Blasting into the music industry with her debut single, “Threads,” last month, this incredible poet is ready to turn into New Zealand’s next big breakthrough artist. Indy Yelich, who goes by just Indy, is already a fully functioning pop genius. Her lyricism perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being in one’s early 20s, and there is still so much more relatable music to come from this up-and-coming star.
As the younger sister of one of the most prestigious and influential music artists in the industry, Lorde, Indy is now ready to forge her own path by making music that reflects her experiences with growing up in suburbia, moving to a big city, and overcoming heartbreak as a young adult.
“Killer” is the follow-up single to Indy’s debut, “Threads.” The track showcases an entirely different side of Indy’s artistry, and the atmosphere of the song is definitely fitting for the spooky season. Coming just before Halloween, Indy’s latest song is all about expressing the “killer” that is doing “crimes” inside our own minds. The visualizer for “Killer,” which features Indy with an enormous knife and several police car sirens, does a phenomenal job at furthering the track’s deliciously wicked ambiance.
Pop Crave chatted with Indy about her new single, “Killer,” her upcoming six-track EP, and the advice her older sister, Lorde, gave her about creating music and navigating the public eye. Keep reading for the full interview!
Congratulations on both “Killer” and the massive success of your debut single, “Threads”! How has life been since readjusting to the pop star life of doing interviews, music videos, and being in the limelight?
Honestly, I’m ready for it! I feel like I’m kind of a bubbly person, and I’ve been in suburbia for like three months. I’ve been back at my parents’ house because I wanted the support while I was releasing music. Honestly, it’s been kind of fun. It’s been really fun, like going to a bar and someone recognizing me and being like, “I love your song!”
“Killer” has such immaculate spooky season vibes, and I think you released the track at the perfect time! How would you describe what the song is about and what it personally means to you?
Totally! Well, I remember writing. I wrote the song on the way to a really important session, and I was, at the time, feeling quite a lot of anxiety about my career choice. I was quite young; this was about two years ago. I guess the song to me is kind of about embracing being your own worst enemy and the bad sides of yourself, because that’s never really gonna go away. I mean, I personally feel quite a lot of pressure in the music world and to prove myself, so I guess this was just an ode to embracing that imposter syndrome, that doubt-y side.
The visualizer for “Killer” releases in just one hour from now! How exciting! I’ve already seen it and absolutely adore it. How would you describe the concept and overall atmosphere of the visualizer?
I reckon police car sirens are kind of… Obviously, the metaphor is like, “I’m a killer,” you know? Self-inflicted, doing bad stuff. There’s a lyric that says, “In my mind, I’m doin’ time / Turn me in, ‘cause I’m a killer.” Anything that means that you’re a bad guy, right? It’s one of the sides of myself, so I kind of wanted to really make it feel obviously for Halloween, like spooky season stuff. The concept to me really is like that evil side of yourself and just honestly being your own worst enemy. That’s what I wanted to get across quite clearly in the music video: knives, a little bit of blood, sirens, latex, and kind of sexy vibes! And also, like, it’s all about yourself! It’s fun. It’s fun to write a song that isn’t really about anybody else but myself. When you have that creative license, you can kind of do whatever you want when it’s in reference to your own self, I feel.
“Threads” is one of the best debut singles I’ve heard in a long time. What made you decide that it would be the song to introduce you into the world of music?
All the music is about my real life. I actually wrote that song; it was the last song I wrote, randomly, but I’d been working on the EP for a while, and I felt like there was something missing. Like, the real heartbeat of the EP. I wrote that, and I remember the feeling afterwards when I heard the song in my tiny headphones. I just felt that that was the song. It felt quite heartfelt and an accurate depiction of what it’s like going through a messy relationship at 23. I feel like a lot of people can relate to that, because when you’re in your early 20s, I feel like love and lust and sex and everything, it’s so… it’s a little bit up and down. I don’t know, that period of my life was very intoxicating. That felt like the most me song initially, I feel like, so yeah!
You’re an amazing poet, and you’ve actually written two entire poem books! What is the process like for you when trying to translate a poem into music?
Honestly, when you’re writing a song, you’re sitting at a piano and just talking. Poetry is very free, so I feel like you can say a lot more in poetry, but with a pop song, you have to craft it into a cohesive structure. Honestly, I would just say that I initially actually write a poem, and I bring it into the studio, and then someone – one of my songwriters – will help me form a pop structure… The main thing for me is having an idea the night before of what I’m going to talk about, like something from my real life, you know, whether it’s a friendship breakup or a fight or something like that. You go in with a poem with key words, and then it’s a lot easier to translate into a song, I think?
