Remi Wolf has casually changed the rules of popular music

By Mark Savage
BBC Music Correspondent

Image source, Alma Rosaz
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Remi Wolf says, “Everything today is not genreless.”

Remi Wolf’s music explodes from your speakers like a party singer.

She is playful and exuberant. Her songs push the limits of pop, before returning for another killer chorus.

The squiggly riffs and infectious hooks echo the music she was raised on – Hall & Oates, David Byrne, Deee-Lite, Prince. She’s no stranger to singing about the pneumatic reality of sex, pitch shifting her voice like Purple.

But, she also references everyone else, from Brad and Angelina, to Conor McGregor of the UFC, while laughing about fast food, Pilates, and hot potato pain. That’s what it is.

Although it can seem overwhelming, the Californian 25-year old creates a unique sound that is unmistakably hers.

Her album Juno, which was released last year, was named one of the best albums of the year by USA Today (“the most thrilling debut of the Year”) and NME Wolf (“rewrote pop music’s rules without thinking about them”) — the singer is humbled by all the accolades.

“It’s my music. It’s my voice. And I realize that it is unique to me. However, people see it as something very special. It makes me feel good.”

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However, you shouldn’t label it bedroom pop.

She says, “That’s an odd term.” It’s a strange term, she says.

“So, I believe we may have moved beyond the bedroom pop label.” It’s all pretty generic nowadays.

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Wolf, who was born and raised in San Jose was initially meant to be a skier downhill. She began training at Lake Tahoe as a toddler.

“I was very good!” “I was pretty good!” she says. She recalls, “I went to the Junior Olympics twice but I’m not sure I was good enough to win the competition.” [adult]So I made the decision to become a full-time musician and join the US Olympic team.

That meant, at first, starting a band called “What else?” with Chloe Zilliac. Remi and Chloe, and her audition for American Idol. After performing Let’s Get It On with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban in 2014, she reached the show’s top 150. She was then eliminated at the Hollywood Stage.

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Soon afterwards, Wolf’s music teacher set her up with another one of his pupils, a young multi-instrumentalist named Jared Solomon. They were thrown into a classroom and told that they would be working on a cover by The Zutons of Valerie with Solomon playing guitar and Wolf singing.

She recalls, “Okay, it’s pretty good,” after they had played the game once.

Solomon eventually joined Remi & Chloe’s backing group, and offered their basement as a rehearsal area. Wolf continues to write all of her music today.

She says that “we really trust one another” and that this gives them a musical freedom that is difficult to share with others. “We can do any thing we like.”

Wolf released her debut album, You’re A Dog! in 2019, after taking a break from studying music at the University of Southern California.

This was her quantum experiment with pop creativity. It showcased both her musical talent and an offbeat sense humor. She tells her lover on one track:Hollywood Boulevard, I would literally go outside to pee for you.”

Her writing process is described by her as “very free and spontaneously associated.” It’s why my lyrics can sound abstract. My mouth is what I want to trust before my critical mind tarnishes anything.

Wolf produced and funded the You’re A Dog EP, using her work as a childminder to pay for her creative endeavors. It was, at the very least.

“I did a lot nannying, and I was not very skilled.” “I would cancel every day to make music, which was obviously not a sustainable business model.”

Island Records was able to sign her, after she had performed in New York. In spite of the fact that big corporations might attempt to control her eccentricities, she insisted on keeping her independence.

It was both a huge leap of my part and that of the label to accept all these ideas,” she later observed, but it works.

Wolf was lucky enough to win the jackpot in 2020 when her vibey photo ID virally went viral on TikTok. Dominic Fike was Dominic’s friend and pop alchemist. The remix gave the song even more momentum.

However, behind the scenes the singer suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse.

The situation reached its peak at Wolf’s first show after lockdown in June 2020. This was a drive-in gig, where Wolf danced around on a temporary stage and fans watched from the windows of their cars, hooting approval.

She was immediately drunk and began crying the next day, asking for help from her family.

Juno’s recovery is the background to her story.All day I had headaches and headaches.On the first track Liquor Store, she sings: “…“Cause I am always looking for more,” I said as soon as I walked into the liquor store.

The song was written immediately after her sobriety. It is largely free of the surreal imagery which has been her hallmark.

She said, “It’s one my favorite songs because it really captures the energy and feeling of what was happening at that moment.”

After recording, she broke down in tears.

Wolf was able to combine sobriety with the lockdown. Juno, a reflective album, is more than its first appearance. The musical flourishes disguise introspective lyrics about codependent relationships, family dynamics and all-encompassing anxiety.

She says, “There was certainly a lot going on in terms of self-analysis.” The album includes “Relationship analysis, loneliness and all that stuff.” I wrote the songs about how I felt every day. I tried to capture the essence of each song in a few songs. [memento]It was either that day or week that it occurred that I made the decision to write it.”

The closing refrain to WYD has been a favorite of many fans. “I don’t need your validation/ I have me in medication.”This has been a big moment of community at singers’ concerts.

She says that it was a very last-minute lyric she added at the end. But people seem to be really connecting with it.

“I need confirmation – that is something I strive for now.

Juno is Remi Wolf’s new album.


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