Aussie Indie Artists: Poppy Rose on music, muses, and her lost song

Aussie Indie Artists is a series of interviews with lesser known Aussie creators across all forms and fields. The goal is to share exciting new works, find new angles towards the art, and peek behind the scenes.

Singer/songwriter/producer Poppy Rose is a self taught artist who has gone from singing to Garageband in her bedroom to singing to crowded music events like Sync at Scienceworks and Loch Hart. On hearing the bold flow and hip-hop instrumentals of new single, “Sway“, you might be surprised by her kind, charming lyrics. But even if “kind rap” seems like a contradiction, Poppy Rose makes a mix that feels powerful yet pleasant. And as she says, “If you can choose love, why hate, huh?”

We sat down with Poppy to talk about her lyrics, rap, and inspirations.

“Ocean” was heartrending, and was your first hit, but “My God” and “Sway” have moved towards bouncy, upbeat rap, as if you’ve undergone a seachange, have you felt that way?

Definitely. “Ocean” was about someone else whereas “My God”‘ and “Sway” are about my journey of finding my own confidence without someone else and embracing that. 

Was there a turning point for this change?

Life doing what it does best. Relationships ending and a new relationship with myself beginning played a big part.

“Sway” is your boldest single yet, but across all your songs there seems to be an undercurrent of self-care and kindness, is that intentional?

Yeah, I personally think that having a bold/fun song about self-care, kindness and self expression is a good way to get an important and serious message across whilst still looking cool at the traffic lights blasting the 808’s and trap hats in the song!

I’ve heard singer/songwriters saying their music is their therapy, have you felt that kind of therapeutic effect with “Sway”?

Music can be a therapeutic process for me at times, but it’s not my therapy on its own. A lot of my songs need big amounts of concentration, thinking and time to figure out wordplay, flow, melody and the beat and “Sway” was one of those songs. It’s like putting a puzzle together. 

Who, or what, inspired “Sway”?

The music/instrumental itself inspires the melody I come up with, and the piano just had a certain power that drew me in straight away. We were in lockdown at the time I made “Sway” hence the social distance reference so a bunch of what was happening to me at the time and figuring out wordplay/punchlines was the inspiration! 

Do you have a favourite song at the moment?

“Count Me Out” by Kendrick Lamar.

And what about a memorable moment during the production of “Sway”?

To be honest, it was a long time ago so I can’t remember anything specific… but around the time when I was producing Sway”, I was very fresh into my production journey (and still am) so I was enjoying figuring out how to chop up samples and find the right kicks and 808’s. 

Before we finish up, can I ask about your other song “Lost”, which has kind of evaporated off streamers, and is now truly a lost song. Was that just one you preferred on the cutting room floor, or was it something more mysterious?

I do like the irony of “Lost” being lost! 

Although, it’s nothing mysterious. It was a decision I made because it was still very early days in my music career and after going through a hiatus because of some personal struggles, it had been 2 years and the music I had been making in that time was very different, so I wanted a fresh slate of the songs I was releasing. I think if I took “Ocean” down it would make a few people quite upset so I left that one up.

Thank you very much for the peek into your work and into your studio. And congratulations on your new single!


Stream “Sway” on Spotify, Apple Music, or on Triple J Unearthed, and stay up to date with all things Poppy Rose on her Instagram, her Facebook, or her Tiktok.

Photo Credit: She Is Aphrodite

Branden Zavaleta

West Australian Writer & Photographer