Rolling Stone Australia talks to Peach PRC, a rising star of contemporary Australian pop music and TikTok sensation.
This article is created in partnership with Magnum After Dark a exclusive event brought to you by Magnum Ice Cream, celebrating self-expression and pleasure on June 17 at the Oxford Hotel starring JamarzOnMarz, Peach PRC, and Mia Rodriguez alongside a glitter bar, tattoo station and a virtual performance from a very special guest.
Peach PRC’s song, “Josh”, begins with a scratchy voice recording that serves as a kind of confession. “He’s going to kill me. I said I’d change it to John,” she laughs. But then, just before the glittery pop song properly kicks into gear, the Adelaide performer resolves, “F*** it.”
This ten-second snippet tells you an awful lot about the artist and social media star born Shaylee Curnow. A self-described oversharer, everything Peach does is stamped with barefaced honesty, and she’s rarely one for subtlety.
These qualities have made Peach PRC not just a rising star of contemporary Australian pop music, but also a TikTok sensation with 1.2 million followers located all around the world.
So how did she get here? It’s not that long ago that Peach was struggling to make ends meet. “I was in a really rough spot. There was period of time where I was even homeless,” she says.
Peach began working as a stripper when she was 19 and kept it up for four years. Now that she’s removed from the profession, she’s wary of stigmatising it, but she reserves little fondness for that time in her life.
“I stopped doing music for a bit because I was just in such a low place,” she says. “I thought, ‘What’s the point? It’s not going anywhere.’”
Peach had previously turned to music as a vital form of self-expression. Even in her teen years, songwriting had an explicitly cathartic function for her. But by the time she reached 21, she hadn’t written anything in years and her life was in pieces. She hated her job. She felt financially strangled. And her mental health was unravelling.
“I was like, ‘I need something to bring me out of this really dark, sad place,’” says Peach.
Watch the official music video for ‘Josh’ by Peach PRC
In this state, Peach dug her guitar out of the cupboard. Before long, she had the bones of ‘King Size Bed’ – the first song she’d written in years. “Writing that gave me such a euphoric rush of, like, ‘That’s right, I can express this sadness. I can put it into something,’” she says.
After uploading an unfiltered video of herself performing ‘King Size Bed’ to Instagram – which “got like 20 comments” and had Peach “losing [her] mind with excitement” – ideas for songs started tumbling out of her.
Curnow had chosen the stage name Peach Porcelain when she started dancing. Encouraged by the relative anonymity it offered, she decided to use it as her musical alias too. As for the contraction, “PRC”, that didn’t come about until she joined TikTok. In fact, everything in Peach’s world started to shift once she joined TikTok.
Although she’d been urged to join the platform by her younger sister, Peach was initially sceptical. “I was like, ‘What is this?’” she says. But after browsing its users and finding people who were being “so hilarious and so cool and entertaining” she wanted in on the fun.
Peach has a natural flair for content creation. Her early posts ranged from intimate stories about her daily life to rants about players and mansplainers. There were also snippets of new songs she’d written and covers of current pop tunes filmed with early collaborator and fellow TikTok bigshot, Jeris Johnson.
“Every part of my personality that I would give to my friends in real life, I would just put on the internet in little short form videos,” she says.
Peach has developed a distinct visual aesthetic since joining the platform; a look she describes as being rooted in “everything that’s over the top and fun and bright.” But she’s also been up front up about her struggles with depression and ADHD, which has seen her become an unwitting mental health advocate.
Peach now takes a more considered approach to mental health content. For instance, the artist’s YouTube page includes a number of guided self-care videos in which she invites viewers to follow along as she cleans her bedroom or folds her laundry. “I know it gets really hard when you might be having a depressive episode,” she says in the room cleaning video. “It’s easier to do it with someone.”
We’re often quick to dismiss likes and shares on social media as trivial and inherently fleeting, but Peach insists the interactions with her online following go much deeper than clout-chasing. “It’s really important for me and helpful for me to do that for my own mental health,” she says.
Watch the behind the scenes for Peach PRC’s ‘Josh’ music video
This brings us back to “Josh”. The song’s confessional opening snippet introduces Peach PRC as an artist who’s unwilling to deceive to her audience. The track – a more than snarky send off to an ex-lover – was indeed written about an ex named Josh.
“He just happened to hit me up at the wrong time, wrong day and I was just in a foul mood and that’s what I do when I’m upset – I write,” says Peach.
“Josh” is the third single released via Peach PRC’s streaming channels, but her first since signing with the major label, Republic Records. Signing with Republic is a massive deal – Peach now counts Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Post Malone as label mates – and the release of “Josh” might never have happened without the label’s input.
While Peach always knew it was a good song, she was a bit sheepish about Josh hearing it. Republic had other ideas, however, insisting that “Josh” be her official debut single. “I was stoked about it,” she says, “but I was like, ‘He’s going to be mad.’”
And was he? “Yes,” she laughs, “but it’s OK. We’re actually on good terms now and he embraces it. He’s like, ‘Hey this is my song, have you heard it?’”
“Josh” came out at the end of February. Peach PRC’s enormous TikTok following has translated into huge streaming figures for “Josh”, including more than seven million Spotify streams and more than a million views of the song’s official video. Peach’s sphere of influence now also extends well beyond social media, with “Josh” debuting at #7 in the ARIA Top 20 Australian Singles chart.
“I was in an Uber once, drunk and passing out, and then the song came on the radio and I was like, ‘Hold up! This is my song!’ I just can’t even believe the world that I’m living in right now,” Peach says.
“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. This is all I’ve ever dreamed about doing. Even where I am at right now is further than I ever thought I would take it.”
Peach PRC will be performing at Magnum Ice Cream’s free event Magnum After Dark on the 17th of June at Darlinghurst’s Oxford Hotel. For more details and to secure a chance to attend click here.