Pin It

PinkPantheress is the ‘new nostalgic’ vocalist blowing up TikTok

The previously anonymous uni student talks recording in halls at 3am, working with GoldLink, and how she never left her emo phase

The term ‘overnight celebrity’ really rings true when it comes to TikTok, a place where your face can be screened and memed to millions worldwide within hours of posting. It’s also somewhere where – in the case of the artist who goes by PinkPantheress – your music can go viral without anyone knowing who you are. Posting quick, ten-second clips that sample Y2K hits like Just Jack’s “Starz In Their Eyes” and Adam F’s drum & bass classic “Circles”, the completely anonymous artist was suddenly soundtracking thousands of TikTok videos.

PinkPantheress, a largely anonymous artist who is currently a uni student in London, layers millennial favourites with her own sad, wistful lyrics. Her tracks are super short, like sketches or voice notes you’d send your friends – that probably augments her rapid rise on the short-form video app, oscillating within the vying attention economy. The sampling didn’t come without issues, though – the 20-year-old was criticised for ‘stealing’ popular jungle and disco tracks, even though she was adding her own vocals (something that many forms of music – in particular hip hop – have put into practice for years), while begging her followers to stream the originals. 

She’s since started adding her music to streaming services, and has slowly began to reveal more about herself. Well, more than the picture of Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls cartoon that comprised her previous online identity, anyway. “Passion”, her latest single, is a (comparatively-lengthy) two minutes and 18 seconds long, and arrived with a Windows XP background visualiser to tap into the recesses of our nostalgia-driven minds even further.

To find out more about the mysterious DIY musician and how she makes the irresistibly catchy earworms that are gaining traction across the internet, we put some questions to PinkPantheress.

How did you first start making music? 

PinkPantheress: I’m a fan of sampling and reworking original tracks’ instrumentals, so I used to just sing my own versions on top of these beats, and still often do.

You sample hits from the 90s and 00s – but not the most obvious ones – what is it about that era that you love so much?

PinkPantheress: Everything, I just love the lyricism of artists like Just Jack and the beat choices were so unpolished and gritty. That era had so much experimental stuff going on and didn’t set out to impress everyone but still ended up impressing everyone because of how good it is.


please also tell me which song you guys want out next because I HAVE NO CLUE WHICH ONES TO RELEASE ##JDAirMaxYourWay ##fyp ##LiftYourDream ##music

♬ Break it off - 😘🙈☺️

Talk us through some of your other influences.

PinkPantheress: A lot of my melody choices are from pop punk bands like blink-182 and Good Charlotte, some of the more complex melodies derive from early Panic! At The Disco, the beat choices are inspired by a lot of K-pop, Linkin Park, Frou Frou, and British dance music.

How long does it take for you to write a track?

PinkPantheress: Around one hour, but it can take longer depending on the hour of the day. 

Where does your lyrical inspiration come from?

PinkPantheress: Lily Allen – her storytelling is both hilarious but captivating. No matter what she’s singing over, I’ll stay for every second just to know what happens next in the narrative arc.

What does your uni halls recording setup look like? And what do your uni mates think about your newfound success?

PinkPantheress: It legit is a smaller-than-average room with a broken mic. I can’t record vocals standing up, so I sing lying down. Not many of them know, I don’t think, but the ones that do are all gems and don’t tend to bring it up a lot which I love, because one thing about me is that if you thought I was elusive online then in real life it’s not much better! 

It’s nice that you canvass opinion on tracks from your followers, does that help you make music? Have you got to know any of them well?

PinkPantheress: Yes, it’s the best way for me totally, I’m awful at gauging audience reaction so I’m never quite sure when something I sing is going to land, whether it’s a sonic choice or even lyrical. Sometimes people comment: ‘What do you mean by this lyric?’ and I think, ‘Your guess is as good as mine!’ I have made lots of internet friends which takes me back to my tumblr days, there’s nothing better than the online community (there) in my opinion, when I was younger I literally thrived when I was able to go online and happily tap into the community of whatever phase I was going through.

You featured on GoldLink’s album recently, what was that like to do? How did the collaboration come about?

PinkPantheress: He messaged me on Instagram about a session and it goes without saying that I simply had to go. It was my first time at a recording studio as well, so I was nervous enough that I had to bring two friends to join me. It was amazing to be part of that track, the producer Kintaro killed that beat and I’m generally a huge fan of that kind of house style of music so I was eager to sing the hook.

What have been some of the best uses of your music that you’ve noticed on social media?

PinkPantheress: I absolutely love the dance people made for “Pain” but nothing gets me more than a fan edit using the sound – they’re legit all amazing. I’ve seen them for Harry Styles, K-pop idols, Evan Peters, etc. The blood, sweat, and tears that go into a short 30-second edit of your current fave shouldn’t dare go unnoticed, I’m telling you that free of charge, I’ve been there.

“What can I say, I went through my emo phase and never came out the other side!” – PinkPantheress 

Who are some of your favourite accounts to follow?

junkman baby, on_a_downward_spiral. Ethan Fish on TikTok is hands down carrying that app – and funnily enough was the first TikToker to actually say they liked my music, so we love him.

Talk us through “Passion”, your new single.

PinkPantheress: I was gassed to work with IZCO and jkarri as I’d heard so many of their tunes respectively and they’re some wizards for real, lyrics-wise the undertones are fairly sad which kind of goes against the vibes of the beat, but what can I say, I went through my emo phase and never came out the other side!

“Passion” is out now on all streaming services