Overcoming compounding struggles with addiction and the protracted idleness of lockdown, Melbourne emcee Poppy Rose has emerged more resilient and determined than ever.
Poppy first came to the attention of hip-hop audiences in 2017 with the breakout single, ‘Ocean’, a startling DIY effort featuring stanza after stanza of effortless flow and clever turn of phrase that struck a chord with disciples of the genre, none more so than the queer community from which she hails, and has accrued more than a million streams to date.
What would follow would be nearly two years of battling issues with addiction buttressed by the forced sidelining of musicians globally brought about by the pandemic.
If there was a silver lining to Poppy’s time away from the limelight, it was that it provided her with an opportunity to process the tumultuous series of events leading up to that point and engage in a process of soul-searching that saw her redefine herself as a musician and now, producer.
Investing in a basic home-recording rig segued into Poppy teaching herself how to make beats on Garageband in the solitude of her bedroom and threading these new skills into her artistry. The music that has resulted, totalling nearly a hundred unreleased demos and counting, reveals a born artist emerging from a long period of uncertainty stronger than ever before.
The first taste of her vast unreleased repertoire, new single ‘My God’ showcases Poppy’s talents as a natural storyteller whose ability to weave life experience into her music makes for effortless listening. The track, written and produced by Poppy, features additional production from HAMLEY (Stan Walker, Pania) and was mixed and mastered by Matt ‘Xiro’ Fioravanti (Tasman Keith, Jesswar).
Originally hailing from Wagga Wagga in rural NSW, Poppy grew up as one of six siblings with music as a constant presence in her life. Drawing early inspiration, owing in part to her older brothers’ iPods, from the likes of Kanye West, J. Cole, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac and Biggie, Poppy fused her burgeoning love affair with hip-hop with a natural flair for poetry as a means of self-expression.
A trip to Melbourne at age 16 to see A$AP Rocky in concert served to crystallize her desire to realize her own dreams of becoming a rapper and prompted a move to the nation’s unofficial musical capital where she honed her skills in situ at the city’s open mic scene.
During a time of global pause, Poppy put work in, throwing herself headlong into her craft; letting music seep into every pore and take over her being in a new way, largely driven by the freedom producing music herself.
“My God is an anthem about reclaiming myself from a struggle with addiction. I wanted to create a song that was empowering and fun that reminded me of all the things I’m capable of. I started playing around with 808 melodies and MIDI trumpets which kicked off the melody for the chorus
and the inspiration for the verses. I like trumpets because they remind me of the word ‘triumphant’. My God is just the beginning of the story I want to tell about myself in the hope that someone else out there can relate to it in one way or another. I wanted to create a song that’s catchy, fun and also serious, because I figured if I put all of those together, then maybe I can get some points across. I wanna destigmatize the stigmas.” – Poppy Rose