Poppy is a surreal yet intriguing artist. One look at her Instagram, which boasts an impressive 770,000 followers, and willing participants are sucked into a wormhole. Aside from the damn near perfect still photos, her page contains videos that will have you screaming “Who is Poppy?” and wanting to know more.
The artist, real name Moriah Rose Pereira, is a one-off who sings, dances and creates art on the daily. The welcome page of her website reads, “Are you ready for your salvation?” With statements like “Robots are going to take over the world,” this divine creature is intriguing.
Most end up joining the cult. Poppy arrived at a coffee shop in Burbank rocking a white mask to cover her face, which presumably follows her decision to rock a black mask at the American Music Awards. It turns out she was just sick and didn’t want to contaminate others. If we were all robots, though, this wouldn’t be a problem…
L.A. WEEKLY: For those who don’t know, who is Poppy?
POPPY: Poppy is from the internet and she makes videos on YouTube. She’s a singer, painter and ambient music composer.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is currently, with the Am I a Girl? album, dance, dark pop, but that will change soon.
You’re from Nashville — how does that play into your life and career?
I just always had music around. It was not a big part of my life until I discovered Los Angeles. I’ve been here for six years now.
How important is it to come to L.A. as an up-and-coming artist?
Well, in Hollywood, all of your dreams can come true. If you really want to understand Hollywood, you have to live in it.
What’s your favorite part about the city?
I just really like that there’s music everywhere, and also movies and famous people.
You’re one of them now! How does that feel?
I don’t know if I am. I like having friends that are famous, and I think they are the most interesting people that I know.
Talk about transitioning from YouTube sensation to artist. What’s been the hardest part?
I wouldn’t say that it’s difficult. I’ve always done music, so that part wasn’t difficult. I don’t really view it as a transition, I just view it as a continuation of what I was before.
What’s been the best part?
Getting to say that I’m famous on YouTube is fun.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
When famous people wanted to work with me.
Can you name some of these famous people you're talking about?
I can’t name their names, but a couple of collaborations you will hear on my new album, and on the other album I am working on.
You mentioned wanting to work with Diplo for a while. Is he what you envisioned him to be when you guys finally linked?
Yes. I think he was just there behind his computer when I first met him. We worked on the song, not in the studio together. The way the song came together was he sent me multiple tracks, and I got to choose which one I liked the most. Then I sang the top line, and then this guy named Oliver, who is really talented, produced the rest of it. The process wasn’t what I thought but it ended up being a great result.
What’s the vibe like in the studio? Have you had studio time with [Diplo]?
I haven’t spent time in the studio with Diplo, but usually when I am in the studio by myself, I invite Titanic Sinclair to come over. Sometimes I invite my friend Chris Greatti, and sometimes I invite my friend Simon. We will usually have really cute snacks and play with my cat, and then we will write songs together.
What’s your cat’s name?
His name is Pi, like the equation.
“Time Is Up” is a crazy concept. Talk about the shooting of the visual.
Titanic Sinclair directed the “Time Is Up” video. It takes place in my factory where I was created. I’m laying on the bed, and I wake up and realize I am being filmed. They are all watching all of my moments — every move and every breath that I take is being monitored. Later on in the video, I distribute pills and it causes the people in the video to have a reaction. They are also at a rave while this reaction is occurring, and they start dancing. And they are possessed by the AI (artificial intelligence).
What does Diplo think of your theories that robots will rule the world?
Diplo agrees with me, because he’s scared.
What is the solution for humanity?
There isn’t really a solution. Being aware is the strongest power we have, just because it’s not going to stop or slow down. But knowing it’s happening is the first step, and surrendering is the second step, so the robots know that you are on their team.
The promo for your upcoming project is hard. Can you explain the concept of Am I a Girl?
It kind of reminds me of N.E.R.D. Am I a Girl? is an album about fashion and questioning gender and identity. I called it Am I a Girl? because I still don’t know what that means.
What do your parents think of this?
Well, I don’t have parents. But my leader, he thinks I am doing a really good job.
Talk about your new record, “Fashion After Fall.” What was your state of mind in creating this one?
I feel like “Fashion After Fall” sounds like a song that would be played when models walk down the runway. I just want people to feel like they could take over the world. Especially people that are into fashion, I want them to feel like they could take over the world.
How would you describe your own style?
It’s vibrant and it changes with the day, but it’s never boring. So never boring.
What was the dynamic in the studio with Grimes?
She came over to my house, the headquarters. We were in the studio and we decided that we wanted to make a song about destroying things.
For someone who’s not familiar with your brand and personality, how might you best pitch it to them?
I don’t want to ever have to pitch myself to someone. They should see me and understand. And if they don’t understand, that’s OK.
You just got off the European leg of the tour. What can we expect at the L.A. show at the Wiltern?
You can expect a lot of dancing and a theatrical performance, with beautiful costumes and my bright and shining face.
It’s on Halloween — what are you gonna be?
I want everyone else to be me. I am going to be me, but I might be dressed as someone else.
What is your take on the current state of the music industry?
Ooh, that’s a big one. I think it’s dead. I think that self-expression is rare and that the ability to talk freely is becoming extinct. I think everybody is afraid and in turn we are getting really boring art. So that needs to change.
What are some goals for yourself at this point in your career?
I just want to make art in every phase of my existence, so that people can look back on it and read it like a book.
Why the black mask over your face at the AMAs?
They were scared that I was going to talk about politics, so they told me that I needed to put it on.
What is your political stance?
I don’t really understand them, so I don’t like to talk about them.
How important is social media for your career?
It’s the reason that I exist. Without it, I would not exist. It is a very powerful tool that needs to be used wisely.
What did you do with your first advance?
Well, that was the first time I met Charlotte, the mannequin. That was the first time we first met. I said, “I want that one,” and then she turned out to be my enemy. Fast-forward a couple years ago, now she doesn’t like me. But it’s OK.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I usually wake up in the studio, and I decide if I want to eat breakfast or not that day. Then Titanic Sinclair and I will usually make a video together. Sometimes I will paint a picture and then I’ll play with my cat for a little while. If they tell me to, I’ll do an interview, and I just think about what I will wear that evening. Sometimes I will talk to my fans on Instagram. But it’s mainly wake up, go to the studio and wear something exciting. That’s pretty much all that goes through my day.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
You probably wouldn’t hear from me because I might be the volunteer to go to space. Like the test person — will she make it? Will she not? You don’t know.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
Right now, my favorite is a song called “Chic Chick.” But my other favorite song is called “X,” just the letter.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Right now, Korn.
It changes all the time because they are all dying.
What would you say to an aspiring Poppy?
A lot of things come to mind. I would say don’t read the comments [laughs].
Poppy performs with Jaira Burns and Kailee Morgue at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at the Wiltern.