Pia Mia is the high flying Guam girl penning our summer soundtrack.
Taken from the Summer 2015 issue of Wonderland:
“When I was younger I used to be super, super shy and I would have to communicate with people through my parents,” singer and actress Pia Mia Perez says over the phone, as we swap small-talk from different sides of the Atlantic. It’s 1pm for her and 9pm for me. A couple of hours ago, as I sat down to a telly dinner in front of an another rerun of The Big Bang Theory, 522 of @princesspiamia’s almost 400,000 followers favourited her morning Tweet (“Wake up and plan to be a hero.”), 313 of them going on to retweet. She also has 1.3 million Instagram fans – yesterday’s selfie clocked 3,000 likes.
At 18 years old, the girl from Guam – an island with a population of just 165,000 – has clearly acquired a more desirable dialogue. “I think social media and the internet is a huge platform,” she says, “especially for people trying to get their talent out there, it’s very important.”
Her own talent (see last year’s dance-pop debut EP “The Gift”) initially caught the attention of her school’s musical director during a third grade production of Cinderella. “I started singing and I got super-comfortable. I just fell in love with the stage and with music. I felt like it was the easiest way for me to communicate how I feel.” Fast-forward to August 2013 and Mia is having dinner at a friend’s place. That friend is Kylie Jenner and the table is a full-on Kardashian affair, with Kanye sat to Pia’s right. Drizzy is also there (natch), and Pia Mia performs “Hold On We’re Going Home”, which Kim films and uploads to Keek – cue adoring fans and gossip site chat.
Away from the round table (actually more of an oblong), Pia Mia has a prominent YouTube channel, set up by her sister Kandis. “I was just a little girl on Guam singing at very small venues for people on the island, and if it weren’t for YouTube I don’t know if I would be where I am today,” she reflects, adopting a sincere tone. “Having a social platform that anyone in the world can see gives you such a huge audience and a bigger voice. It gave me the opportunity to reach people outside of the island, so definitely YouTube and all social media forms are a huge, huge deal.”
Signed to Interscope Records in early 2014, she works closely with the producer Nic Nac (also responsible for Chris Brown single, “Loyal”), and has collaborated with Brown and Tyga (forthcoming) and Chance the Rapper on “Fight For You”, a track that appeared on the soundtrack of last year’s sci-fi blockbuster, Divergent.
Most recently she hooked up with rapper G-Eazy, working together on the single “F**k With U”. Default racy video and lyrics – “I’m in lust with you/I just want to fuck with you” – aside, the song delivers that brand of genuine sex appeal that makes bodies move in clubs. More curious (to a British twenty-something audience at least) are her covers of Craig David’s “Fill Me In”: a popular live session track for SBTV, and an official video with Austin Mahone, complete with drone talk as a precursor.
In April 2000, when Southampton’s finest got a UK number one with that song, Pia Mia was just four years old. “Nic came to me with this idea because he loved the original,” she explains. “He said, ‘Pia, you should do this, but let’s do a spin on it, get someone to feature on it with you.’ So he kind of came up with the idea and I thought it was amazing. When I was in the UK, I met with one of his co-producers actually, and we went into the studio – it was pretty dope.” Already being compared to Rihanna (part curse of any musician with a vagina making R&B-tinted pop music, part bona fide observation), and receiving proper pop star treatment in British shopping centres (“security had to escort me and my team into this secret spot in the mall, it was crazy”), Pia Mia Perez is on course to soundtrack summer 2015, offline and all.
Black and white zebra print bikini by H&M, red silk vest by ACNE STUDIOS and jewellery Pia Mia’s own throughout
Blue plaid shirt and blue plaid shorts both by NO. 21 and blue bathing suit by H&M
Black silk embellished crop top by NO. 21, black silk skirt with belt by ALC, black and white nylon bikini by TORY BURCH and white sandals by TOPSHOP
Photographer: Bella Howard
Fashion Editor: Sean Knight
Words: Zoe Whitfield