One of the most compelling young artists in the pop world today, FLETCHER has made a massive cultural impact by speaking her truth with total abandon. On her debut album Girl Of My Dreams, the New Jersey-bred singer/songwriter expands on the fearlessly candid storytelling first glimpsed on her chart-topping 2019 single “Undrunk” and later shown on critically acclaimed projects like THE S(EX) TAPES—a 2020 EP that spawned the streaming hit “Bitter” and reached No. 1 on iTunes across all genres. With its unfiltered look at the most intimate of emotional experiences—desire and obsession, loss and trauma, the pain of personal growth and power of true self-acceptance—the result is FLETCHER’s most revealing and revelatory body of work to date.
“So much of my past work has been focused on other people and on my relationships: all the people who have broken my heart, all the hearts that I’ve broken,” says FLETCHER. “For my debut album it felt right to do a deeper dive into self-exploration, and all the different facets that make up who I am. I wanted it to be the most honest, raw, and complete representation of the complex and sensitive-ass Pisces that I’ve always been. It took a long time and a lot of reflection to create a body of work like that, but it’s important to me that my music comes directly from lived experience.”
In the making of Girl Of My Dreams, FLETCHER worked closely with her longtime collaborator Malay (Frank Ocean, Lorde), the executive producer behind the album as well as her 2019 debut EP you ruined new york city for me and THE S(EX) TAPES (a thrillingly unapologetic project which also feature the Kito-produced smash single “Bitter”). Built on a high-energy and hypnotic sound including everything from pop-punk to dance-pop to gorgeously understated folk, Girl Of My Dreams also finds FLETCHER joining forces with acclaimed creatives like Ali Payami (Taylor Swift, The Weeknd), Jenn Decilveo (Miley Cyrus, MARINA), and Amy Allen (Harry Styles, Halsey), all of whom she considers essential to the unchecked vulnerability at the heart of her music. “I love working with people who feel like family and understand me on multiple levels,” she says. “There’s a flow and a synergy to the process, which is the only way I ever want to work moving forward.”
Arriving on the heels of hit singles like “girls girls girls”—a 2021 release that ingeniously reimagined Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” with Perry’s stamp of approval—Girl Of My Dreams takes its title from an autobiographical track closely documenting her journey to self-fulfillment. “When my mom was younger she had a dream of a girl with long black hair riding on a horse, but she could never see what the girl’s face looked like,” says FLETCHER in unveiling the song’s origins. “She had a feeling that the girl might be the daughter she’d have one day, but I turned out to be nothing like that girl. To me it’s a metaphor for growing up queer in a small conservative town, and feeling like I wasn’t any of the things that people maybe thought or hoped I would be. As I explored my queerness later on, there were a whole series of people who I thought could be the girl of my dreams. But after so many years of looking outside myself, I finally came to the realization that the girl of my dreams is me.”
Although much of Girl Of My Dreams emerged from exacting introspection, FLETCHER also offers up such wildly euphoric tracks as “Her Body Is Bible.” Co-produced by Malay and Sly (Dua Lipa, Maneskin), the album’s soaring lead single showcases the irresistible force of FLETCHER’s voice as she rapturously sings the praises of the feminine form. “As someone who grew up going to Catholic church, I was often told that I was wrong for loving how I wanted to love, and it caused quite a bit of inner turmoil over the course of my life, “ she says. “I know now that something so pure and so beautiful could never be wrong, so I wanted to write about embracing my sexuality as something that makes me feel so free. I think for a lot of queer people there’s a need to unpack religious trauma, and I loved the idea of making this song feel like both an anthem and a hymn.”
Another high-wattage and hard-hitting track, “Becky’s So Hot” spotlights FLETCHER’s gift for crafting deeply resonant pop songs with extraordinary specificity. “I wrote that song after accidentally liking a picture of my ex-girlfriend’s new girlfriend—she was wearing a vintage T-shirt of my ex’s, a shirt I used to wear, and I told my co-writers, ‘I can’t be mad about it, because Becky’s so hot,’” says FLETCHER, who created the guitar-fueled track with One Love and newcomer Pink Slip. The complexities of moving on were something I wanted to explore and it felt more interesting to me to write something from the perspective of being in in awe of her; sort of like ‘damn… it kinda stings that she’s so hot, but I can’t even be mad about it because I get it…she’s hot.’ It paints a picture of how pain can evolve and so can you.”
