Los Angeles-based performance artist turned pop star Poppy -- born Moriah Rose Pereira and formerly known as That Poppy -- gained a substantial following on social media with her videos, the subjects of which grew ever more absurd and bizarre. When she began making music for Diplo's Mad Decent label, Poppy's commentary on social media and fame became even more meta; the self-referential electro-pop of 2017's Poppy.Computer and the forays into nu-metal and dance-pop on the following year's Am I a Girl? further blurred the project's boundaries.
Poppy emerged on YouTube in 2014 with a video of her eating cotton candy in silence. Viewers were baffled, yet it was just the start of Poppy's brand of smart millennial theater. Wide-eyed, platinum blonde, and decked out in precious throwback outfits, Poppy's calculated wholesome persona, budding style icon status, and tongue-in-cheek clips -- wherein she filmed herself reading the Bible for nearly an hour, repeating her name for ten minutes, or inflating a plastic rabbit -- combined the satirical, the subversive, and the just plain weird. In early 2015, she began releasing music, starting with a Lana Del Rey-ified version of Mac DeMarco's "My Kind of Woman." Her first official single, "Everybody Wants to Be Poppy," arrived months later. Signing with Island Records, she released the follow-up single "Lowlife" (and a remix featuring Travis Mills), a reggae-tinged jam that would serve as the first track from her debut EP, Bubblebath. Released in February 2016, the four-song set of catchy dance-pop showcased her musical range and sensibility, attracting comparisons to Grimes, Icona Pop, Melanie Martinez, and Charli XCX. That October, she issued the experimental ambient album 3:36 (Music to Sleep To), a collaboration with her longtime director Titanic Sinclair and polysomnographists from the Washington University School of Medicine that was designed to promote healthy sleep and dreaming. A year later, Poppy's official debut album, Poppy.Computer (Mad Decent), arrived and peaked within the Top 40 of both the Heatseekers and Independent Albums charts. On 2018's Am I a Girl?, Poppy worked with Diplo, Grimes and Lady Gaga collaborator Garibay on a set of songs that incorporated mainstream pop and nu-metal sounds and explored fame, fashion and identity. ~ Neil Z. Yeung