It’s admirable when an artist lets the public into their personal life. And newly minted queer icon FLETCHER knows this all so well… in fact, it’s become her superpower.
We connected with our November cover star during an off-day on her North American tour. She’s excited for the release of the deluxe edition of her debut album Girl Of My Dreams, and kindly shares with us her road to adulthood, growing up in conservative Asbury Park, New Jersey, and the exciting things to come on her horizon.
“I never felt pressure to formally make any sort of statement [about my sexuality],” FLETCHER explains. “I let my music speak for itself. But I did feel a really strong desire to let it be known that my queerness has been a really big part of my journey. If you hide such big parts of yourself, I think that just ends up resulting in a lot of suffering. I suffered for too long and I didn’t want to do that anymore.”
The video for her 2016 song “Wasted Youth” served as a coming out; FLETCHER falls in love with another woman on camera. She says that the video “was the thing that gave me the platform, that gave me the voice, and then reinforced [my thoughts of], oh, I can talk about my life and my stories and my experience with discovering myself now, and that can be received warmly and be appreciated.”
Though parts of her hometown of Asbury Park along the coast of Jersey are currently more progressive than ever in the past, that was sadly not FLETCHER’s experience growing up. Raised in a conservative and quite religious environment, she was forced into a truth that wasn’t her own, and had to unlearn much of what she had been taught so she could accept herself for who she was and is.
“I grew up going to Catholic church… It was a big part of my upbringing. I knew that I was queer from a really young age, but the sorts of things that I was being taught didn’t feel like they were the truth. What was good and what was right seemed to be butting heads with what I was internally feeling, and what I felt was an internal knowing and inner truth. When I moved to New York City I ended up writing one of my whole projects called you ruined new york city for me which was about exploring my sexuality and falling in love with a girl for the first time, and then having my heart broken by that same person. And all of the ups and downs that come with that, and really having to unlearn so much of what I was told my whole life about my identity and who I should be.”
Top, GUVANCH. Skirt, COACH.
FLETCHER’s mother had a recurring dream again and again throughout her life which she often told to the young singer. In the dream, a girl with dark, curly black hair rides atop a horse. Though her mother had this dream repeatedly, she never saw the girl’s face, and thought that maybe it was her future daughter… but it wasn’t.
“I wasn’t what people necessarily hoped I would be,” FLETCHER says. “And thought that I would be, which ended up becoming the whole premise and the journey that I’ve been trying to unfold all the pieces of which have fully come together in Girl Of My Dreams.”
After attempting to be the girl of her mother’s dreams—quite literally—she realized that what she had been looking for in others was actually within herself all along. Her debut album Girl Of My Dreams is the result of that realization.
“I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t the girl of her dreams,” FLETCHER says about her mother’s visions. “Through all of my EPs and bodies of work I thought the you ruined new york city for me girl was the girl of my dreams. I thought The S(ex) Tapes girl was the girl of my dreams. And I just realized that everything that I was looking for was so on the outside of me and then it was through this album that I was like bitch this is the missing piece. It’s you. You’ve been the girl of your dreams the whole time and the minute that you fill your own cup up, that’s when you attract the things, the opportunities, the love and the abundance, cause you filled your own cup up first and now you can give it everywhere else.”
The title track has “become the thesis of my life,” FLETCHER says, as it calls back to the end of her prior relationships and how she’s now on heartbreak number four. “I’m falling for me now / My ride or die until the end / My Romeo and Juliet / I’m my own anniversary / I’m the only girl of my dreams.” Sitting at track ten, the songs leading up to it recount the many complicated emotions that accompany a breakup, one of which is the viral hit “Becky’s So Hot.”
“It was a really cathartic experience writing that song, from the get go,” the singer-songwriter recounts. “I remember I was writing something different in the studio that day and I was on my phone scrolling Instagram creeping on my ex’s new girlfriend and she had posted a picture wearing an old vintage t-shirt of my ex’s. it’s one that I’ve worn in the past as well and my initial reaction was like, ‘Ouch, that kinda stings.’ Then the follow up to that was like, ‘I can’t even really be that mad about it. She’s so hot and she looks really hot in the t-shirt.’ It was this really loaded, complex emotion, which I think is just often what we deal with in breakups. It was scary putting that song out.”
The song has had quite the moment on TikTok, with millions using it as a sound, as well as Kylie Jenner using it to soundtrack one of her own videos.
“I didn’t have any idea what would come of it on TikTok,” FLETCHER says. “But I do know that I wasn’t able to go on my own For You Page for like three weeks, more than that, without every single video being about ‘Becky’s So Hot’ and this song and me. It was quite an interesting time and my favorite part about all of it was straight people that I know who are outside of any queer related drama or whatever and they were like, ‘Girl what did you do to my For You Page, like it’s all suddenly ‘Becky’s So Hot,’’ and I’m like ‘Welcome to the chat babe!’”
