Following the release of her latest singles “Astrologically Illogical” and “Invited," Infinite Thrills and 88rising's signee Stephanie Poetri sits down with Variance’s Ethan Ijumba for a Q+A to discuss her latest singles, upcoming festivals & touring with Lyn Lapid, as well as her plans musically that she has for audiences to expect in the forthcoming months. Be sure to scroll below to read the full interview and for more announcements, releases, and news related to Poetri, be sure to follow her on Instagram and TikTok @stephaniepoetri.
Ethan Ijumba: So you're one of 88rising's signees, and just released your latest single, “Astrologically Illogical” and “Invited”. Regarding “Astrologically Illogical”, you said you were inspired by the zodiac culture of checking your compatibility through your astrology signs, in the song, you mentioned you're a Taurus. So when it comes down to your sun as a Taurus., Do you know exactly your moon and your rising as well too?
Stephanie Poetri: Yeah, I had to find out for the song because in the bridge, I yell, I'm a Taurus son. But I’m a Gemini rising, and a Sagittarius moon.
EI: Are there any zodiac signs that you feel you're most compatible with them?
SP: I used to be and weirdly enough, a lot of people in my life are Geminis. My best friend is a Gemini. My mom and my brother are Geminis, so I think it's super fun and kind of funny, but I thought me and my boyfriend worked so well so thought that we should be compatible. But I was curious, and then I found out we were very incompatible and I thought that was really goofy.
EI: I mean, overall it is just a fun thing to look at and shouldn’t always be taken too seriously, but when you came up with the idea of the song, compared to your others, I feel like your music gets labeled as dreamy and soft, and people always give you that box saying you're voice is soft, but at the end of this one, you had this huge progressive rock aspect where it has you actually belting and giving more aggression and edgier screams. Where did that idea come from specifically?
SP: I'm starting to redo the vibe that we're going for with my music, and it is more of that edgier and more of a rock vibe. So this song was the perfect middle ground because it started a little bit softer and then as it goes on, it gets a little bit edgier. So we took a lot of inspiration from the bands I grew up listening to like Arctic Monkeys, Two Door Cinema Club, and indie alt-rock pop bands, but then still keeping the feminine ethereal energy of my older stuff. So it's kind of like a little bridge toward the newer songs that will be coming out.
EI: Do you feel that the music you're making now feels more genuinely you compared to the music you were making beforehand or do you feel that it's all at the same level specifically to what you were making before?
SP: I think a lot of the songs I wrote in the past were during the pandemic. So it was a representation of how I felt at the time. All the newer stuff were songs I wrote once I moved here and started meeting new friends and new people and new collaborators. As I grew older, I'm 23 now so I don't feel as uncomfortable with swearing in my songs now I'm like, I don't care. So the older stuff is really true to who I was. The newer stuff is just more up-to-date with the kind of music I listen to as well, and it's also one of the reasons I started writing more upbeat stuff is because I'm doing a lot of festivals and I was opening for Lynn Lapid, and I realized how slow my set was and I was like, ok, well, if I see myself performing live as part of my career, I should try to create a set that is super fun for performances. So now I have that in the back of my head every time I write a new song.
EI: Speaking of your performances, you opened for Lynn Lapid, and then you have the Head In The Clouds Festival coming in August. So how exactly do you feel about performing? Because I feel like every artist when it comes to their performances specifically. Do you perceive or take it a specific way when it comes to performing for thousands or hundreds of people in attendance?
SP: Yeah, I think I used to really dislike performing, part of it was due to a lack of confidence on stage and I didn't really know what to do, and I realized it just took a lot of practice and opportunities to go on stage to just get used to it. Now I quite enjoy it, and I think that opening and being part of a festival is better for me because then I don't have this pressure of everybody's here just for me. Because when I think of that, it creates this expectation in my head that I have to make it the best night of someone's life. But if it's like a festival or if I'm an opener, it's chill because I'm just there to make the night better.
