Encounter: Sky Ferreira

Meet pop’s new It girl: A part-time model with a famous mug shot and a debut album full of noise and longing

Sky Ferreira
Grant Singer
By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
Dec 19, 2013

LIKE PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE in Williamsburg at noon on a Saturday, Sky Ferreira is running a little late to brunch. She spent last night at home watching the second season of The Sopranos, which she just got into. Arriving 20 minutes tardy in combat boots and an oversize Army jacket, she blames her new obsession, Tony Soprano (“He’s, like, my dad”), and cracks a wry joke acknowledging her newfound bad-girl image. “Sky was late to the interview!” she quips, flashing New York’s best gaptooth-and-bottle-blond combo since Madonna skulked around in Soho.

Ferreira is 21, with a tiny frame and a heart-shape face – not one you’d expect to see in a mug shot, but there it was this fall, splashed all over the Internet. In September, she was arrested in upstate New York for possession of Ecstasy and resisting arrest, along with her boyfriend, Zachary Cole Smith of Brooklyn shoegaze band DIIV, who was carrying heroin. “I can’t
really talk about that,” she says, “but I had never really thought about how cops abuse power. As a big fan of Law & Order: SVU, I’m very disappointed.”

In person, Ferreira is much less brooding than she looks in her photos – whether the disturbed glare of her mug shot or the steely-eyed look the part-time model has flashed in ads for Yves Saint Laurent and others. (Fashion photographers must like her, she says, “for my smize or something.”) Sipping an Arnold Palmer, her drink of choice these days, Ferreira is animated and chatty, especially when she talks about lifelong muse Laura Palmer. Night Time, My Time, the full-length debut Ferreira just released after six years of false starts, got its name from a Palmer line in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. “In the film, you see a bit of Laura’s dark side, but usually you see this glorified prom-queen type,” she says. “I think she must have felt some of [what I feel] – just being very, like, neurotic.”

Night Time, My Time is both a sleeper hit and one of the year’s most fascinating pop records – though probably not what Capitol Records had in mind when it signed Ferreira as a teenage -ingénue in 2007. The songs are catchy, but they’re also thickly glazed with fuzz and synths, evoking influences like Suicide, Siouxsie Sioux and the krautrock group -Harmonia, whose noisy 1974 live album Ferreira listened to on repeat “to get mentally prepared.” The tunes have titles like “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay),” “You’re Not the One” and “I Blame Myself” – and those are the poppier ones. Ferreira’s lyrics transform vulnerability into feminist rage – directed at crummy ex-boyfriends and the record--label limbo she was stuck in for years – while hinting at darker agonies.

This is an extract. To read the full story, pick up a copy of Rolling Stone Middle East