Peach PRC had a full-circle moment a few weeks ago. While attending Sydney WorldPride, she got to meet Ava Max, one of the singers whose music was on constant rotation when Peach worked as a stripper.
“I remember I danced to ‘Sweet But Psycho’ so often that the girls got so sick of it — they’d hear it and be like, ‘Ah, here we go, Peach is on,’” she tells Rolling Stone from her bedroom in Australia. “Meeting her, I was like, ‘How did I pull this off? How have I done this?’”
With her debut EP, Manic Dream Pixie, out Friday, Peach acknowledges she’s come a long way from her dancing days, though she holds that era in her life close to her heart. For a long time, she wanted to keep those four years of her life a secret for the sake of building a music career. But that couldn’t last forever. “I gave up and it ended up being a catalyst for me getting a strong following, and getting me signed,” she says.
With more than 2 million followers on TikTok, Peach has built a devoted fanbase online thanks to her candid, silly videos about her life, and her original, nostalgic pop-inspired songs, including 2021’s “Josh,” which served as her breakthrough. (More on the subject of that song, and how Peach came out as a lesbian, later.)
To prep for her new project, she tapped Teenage Dream songwriter Bonnie McKee for a session that brought the pre-EP release “Forever Drunk” and “a lot of other songs” she hopes she can drop down the line. One of the lessons she learned from McKee? “Choose what’s going to be the most fun to listen to over what’s the most lyrically intricate. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.”
Peach made many of the tracks on the EP with McKee’s early-2010s magic in mind. There’s a song that samples a Y2K-era Paris Hilton song, a track reminiscent of a Kesha classic, and also songs with some personal healing, like album closer “Dear Inner Child,” about her tumultuous upbringing. On “F U, Goodbye,” she sings about her ex, comedian Alex Williamson, whom Peach accused of “manipulative, predatory” behavior in 2021. (Williamson strongly denied the allegations at the time.)
Here’s an album breakdown of Manic Dream Pixie, straight from Peach herself.
Have you heard the song “Stephen” by Kesha? It’s meant to be this crazy, unhinged stalker fan girl song. And I just thought that was so genius of a concept. I love when somebody does a concept for a song that isn’t your typical love or heartbreak song. I love that era of pop that was just funny and not that serious. It was just stories. I wanted to do that. I wrote this song about being the stalker fan girl. One time, I chased this boy through a nightclub who was kind of famous — emphasis on the “kind of.” He was on a reality show and I was 17. We knew each other already. It wasn’t like I was running to get a photo. But I was wanting to him to fall in love with me. I was running after him and I lost a shoe and I kept running like a psycho. I wanted the song to just give off that “desperate teenage unhinged fan girl” vibe.
That song was never actually meant to be heard by anybody but my girlfriend, who at the time wasn’t my girlfriend. I met her through a friend of mine who had a crush on her. I really wasn’t trying to fuck anyone over or anything like that, but we ended up hitting it off and then we laid in the park together once. We had one headphone each, and we were bonding over the fact that we love tacky Y2K pop. She was like, “Do you know the song ‘Stars Are Blind’ by Paris Hilton?” I was like, “Oh my God, do I know this song?” We listened to it over and over. It was in the middle of the night. There was no one there, just the two of us, one headphone listening to it. And to me, that memory was really special and sweet.
I wrote her that song, and we hadn’t kissed yet or anything. That’s why in the song, I was like, “Kiss me, I’m not scared.” It’s like, “I’m not scared of our friend finding out. I don’t care. I just want to be with you.” I used the sample because I said, “We’re not going to get this approved.” Then the label heard it and loved it and they were like, “We want this to be a single.”
Then Paris heard it and reached out to my team and was like, “Can I hear the whole thing? I love it.” And I was like, “What? What the hell?” And then she ended up reaching out to me and was like, “I love your music. I love ‘Josh,’ I love ‘God is a Freak.’ I love your whole thing.” And now she messages me pretty often. On my birthday she messaged me and sent me a really uplifting message when I wasn’t feeling too great and was like, “You make so many people happy with your music. And we’re both just here to make people happy and be sparkly pink fairies.” She feels like a soul sister to me. That was really magic that came out of that song.