EI: So with that being said, do you feel that the different roles that you have as an artist, such as the songwriter, the performer, the singer, etc, and such and such? Do you enjoy a specific role in terms of making music more than others or do you prefer to just do everything?
SP: Yeah, I definitely love doing everything. But I'm very, very lucky to have joined a label that has a lot of people who are there for me to help out. I think when I first started, I definitely didn’t like receiving help and I just kind of wanted to do everything myself after I moved here and got to know people personally in the company and how they're down to help out and how they can contribute. I started getting a lot of help. But it's also important to still put your foot down because, at the end of the day, they're here to help you. But I'm the one who's gonna have to live with the things I put out for the rest of my life because it's my music and my career. So I think a lot of people assume that they have to do everything that they're told to do. And I use it as like we're, we're a group project, and I'm the project.
EI: So when it comes down to working together with 88rising, how would you describe it? Is it like a huge family aspect? Does it feel like it's more maybe the competitive team aspect? Because every label is different, especially when it's an independent label. But how would you describe it when it comes down to working with 88rising overall?
SP: Yeah, I think it's, it feels well, the closest thing I could explain it to because I never really had a normal job per se, but it, it feels like a high school and in the sense that there are other artists who've been there longer feel kind of like the older classmen and, and then newer artists feel like younger classmen. So it's fun to see at one point they joined the company and see the difference between the expectations where everybody's like a teacher trying to help me, trying to teach me things as well. Each song is like a project, and I'm just trying to get the best advice from everybody. In a way, it's like you get graded by how well the song does at the end. So it's like that except you get to define your own grades because, to some other people, a million plays in a month is an A plus. To me would be an A plus and then some other artists that are upset because they get that so often. Sometimes it's hard too because then you put yourself worth onto how your songs are doing and how you guys are in school, and all your grades are there to see, and the difference is at school, you get to go home, and you have a different life, but here it's like your life is your work.
EI: With that being said, do you feel that there's a specific goal that you're trying to chase whether it's materialistic as a Grammy or whether it's statistical, like a million plays in a week, or even if it's something more on a personal emotional side? I know some people just find the compliment in hearing people, “Your song changed my life.” But for some artists, they wanna win the most amount of this or have the most success with that. But do you have a specific goal you're still trying to obtain and reach?
SP: Yeah, I mean, it's like a mix of things. The one that I joke about the most, but it's actually the truest, is probably just being in a place where I can be so financially stable that I can put something out without having to worry if it'll make me money back. I think that's something a lot of artists struggle with because sometimes they're put in positions where they're like, do I put this cool thing out or do I make it more approachable for radio? And then also I think what I keep telling people is my aim is to make songs that people can use as a soundtrack to their moments in their lives. So I think that part I've ticked a huge box because I've had a lot of people tell me that their wedding song was “I Love You 3000”, and that's just like incredible because that's a part of their life that I’ll forever be involved in.
EI: Agreed, because it has to sell and it has to connect and find the in-between the two unless you really want to go either way, but you don't wanna be like a radio streaming machine that's just cranking out music for TikTok and sped-up versions.
SP: Exactly. You're exactly what you're saying is what's happening.
EI: So, aside from music though, is there anything audiences can expect soon when it comes to a full-fledged EP or album? Is there anything that fans can look out for or anything that's awaiting soon?
SP: So the next couple of songs I'll be putting out are all like singles but they all kind of go into one big project. It's just a continuation of this newer sound I'm doing, and my newest single is called, “Invited”, I wrote it for another artist because I was just done writing stuff for my own stuff, and then a couple of months later, I was like, yeah, this kind of fits the new vibe so we decided to put it out.
EI: Do you feel that we're gonna see more of this edgier sound that you kind of have going on or do you feel like we're gonna see a variety of genres of music that you could potentially drop and how it's gonna actually relate back to making this new sound that we're seeing from you and such.
SP: So the new sound is more like it's still pop, but it's a little bit more indie rock, and a lot more live drums and live instruments.
EI: Can’t wait to hear it and thank you for your time!