“How the hell did I even get here? I don’t know what’s going on at this point. I don’t know how I pulled this off.”
Nobody is more surprised by the overwhelming success of Australian TikTok-star-turned-pop-sensation Peach PRC than Peach PRC herself. Just three years ago, her wall was covered in CDs stuck directly to the plasterboard; now it sports a framed gold record with her own name on the placard.
“I was just saying earlier today to my girlfriend, I honestly don’t know how I pulled this off,” she laughs. “I don’t know what I’m doing here… I’m grateful – I’m immensely grateful, and it’s what I’ve always wanted to do – but I’m like, how the hell did I do that?”
Growing up as Shaylee in Adelaide, the woman the world has come to know as the sparkly, pink character Peach PRC always had dreams of becoming a pop star.
“I honestly think little Shaylee was a bit of an arsehole,” she laughs. “I think she would be like, ‘I told you so!’ now because I fully was like, ‘I want to be a pop star when I grow up’… I’ve not considered any other backup plan. I just am going to be a pop star and I’m going to be famous.”
Even when Peach’s family staged an intervention of sorts, it broke her heart but still failed to sway her intentions.
“I remember my family having a serious sit-down with me, being like, ‘okay, realistically you’re not going to be a pop star, that’s a one in a million thing,’” she says. “And I remember hearing that information and just breaking down. I really thought I could just walk right out of Year 11 and be like, ‘Here I am!’ like the next Kelly Clarkson or something, so I really got a harsh reality check that day.”
Undeterred, Peach wrote songs and sang them in the comfort of her living room and bedroom, sharing the videos to Facebook and YouTube until eventually the world was hit by a global pandemic and, with everyone stuck in their homes, people began searching for new entertainment.
Peach’s TikTok had become an online journal of sorts – a place where she laid herself bare, sharing stories from her work as a stripper, to battles with her mental health, stream-of-consciousness rants spawned by insomnia and, of course, the songs she was writing.
Her songwriting won over many fans, with tracks such as “Colourblind” and “Blondes” released to Spotify and quickly gaining traction.
MAKE POP FUN AGAIN 🗣
By the time the pandemic was over, Peach found herself with a sizable fan base who wanted to see her perform… but that was never something she had done before.
“I dreaded performing live, because I’d never really sang in a pub before, I’d never done busking – and then blowing up during COVID, where I can’t go out and perform anywhere,” she says. “Then everything opened up all of a sudden and there was this huge audience of people that wanted to see me sing live, and I’ve never done it before, ever, and they’re there to see just me.”
With the opportunity to sing in public anonymously now gone, Peach felt a lot of sudden pressure to perform well.
“My first-ever show, people flew interstate to come and see it, it was just nuts, and the pressure was crazy,” she recalls. “I think back then I was so focused on vocally singing well; I was like, ‘I’ve got one shot to get every note right and people want me to sing like the record and they want me to sound good.’”
The added stress on her vocal chords had the opposite effect, and Peach ended her first few live performances in tears, feeling that she performed terribly vocally and was awkward on stage.
“But now I’ve realised that people just want to have fun, and if they see me enjoying myself and having fun up there, they’re having fun,” she says. “Sometimes I see videos back on people’s Instagram Stories and I’m like, ‘Jesus Christ, what was that note?’ but I’m having the time of my life up there dancing and jumping around. I’m taking to people, I’m having so much fun doing it, and that makes the crowd have fun with me. That has helped me a lot with the anxiety, and now I love performing.”
Peach says her favourite performance to date was at Sydney WorldPride, which she says was probably the biggest crowd she had ever sung for – but also the most important, as someone who only came out publicly as a lesbian in the last year.
“I don’t even know how many people that was – I think I blacked out – there was choreography I was meant to do but I just forgot all of it,” she laughs. “And it was such a privilege being with my community as well, seeing all of the LGBTQ+ community out there with me, it felt like a really safe space for me to just party and it didn’t feel like there were people that were going to judge me if I did mess up. Everybody was just celebrating and having fun, and it was so magic for me.”
It was at another WorldPride celebration that Peach met Courtney Act, and discovered that Courtney was a fan of hers.