From either “Threads” or “Killer,” what is one of your favorite lines you’ve written?
It’s from “Killer.” It’s “You want me to be Alexander the Great / The pressure’s on me and I don’t wanna break.” Alexander the Great was a Greek king, he was a pretty famous general, and he took over the world, essentially. I love that reference. The armor and all that, I love that iconic kind of reference. It makes me feel like… it makes me understand the pressure I’ve put on myself, especially with someone who is in the industry like my sister who’s such a lyrical genius. It’s kind of like a fun thing to remind myself that I will never be Alexander the Great, so may as well be myself. I really love that line. I want to get it on a t-shirt. I really like it!
Or maybe you could get the line as a tattoo… I wasn’t sure if I was gonna show you this because you might think I’m crazy, but… [reveals ‘Melodrama’-themed tattoo]
Oh my God [shows her own tattoos]! I have a line, and then I have my best friend’s initials. I love the simplicity. Look, I love the album. That’s iconic! What’s your favorite song on the album, do you think?
This is a question I had for you too! Mine is “Supercut,” I think.
Mine’s definitely “Liability (Reprise),” in my opinion. The vocoder on it… For me, I would listen to it on the subway. That album came out in 2017, so that was when I just moved to New York. Ella was doing shows and things like that, and I would always go to them. That is very much a soundtrack to my 19-year-old, 18-year-old self. For me, it’s the open room feeling of how sad it feels, I guess? The vocoder is so distinct, the vocal effect. To me, it’s so… it’s just a question that everyone always has that’s been unanswered about being drawn to the stories of youth, confusion, and messy love affairs. It’s what I relate to, that’s what I go through, so yeah.
The Yelich-O’Connor family is the most powerful family to ever exist! Is there any advice your sister gave you about starting a career as a pop star, whether the advice be about making music or just how to navigate being in the public eye?
Yes, totally! I think it’s something we both can agree on, and it’s to forge your own path and how important it is. This EP is about that, right? I’m my own person, and I’ve had my own experiences, and they’re very vivid. I’ve actually been singing since I was six, so I think that the most important thing that I got from her was to also… One thing was to be proud of what you write and try not to worry about the reception of things. If you’re writing something for other people, it’s not going to ring true, right? It’s like I just gave my all to write something that I believed in, and then that’s kind of all you can do. You can’t write something you think people will like, and then you’re not being true to yourself. Definitely that point, I would say, was very important.
So, I did some digging, and you have some of the best music taste I’ve EVER seen. Your “FALL TUNES” Spotify playlist is incredible! Which music artists are currently inspiring you right now, and is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with in the future?
Holly Humberstone! I love her. She’s great. I’ve always really loved Matty Healy. I love him. Definitely Holly Humberstone, because I saw her at the Bowery Ballroom, and the show was just… I was a little bit tipsy, and the lights, and it was just like… She was doing everything live with these ‘80s synths, and I remember walking home feeling really inspired, so definitely her. I’m trying to think who else? I mean, I really, really like Dijon. I really like him too, so probably those two.
I know you recently tweeted that your next song after “Killer” will be a bit of a “crying song.” Can you give us a hint at what the next release might explore or talk about?
It’s my favorite! It’s got violins! It’s really sad. It’s about returning home from a big city to your parents’ house, and there’s a person there that you’ve outgrown, but the memories set flames from when you were younger, the innocence of what you felt, and it’s re-exploring that feeling. You know that you’ve got to go back to the city, but it’s that heartbreak of what could have been with that innocence with someone that you really love. It’s really sad [laughs]! I’m very proud of the lyrics in this. There’s a violin section, and it’s like… I’m stoked, honestly! My manager, that’s his favorite one.
You also revealed that a six-song EP is on its way! What can you tell fans about what the project will sound like and what they can expect from the additional tracks?
I think that the EP, it’s very upbeat, very lyric focused. I think it just explores the themes of my early 20s in love and loss. Obviously, suburbia to New York, those kinds of things. I wanted to make one song for everyone, so I kind of wanted to try a few different styles, because I just listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I wanted to try a fun pop song, a ‘70s sassy and sad kind of thing, a ballad, I wanted to do an anthem like “Killer,” so yeah. I don’t know, I think they’re just all really different. I think that hopefully, people will be able to relate to those themes of the early 20s and the confusion of that.
Indy’s new song, “Killer,” is out now.