For the last eight years, the pop music maker known as FLETCHER (the all caps is important) has been gradually peeling back layers of herself and today you’ll read a conversation that feels like no other I’ve had with a popstar this year. Radically vulnerable, radically honest, and processing her emotions in real time.
In an age of pop music where authenticity is everything, it’s common that we’ll get that honesty after-the-fact. The formula usually is go through the thing > write about the thing > be in a better place & release things about the thing but you’re actually fine now.
But FLETCHER is literally in the middle of a breakup. The breakup this EP that just came out is about. She’s sleeping on the couch. She’s got no bars up. She wants to love her own company. But she’s wanting to talk about it now, not later.
The EP is called The S(ex) Tapes. It was meant to come out next Friday but just like an actual sex tape, it got leaked. Couple days ago. Our convo starts with classic single chat, and then dives very deep.
Nic Kelly is in bold, FLETCHER is in not-bold.
We’re speaking on the morning that ‘The One’ comes out, and the EP is not far off. Tell me about this song in particular though?
The One is a part of a bigger project called The S(ex) Tapes. The reason why it’s called The S(ex) Tapes is because a sex tape is somebody being captured in their most vulnerable, rawest, wildest form and my ex and I ended up quarantining together and shooting all the visuals together. She shot the music video for The One. Each song is kind of about a different point throughout our on again, off again, on again, off again relationship – currently off again. The One is about how in the times that you aren’t together, other things happen and people happen and a big part of a breakup is exploring your sexuality and feeling independent and, like, in your own body. For me, that’s what that song represents. Like, you’re not the one, but you could be the one right now, let’s just make out and call it a day. We ended up filming the music video in my hometown in Jersey, my dad’s a car dealer and has a warehouse that he works on cars in and we literally just, like, stole a bunch of lamps from my parents house to go light this warehouse. We didn’t have a crew. We did the set design, we got a fog machine off Amazon, so a lot of DIY, really intimate, really personal vibes on this project.
Are you more proud of this than any video made before, in that case?
I am more proud of every video on this project because it was just the two of us. There wasn’t anybody else involved. Nobody had any opinions. We did the glam, the hair, the makeup, the sets, the everything. But it is about our relationship and it was painful. It was hard. We were having really hard conversations and I was just like, “why don’t we just visually bring these songs that are about us to life, together?” So I feel the most proud of these out of anything I’ve definitely ever made.
This is a very unique situation in that you’re creating content with the person that a lot of the subject matter on the record is about. I don’t think I’ve spoken to a pop star who’s done that before. Talk me through what goes through your brain working on this stuff with your ex?
When everything with quarantine kind of went down, we made the decision. I was just like, “hey, do you want to just like be together?” The world’s a really crazy, weird place and there’s always just been so much love between us and you know, like, she’s my best friend. We were going through all this stuff and we were kind of just trying to process it and I was like, “I feel like it’d be really cathartic for us to make this. These songs are about you. I wrote these songs about our situation and what it’s been like, you should film them.” It was a lot. And it’s been a lot. It’s really weird now doing like, promo and like, talking about something that I’m still trying to understand myself and that I’m like really in the thick of, with these emotions. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster for me over here!
It’s almost like breaking the fourth wall isn’t it? Normally a popstar would make the record about the person to process everything, but you’re literally living out this process right now.
Yeah, and the songs have been written over the last year and a half. That was me processing those initial feelings and then kind of processing the questions. Do we break up? Do we stay together? Do we figure this out? Love is complicated. Like, it’s not easy. It’s not black and white. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially when there’s so much personal shit that you’re still trying to understand! Like my sexuality, and my co-dependency issues, and never having been on my own, and feeling like I need to know how to be a big girl and face the things I’ve been running from my whole life. But making this together was definitely a way for us to process those really complicated feelings that we were just talking about anyway. It was like, let’s just make videos about the things that we’re talking about.
On the songwriting side, Malay’s doing a lot of the production stuff for this. That’s a really cool combo. Talk to me about working with Malay?
