Meet the Australians behind Slayyyter, pop music's new big craze
The saccharine sweet popstar-on-the-rise is turning into pop's next unsuspecting star - and Australians are helping her get there.
Slayyyter is a pop star on the rise. Throughout the last two years, the musician - which we introduced the world to a few months back as she assisted Donatachi on the hyper-pop Crush On U - has climbed her way to become an unsuspecting star of 2019, bridging the gap between PC Music's saccharine sweetness and the unashamed corniness of 00s pop culture darlings like Lindsay Lohan, which together, form an overarching sound that's perfect for light-hearted escape - and that's what she wants.
"My style of pop is the kind of music that I like to make which allows me to get away from shit that I don’t wanna think about," she told V Magazine at the start of this year, and you can hear that. Slayyter could be a completely serious, chart-aligning popstar if she'd like, but instead, she's going for sounds which bring her joy - an authenticity you can only find in current-day pop music. "It’s kind of more of an escape type of pop. So many people probably listen to my music and think it’s so stupid, but it serves a purpose and embraces the joy of not having to think to hard about stuff… for like three minutes."
Over the last few months particularly, Slayyyter - raised in the rural US - has built herself an unstoppable brand filled with colourful bubblegum palettes and 2000s pop culture, taking the best bits from many of pop music's many sounds - Britney's accessibility, Charli XCX's distinct experimentalism, that aforementioned Lindsey Lohan pull - and combining them into one, defying sound that is distinctly Slayyyter's - unashamedly pop, colourful, and really fucking fun. It's something that's been front and centre for much of her work, but on a new mixtape - today's self-titled release - this becomes fully fleshed out and worked upon, and the results are incredible.
Spanning 14 tracks, Slayyyter is a release that puts the musician it's named after on the contemporary pop music map. All the favourites are there - the Ayesha Erotica-assisted debut BFF opens the package, while Mine and Alone pop up immediately after the mixtape's opener - but they're joined by an establishment of songs which feel like a crystal ball gaze into the future - a vision of what the future of pop may sound like if Slayyyter and the experimentalists that join her take control. "I love the flop pop stars of that time period — like Heidi Montag’s pop career," she tells Rolling Stone on her inspiration. "It inspired me to make tacky songs that are just fun." That's what the future of pop music can be.
Dive deeper, however, and you'll find that Slayyyter's debut mixtape isn't a solo affair. Instead, it's a collaborative effort, built alongside producers and writers that together, make Slayyyter a fully realised vision of the pop music future that's able to shine through undisturbed - the result of a cohesive project driven by open-ended collaboration in a similar vein to the chaotic flow of Charli XCX's guest-built Pop 2.
There are the favourites - the regulars. Ayesha Erotica, who grew parallel to Slayyyter's rapid rise as a close collaborator and friend, features across much of the EP, while Robokid - formerly known for this work within the future-pop LA scene, but quickly becoming a versatile, multi-faceted musician of his own - is the mixtape's central producer, working across much of the mixtape and warping his productions to meet Slayyyter's tuned vocal perfectly. Elsewhere, PC-adjacent Boysim features on Touch My Body, while Moving Castle affiliate AOBeats joins Robokid on Motorcycle.
Then, there are the Australians, finding overseas fame through crafty collaborations that you couldn't find working in Sydney songwriting camps - our pop music market just isn't wide-ranging and open enough for that. After assisting Donatachi on Crush On U earlier this year, Slayyyter's debut mixtape features a mixture of Australian musicians who are quickly becoming amongst the country's most in-demand behind-the-scenes, whether they are working in songwriting roles or as producers working tirelessly on the edge-driven productions that underlay.
Cha Ching, in addition to featuring Robokid on production, features two Australians on a songwriting level - Joel Gardner, who also works under the name Guard, and Maddie Crabtree, who you may find more recognisable as our own bubblegum-pop flame Muki. Then, on Celebrity, Donatachi makes an appearance yet again, working in a songwriting/production role to give Celebrity the rich, left-field twist it needs to stand out from a mixtape full of songs that do exactly that.
Together, these names - Guard, Muki and Donatachi - represent a future of Australian pop that soon, may come to out-grow the country from which they came. As Guard, Melbourne's Joel Gardner is quickly causing a storm with his ability to pair bright pop melodies with real-world issues including mental health and addiction, while working alongside acts including umru - whose own discography spans to Charli XCX herself - to ensure that their music stands out as something a little left-of-centre within our pop world.
Meanwhile, Muki is a name well-familiar to us. Since sharing her debut single Sassaparilla in 2017, the sugary sweet popstar of the future has quickly made her name - and sound - worth something in Australian music, whether it be through her own work - her 2018 EP It Won't Hurt is a brilliant, four-track introduction to Muki and the many sounds she encompasses - or work with some of our most exciting names, from Kilter and Nicole Millar to Client Liaison and L D R U.
Then, there's Donatachi. No stranger to this hyper-experimental club-pop world, Donatachi is a musician who's also well-familiar to us since the start, so it's brilliant to see him finding his own lane in 2019. By working with names such as Slayyyter, Donatachi is quickly turning into a cult-adored force primed to take on pop music's most daring sounds, occupying a space in our music world that's distinctly Donatachi - no-one else could do it like him, and I don't think we want anyone else to try.
Dive into Slayyyter's neck-turning debut mixtape below, and stay tuned as the bright names it assembles - including Donatachi, Muki and Guard back home - set themselves up for bright futures ahead. The future of pop music is here, so jump on board early:
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