Meet the British-Iranian powerhouse producer, songwriter and vocalist changing the face of electro-pop as we know it.
British-Iranian songwriter, producer, radio host and jaw-dropping vocalist Orchid is about to be the best thing since sliced bread. You heard it here first.
Inspired by the likes of Outkast, Lady Gaga, N.E.R.D. and the Sugababes, Orchid is without a doubt the future of electronic pop, giving the genre a much-needed face-lift with her innately poetic lyrics and rhythmic influences garnered from living in Ghana and Brazil. A fan of samba, reggaeton and baile funk, these styles all take no prisoners as they coalesce in perfect harmony over her first two addictive tunes, a smorgasbord of dance-ready rhythms, if you will.
Take her debut offering “Heavy”, for example. Fusing bittersweet vocals with a wub-heavy club beat, the song packs all the force of a jet flying over the top of your house. You know the vibes. Now she’s back with “Doe Eyes”, taking UKG for a spin in an office chair around a cavernous dungeon, lit only by red lights and gothic candelabras as she teases her lover for fooling for her, despite being explicitly told to do the opposite!
Its accompanying video packs a pretty hefty punch, too. “I wanted to create something chaotic and dumb that shapeshifted through some kind of split-personality, emotionally conflicted, cartoonish hell that felt as sweetly venomous as the song,” she says of the trippy spectacle, “a whole hot mess, basically. In a perfect world, I always imagined the video would be a high-speed chase in a storm, somewhere between The Matrix and Space Jam. That was just a little out of reach – but luckily, VFX does exist – and Pierce is the most amazing artist for it.”
All of this is pretty exciting, right? So much so we thought we’d catch up with the rising star herself, talking about her love of dance music and the moment she knew music was her calling. Take a look…
Hey Orchid! Can you believe we’re halfway through 2021 already?! How has it been for you so far?
Honestly, boring as hell but that means I’ve been getting more than 5 hours sleep for the first time in my super nocturnal life and THAT means i could probably take over the world soon. Also my TikTok algorithm finally understood me; if you know, you know.
What has Covid taught you about yourself and your craft?
Pre-pandemic I would already spend a lot of time in my bedroom, writing, messing around with beats, daydreaming, whatever – I just really love being by myself – and at the start I was making the joke constantly that my life was exactly the same as before – me and pretty much every producer out there. But actually, living in lockdown with other people put me even deeper in that zone and I started to feel a lot like how I did growing up at home. When writing was a form of escapism for me. As Covid has gone on, even London has felt like a ghost town at times, and I’ve had no idea what the future holds for me or anyone. All over again. I’ve been writing a lot more in that headspace… Not about what’s happening, but more what I wish was happening – who I could be in my wildest dreams. I feel like now we know there’s no time to lose any more on being anyone but that person!
Do you remember when you realised you wanted to become a musician?
I think I dreamt about it as long as I can remember, but I thought that was just a fairytale and I never really believed someone like me could really do that, for loads of reasons. So I put it to the back of my mind, but I couldn’t get rid of it that easily. I’ve always written, and I started with poems, of some form, because I needed to. I’ve always sung, because I needed to as well, but that was separate. I used to hate my voice, a lot, but I really craved that super physical freedom of being able to use it fully.
And then I always wanted to make visual art. I loved painting and collage, but I was always frustrated to be limited to two dimensions and what I could make with my own hands. I needed sound and words and movement too, so I started making little films, and I ended up writing and recording my first ever song for something I shot, not a music video, the other way around. So I got to a point where I knew I wanted to write songs and play with sound, and I knew I wanted to make music videos and art, and I was shying away big time from putting them together because it sounded impossible to me. But there was a day when I realised that life is kinda really hard no matter what, so I might as well do 100% exactly what I want.
Congratulations on releasing your fab new track “Doe Eyes – talk us through the inspiration behind it?
Thank you! This song is about as mean as I’m ever gonna get so I’m enjoying it before I get waist-deep into my emotional side. I was on a little coldhearted powertrip moment, and I was revelling in the idea of being able to be the heartbreaker for once. I was also mad that nobody thought I had it in me to be the ‘villain’ when I warned them. Or more, I figured they were lying and playing the victim. I was also thinking about animals in folklore, and how they embody different creatures, good, bad, evil, that make up our spirit.
“Doe eyes” is like a name I gave the person I’m talking to in the song – someone who’s showing themselves as innocent and naive and fragile. But that person is also a ‘crybaby’ for attention, and a ‘viper’ who lashes out when things don’t go their way, and a ‘baby bunny in the headlights’ when confronted with a truth they were definitely already aware of. I owe a lot to ”Oops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears which was a big inspiration for the track, in terms of context.
The track has a very distinct UKG feel – what is it about the genre that made it a perfect fit for this track?
There’s that skippy, frantic, chaotic thing going on in a lot of Garage beats, which to me represents a lot of the dilemma in the song and matches the energy and rush of the lyrics. Then there’s a side of Garage that’s like, dark and mean and cheeky all at the same time, that I wanted to be the underlying driving force of this track. Plus I love Garage, a lot.
And the accompanying video is just as bonkers – what were you trying to convey here?
I just wanted to make something dumb! This was my checklist, seriously: shapeshifting, cartoon, stupid(!!), chaos, venom & vitriol. I reckon we got it right? Shapeshifting was the most important though, because the song is partly about how all these different sides of us, some of them ugly and cruel, some of them a little insane, show their faces and burst out of us, whether we like it or not. I really wanted it to feel like fantasy too, you gotta get you some VFX for that.
We also loved your debut single “Heavy” – which has a similarly dancy vibe – what was it like releasing your first song in the throes of a pandemic?
When I’m writing new music I always go way too deep fantasizing about every detail of how and where someone would listen to it, the life it could live, the places it could go. For “Heavy” I’d really built up this dream (okay close your eyes) of it being played at parties and people dancing to it hard while they all sweat on each other (I’m at this party too, the sweatiest one) and it’s super dark but there’s a fiery energy in the air. So yeah, that… crashed and burned, BUT I did see that it’s on repeat on someone’s playlist called ”Crying At The Gym”, so I feel like I found my people at least.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m still exploring what my sound is, but it’s definitely not one thing and I would never want it to be, you get one life right? But I think one thing that is present in all of it and I love creating, is a feeling of inertia, nauseating in the best way, like motion sickness or a headrush. Tight rhythm, that’s important to everything too.
Which artists have inspired you over the years?
So many, in different ways. I take very different inspirations for each element, songwriting, production, vocals, and general artistry. People like M.I.A., Grimes, Kanye West, Outkast, Lady Gaga, Sugababes, The Weeknd, Britney, N.E.R.D. inspired me so much as I was growing up and becoming who I am, as a person too. More recently people like SOPHIE, Rosalia, Brockhampton, Charli XCX, Ariana Grande (the harmonies!!!), Jeremih. Also after ages of everyone telling me to, I finally got deep into Janet Jackson lately, and I get it now, holy shit.
What’s next for you? Any exciting plans for the year ahead?
I have a whole bunch more songs I’m really excited about putting out in the world, we can call it an EP if you wanna. I’ve kept them to myself for way too long, someone else should have them now! All the songs are pretty different to each other, about different things, and take different inspirations in how they sound, so I’m excited to let them become something totally new together out in the universe. Plus visuals! I’ve been playing with a few things for a couple of the songs already, but I still have a few more, weirder, ideas to live out for the others. I mostly just can’t wait to make more, and to collaborate with more people. I really want to do it all, so I’d better get going.