Fletcher Dishes On How Her Single “War Paint” Became The Number One Most Viral Track
If you haven’t heard of Fletcher by now, then you (and all your friends on social media) probably don’t use Spotify. That’s the streaming platform on which Fletcher’s song “War Paint” became the number one most viral track, with over a million shares on social media. It might have seemed like overnight success for the 21-year-old NYU student, but the reality is she’s been working up to moment for pretty much her entire life. She was even on X-Factor back in 2011 at the age of 17, where she endured comments from Simon Cowell that her audition was “boring” and lacked performance despite what seemed like an overwhelmingly positive response from the other judges and the audience. Riding the waves of her recent success, and set to release a new single next week, Fletcher sat down with us to dish about the inspiration behind her viral hit “War Paint,” her favorite pop divas, and what she hates most about New York City.
Victoria Durden: What was it like when War Paint went viral?
Fletcher: It was really fricking crazy. My goal was from the beginning “if I can get a million plays on this thing, then that would be amazing”. Seeing it go well was the most insane thing that ever happened to me. It was the most shared track on Spotify for a while, and that meant a lot to me because people don’t really normally like to do that. I was like jumping, running around the house when I woke up the morning that it had a million streams.
VD: What was your inspiration for the song?
Fletcher: Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been super inspired by different types of world music. I had this concept “war paint” in my head for a really long time, and I’m really passionate about fighting for what you believe in and standing up for yourself and that’s what the song was about.
VD: What does it mean to you to put on your war paint?
Fletcher: Everybody goes through shit in your life and we get knocked down, but it’s about how to pick yourself back up and fighting for what you want out of this crazy life.
VD: Speaking of being knocked down, what was it like being on X-Factor and having Simon Cowell say that your audition was boring or unremarkable?
Fletcher: It was definitely like “Hey, I am literally shitting myself right now up here”. And performing in front of thousands of people. It was definitely a moment where I felt a little embarrassed, but I was still proud of myself for even just getting up the courage to do it.
VD: What do you think you enjoy more, performing or the creative process?
Fletcher: I get such a high from the whole creative process and my favorite thing is coming up with concepts and melodies. That’s what I love so much. As far as the performance stuff though, the performances that I’ve done have been such a huge adrenaline rush, but I’m in my element when I’m creating. I’m still kind of finding myself as a performer.
VD: Why pop music?
Fletcher: I’m just such a pop music nerd. I like to pull from a lot of things. I’ve been inspired by a lot of different music, but I love pop music so much. It’s been what I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, but I like to make pop music that has substance. I really love artists that sit a little bit more left of center in the pop realm like Lana Del Rey and Ed Shereen or Halsey and Zella Day. People who can sit in the top 40 space but who have such a unique aesthetic that is just more authentic. It feels more tangible and relatable and that’s kind of what I aspire to be.
VD: So when you were growing up who were your favorite pop divas?
Fletcher: Well my all time favorite was Celine Dion. And I really just listened to a lot of big voices like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and I just tried to copy them literally like riff to riff, and that’s when my mom was like “We need to put you voice lessons because you’re going to kill your voice”.
VD: How have you handled being in college at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and pursuing your music career at the same time?
Fletcher: It’s been really cool. I took a leave of absence for a year and I went to Nashville and that’s when I was working on all of my music and this whole project. But, the program has been really amazing. It really stresses a strong entrepreneurial focus. The program has been really supportive with everything that happened with War Paint, and it’s definitely shaped me a lot into the person I am today.
VD: I bet it’s made easier to navigate the business side of the industry.
Fletcher: Oh 100%. I definitely feel like I am being taken seriously.
VD: So with that in mind, how does it feel to suspend your humanity and sort of “market yourself” as a brand?
Fletcher: Part of me gets frustrated because it puts a lot of pressure on me. But, the whole point of it is just to accentuate and bring to life what you already are. If you fabricate anything and try to be cooler than you already are or nerdier than you already are, then people are just going to see right through it. So I try to really come across as authentic, but it’s definitely such a huge part to navigate. It’s like the brand, the instagram, it’s the filters you use. Everything has to feel cohesive. But, dude why can’t we just say whatever the hell we want to say and post what we want to post?
VD: So, does it sometimes feel restrictive sometimes because everything you do and say sort of has to be so cohesive and part of a larger narrative?
Fletcher: Um, kind of. But, I also feel like I’m not really at that level yet. I’m kind of doing whatever the hell I want and just hoping it works, and if it doesn’t then at least I can say I stayed true to who I was and did what I wanted to do.
VD: Okay, tell me what is the collaboration project of your wildest dreams.
Fletcher: Collaborating with a bunch of super boundary pushing female pop writers collaborating on an album. Me and Sia could have a track, me and Lorde, and me and Halsey. Just all the badass female pop writers in one record. That’s the project of my dreams.
VD: What’s the worst thing about New York City according to Fletcher?
Fletcher: Being in close quarters with so many people and hearing people chew. I hate hearing people chew. I feel like people are always fucking chewing around me and it drives me insane. I spend so much time in the park, and obvious people eat there but it drives me insane. Also–people walking slow.
VD: And the best thing?
Fletcher: Just how much there is to do here. You can literally walk out the door and 100 feet in every direction there’s a great place to eat or a cool music venue and it’s just such a hustling place, it motivates me to be successful.