“I remember my friend seeing her across the room and being like, ‘Oh my god, that’s Courtney Act,’ and I was such a fan, then he went over to say hello and I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” Peach says. “But then Courtney came over to me and was like, ‘Hey, I’m a big fan – can we get a photo?’ And I was like, ‘are you serious?’ Like, you’re coming up to me saying you’re a fan?”
Peach even reached out to the former RuPaul’s Drag Race contender for help sourcing a pink wig for a recent music video – but Act isn’t her only celebrity fan.
Paris Hilton is also famously a fan, sharing not only Peach’s song “Perfect For You”, which interpolates Hilton’s 2006 track “Stars Are Blind”, but also wishing her a happy birthday last month.
“She sent me a happy birthday message and posted it on her story, and I’m like, ‘what the hell is that?’ Like, what?! That’s not even real life,” Peach laughs. “(She) messaged me the other day because I was upset, just being the sook that I am, and she was like, ‘Don’t be sad, you make so many people happy with your music,’ and just being really uplifting and beautiful.”
Her new EP may be called Manic Dream Pixie, but sometimes Peach feels like she has woken up in a dream. “I feel delirious, honestly – nothing feels real,” she laughs. “I just am skipping through life, like, yeah, Paris Hilton is just my best friend.”
Peach says she does suffer from imposter syndrome at times, like when she thinks about the fact that 3,000 people want to come to see her headline a venue on her EP tour (more information here).
“My songs are so silly sometimes – like, I’m saying “getting railed on the couch”, or talking about how we’re a couple of bugs in the mud,” she laughs. “Some of them are very deep and sentimental and very well thought out, but some of them are just goofy, and I can’t believe I pulled this off somehow and people want to come and listen. I’m so grateful but it’s just the craziest feeling.”
Peach’s viral diss track, “Josh”, now has almost two million views on YouTube and over 20 million streams on Spotify, yet it – along with several other singles including “Forever Drunk” and “God Is a Freak” – don’t appear on the new EP.
“I wanted to leave space for some stuff that people maybe haven’t heard before,” Peach says. “I mean, I leak everything on TikTok, I cannot keep a single thing to myself – every single song I’m like, ‘Here it is!’ and my label are like, ‘Take it down!’”
One of the EP’s tracks – which was originally only written as a verse and a chorus for TikTok – was a leaked track the label actually loved, and wanted Peach to record.
“I just write as if they’re journal entries for me, because it’s therapeutic and sometimes I just have big feelings that I can’t articulate and I need to make them rhyme and make them melodic, and then I feel better about it,” Peach laughs. “But it was one of those, and (former porn star) Mia Khalifa commented and was like, ‘Inner child work,’ and I’d never thought about it like that.”
Peach agreed with Khalifa’s sentiment, and it informed the rest of the song.
“When I wrote the second verse I had that in mind, and then by the bridge, I was like, ‘okay now it’s me talking, and I’ve got us and I can let this little inner child go to rest and I’ve got us from here on out.’ It’s a very special song to sing live and to see people connect to it.”
Originally, Peach didn’t want the track to be included on the EP, because she wanted it to have a ‘party and dance’ vibe, but because it was such a special song to so many people, it was included.
While Peach’s social media presence is, at times, more than her label and management would like it to be, she says she has very few regrets about what she has shared online, besides maybe some things previously shared under the influence.
“I do think there are some things that I have maybe posted under the influence that I don’t remember posting, or wish that I didn’t do, and wish that I didn’t show to the world – I think that’s very vulnerable for me,” she says. “But I think it at least had a positive resolution (in that) people got to see the journey of me recovering and coming back and coming back to sobriety, like, ‘Sorry about that, guys… that was a little wacky, but I’m good!’”
For now, Peach is focused on the tour and promotion of the EP, but has plans to make things bigger, brighter, and pinker than ever.
“My plans are to keep going as far as I can take this,” she insists. “More pop, more fun – hopefully take it even bigger, even more pink, even more sparkly. I just want to go as far as I can with it, as far as it will take me and as far as people want to keep being a part of it.”
Peach PRC’s Manic Dream Pixie EP is out now.