On “Better Version,” FLETCHER shares what she refers to as “the flipside to ‘Becky’s So Hot,’” a heavy-hearted expression of post-breakup grief (from the gut-punching chorus: “Do you think of me/When you fuck her?/Do you use the moves/The ones we learned?/It’s always the next person/That gets the better version”). “It’s a sad reality that after a relationship ends, the next person is going to get the better version of you: the more evolved, more healed, the one who’s worked through their bad habits or communication issues,” says FLETCHER. “This song is me trying to accept that someone else will get the better version of my ex, and someone else will get the better version of me.” One of the most exhilarating tracks on Girl Of My Dreams, “Serial Heartbreaker” takes on a glorious velocity as FLETCHER owns up to her imperfections (“Sensitive but not enough/I’m not the best at breaking up/Too soon to rip the Band-Aid off/A sucker for the fuck-me-up”). “That song was the most fun we had on the album,” she says. “It started with me spilling my guts about why all my relationships have failed, and we just kept pushing the tempo faster and faster and faster.” And on “For Cari,” Girl Of My Dreams closes out with a stripped-back and slow-burning piece that merges her aching confession with a bit of quietly joyful self-celebration (“And this city’s too big for small things I need/And I’m done losing sleep over things I can’t be/And I’ve pleased everybody, so this one’s for me”). “The day I wrote ‘For Cari’ I was so heartbroken and uninspired, so I decided to make something just for myself,” FLETCHER recalls. “There was no intention of it being anything I might actually release—it was just something I needed to do so I wouldn’t lose my mind, and it ended up becoming my personal mantra.”
Even in its most painful moments, Girl Of My Dreams radiates an undeniable hope that’s possibly tied to a recent shift in FLETCHER’s process. “In the past my songs mostly came from a place of brokenness or despair, but lately the inspiration comes when I feel my healthiest,” she says. Growing up in Asbury Park (also the homeland of her musical hero, Bruce Springsteen), FLETCHER first immersed herself in songwriting at age 12. “I was writing about heartbreak before I’d ever even kissed anyone,” she says. “I was such an anxious kid, and it was way easier for me to put my feelings into lyrics than speak them out loud.” While studying at NYU’s famed Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music, FLETCHER began independently releasing her music and quickly gained traction on Spotify. As her profile rose, FLETCHER signed with Capitol Records in 2018 and soon made her debut with you ruined new york city for me—a five-track project featuring “Undrunk,” which spent several weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and later garnered her a nomination for iHeartRadio’s Best New Pop Artist. Released in September 2020, THE S(EX) TAPES drew abundant praise from critics, with SPIN proclaiming that “[t]here aren’t any rules when it comes to FLETCHER’s music.” The project also led to such accolades as FLETCHER’s nomination for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist.
In the last few years alone FLETCHER has also earned acclaim from the likes of TIME, Teen Vogue, Billboard, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, NME, GQ, and The Guardian, in addition to landing on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2022. But for FLETCHER, there’s no greater reward than the intense connection she’s forged with her fanbase—a potent sense of community that’s immediately palpable at every live show. With her past live experience including several sold-out headline tours and appearances at major festivals, she recently embarked on a long-awaited headline tour of North America and Europe, for which all dates sold out within minutes. “I hadn’t stepped onstage in nearly three years, and it was magical to see my fans in person again,” she says. “It’s given me such a deep sense of purpose to create spaces for people to come together and feel safe, protected, and free to be themselves. I just want to continue doing that, because I know how badly I needed those spaces when I was growing up.”
According to FLETCHER, keeping those fans at the forefront of her mind played a vital part in creating such an all-encompassing debut album. “I’ve gotten so many letters from people telling me that I’ve helped them to accept who they are, which makes this whole thing a very meaningful shared experience for me,” she says. “Because of that, I wanted to make sure to speak about my queerness from a place of joy, instead of the hardship that’s often portrayed in the media. I hope the album instills people with a sense of power and self-curiosity, and I hope it helps them understand that everything they’ve ever looked for in other people is right there within themselves.”
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