Anna French | 05/09/2023
Starting her career independently through Soundcloud pop icon Slayyyter’s career has been forwards sailing ever since. From working in a hair salon to living the dream in LA, Slayyyter has been making moves in the pop-music industry. Inspired by pop icon Lady Gaga herself, Slayyyter’s music is all about embracing sexuality, divine femininity and everything camp and fantastic.
HATC joined Slayyyter to discuss the start of her music career, inspirations, imposter syndrome, girl power and navigating life through the chaos of LA and the music industry.
With the release of her latest album, I asked Slayyyter how the process of her writing has developed from writing her first single to going on to write a complete concept album?
“I always knew I wanted to make an album. I'm very much an albums girl. I don't really like short snapshots of things, I love a full body of music.When I first started the songs, I was excited to see what was going to take shape and where everything was going to go. But I knew from the beginning it was going to be a concept album. I knew it was going to paint a larger picture about a bunch of different things, like my relationship with the time and my life in LA.”
On the topic of personal style and aesthetic I asked Slayyyter about the inspirations for her album. Slayyyter opened up about her love for Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
“I love the concept of fame and Hollywood and I love entertainment and romanticising versions of it. I think one of my favourite albums of all time is "The fame" by Lady Gaga. Ever since I was younger, I was really inspired by pop music that looked into celebrity lifestyle.”
Reflecting on the 2000s pop era I commented on pop music being at a real strength in culture right now. Slayyyter feels like pop culture is making a comeback an insight on the fun and lighthearted nature of her music and her new album.
“I feel like pop is about to have a really big comeback too. I feel like it was a little uncool for a while in culture and I noticed on sites like Tik Tok or on the internet there's just like a big resurgence of dance music right now. After COVID everyone just wants to have fun and music can be so light hearted and warm as a form of escapism. In contrast to needing to relate to something that's super deep or dark, I think that I'm excited to have a pop dance album come out at this time.”
Reflecting on mental health, I find a certain freedom in dance music in terms of letting go and sharing in Slayer's comments. I agree that dance music brings feelings of lightheartedness and joy that brings people together. Chatting with Slayyyter I’m curious if bringing a lighthearted upbeat tone to her music instead of heavy ballads was something she set out to do?
“With my music I alway set out to make an album that I thought was really cool, in the sense of an album but there were references running throughout. Even when I make more emotional songs, there's still dance elements so they don't feel so heavy even if the lyrics are quite deep. I have two songs on the album that are super dancey but they're still breakup songs. Like the song "Memories Of You" or "My Body’" It’s about being left by your significant other in the club and you don't want them to go and it's sad, but they're so dancey that it makes it feel better. I love sad dance songs. Kind of like a Robyn vibe.”
With the joy music can bring and the idea that you can have difficult conversations about things whilst it being put in a way where it's uplifting and not so heavy that you're drowning in it, Slayyyter enables a sense of relief in her own music. She responds by sharing how she listens to music, to make her feel good and uplifted in empowerment.
“It just makes things feel a little bit easier to cope with. I listen to all different things, but I find that if I'm listening to something that's super depressing, I just feel worse. Whereas if I'm listening to, for example, a Robyn song like “Dancing On My Own”, I feel uplifted with my sadness rather than just feeling hopelessness and having it be this dramatic thing. There's something that feels empowering with those kinds of sad dance songs.”
Commenting on Slayyyter’s new track "I love Hollywood!" I asked what she wanted to convey and how she wanted to connect with people through her writing?
“I think that the song is more tongue in cheek. A song about the fame in the entertainment industry. But it’s also a part of the culture in LA. My music never takes itself too seriously. And I definitely wanted to have some songs on the album that were kind of funny and fun to me. That song has a lot of silly little one liners, and I say some more edgy things that, you know, might piss some people off, but I think it's more satire, in a way. I thought it was a really good birth track to the album. It's kind of the thesis for the whole universe of fame, money and vanity, finding love and losing love and having people use you to get to where they want to go in life.”
Reflecting on the chaos and hustle of life in LA, I asked Slayyyter about what it was like moving and how she's adapted to life in the city?
“I grew up in the suburbs of Missouri and although it wasn't super rural my hometown is about 20 minutes from some areas that are a little bit more rural, and then 20 minutes to downtown St. Louis, which is very much like a city, although not a very major city. So moving to LA has been such a culture shock. Being from my hometown nobody thinks that they're gonna be famous, it's just such a different world. I think me finding success in music has been almost like a freak accident to me, my family friends and people that I know. Everyone's super excited for me and proud of me but it just feels so random that through the internet all of this has happened. Moving to LA everything was so different. And for the first time i’m going to parties where there are celebrities that I would have had posters on the wall of as a kid. It’s so wild to see. You then realise it's not that big of a deal. Sometimes these people are so idolised but they're kind of boring, or you run into someone and they're kind of rude. It’s kind of funny, the pedestal, Hollywood is put on. I think that Hollywood has a different term to me than LA. LA is such an incredible city. I've lived there for three years, and I love it. But I think Hollywood and the entertainment industry are kind of their own dark, creepy little beats.“
Working in an industry where I meet people I idolise it can definitely have that surreal feeling at times and I definitely relate to Slayyyter sharing that feeling of being thrown back down to earth after having a normal conversation. Reflecting on this, I asked Slayyyter how it was adapting to life in LA and growing in popularity in terms of imposter syndrome and feelings of uncertainty?
