Sky Ferreira Bemoans "Sexist" Music Industry: "You're Set Up in Situations to Seem 'Difficult'"

"A lot of it is sexist, but I also think it's because I started when I was 14, so they feel like they can manipulate me"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 29, 2022

Though hardly an anomaly, Sky Ferreira's story has been shrouded in mystery: she went from being the unescapable alt-pop it girl when she released her 2013 debut album Night Time, My Time on Capitol, to becoming rather scarce in the years to follow. She's been speaking her sophomore follow-up Masochism into existence since 2015, and seven years later, it's supposedly "actually coming out" in 2022.

Things are finally looking more promising since the artist released comeback single "Don't Forget" in May. Now, she's opening up about the ways the "sexist" music industry has tried to "mould" and "manufacture" her — and how the singer-songwriter's resistance to those forces made her feel set up to seem "difficult" and resulted in her music being "shelved so many times."

Speaking with Nancy Sinatra for Interview Magazine, Ferreira commiserated with her "forever idol & inspiration" about being pigeonholed as a woman in the industry.

Sinatra commented on the pop star's previous expressions of feeling trapped in the pop music machine, asking: "Who and what trapped you and stopped you?"

"There's quite a few things that did it, but I feel like I was misunderstood," Ferreira answered. "In the music industry, everyone's trying to mould you. They have an idea of what you should be. People get greedy."

She elaborated: 

When I was younger, I got cornered in situations where it was like, "You have to do this," and I didn't know better. It was just different back then. The internet was there, but it wasn't this thing that people had figured out. I used it to my advantage — that really helped me get my stuff out. But I've been shelved so many times. You know, I first came out when I was 15 and it wasn't a fair representation of me. And then, I wasn't even that much older, but I started meeting people to collaborate with, and it started falling into place.

Ferreira went on to ask Sinatra if she'd ever felt similarly. "Yeah," the '60s icon replied, "I was pigeonholed early on into this bubble gum image, and I had to fight my way out."

"They always want to do that, don't they?" Ferreira observed. "They love the bubble gum thing. That was exactly what happened to me the first time. I got around it and they didn't like that too much."

When Sinatra asked directly why Masochism still hadn't been released, the musician said her experience with her major label was "like musical chairs." She said she had initially tried to have a better relationship with them, but Ferreira felt like they wouldn't give her a fair chance — especially because she paid much of her own way through her modelling career. "I was lucky I had that for a really long time, but they didn't like that I got around them," she admitted, "and it didn't make them look very good, to have a 21-year-old beat you at your own game publicly."

The pop star added:

I wasn't afraid of them. You're set up in situations to seem difficult, but also, what does that even mean? Just that you're not willing to be completely controlled. And it's funny how these people think. It's as if you're ungrateful, as if you're not working for it. They're like, "Don't you know how lucky you are? There's another one of you in line." And I'm like, "Okay, well go do it with them then." You could put the person with all the same people I've worked with, and you could dress them the same, but at the end of the day, I'm not manufactured, so it's never going to be the same result. It's a respect thing. A lot of it is sexist, but I also think it's because I started when I was 14, so they feel like they can manipulate me, or treat me like a 14-year-old or something. I'm 30 years old now and it's the same thing.

Sexism and ageism and misogyny, oh my!

As Sinatra correctly told Ferreira: "Well, women with power are sometimes not very welcome."

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