Wonderland.

PETITE MELLER

The avant-garde French-Israeli pop babe is back with her space oddity/Star Wars-inspired sophomore album.

French pop star Petite Meller at top of staircase
French pop star Petite Meller head in hands

Dress CURIOUS TOKYO

French pop star Petite Meller at top of staircase
Dress CURIOUS TOKYO
French pop star Petite Meller head in hands

For first-timers of Petite Meller, aka Syvan Meller, entering her world is like tripping over a gnarled root and falling headfirst down a trippy, pastel-coloured rabbit hole. Think a daydream populated with disco, milk baths, and giraffes in manor houses.

The kitsch French-Israeli singer has been infecting our ears (and eyes) for a while now with her distinctive brand of sugary synth-pop, notably her irresistible 2015 dance bop “Baby Love,” and then, euphoric debut album Lil Empire a year later.

And just when we were getting used to the off-kilter headiness of Petite Meller, it all went quiet. But if you think for one second she’s had her feet up all this time, you would sorely be mistaken. A hiatus saw the singer move to LA, embark on a PhD (casual), and now she’s back with her highly-anticipated sophomore record in the works.

So what can we expect next? More of the singer’s effervescent vocals and jazzy sound, and of course, at the forefront, her signature eccentric style TMed with her doll-like shock of pink blush high to the temples.

We caught up with the singer-songwriter and talked dating, life lessons and Star Wars

French pop star Petite Meller leaning on cinema chairs
French pop star Petite Meller lying down
French pop star Petite Meller leaning on cinema chairs
Dress CURIOUS TOKYO
French pop star Petite Meller lying down

How are you doing?
Got my backpack and moved to LA where I found my own lil family: artist Akerele Akin shazamed me in a Zara store and then wrote to me on Instagram. Then with Izzac Dorn, I discovered him on an open-mic night – he literally sounds like he is possessed by Aretha Franklin’s voice. I reached out, and now he sings on most of my songs.

What have you got coming up music release-wise? 
My new album.

What can you tell us about the new album?
I started a pink record collection and bought all the pink records in town. So rare vinyls from the 40s: Charlie Parker ones and operas from the 19th century. The sellers in LA already know me and put all their pink records aside ready for me! Those classic records were the inspiration for the sound of my new album, which is operatic and grand. I’ve recorded 40-piece strings in Russia orchestrated by Vladimir Podgoretsky and mixed it with Swedish electronica. I was crying when I saw them playing my song live in Moscow, it was like a movie score. In this album, it’s a mixture of space oddity, Star Wars and Nika Costa.

How was the process of writing your follow-up?
It was a ride of perfecting the songs, exactly as I imagined. The brilliant Diane Warren wrote a song for me, a very Bowie-ish ballad meets Nikka Costa. I believe she wrote it while thinking of me. I guess at first glance my connection to reality can look very coincidental. I feel like an alien most of the time.

French pop star Petite Meller posing
French pop star Petite Meller leaning against wall
French pop star Petite Meller posing
Dress CURIOUS TOKYO
French pop star Petite Meller leaning against wall

I saw you’ve started at UCLA – what are you studying?
My PhD in philosophy. Because of my studies I now understand how everything affects my lyrics, as my songs deal with dying, losing your mind and psychosis. I’m really curious about these darker elements.

How has carrying on your education affected your music?
Studying always triggers my songwriting.

You’ve described yourself as a “citizen of the world” – where do you feel most at home?
In my first album “Lil Empire,” I was always traveling: London, Mongolia, Senegal… I was searching for people to create new sounds and folklores with. But I suddenly realised that I was more in the air than on the ground and so I decided to stay put and reboot for a little bit in Los Angeles. America has always fascinated me from my song “NYC time” to “America.” It’s very cinematic. I feel like she’s a Iil drama queen.

What inspires your lyrics?
I really love Anderson Paak’s music. I love how he creates his own sound, I’ve seen his show at Hollywood’s Guitar Center. I absorb everything. A motorbike passing, a siren.

Your music videos have always been incredibly impactful and visually stunning – where do you get your ideas from?
My ear is my compass and the sounds of songs create visuals in my head. This time I used grand orchestra mixed with with spaceships.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Just make a step and the road will appear. I started writing music in order to cheer myself up, and if I cry from a song, I know it’ll move others, like if you pee from laughing, you know you can’t control the joy inside.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Never date a guy who doesn’t have a pink outfit in his wardrobe.

What would you like to achieve this year?
Make my lil blush marks everywhere.

French pop star Petite Meller hands on hips
French pop star Petite Meller looking at hands
French pop star Petite Meller hands on hips
Dress CURIOUS TOKYO
French pop star Petite Meller looking at hands
Photography
Renee Parkhurst
Words
Maybelle Morgan
PETITE MELLER

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