Malay is so talented. I’ve been a really big fan of him for a really long time. I love what he did with Frank Ocean, with Lorde, with Sam Smith, I’ve been a fan of his sonic pallette and landscape, and the way that he makes things feel. It just hits you in the heart the way that he produces. It’s always a really collaborative, amazing process with Malay, he’s really talented. It was really cool to bring these songs to life with him over the last year or so.
There’s songwriting with folks like Mozella and Noonie Bao on the credits as well, it’s cool to bring those incredibly strong women into the project as well and process it that way too.
Every single song on the project was co-written with women. So it’s all female writers, all the creative is all female, directed, shot, creative direction, edited, we’ve got a badass babe gang happening over here on this end. Malay’s the token dude.
He can come along for the ride! He’s a conduit for your feelings! That’s a really cool thing to be able to represent on this record as well. Having those other women around you must be a really important thing whilst you process these emotions?
Yeah, it really is. And I think just even now, being in this heartbroken stage that I’m in at the moment, I think surrounding myself with women who have been through experiences and have stood on their own and become really independent and are just really wise. I think just surrounding surrounding yourself with a lot of different perspective is really, really important, especially in a time where like… I feel kind of lost right now. And that’s okay. And that’s something that I’m like processing at the moment. If girls lift up girls, the world is a way fucking better place. I think there’s just such a natural tendency to want to compete and be like, “no, there’s like only one spot at the table.” But like, there’s so much room. There really is so much room.
I had a very similar conversation with Ava Max a couple of weeks ago, about the fact that we are now in a place where there is room to share and there is not just this one archetypal popstar that you can be. There’s room for everyone that’s got something to say and is willing to be vulnerable and is willing to share their emotions. I feel like this is the most radically vulnerable project I’ve heard in a while, now that you’ve explained it, because you’re quite literally living out your emotions in real time. And that’s not something that people do. How are you going? Are you alright?
I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m like, very honest about how I am. I’m kind of lost in the sauce of it a bit you know, I’m still in the sleeping on the couch in my living room stage because my bedroom is too emotional and reminds me of things kind of stage of all of this. And it’s weird. My last project that I put out, I kind of had some more time and perspective to process stuff and then talk about it at a later date and kind of be over the situation and now I’m just like, “oh, fuck.” It’s like a cut, you know, that I’m just looking at and trying to explain what it looks like but still not really understanding how exactly it’s supposed to heal. But it’s a process! And I’m here for it. I think I’ve just finally accepted the fact that you’ve got to stop running away from the shit that you’re just desperately trying to avoid. It just comes back to bite you in the ass. I want to be my own best friend and learn how to do that. Because the idea of alone time sounds horrible to me right now. But I’m trying to get stoked on fuckin’ facemasks and sushi nights in by myself.
Falling back in loving yourself is the best thing that you’ll ever be able to do and you know what, that will then open up a whole new world for you. I can hear the optimism in your voice despite the lost feeling and trying to grab on to whatever kind of comforts you can… but I can hear the optimism in your voice. After The S(ex) Tapes, what do you think FLETCHER is going to be able to move on to next and when do you think FLETCHER is going to be able to move on to it?
I’m thinking that she’s going to move into a space of stopping writing about heartbreak. I can’t be the fucking heartbreak bitch for the rest of my life. Like, my debut album needs to be about my explorations of the things that I’ve discovered about me not how not how other people have made me feel. That’s where we’re moving to. If I were to try to write it right now, it’d be some more sad bops. So we’re pumping the brakes on sessions for a second!
I get it! I’m looking forward to you having some ears on this project. So you’ve got thousands of people to share these thoughts with. I think that’s a really exciting thing to be able to provide and one of the exciting things about being a popstar, being a musician, is you get to share this with lots of people.
I’m super grateful for you know, you giving me the opportunity to share it on on your platform as well. It really means a lot.
And thank you for your honesty and your vulnerability. It’s refreshing, and I don’t get it for many people. I appreciate you, Fletcher.
Thankyou. I appreciate you too Nic.