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An Ode to Sky Ferreira

Dear <3 Sky <3,

(Okay, I realise that the chances of Sky Ferreira actually reading this are pretty slim, and why would a ‘model-cum-actress that takes drugs with her grunger boyfriend’ spend her intoxicated weekend soul-searching via social media?)

Anyway, that last sentence was a shameless gambit to highlight the merry-go-round Sky Ferreira denouncement. And no, you haven’t just been linkbaited into another article portraying an angsty teen who [insert tabloid buzzwords] and is therefore a bad role model. You see, there is a lot more to our dear Sky Ferreira than a hyphenated headline pointing to ‘drug addiction’ and ‘irresponsible boyfriends’. In fact, there is a really good album in the midst of it all; an album that shows the dedication of a young musician who – more than anything – was eager to release an album on her own terms. Kudos, amirite?

Let’s take it back to a Sky Ferreira circa 2007. Aged 15, she signed a record contract after living every aspiring teenager’s online dream and making it big on Myspace. Two years later she released her first single, the aptly-titled ‘17’:

From here the pop-rebellion was obvious, and while the subject matter was low-key shenanigans like drinking with older boys (aka any lovestruck teenagers arch-nemesis) and having parents that just don’t understand, this would set the youth-in-revolt tone for Sky Ferreira vs. the industry. The years that followed featured a constant back-and-forth struggle to release her debut album, regurgitating over 400 songs that failed to make it through the clutches of label executives.

Let’s remember, Sky Ferreira has been engrossed by the industry machine since she was 15, a feat that we are constantly reminded to have repercussions for young (predominately female) artists – think Miley et al. Yet Ferreira has always had a defined direction and – despite Capitol Records best efforts – there is very little label craftsmanship with Ferreira. I mean, any attempt to conform to the Birtney Spears 2.0 business plan was never really going to be welcomed. But then again, I’m crushing on Sky like I did with Brtiney in 2000, so I guess Capitol records got their pseudo-Spears after all.

So when Ferreira’s debut album finally made it onto our virtual shelves (there is still an ongoing battle with the vinyl release), it deserved to be taken as the result of a tireless crusade to put out her own record, not a by-product of celebrity gossip stories. And a very good debut at that…

On album opener ‘Boys’, I knew my feelings for Sky were true  the singer announces that “you put my faith back in boys”. Sadly, I think she may have been referring to Zachary Cole, but the heartfelt chorus reminds us that Sky can produce the kind of bubblegum pop – ’24 Hours’ has somewhat of a skater Katy Perry revert – entwined with tales of young love that Capitol Records would have wanted. But then there are moments when this pop influence is distorted with grungy guitar, providing an idyllic middle finger to the man. Oh, and there is also ~that~ album cover (*drools*) that hardly screams pop-princess.

Then, on tracks like ‘I Blame Myself’, we are reminded of Sky’s introverted reflection and signs that the struggles building up to this release have left telling scars. ‘Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay)’ encapsulates these frustrations into a record that deserves more merit than ‘drug addict releases album’. So maybe it is time that someone asked Sky if she was okay? For the record, I would have.

And then there is this whole ‘model-singer’ umbrella that doesn’t exactly imply the credit that frankly, she deserves. In a recent interview with the Rolling Stone, Sky said “I use the money from modeling for my music. I use it to support myself. I don’t make that much money in music, yet. It gives me the freedom to do what I want musically because I don’t have to rely on someone else’s money to do something.” So let’s go with ‘singer-turned-model-to-support-her-musical-career’, that has a nice ring to it.

Yours truly,
James Embiricos
xoxo

Header image by By Georgie Okell



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