Chappell Roan is one of the fastest rising stars in pop right now. After her song "Pink Pony Club" rose to cult-like status in 2020, she's been on a serious roll with no signs of slowing down.
Her new song "Femininomenon" is a mouthful, and the production reflects that chaos. Starting off with the roar of a dirt bike in the background, the song somehow goes in a million different ways but fits together so well. The little voice notes before the chorus hits when Chappell cheekily screams, "Can someone give me a fucking beat." It's all so fun and loud but so intricate.
"I've been dreaming of releasing a song like this my whole career. It took years to build up the confidence to even sing in that style," Roan tells me. She worked with her trusted producer Dan Nigro, writing sections of the song on different days, putting it together like a puzzle. Even though this song feels like a completely new direction from her previously released music, it still has that thread that ties it all together into what she describes as a "slumber party pop world."
"I always try to push myself and how I write pop music. I want to see if I can get away with being as ridiculous as I possibly can," she says, "I wanted a dance song. Something people could do drag to. A Queer anthem that had a sad undertone of what really happened to me, but with a beat." Roan is truly a master at turning something heartbreaking into a shimmering pop song, it's the reason her music resonates with so many people.
Visuals are almost equally important to Roan. Her music videos are laced with striking details and niche influences that feel nostalgic but so authentically her. "I knew the second we added the dirt bike revving into the song, it had to all be dirt bike-themed," Roan tells me. She went home to Missouri, and her dad let her add jewels and hot pink decals to his dirt bike for the visuals and promo. She says, "It took me a full month to get it all together. It was definitely a labor of love. It turned out perfect."
For an independent artist, visuals are one of the first ways to draw in an audience, and Roan knows her audience and sets the stage perfectly. "It's definitely a character and a performance piece," she says, "I'm pretty particular about everything because I want it to be cohesive and believable." She plans everything in her costumes and videos down to the last rhinestone. Having a hand in all aspects of her career helps her perfectly curate that image.
"I don't really have an option to not be completely involved in everything," Roan tells me, but she doesn't see herself going back to a label. "I've always been driven, and giving up hasn't really been an option." she explains, "Labels can help with finance, but that comes with a price as well. It's difficult, but I'm so happy where I am."
She's about to head out on tour with Fletcher, and at her sold-out show earlier this summer she had her audience decked out in "Pink Pony Club" themed costumes. She tells me performing is "proof that the music I wrote actually means something" and that she's building a community. "It's hard to know if it truly means something until you see someone literally smiling at you and singing along."
For an artist who has been working for so long, it definitely feels like this is the year of Chappell Roan. "It's been quite a journey, but I feel like I'm in the best spot I've ever been in," she says "This year has been the most exciting year in my career, and I feel like it's only going to get more exciting. Femininomenon only adds to it."