Nominated by Katy Perry for V69 THE DISCOVERY ISSUE, SPRING 2011 PREVIEW

While pop stars often come prepackaged, 18-year-old Sky Ferreira is making her ascent with the help of good old-fashioned, bleached-blonde ambition. “I always knew what I wanted to do,” she says from beneath a mane of tangled hair. “I’ve never thought twice about it.” The young singer, whose soulful vocal prowess belies her age, recalls staying up all night so she could sneak to the television to watch MTV after her mother fell asleep. “Fiona Apple was my first idol,” she confesses. “Kurt Cobain was my first crush.”

At age 12, Ferreira convinced her parents to let her join a gospel choir called Holy Name of Jesus. “We weren’t religious, but I liked singing that kind of music,” she says. “I was the only white girl in the bunch.” Unconventional training completed, Ferreira, then in junior high, built a MySpace page and began cutting demos with friends. She attracted a following and, eventually, the attention of producers Bloodshy & Avant, best known for the addictive 2004 Britney Spears anthem “Toxic.” Together, the trio conjured a three-minute track called “One,” which went on to become one of last summer’s dancefloor staples (thanks, in no small part, to its strong production and infectious, robotic chorus). “I used vocoders on my record as effects, but not as a crutch,” Ferreira is careful to explain. “It’s cool to do that—as long as you have the talent to back it up. If I like listening to Britney Spears, why shouldn’t I make music like [Britney’s]? It’s not easy to pull off…it’s hard. But there’s going to be a new wave of pop artists very soon, because everyone is a bit tired of the gimmicky thing.”
For her next move, Ferreira is setting her sights high. “David Lynch is my ultimate hero,” she says, suggesting a dream collaboration. “He puts as much care into sound as he does into the visual aspects of his work… and I heard he’s going to start making dance music.” A pop track with the king of experimental film? At the rate Ferreira’s going, anything’s possible. Patrik Sandberg


Sky Ferreira’s EP As If is out now from Capitol/EMI