“Um, it was definitely an adjustment. I like that you just brought up impostor syndrome. I think that's something that I've definitely struggled with. When I first moved to LA it was right before the pandemic, and I got kind of stuck there. I was working on my first album with a label and I definitely had my fair share of haters on the internet. I'm just constantly thrown with people telling me that my music isn't good, that I'm annoying or that I don't deserve it and it or there’s other artists that are more talented. I had impostor syndrome for a really long time. I was just like what am I doing here? I was a hair salon receptionist. I don't belong here. I don't deserve any of this. Like, I should have just been a college dropout. In a way I was thinking what have I've gotten myself into. It took me a while, but I feel like the more that I live in LA and do sessions, the more I felt confident with my talents and my abilities, and I know that I'm an incredible singer. I know that I have the vision and I love what I do so much, and because of that my imposter syndrome has gone away a lot. I didn’t feel I deserved a spot in the room but now I'm certain that I do. It’s a good feeling to have, not doubting myself so much about things.”
Slayyyter goes on to tell me in response to dealing with online hate and negativity “I feel like I have really thick skin…I can take a lot when it comes to people commenting on things whether it’s my weight, my body or if they think my music is stupid”. I find this an admirable approach to have, the way she has faith in herself, her music and strength to maintain a positive outlook, reject the negativity and believe in herself utterly. Slayyter’s album covers represents the faith she has in herself to succeed and to go with whatever feels true to herself. I asked slayyyter if creating the art for her album was a defining moment in her career and journey.
“My album cover was a huge moment. With my last album being made during COVID some of the single art I was shooting on my iPhone. The album cover itself for my last album just didn't turn out exactly how I envisioned it. With this album, I made a point to execute everything exactly as I wanted. Seeing the response to the album art and people who don't even like me being like, ‘oh, I hate her, but like this album cover eats.’ That was something that I feel really good about. I know I’m on a good path and I create good art. I make good music and everyone responded to the visuals really well. I feel I'm finally reaching adulthood in my music career, a genuine pat on the back for something. I guess it was my creative direction and that felt really good.”
Talking more on inspirations and growing up I wondered if there were any powerful inspirations that have encouraged her to do her own thing and put her mark on her music?
"Growing up, and even now, I’ve always been a huge Lady Gaga fan. I was talking to someone recently about how with every generation the inspiration starts to get newer and newer. It's like, Oh, who's your favourite artist? And they're like Ariana Grande… It makes me feel so old. Oh my gosh, she wasn't even around when I was like a kid. For me, I was in middle school when The fame came out and it changed my world. I remember buying the CD at Best Buy back when people were still buying CDs and just thinking I had never seen anything like it. I'd never seen someone be so fashion forward, camp and artistic and sexual. All these different things. I feel like she's definitely one of my biggest inspirations. When I was little I loved Britney Spears, I still do. I love pop stars, I love Beyonce. I love what pop stars were specifically. Like the rhinestones and the body suits. You know, even as an adult, there's something very little girl in my head where I just love everything that sparkles. I love the feathers, I love the pink and I just love what it means to be a pop star in a traditional sense.”
Slayyter has definitely taken what it is to be a popstar and put her own spin on it and I'm absolutely here for it. As we come full circle I asked Slayyyter, how has been yourself and being Slayyyter differed. How has it allowed you to bring out parts of yourself that you might not have pushed or discovered since creating your albums and music?
“My music is so sexual in a nature that I've kind of adapted to in life. I have this I don’t give a fuck attitude that I don't think I would have had without my music persona. I'm a very anxious person. I get really nervous about stuff. When I was younger, I cared so much about what other people thought of me. If I said the right thing, and if the bands I were listening to were cool enough or if the boys at school thought I was pretty. With my music, it's so harsh and the attitude behind my musical persona is very different from how I am as an artist. But it's almost allowed me to become that in a way where I don't give as much of a fuck as an adult. Like I'll go on a red carpet and I'll have my nipples showing. I don't care. You know what I mean? I don't care if people think my boobs look good. I love my boobs, and I'm gonna show them and I feel like it's made me more confident as a person. It’s almost like blind confidence in my songs where it's just this persona of someone who's really brash and doesn't care and it's definitely helped me a lot to break out of my shell and feel more confident in myself.”
Slayyyter is an incredible example of what it is to be a strong, independent and to bash away the stigmas and societal pressures all to become a woman who thrives regardless. Slayyyter shows young and impressionable girls that its okay to take up as much room as you want. It’s okay to love who your are and it’s okay to believe in yourself. Slayyyter’s journey of self love, self- faith and belief is utterly inspiring and just like pop icons such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce have done in pop culture, Slayyyter shows the world the force of womanhood.
Words Anna French
Photography Callum Walker Hutchinson
Styling Malcom Smith
Makeup Nick Lennon
Hair Gregg Lennon