Sky Ferreira has opened up about her experiences with sexism in the music industry and how she’s resisted attempts to pigeonhole or control her image throughout her career – particularly in its earliest days.
In a new conversation with Nancy Sinatra for Interview, Ferreira – whose first singles arrived around 2010, when she was 18 – described feeling “trapped” when she was trying to break out as a young artist.
“In the music industry, everyone’s trying to mold you. They have an idea of what you should be,” Ferreira said. “People get greedy. When I was younger, I got cornered in situations where it was like, ‘You have to do this,’ and I didn’t know better. It was just different back then.”
“The internet was there, but it wasn’t this thing that people had figured out. I used it to my advantage – that really helped me get my stuff out. But I’ve been shelved so many times. You know, I first came out when I was 15 and it wasn’t a fair representation of me. And then, I wasn’t even that much older, but I started meeting people to collaborate with, and it started falling into place.”
Ferreira asked if Sinatra had ever felt similarly, to which the pop icon replied that she was “pigeonholed early on into this bubble gum image, and I had to fight my way out”. Ferreira responded that that was “exactly what happened to me the first time”.
Sinatra then asked why Ferreira’s forthcoming album ‘Masochism’ – first announced in 2015, frequently delayed, but expected to arrive sometime this year – took so long to come together.
Ferreira attributed the slow process to her experience working with a major label, saying it was “like musical chairs”. She continued: “One person might run the label, then another – they just switch seats. I wanted to try to have a better relationship with them originally.
“I wasn’t going to compromise, but I was willing to be a little more open, because I didn’t want to have a bad relationship with them. I wanted them to do stuff with me and give me a fair chance.”
Ferreira then reflected on her experience in the music industry more broadly. “You’re set up in situations to seem difficult, but also, what does that even mean? Just that you’re not willing to be completely controlled,” she said.
“It’s funny how these people think. It’s as if you’re ungrateful, as if you’re not working for it. They’re like, ‘Don’t you know how lucky you are? There’s another one of you in line.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, well go do it with them then.’
“You could put the person with all the same people I’ve worked with, and you could dress them the same, but at the end of the day, I’m not manufactured, so it’s never going to be the same result. It’s a respect thing. A lot of it is sexist, but I also think it’s because I started when I was 14, so they feel like they can manipulate me, or treat me like a 14-year-old or something. I’m 30 years old now and it’s the same thing.”
Ferreira added that in regards to her forthcoming album, her label had “just been dragging it out for years at this point”, but that she was “almost there”. Ferreira’s 2013 debut album ‘Night Time, My Time’ was released on Capitol, and ‘Masochism’ appears to be arriving on the same label.
After being pushed back multiple times since its planned 2015 arrival, Ferreira said last October that a release date for ‘Masochism’ had been confirmed, earmarking a March 2022 arrival. In June, Ferreira gave another update during an interview with NME, saying: “It’s basically done for the most part, it’s just that some parts need to be re-recorded. Just the finishing touches, really.”
Though a release date has still not been announced, we’ve already heard a few previews of ‘Masochism’ thus far. Ferreira shared ‘Downhill Lullaby’ in 2019, and returned with ‘Don’t Forget’ in May of this year.
Since releasing ‘Downhill Lullaby’, Ferreira has also collaborated with Charli XCX on ‘Charli’ cut ‘Cross You Out’ and shared a cover of David Bowie‘s ‘All The Madmen’ to mark what would’ve been Bowie’s 74th birthday.