“The first drunk question I ask anyone is ‘what’s your star sign?’ I guess it straight away and I’m usually right.” It doesn’t take long for Phoebe Green to delve into the world of horoscopes when speaking to NME over the phone, yet sadly, it’s a weeknight, so she’s not rushing to hazard a guess at ours. It’s perhaps unsurprising this topic surfaces so soon given the 22-year-old’s first three serious singles have been built upon razor-sharp analysis of relationships, character traits and social pressures.
Since dropping 2016’s disarming full-length ‘2:00AM’ while doing her A-Levels, the Manchester-based artist has signed to Chess Club Records and been on the road with Swim Deep. 2019’s singles ‘Dreaming Of’ and ‘Easy Peeler’ evolved that sincere bedroom sound into soaring and glamorous pop that stands out from the crowd.
“I think it’s just a Scorpio tendency to overshare as a distraction in that you don’t want people to know about you. You’ll overshare so that everyone thinks you’re really open and there’s nothing you’re keeping from them but you are.”
The latest single ‘Reinvent’ comes as the first simmering and honest airing of 2020, with lines like, “You take the high ground / I’ll stay low / that way I can’t hear you moan / about the way my actions cause a decrease in your libido”.
The song was co-written pre-lockdown with The Big Moon vocalist Juliette Jackson and Green says her backing track was an instant win. “It sounded like film music and I’m so obsessed with the drama of soundtracks, I thought this is perfect, I really want to write over it.”
Green had previously steered well clear of collaboration of this kind but was introduced to Jackson by shared management. “Both of us have always been so opposed to writing with other people because we’re so precious about our own stuff but then as soon as we met up, we found it was perfect. It’s such an emotional outlet for us, it can be so vulnerable and you can feel so exposed in that sort of environment – because we both felt like that, it immediately was more comforting.”
Green has found her love for ‘Reinvent’ growing over the lockdown period with the chance to absorb it fully. “The longer I’ve sat with it the more true it’s felt. I’ve almost started living by it a lot more in a sense that the song is me making fun of myself for being a little bitch, now it’s like I’m so aware of those behaviours and how unproductive they’ve been for me that I’m now so much more able to not be like that and not live by those sorts of tendencies.”
A vibrant personality and humour cuts through the track. “At the time I felt very vulnerable writing it. I’ve always felt like one of those people whose energy is quite turbulent and chaotic. I tried to make it funny so I feel like that’s my defence mechanism. Bare your soul but take the piss out yourself at the same time.”
That also comes through with lines like 2019’s ‘Easy Peeler’s “I wanna change my Facebook status / everyone will start to hate us / they’ll all be jealous / but I’ll be glad / you can meet my Mum and Dad.” Green says these kinds of social conventions are a big inspiration. “I’m talking about how exhausting it is keeping up appearances and relationships that are built on a superficial foundation of you trying to be someone else to make people like you. So many people have been in these situations, especially when it comes to meeting new people, it can be hard to just be yourself.”
Having told NME at the beginning of the year she hoped to release a piece of work that perfectly captured her as a person – Green can safely say she’s achieved this with ‘Reinvent’. “I think of all my songs, this is the most like, ‘right, this is me, take it or leave it’. It’s one of the first where I didn’t want to change anything, I was so happy with it because it was so representative of where I’m at right now and the way I feel about myself as a person and a musician, it just feels right.”
In terms of next steps, it’s early days right now as Phoebe laughs, “Fucking hell, I do not have a clue, I’m hoping there will be more personal growth, more of me realising what I want from myself. I just want to become more of an authentic version of myself and not appease other people’s expectations of me. I just want to do everything I can to put out work that I’m really proud of.”
If one thing is for certain, it’s that ‘Reinvent’ will act as a blueprint for Green’s future both musically and personally. “I’m 100% using this song to hold myself accountable and be like, don’t do that to yourself ever again because it’s got you in an absolute mess.” These tracks have put her on a surefire path to alt-pop stardom. “I’ve never pictured myself doing anything but this. In some ways it’s overwhelming but was going to be doing this regardless so thank fuck I’m getting attention for it.”
Phoebe Green’s ‘Reinvent’ is out now