Sky Ferreira: Hurricane Lolita
By Rob Brink
Missbehave Autumn 2008
Prior to meeting 16-year-old Sky Ferreira in her hometown of LA, I mentally envision a sketchy Roman Polanski-esque aftermath to our first encounter. The V-card-holding model and soon-to-be-pop star chills in LA clubs that I can’t even get into. She can hold engaging conversations with people twice her age. She’s gospel-trained with the same vocal range as Mariah Carey and prefers Sarah Brightman to Cat Power. What’s not to desire? It’s practically a setup for “Catch a Predator.”
“There was like, this 40-year-old singer from Europe,” says Sky, “and he goes ‘You’re 15? Can I put my head between your knees?’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to throw up.’ Older guys like my braces, and I’m like, ‘You’re gross.’” Sky’s not well-trained in the art of girly. She can’t walk in heels and doesn’t wear makeup, “I’m really lazy when it comes that stuff, but I just want people to know I don’t smell. I don’t brush my hair but I shower.” Sky says, following the beauty regimen of that other LA Internet “muse.”
While Sky is just too damn young for me to want my head between her knees, I kinda do want to buy her a milkshake and have her sing to me like she did for Michael Jackson when she was 11, “I sang some gospel for him and he cried. I was surprised. That was when I realized I wanted to do this.”
And do this she did. Listening to her MySpace track “God Bless,” I think “OMG, you got some pipes on you, girlfriend!” when normally I neither say “OMG” or “girlfriend!” I imagine her in some lounge, leaning on a piano looking all cabaret, singing to a bunch of lonely local older dudes who may not even be paying attention, but are really in the zone and wishing/thinking she was singing to them.
At 15, Sky used the Internet to stalk and write letters everyone she wanted to get her music to, including Swedish producing team, Bloodshy & Avant, who actually wrote back, asked for a demo, and liked it. The result: Sky will be heading to Europe to begin recording her first album with them this fall. “I’m very good business-wise and at promoting myself. make sure to respond to every single person who writes me. The kids in Illinois and Venezuela—those are the kids that are going to go out and buy your album or actually see you live, whereas people here in LA are just going to steal it Limewire.” This giggly earnest innocence might be a schtick, but truly, you can’t knock her hustle.