Saturday (Sept. 30) marks exactly a year since singer/songwriter FLETCHER released her debut EP, Finding Fletcher. After spending the summer hopping around the festival circuit and meeting fans across the country, the 23-year-old has relocated from New York City to Los Angeles and is ready for the next era of FLETCHER.
“I’ve had a lot of experiences and growing and done a lot of soul searching,” the “Wasted Youth” singer (born Cari Fletcher) tells Billboard. “I had things happen to me over the last year that I definitely put into the writing. The songs that I’m writing now have become way more introspective and self-aware, more gritty, edgy heart-on-your-sleeve kind of lyrics. Definitely continuing some thematic elements from the last EP, this dives into more of a socially conscious, self-aware introspective pop sound.”
The first taste of this more self-aware music is the single “You Should Talk,” which officially arrives Sept. 29, but is premiering on Billboard a day early. It’s a lyrically feisty track whose melody keeping things cool, as FLETCHER didn’t want to be too abrasive with the context of the story — even if the song’s subject deserves a bit of a straight-up confrontation.
“It’s a situation where I got absolutely no closure and was just fully ghosted,” FLETCHER explains of the song’s inspiration. “It’s almost like mourning the death of somebody – when you meet somebody that you love, they become complete strangers and it almost feels like they died. It was a song, for me, that’s just trying to formulate my own sort of version of closure I never really got from a past situation.”
As FLETCHER begins unveiling her new set of material, she hopped on the phone with Billboard to chat about her latest single, how the move from East to West has impacted her music, and the “repeating cycle of inspiration” she’s created with her fans that’s taught her that being vulnerable is a good thing. Check out “You Should Talk” and our interview with FLETCHER below.
How did “You Should Talk” come together?
I wrote it with two really badass female writers, KNita + Delacey, and we just kind of all shared our experiences on what “You Should Talk” kind of meant to us, our past relationships and situations we’d been in, and everybody had a similar situation. [We felt] if three of us females in the room have experienced something similar, this is something that so many more people could connect with on a bigger level.
So is the phrase “you should talk” meant more in the literal or hypocritical sense?
It’s a little bit of both. It’s in the way that’s like, “I wish you’d talk to me,” and also in the way that’s like “You know, you should be one to talk, because you disappeared, but you fucking did this too.” It is a bit somber, but it’s also a little bit “fuck you” — you should be one to talk, because you fucked me over also.
Is there a line in the song that stands out to you the most?
One of my favorite lines in the song is “you should talk because to fuck it up takes two, that shit I did yeah, you did it too.” It’s really just what sums up the sort of energy and the message of the song.
[The song] doesn’t really have a happy ending, it’s not supposed to – it’s something that is very real for a lot of people, and it’s learning to come to terms and formulate your own closure, if that’s something that you were never able to get. It’s like, it hurts, and it doesn’t make any fucking sense. Nobody really understands it, and then you start blaming yourself. The song is really just about the realization, “You know what? This is not just me, it’s you too.”
Is there anything you’ve learned from the experiences you’ve had in the last year or so that has had an impact on your songwriting/creation process for this next set of material?
I moved from N.Y. to Los Angeles, which are just on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of environment, people, weather, everything. There’s a lot of me talking about moving to a brand new city, being a female in the industry, seeing some of the different things that I’ve witnessed here. The fear of being irrelevant and worrying about being successful and writing songs to get by and cover the rent.
It’s definitely become a much more real-world experience for me being on my own and trying to do this thing. I think that’s been reflected in the music, it’s just really honest and I’m really excited to share that.
Has the culture of L.A. had any impact on the message you’re hoping to send as an artist?
Living in Los Angeles makes you so much more self-conscious about your physical appearance, who you are and what you’re doing. But even just going to clubs and bars here, seeing the way girls look each other up and down and try to one-up each other, it’s such a game. And I notice it in the industry, and I don’t love that. The music is also carrying the fact that it’s like, we’re all ladies and we’re all badasses, we’re all killing it in our own respective ways and I think we just need to support each other, because there needs to be more women in the music industry. The only way that’s going to happen is if we respect one another.
I just wrote a lyric about it the other day, “Eat your lipstick so you’re pretty on the inside.” I just want to remind people, let’s not be hypocrites here and let’s be supportive of one another because we’re all fucking great.
Despite the animosity you’ve noticed, a lot of female pop artists have been or are going to be releasing new music this year, like Kesha, Lorde and Taylor Swift — have any of this year’s releases had an impact on your music?
Lorde’s always been very much an inspiration for me. I think she’s just created a niche for herself in the pop space as this anti-rebel pop queen. It has been a year for artists putting out content, but it’s not been a very great year for them being recognized.
How crazy that Cardi B was the first female rapper No. 1 on Billboard [Hot 100 in 19 years] – that’s wild that it’s taken that long for something like that to happen. That just really puts into perspective how behind the industry is in supporting females and female artists. So while it has been a year for females putting out new music, I think there’s still a long way to go in terms of supporting those female artists. I just want to keep contributing to the conversation to females in music and how I feel about all that stuff because I think the more we talk about it the more we bring awareness to the fact that it is a very real thing.
What about a fan interaction you’ve had this year – have there been any that have been inspirational to your music or career?
I have been so incredibly impressed by my followers and the supporters I have. They’re all so intelligent, and they will respond to a quote of mine or something with an incredible opinion. They’ve really opened my eyes and it’s been very exciting – it’s given me hope for the next generation of humans that are just so aware socially. It’s been really cool to have that direct relationship and get their perspective and share mine with them.
Hearing fans’ feedback on gender and sexuality, it’s just been very affirming to know that there are so many like-minded individuals and that I’m reaching the sort of audience that I hoped I always would have — and connected on such a personal level, hearing their personal stories. That’s definitely kept driving me to continue writing about my own experiences. And it’s shown me that being vulnerable is cool, and being vulnerable can make really beautiful things happen. It’s a repeating cycle of inspiration, and it’s been really fucking cool to be part of that process.
FLETCHER fall tour dates
Oct. 3 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Underground
Oct. 5 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rought Trade NYC
Oct. 6 – Boston, MA @ Middle East
Oct. 7 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live Philadelphia
Oct. 8 – Washington D.C. @All Things Go Fall Classic*
Oct. 10 – Chicago, IL @Beat Kitchen
Oct. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
Oct. 14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
Oct. 15 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
Oct. 16 – San Diego, CA @ The Loft*
(* without opening act Tayler Buono)