Despite only having a number of singles out, Poppy Baskcomb is a fresh face with a plethora of potential and personality. Coming off the heels of her new song and achieving a million monthly listener milestone, the singer is only scratching the surface of what she’s capable of.
Prior to the release of her debut offering, Baskcomb helped pen Joel Corry and Mabel’s viral song “I Wish,” which has gained over 75 million global streams to date. Prior to that, she also helped co-write Melanie C’s tribal-beat-infused “Here I Am” as well as the stripped-back electro ballad “Escape” from her self-titled eighth studio album. Recognizing her refreshing energy both on paper and behind the mic, she unveiled her first solo single “Teardrop” in November. The record sees the singer-songwriter taking the first steps to embrace her full-time artistry, formally introducing fans and newcomers to her contagious, cathartic pop anthems.
Her second release, “Luminescent,” arrived earlier this month with much anticipation behind the record. Largely inspired by her mother’s love of disco, the song is a feel-good ballad that channels color, glitz, and hedonism wrapped in nostalgia. “I remember getting to the session and the three of us were listening to a load of disco tracks, as soon as we pulled up this instrumental we just got lost in it,” says Poppy Baskcomb. “It’s a song that’ll hopefully make you get up and dance.”
To celebrate the release of her sophomore effort “Luminescent,” we chat with Poppy Baskcomb about the new single, quitting her job to pursue music full-time, her personal style, and more. Check out our conversation below.
I read that some months ago you quit your job to pursue music full time—at which point did you decide you wanted to fully embrace your career as a musician?
I’ve had that realization for a long time. The job that I quit last year was due to when we had the pandemic, I had to go back into working again. That’s because, with music, I think the industry kind of took a little bit of a pause. I had to go and start working in a shop, JD Sports, it was a terrible job. It was in such a rough part of London and every day I was like, “I need to get out of here.” I’ve always known, probably about six years ago, that I wanted to do music full-time and I was just waiting for some things to pick up again before I left that job.
I spoke about it in JD to all the other workers as well and the funny thing was, a lot of the songs that they have playing in their music playlists were done by friends of mine in the industry. At that point, I was like “I need to get out!” Luckily that job was quite short, but it was just something that I had to do temporarily to just pick up the funds really.
Before we discuss your latest single, I’d love to start with your debut offering “Teardrop” and why you chose that as your first solo release.
There was a couple of years, this must have started in 2019, we looked into doing the artist project originally back then. At the time, I had a whole different focus on what I wanted it to sound like and be like back then. It was the first song that I did after the whole pandemic where I felt like this is starting to sound more like me. This is the kind of music that I’d like to make and the sort of inspirations and references I’d want to draw in on. That’s why we picked it as the first one because it was one of the first songs that I felt excited about.
It was a group decision of you should keep, you should release this. I think I was more nervous about putting out that one more than anything. That was my first solo release and I was going, “oh my God.” I’m so used to releasing with other people and the pressure mainly being on them. I think it went really well. I had a big release party with all of my friends and that took some of the pressure off of it.
How did you feel after seeing the reception it got afterward?
I was quite shocked at the reception that it got because I kind of gave myself low expectations, maybe a thousand streams but if it gets more than that, it’s amazing. Then it did better than that which kind of shocked me, I slapped myself for not believing in it. We had radio picking it up which is amazing. Just even now, I still get the occasional tag on someone’s Instagram story with people using and stuff which is good. It’s reassuring that it’s not for nothing.
This new record, “Luminescent,” is inspired by the classic disco club era with a modern twist. Can you expand more on how the song came together?
I love disco. My mom is an absolute disco fiend. She’s also a new romantic fiend so the 80s and 70s are her ball game. I went in a session with the same guys that did “Teardrop” with me and James already thought of the synth line that starts the song. We were like let’s make a disco song and have fun with it. It can be as random as you’d like. I think I just got on the mic and started making things up. We kind of got the melodies from there and in the end, it was just written about having fun.
We thought, “let’s add numbers in there. Let’s make it as random as we can.” Overall, it’s just a feel-good track, trying to go along the lines of looking an SG Lewis vibe. That’s how it came about really, it’s just us playing around and the sun was out as well. We had a beer in the studio so we’re just having a party really and that’s how “Luminescent” was born. You can hear it through the song because it is a party vibe.
Moving the conversation over slightly, I’d really love to know more about your personal style as it relates to fashion and beauty. Are there any trends that you’re gravitating towards at the moment?
It’s funny because I feel like only recently I’ve gotten into color. I’m so specific ib detail ib my clothing. If I’m wearing something pink, I have to have pink jewelry or a pink bag. I have a bag in every color. I feel like even if you were something plain like an all-black outfit or an all-white outfit, all of your accessories matching it makes you just look so put together. That really started in the past two years.
I thought, “stop wearing black and white all of the time, give it a bit of a pop. bring some life to it.” it changes as well, I feel like what I wear depends on my moon. Sometimes I’ll be wearing a baggy t-shirt and trousers, looking like Adam Sandler. On other days, it’s like you want to dress up like a baddie and look very feminine so it really depends on my mood. I like to have fun with it, I feel like I’m trying to be a bit more experimental as I go.
As far as trends, I won’t lie, I’ve hopped on the sporty glasses trend. It’s like stealing your dad’s cycling glasses. Even though I’ve sworn against it, the low rise jeans trend. When I saw a video of them on TikTok saying, guess what’s coming back, I thought no. I started with the mid-rise and now I’m quite happy about it. Low-rise are jeans are okay, I’m not scared of anymore. I’m actually enjoying that trend.
Do you have any musicians or style icons that you’re a fan of?
Rihanna always looks amazing. She’s always looking brilliant. There’s Iris Law, I love all of her styling at the moment. Bella Hadid has obviously got an incredible style. There are so many well-dressed people in this industry, they kill it.
Though this is only your second single, you’ve co-written and collaborated with quite a few artists these past few years. What life lessons have you learned from being in the music business so far?
Definitely, patience is one of them. There’s a lot of waiting of “is that going to happen, maybe not?” When I first got into the music industry, others told me all these things that could happen. I thought it could happen in six months but my manager told me, “no, this is going to actually take you four years to get to this point.” At the time I thought he was lying but he was right. It’s a lot of being patient and not overthinking a lot of things.
As a writer, I’ve learned not to overthink a lot of the lyrics and what you’re doing. Sometimes, just go with the first thing that comes to mind because if you spend too much on it, it can drive you insane. Also, just being charismatic and being nice to people because if you go into the studio, you work with people and you get along with them and you have some time, but you don’t really write a good song, it’s guaranteed that they’re gonna bring you back because they had a nice time with you. Where as if you don’t really do a good song and you don’t have a great time, it’s over.
Going back to what you said, I agree that the music business is really good at selling people a dream.
It has a tendency to do that but I think after a little while and from other people in the industry, I kind of love to take everything with a little pinch of salt. Just don’t get your expectations super super high because there are a lot of promises but I think that comes with everything. When I was younger, I desperately want to become an adult but now it’s like, “oh my God, I wish I was still young.” Staying up late is not all it was made out to be being an adult; bills, rent, it’s not a vibe. It just requires a lot of waiting and a lot of hard work. The promises are there but you have to work towards them.
As far as the rest of the year goes, is there anything that you’re really excited about?
Obviously, we’ve got this single and then we’ll have the third one out a couple of months later. We’re planning on releasing a mixtape with eight songs on it just so people can really sink their teeth into my music, which we wanted to do instead of doing an EP because we’d thought it would give a little bit more to it.
Elsewhere in music news, Kidd Kenn is breaking hip-hop’s mold and staying true to himself at that.