I have to be careful what I say about this one. But it’s about an ex that I had and I think most people can put two and two together. He was a very awful man and not a really good time in my life. When I wrote that I had come to a place where I felt empowered: “No, I’m not scared of you anymore. I’m tired of you having this power of making other women scared.” I was like, “I do hope that things suck for you, because you made my life one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through.” I really wanted this song to be a “reclaiming your power” song.
One ex in particular, we banded together. She kept herself anonymous when I came forward about everything. It’s very scary for her. I flew her out to see me, we had a big hug and talked it all out, we booked a hotel together, and just partied. There’s a line in the second verse where I said, “By the way, I caught up with your ex and we shared regrets and most of them were sex.” And then there’s a little ad lib where I say, “With you.” So I’m like, “I want you to know that your exes also think this of you. It’s not just me. All of us hate you. You really just suck.”
I wanted it to sound like a love song at first, and we fully ended up going back and redoing the whole production, stripping it back completely and doing something totally different. One version was a Robyn “Dancing On My Own” vibe. It’s come a long way.
This is my favorite song on the EP. I just think it’s so dumb and I love it. It’s so silly. “Loved You Before” was a silly song that I wrote about this moment where a friend and I just thought that we had regressed back to the Stone Age for some reason. It was this very, very profound moment. We were crying, we were holding each other. We were like, “Oh my God, I remember you when we were stegosauruses.” We were not quite… sober would be the right word. It’s very funny but at the time it was very deep and emotional and it was this very profound thing. She was so special to me. She was a stripper that I was best friends with for years and I lived with her and she really took care of me. I still hold her really dear to my heart. But that song’s about her and how we’ve loved each other millions of lifetimes. I think it sounds like a love song between two partners. But it’s actually a pretty platonic love song.
This is actually an apology song for Josh. Josh was my high school sweetheart with whom I had a 10-year on-and-off relationship with. I didn’t know that I was gay at the time. And I think I loved him so deeply platonically and I didn’t realize that was what that was. He kind of felt like family. We’d been through a lot of neglect and hard times and we got to a point where we just had this big blowout fight. Then I wrote “Josh.” This is before I was signed. It was on my spam account. I didn’t even have management. I didn’t have that many followers. And then I blew up and I got signed and that became the single, and that one song became my brand.
Me and Josh met up again, so I wrote “Favourite Person” when I really reflected on it and I was like, “It’s not that you are this awful person. It’s that I couldn’t handle being hated by the person I love the most. And that’s why I wrote this angry song.” Obviously we were teenagers so we both had issues. But I think that song was me taking my accountability and being like, “You know what? It’s because you are my favorite person, and I was losing that. I had to make it out as if you were toxic and horrible when really I just couldn’t handle the fact that the person I love didn’t love me back.”
I think now he refuses to listen to my music. We don’t talk anymore because he’s got his own life. He’s moved on. But I keep writing songs.
“Dear Inner Child” was a journal-entry song. I was in my feelings, and I was like, “Why do I dress this way? Why do I wear all this pink and I’m obsessed with fairies and I love glitter and I want to be this little kid that I see other little girls being?” I was just reflecting on it.
I don’t know if you know Mia Khalifa. She’s a beautiful soul and she’s actually been there for me in a lot of ways. She is just such a sweet angel. She commented on a TikTok that I posted of that song and was like, “Wow, this is inner child work.” I didn’t realize at the time that I was writing this letter to my younger self. So in a roundabout way, Mia Khalifa named that song.
I sing, “I’m sorry that you had to grow up so young.” And then by the bridge, I wanted it to be a happy ending of, “OK, you can rest now. I’m going to carry us through to the end. You’ve done your work, fought the hard fight. Now we’re here and we’ve done it and I’ve got you.”
It’s really cathartic and it’s so beautiful the way that when I sing it live, the whole room is just silent. I’ve seen fully grown men bawling their eyes out to that song when I sing it. I think that makes me feel proud about putting it on the EP. I almost didn’t — I wanted it to be an EP of just fun pop songs. But that song was so special to so many people I couldn’t not release it.
From Rolling Stone US