“Do you really feel nothing for me anymore?”
“I felt lots for you in the moment. … But I wasn’t looking for anything more than a fling.”
So goes one of the many text exchanges between “Her” and “Him” in Blaise Moore’s music video for “Friends,” where the singer-songwriter has transformed real text-message conversations with her ex-boyfriend into meta-subtitles and delicious theater. But that’s just the tip of Moore’s revenge-music iceberg.
The 21-year-old included “Friends” on her debut EP, Laurence, which shares a name with the ex that she roasts throughout its seven songs. The EP’s opening song “LGW” and closing track “YYZ” have titles that refer to the airport codes for her native Toronto airport, where she left everything behind for the guy, and the London airport, in the city where he broke her heart. And she decided to release this first project on — when else — Valentine’s Day.
“I didn’t write these songs for a label, or for the public,” Moore, now signed to Interscope, tells Billboard. “I really was just writing them because I had all these emotions that I needed to get out. I was depressed for so long, and I needed an outlet. It just kept pouring out of me, really. It ended up being a good thing.”
So who is Laurence? He’s the guy eight years older than Moore who flew her across the Atlantic so that she could be with him in London.
“I’ve had small relationships when I was younger, but they didn’t resonate with me like this one did,” says Moore, who first bonded with Laurence over music online and then started regularly Skyping with him. “He basically flew me across the world to meet me for the first time and me being young and wanting that love in my life that I never really had — that fairytale bullshit — I said fuck it and went.”
There was an immediate connection when the two met in person and Moore spent her time in London living with Laurence and learning everything about him. She thought that she had found the one. “Then I left and I went back to Canada,” she recalls. “And he stopped talking to me.”
Eight months passed and Moore became desperate. The singer-songwriter decided that she needed to move to London permanently and try to make it work with Laurence.
“I ditched everything to go back and be with him — I quit my job, I snubbed my family, and I was like, it doesn’t matter, because this is the one for me,” she says.
When she flew back to London, she quickly learned that Laurence wasn’t as serious about their relationship as she was — hence the lyrics to “Friends,” which she wrote soon after she flew back to the U.K., and the text message exchange that appears at the bottom of its video.
“When I was making the video, I wanted to add something extra to it that really got my point across as to how fucked up everything was,” she says. “The video itself is pretty cool, but it doesn’t really tell a story. In a way, you have to watch the video twice — once for the visuals, and once for the text messages.” Moore pauses and adds, “It was really also just a fuck-you to him, because I knew he would get pissed-off about it. I wanted to be like, ‘Hey, I’m using you now.'”
Knotty, winding and hypnotically detached, “Friends” captures a singer-songwriter channeling her cynicism through the bleary-eyed R&B that fellow Toronto native The Weeknd once called his own. On the majority of the Laurence EP, Moore expresses her hurt over lurching beats, quickly steeling herself whenever she lingers on painful memories for too long (on the fantastic “Hands,” her voice cracks when she sings, “I can’t listen to your voice no more/ Without opening old wounds up”).
For Moore, a self-described “problem child” who was sent to a public school in New Zealand and fell in love with music after getting kicked out of drama class, this EP is an opportunity to set the record straight — not just about her affair with Laurence, but about who she is and what she can become.
“This is everything I’ve ever wanted,” Moore says of her EP release and subsequent tour, which kicks off Feb. 21 in Columbus.
As for Laurence, Moore says that he’s handled the musical attack surprisingly well.
“We’re not friends right now, but we’re… acquaintances,” she says. “I do warn him sometimes about some of the shit that I’m doing, so he doesn’t flip the fuck out and do something stupid. He kind of likes it — like, he’s flattered — but he’s kind of pissed-off about it. It feels good to turn the tables on him and be like, ‘Now I’m using you for my own creative purposes.'”