Independent artist FLETCHER is a huge fan of the anti-pop movement, frequently naming New Zealand-born Lorde as her musical idol. But the 23-year-old singer has been shattering stereotypes of her own since her first single, “War Paint,” went viral on Spotify back in 2015.
At the time, FLETCHER was still a full-time student at NYU. Although unconventional for someone with her professional aspirations, she knew she wanted to finish college. “There was definitely a time in my life where I could’ve gone two routes. I could have stopped going to school and fully pursued the music, or [tried] to balance both,” she tells Her Campus. But proving that she could achieve a healthy balance between her academic accomplishments and her celebrity as an up-and-coming singer was especially important to her. “NYU’s been my dream since I was a little girl, so I definitely wanted to finish and to say, ‘I did them both,’” she adds. She took classes in marketing, branding and copyright law at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, which is where she developed her entrepreneurial mindset. While she notes that college might not be for everyone, she admits that she feels more confident walking into a meeting with the knowledge she gained during her degree program.
The truth is, today’s artists have a lot more freedom to envision and realize their own creative journeys. They don't have to rely on being discovered and then immediately signed by an agent. FLETCHER is happy to be doing things her own way—in her career and in her art.
With almost 2 million views on YouTube, FLETCHER’s latest music video for the single “Wasted Youth” is definitely among her most popular releases. The video, which features a passionate yet perfectly organic homosexual relationship, was filmed spontaneously at the beach by director Ryan Hutchins and stars both FLETCHER and YouTube personality Shannon Beveridge. According to FLETCHER, the idea was so impulsive that they were forced to rely on an iPhone flashlight to shoot the entire thing. Perhaps what is most striking about the video is the ease with which it depicts the love-filled relationship. It’s not over-sexualized or dramatic. It just is, and the result is insanely beautiful.
A proud and vocal supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, FLETCHER says, “‘Wasted Youth’ is a song about being with who you love, regardless of gender or what anybody has to say about it. [It’s about] being in the moment with people who make you feel good. Wasted time with people you love is never really wasted time.”
Although the video idea came spontaneously, FLETCHER never had any doubts about releasing it. "I knew this was going to be really special for a lot of people. I think, the more that we normalize same-sex relationships, the less of a stigma and sort of uncomfortable thing it becomes to talk about. [Often] in music videos, same-sex relationships can be over-sexualized and very dramatic and even problematic. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s normal and I think we need more of that type of content."
The “Wasted Youth” video isn’t the first time FLETCHER has shed light on the LGBTQ+ community. In her song “Princess,” she sings about lying in bed with her best friend who was kicked out of her home after coming out. The song’s positive message encourages fans to persevere through struggles with sexuality, body image, self-confidence and even mental health, and assures them they’re not alone. Speaking of coming out, it’s no surprise that FLETCHER isn’t a fan of the idea at all, adding, “I want to live in a world some day where nobody has to come out.” Everyone should be free to be who they want to be without having to declare it or rationalize it to what can often be a hostile audience.
FLETCHER’s latest single touches on yet another topic close to her millennial and Gen-Z fans: having a relationship (of any kind) end poorly and, worse, without any closure. The young star co-wrote “You Should Talk” with female writing duo KNita + Delacey after realizing they had all experienced similarly painful situations. They figured that if they had all lived through the pain of something like that, it was probably a reality for thousands of other people as well. “Every time I do a live show of it, people will yell out to me, ‘You’re speaking my life,’” she says.
As an artist, FLETCHER emphasizes the need to connect with her audience through feeling and self-expression, and isn’t afraid to put herself out there to do it. Her undeniable passion and liberating message definitely put her at the top of our #GirlBoss list and we couldn’t be happier about it. If you’re thinking of catching one of her upcoming shows—and you definitely should—here’s what she hopes you’ll take away from the experience. "When people come to my shows, I just want them to feel like they can come as they are and be who they are. I think it’s really important to create a safe space for people because the world is a scary place and not just for the LGBTQ+ community. I just want people to come and have a good fucking time!"
Listen to FLETCHER’s latest single, “You Should Talk,” below.