Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) | 12.02.14 | Issue # 25
Her free spirit may have seen her debut album delayed five years and her name in the news after an arrest, but Sky Ferreira’s new record is proof that creativity will always reign triumphant. Daniel Cribb discovers the power of independence.
There comes a point in high school when you’re forced to think about what you’ll do after graduation. When your parents, the school counsellor and almost everyone else you know don’t believe in a dream you’re trying to turn into a reality, things tend to feel a little hopeless. When LA-based singer-songwriter/model/actress Sky Ferreira was in such a situation at age 16, she left home, dropped out of school and put all her efforts into getting signed. It wasn’t long before she was picked up by a label, but then another roadblock was forged. Convinced they had the next Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift, writer after writer was brought in to try and mould the rock star to fit certain conventions. But Ferreira didn’t budge on her creative image and thus was stuck in what seemed like an endless loop.
That’s when she realised it was up to her alone to get the job done. “I think they thought I wasn’t going to do it, because I remember one person saying, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, and I was like, ‘Fuck you’,” the now 21 year-old laughs from her LA home. “I used all my modelling money to do it, and I always have. I really love modelling, but one of the main reasons I do it is so I have the freedom to make whatever I want to make, and do it the way I want to do it and as wild as I want to without having to rely on other people.”
Her independence paid off. Even though her record, Night Time, My Time, was written and recorded in just over two weeks, it flows effortlessly and is a result of someone who has surfaced from a near-career breaking period, maintaining creative integrity and control. She may only be 21, but it comes from a more mature headspace. “I’ve always been an old soul. I remember being five years old and being over it… I think that has to do with upbringing; I’ve always been very independent,” she tells. “I think in some ways, when you raise yourself, you have no choice but to become an adult. I was out of the house by 16, and already working and living on my own and not getting in trouble. Like, actual trouble,” she laughs.
But the day after announcing her debut album, she did stumble across some “actual trouble”, when she was arrested along with her boyfriend, Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV, and charged with possession. “People like to talk – they’ll get over it. It still gets mentioned all the time. I’m more than my…” she pauses and laughs, “I can’t believe I was about to say it. Oh well, I’ll just say it – I’m more than my mug shot, and once the album came out it kind of proved that. For a second it was, ‘Look at Sky, she fucked it up’. In a way, I’m glad it happened before the album rather than after.”