing for like hours till I learned “Candle In the Wind.” Then at 13, which was the same time I discovered The Runaways, I got obsessed with “Life on Mars?” But not The Ziggy Stardust Era! Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But you know how people love to drop that one interview? I don’t want to be another corny pop girl doing that shit. Anyway, it was the first time a song could make me cry. I used to think listening to it before I went to sleep would make me write a song just as great. It later became a habit that I still do until this day, except when I’m at someone’s house. That would just be weird if I started crying to David Bowie in the corner.
Do you consider yourself a rebel in a world dominated by Miley Cyrus? Not really. I’m just not quite sure what world I’m really in yet. I don’t feel like a pop princess, but I don’t feel quite “edgy indie band” either.
Tell me about your first official single, “One.” How did you get involved with Bloodshy & Avant [producers who have worked with Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Britney Spears]? I wrote some of the lyrics to “One” about two and a half years ago. I got to Sweden and they played me the track. Marit Bergman and I wrote the whole song within thirty minutes. It just came out naturally. It’s about being numb and wanting to feel love, happiness, sadness—anything, really. It’s kind of like the Tin Man wanting a heart. I wrote Bloodshy & Avant a letter right before my 15th birthday and told them to sign me. Then they did, kind of right off the bat
Who are you listening to right now? Shining Twins, Primary 1, and my favorite people, The Virgins.
What can we expect from the new album? This one is a dance record. I want to get all of the stupid fun shit out of the way while I’m young and it’s appropriate, so I don’t end up wanting to do it when I’m 40 and wearing a leather leotard with my ass hanging out.
Tell me about your songwriting process. What are you singing about? Observations I make of people. And I’m a big fan of numbers in case you haven’t noticed.
You filmed the “17” video with Cass Bird. How involved are you with the music videos and what can we expect from the “One” video? I like working with photographers for videos. “17” was done raw. It was dark, natural, and filmed beautifully. I wanted to base it off Christiane F, minus the heroin. I gave Cass a whole bunch of photos. I think it came out really well considering we started out with no budget, and EMI didn’t want to pay for it or even have it come out. Now it’s on MTV without the help of my label! Word! I had no idea who was going to do “One.” They had me speak to Sophie Muller and I love her work, but it didn’t seem right for this video. I based it off of young Jerry Hall and Brooke Shields, “Life On Mars?,” and, editing-wise, Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” and wanted it really clean-cut, something that wasn’t expected from me. I was shooting my album cover and my stylist was someone I met on a Rankin shoot. He spoke to Rankin about the song and then Rankin wanted to do the video. A week later we shot it in L.A. We make a good team.
Your career is about to launch. What do you want the world to know about Sky Ferreira? I’ll let the world discover it themselves. Can’t say. I don’t want to curse it.
Photo by Lisa Boyle.