For New Jersey-born performer and currently thriving pop icon FLETCHER, the last five years have been nothing short of beautifully chaotic.
Though she has been releasing music as a solo artist since 2015, it wasn’t until the release of “Undrunk” – from her second EP you ruined new york city for me – in 2019, that the music world saw Fletcher as a global star in the waiting.
From there, it’s been home run after home run for the artist who has been quoted as being “Asbury Park’s biggest star since Springsteen”. With over one billion streams to her name to date, FLETCHER solidified her chokehold on the pop world with the release of her highly anticipated debut album, Girl Of My Dreams.
Released in September 2022, the album is a frenetic collection of observations from a young woman figuring it all out. Tales of love, lust, heartbreak, insecurities and revelation crash together against a backdrop of slick pop production.
Yet, perhaps the most revealing element of the album is how evolved Fletcher’s songwriting chops have become, as a result of the previous two years spent developing her craft on the road and in the studio; 2020’s The S(ex) Tapes providing more triumph for Fletcher, featuring the acclaimed hit “Bitter”.
Girl Of My Dreams, despite the lofty connotations of the title, is an album that perfectly fits within the current pop landscape – reflective of an exciting crop of female voices orchestrating a new genre wave, marked by confidence and sheer fun.
Set to tour the record throughout Australia and New Zealand later this year, Fletcher is already in the depths of the album’s tour cycle – an opportunity to thread the emotional touchpoints of the record in a live space with her dedicated fan base across the globe.
Speaking with Rolling Stone Australia via Zoom, Fletcher smiles as she reflects on the relationship she has cultivated with her fans in recent years.
“I love being on stage and I miss my fans more than anything.” she says.
“That is where I feel the most profound sense of purpose, to bring them light and joy and fun and belonging. I grew up wanting and needing that feeling and so, to be able to reflect that back to somebody else and say, ‘You belong in this world; you belong in this room,’ it reminds me every time I’m on stage, of why I wanted to do this in the first place.”
So far this year, Fletcher has taken Girl Of My Dreams to Europe, where she supported Panic! At The Disco as part of the band’s final run of shows through the territory. As a precursor to this Australian and New Zealand jaunt, Fletcher is excited to make her return out this way.
Her development as a touring artist has been a revelatory process for no one more than Fletcher herself. Taking her music to different countries and witnessing its impact has been eye-opening; a reminder of the connective tissue within music itself. As she continues to evolve as an artist, the last few years of performances have taught Fletcher much about herself as an artist, and about the woman she wants to continue growing into.
“It is so wild, how when you go to different countries and you play shows in different places, how different the energy is in each space. I’ve noticed how much energy in a room I’ll take on, and feel with the fans.” she says.
“I used to get really bad performance anxiety when I would be on stage; it’s something I still work through at times, but when I stopped looking at it through the lens of, ‘I’m up here by myself, I’m alone and everyone is staring at me,’ rather than, ‘This show couldn’t take place without me, and it could not take place without the people who are standing there in the audience,’ – we’re both so crucial to the experience. It’s the coolest thing ever, to be in that moment with people.”
Still, life lived on the road, going from hotel to hotel, airport to airport, can take its toll on any artist. It’s a lifestyle suited to a select few and as her profile has continued to skyrocket, FLETCHER has found herself needing to find an anchor; a sense of home within herself, to help with being able to navigate such a crazy, beautiful time in her life.
Acknowledging the non-linear nature of healing and self-care, Fletcher credits her fans with helping to keep her grounded when things get too chaotic.
“I feel so lucky that I have cultivated such an amazing connection with my fans and the people who listen to my music,” she says.
“From day one, I’ve always been like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ I’m not pretending to have this all figured out; I very much don’t, I’m just a human being having human experiences. I’m just trying to make sense of those emotions and feelings through art.”
“I feel really lucky that my fans are the first ones to be like, ‘Bitch, take a nap! Drink some water! Do whatever it is that you need to do,’ – that’s the message I really wanna share in return, too. Take care of yourself. That’s the most important thing.”
With an album like Girl Of My Dreams, it’s easy to assume a particular image of FLETCHER; perhaps one that sees her thriving under the spotlight. And the stats don’t lie – she definitely has flourished since the album’s release.
Songs like “Becky’s So Hot”, “Sting” and “Better Version” demonstrate a songwriting range that envelops playfulness, vulnerability and a lean into a supercharged emotional space.
Still, behind the billions of streams, industry acclaim and online adoration, FLETCHER still grapples with existing in such a chronically online world, and with that, figuring out what she wants her place within it to look like.
Since the album’s release, FLETCHER has arrived at some realisations of her own; importantly, that she can revel in the success of her art but in prioritising her own self-care, she isn’t stalling momentum, or letting anyone down. Both success and prioritising yourself can exist at the same time.
“When you spend life on the road, it’s sometimes hard to live life and to have the experiences to write about,” she explains.
“I’ve taken a back seat from social media for a second. It’s so overstimulating, so unhealthy; every time I go on, my anxiety skyrockets through the roof. I used to think I was such a weak, over-sensitive person, but our nervous systems just aren’t cut out for how much information exists; how much is constantly being fed to us about how we should be perceived and appear. What our lives should look like.”
“I’m very much in this era of my life right now, where I’m crafting my life in a way that doesn’t need to be shown or seen all the time. I’m in a really deep overhaul of taking care of myself and what that means, what that looks like.”
Conversations around artists’ mental health certainly aren’t new, though the transparency with which artists are feeling comfortable speaking about it is healthy. A healthy mind breeds artistic clarity and for FLETCHER, embarking on this wellness journey has already been producing some fruitful moments of creativity.
“It’s a constant evolution and my artistry is so deeply tied and ingrained with my humanity, so both of those things are constantly informing each other.” she grins.
“I’m creating, I’m always creating. It’s really hard for me to actually sit still; I find myself the most at peace and in a state of flow, when I’m in a state of creation. I’ve been in the studio, I’ve been working on making things for the purpose of moving feelings out of my soul.”
There is a sense of peace and contentment that remains prominent throughout this conversation with FLETCHER; though our time together is a fifteen minute slice of her evening and our afternoon, she speaks with the warmth and familiarity of a friend you haven’t caught up with in a while.
While the tempo of life and her career picks up pace on the outside, it’s the resounding sense of clarity that’s come with Girl Of My Dreams that has led FLETCHER on this road to empowerment and self-love. While the album painted this picture of her working life out, the FLETCHER we see in 2023 is one who, sure, might still be navigating life’s lessons, but knows exactly where she wants to head as she takes each new step forward.
“It’s funny, with this album, it was this journey that takes you through the core subject of a break up,” she says.
“(But then) it lands in a place where it’s like, “I thought all these other people were the girl of my dreams, but I figured out it was me this whole time.”
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FLETCHER 2023 Australia & New Zealand Tour
Ticket information available via Live Nation
Wednesday, November 29th
Auckland Town Hall, Auckland, NZ
Saturday, December 2nd
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, NSW
Monday, December 4th (SOLD OUT)
The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday, December 5th (NEW SHOW)
The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday, December 7th
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday, December 9th
Metro City, Perth, WA