2013 has been a stellar, and controversial, time for young female pop artists. From the publicity-goading of Miley Cyrus to the magnetic idiosyncrasies of Charli XCX and Lorde, female pop this year has been diverse, original and, as simple as it sounds, fun. But 2013 has also seen an intense scrutiny thrust onto such artists like never before. Young women in the spotlight may endure the same love-hate cycles but it seems a more prickly experience now: more prone to backlash in a culture of Twitter outrage and knee-jerk think-pieces. No one has endured such chatter as Sky Ferreira – bar, perhaps, Miley Cyrus, who Ferreira is touring with in 2014. With her long-awaited debut album Night Time, My Timefinally released this October to critical praise – and surprise with such praise, too – Ferreira is seeing out a year riddled with depression, drug arrests and losing her voice with a record that she's proud of. On reflection, this forthright and self-aware 21-year-old has earned a chance to breathe. Having spent her teen in label limbo and battling with the press, Night Time, My Time represents more than a collection of songs. It represents a young woman finding herself.
“With Night Time, My Time, I wanted to make an album that represented me. Something I would listen to myself. I felt nobody actually knew me besides what the media and the internet have put out there, so I felt like this was my chance to show who I was, and how I came to be this way. I wanted to bring more than my image to the table. I was travelling a lot this year, and I was so emotionally and physically exhausted. After everything that happened I needed to just write it and record the album. Turn it in. Lots of people think this is a 'sad girl' pop record, but I think it's an angry one. I had a lot of suppressed anger in me from the past six or seven years, and I wanted to get it all out. I finally felt confident enough to make the album I wanted to make.
"I guess in 2013, I became my own person"
Until late 2012, I was too insecure to release the music I wrote. To release anything personal. I wasn't going for a hit, I was going for something I would be proud of. Night Time, My Time isn't groundbreaking, but I do think it's one of the most honest albums of the year. The reaction to the album has been extremely positive as well. I think people are just glad that something is out to be honest! That part almost doesn't seem real. It hasn't quite hit me, and I didn't expect such a big reaction. It feels like my luck is starting to turn over: that all of the hard work is actually going towards something, more so than before.
I know a lot's been said about my album cover, but I think the image perfectly matches up with the album's sound. I had the opportunity to work with one of the best filmmakers today, and I took it. I'm a lyrics-based listener when it comes to music. I feel like, if you listen to the lyrics, the artwork and the songs go hand-in-hand. There's nothing wrong with sex but to be honest with you, I don't see much that's sexy about the cover. The image is about the vulnerability, sadness and anger in my face, more than about my nipple. When I saw that image, I knew it was the cover right away. Controversy was my last concern. It's really about perspective, isn't it? What some people find offensive or pornographic, others don't. What's pornography nowadays anyway? Just kidding!
I guess in 2013, I became my own person. I started to live life outside of working or being shelved, which was the majority of my teenage years to be honest. I got some momentum this year; Cole has been such an inspiration to me. I've had a lot of the negative media attention this year too, which has been was hard to deal with, but having the album out means that my fans can connect with me in a real way. It's not just people observing me like a circus animal: to see if I'm real or not. I've been battling severe depression for the past two years so I have a lot ups and downs, but I realise now that I'm capable of doing a lot more than I thought I could... as corny as that sounds.”