While many would lean away from these emotions for something that’s more palatable, FLETCHER actually leans into them.
“When I was putting out my EP called The S(ex) Tapes and doing the promo for it, I was deep, deep in the thick of it and I think it’s been overwhelming but it’s also just been incredibly healing because I think there’s so much power in not shying away from feelings and from emotions. I think that’s the whole point of why we’re even on this weird little planet and Earth school that we’re in is to feel the full range of human emotion, to experience it all and to not shy away from it. I think it’s those very feelings that I think sometimes catch people off guard where they’re like, ‘What the fuck did she just say? What is she talking about?’ Those are the very feelings that I’m actually so intrigued by, and the ones that I want to discuss. The ones that people are trying to shove away in a closet, I’m like no no no. Let’s bring that complex, nuanced shit to the table because that’s what makes us beautiful and interesting and so complex. Those are the conversations I’m here for. That is the art that I’m here for. That is what I want to be contributing to this world. We should be questioning everything in our lives, everything that we’re told. I want to fucking start a conversation so that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Coat and earring, COACH.
FLETCHER’s Girl Of My Dreams era is continuing to grow, as she recently announced the deluxe version of Girl Of My Dreams, arriving November 18th, featuring four additional songs including her recently released single “Suckerpunch,” “Healing,” “20 Something,” plus a new, untitled track.
“‘Suckerpunch’ is definitely a continuation of Girl Of My Dreams,” FLETCHER says as she describes the album. “I think we’ve all felt really fucking beat up by love before in a way that is unlike anything else. I remember at the start of this journey for me, going through a breakup and just being the most dramatic ass Pisces ever and being like I’m gonna die. Like you feel like you’re gonna die! It’s the most visceral emotion, the wind is knocked out of you and it’s hard to catch your breath again. So ‘Suckerpunch’ represents that emotion. It was that feeling and it was how poorly I handled that breakup for myself and for my own mental health, that was the point that I was like oh there’s a healing journey that has to happen here because there has to be a way to heal from this. It was that very emotion that sort of started this whole healing journey. So to have ‘Suckerpunch’ and also to add ‘Healing’ to the album is really what wraps up these book end points of Girl Of My Dreams.”
Currently, FLETCHER shares her emotions every night on stage of her Girl Of My Dreams tour. While signing “more boobs than I ever would’ve thought imaginable,” FLETCHER is excited for the growth she’s experienced over the last few years, and even more so that she’s able to see that growth right in front of her on tour.
“It’s one thing to see numbers of streams and see how your music is performing. But to watch it translate, to see people come out to shows and give their time and their energy, because our time and energy are so precious, it’s all that we have… is something that I don’t think will ever stop blowing my mind.”
While she has such a close relationship with her fans, she doesn’t want to be anyone’s role model. “When we look to people to be our source of inspiration or to be our guiding light or whatever, you are ignoring the fact that you have everything that you need inside of you. I think all I ever wanted to do was mirror back to people that they are their own fucking sources of power. You are your own magic. I’m not anybody’s role model. I’m down to just reflect back to you, what you already know about yourself.”
Latex gown, GRYPHYN.
FLETCHER will only be furthering this idea as she steps into the role of herself on the star studded season 3 of The L Word Generation Q, premiering November 18th on Showtime.
“The L Word is such an incredibly important piece of art for the queer community,” FLETCHER says of the seminal Lesbian-forward show. “And it has just served so much representation, visibility, and conversation, and I have always been such a fan. When I got the call that I was asked to come on this next season of The L Word and I’m playing myself (laughter) and the trailer came out and one of my lines is, ‘It’s the sapphic chaos that I live for,’ which just feels so fucking representative of my career, and my life is sapphic chaos. I’m such a stan and it was a dream. To be a part of a season that Kehlani’s on, G Flip and Chrishell are making an appearance, I just am like ok L Word. To be a part of something that is so representative and significant for so many queer people and just historically so significant is an honor. It’s my acting debut!”
FLETCHER is wrapping up the Girl Of My Dreams era alongside the end of her North American tour and releasing the deluxe version of the album. But Girl Of My Dreams will be a piece of work that will stay with her for years to come.
“I gotta live a little bit more life now to figure out what’ll be after this,” FLETCHER muses to us. “But right now I’m just reveling in the magic of what this album has really taught me. The coolest thing about music and art is that this shit’s so much bigger than me and it always will be. I think that’s quite a legacy to leave.”
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Photography / Gabriel Perez Silva
Creative Director / Alex Blynn
Styling / Phil Gomez
Hair / Netty Jordan
Makeup / Clara Rae
Nails / Dan Renee
Story / Sloan Pecchia
Cover Art / Pearl Zhang
Special thanks to Capitol Music Group