She’s been called the singing equivalent of Tumblr by Buzzfeed, received hesitant yet solid praise from the New York Times, and, according to the flabbergasted singer, struck a tender nerve with Humbert Humberts the Web over. Her name is cribbed from the Marvel Comics universe, but her demeanor is more Disney than daredevil. She’s the newest in the burgeoning crop of web-born stars: Kitty Pryde.
Pryde (a.k.a. Kitty Beckwith) hails from Daytona Beach, Florida, where she attends college, works at a Claire’s in the mall, and writes poppy rap songs about Justin Bieber, being young, and falling in love with not-so-quality boys. With one EP under her belt (The Lizzie McGuire Experience), and another in the works produced by rapper Beautiful Lou, Pryde hit the pinnacle of Internet buzz last week when her video, “Okay Cupid” (no reference to the dating site intended) went viral. The vid features the skinny, freckled young woman of indeterminate age (she refuses to divulge that detail) rapping almost petulantly over one of Lou’s tight beats about her wayward crush — he does lines and calls drunk at 3 a.m., but that’s cool with her.
The denizens of the Web immediately latched onto acts like Kreayshawn when attempting to place Pryde, a natural progression since both women have gained traction in the music world via the web — Kreayshawn with her viral video for “Gucci Gucci,” Pryde for “Okay Cupid” and tunes she posts to Tumblr. Still, a comparison to rapper Lil B might be more apt where Pryde is concerned. The word “irony” has been thrown around a lot in relation to the singer — She’s rapping about Disney shows and pop stars! She’s has ironic Lisa Frank stickers! — but according to Pryde, she’s not being ironic, just honest.
Lil B is a similar figure — the jaded masses looked at him askance when he released the cautionary song, “I Got AIDs” at the end of last year, convinced B had tongue firmly in cheek. B, however, just responded: “A lot of people who respect my music are sexually active and stuff like that; I wanted them to make sure to get tested and spread the love.”
Sure, Pryde boasts the sexuality and sense of humor native to singers like Kreayshawn and Ke$ha, but it’s also tempered with the kind of earnestness that Lil B projects — which is why, in part, she’s caught the fascination of so many of the Web-surfing public.
The O Music Blog recently caught up with Kitty Pryde to find out more about her music, Internet fame and what she has in store when it comes to tunes. Spoiler: She has not yet been signed, so she plans to continue dropping tunes on the Web when the mood strikes her. How very Lil B of her.
So, you kind of suddenly got famous last Friday. Pretty crazy.
Yeah, ehhh! It’s really scary.
Why is it scary?
I don’t know, getting a lot of attention at once is very unexpected. Yoni Wolf, who is probably my biggest influence and the love of my life, he saw the thing in the New York Times about me and saw that I was talking about how he was my biggest influence or whatever, and he read a whole bunch of interviews about me and then he sent me a message on Facebook. He was like, ‘Here’s my number if you ever want to talk about anything. I’m really honored that you mentioned me everywhere and that you’re such a big fan.’ So I was like, ‘OK,’ and we talked on the phone and he gave me all this advice about music. It was very weird, because I never thought that that would happen. But it did! I don’t know if I’m still dreaming, I don’t know.
So what was his best piece of advice?
I guess that I shouldn’t take myself too seriously, and that he noticed that I already don’t, so he was like, ‘Don’t start. Don’t fall into that. It’ll change everything.’
So do you know — how did your song spread so quickly?
I really have no idea. I guess it’s a combination of a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of different communities that it’s in the middle of. It’s in the whole online hip-hop community, but I don’t think they were very happy about it. [It's also popular with] people who are really into blogs and just listen to everything that music bloggers have to say. It just got posted so many places. One person would hear about it and another person would post it somewhere. I guess that’s just how viral things happen, so I don’t know if it counts.
But you already had managers, right? So you were already working on a career?
The only place that we actually sent that video to was The Fader. The Fader were the first people that had it and after The Fader got it, we didn’t see it again because I was at work. I had to go to my job. I wasn’t even there when it came out. My managers weren’t there either; they were at their day jobs. None of us were really there to spread it around. I think I had time to post it on my Facebook wall and that’s it.
What’s your day job?
I work at Claire’s. In the mall. I was like, ‘This works. This is a very me store to work at. I think I’ll apply,’ and then I got the job and I was like, ‘Cool.’
Do you pierce ears? Or just sell necklaces and things?
Oh yeah, I do. It’s terrible. I really don’t like doing it, but I do it.
Do people recognize you now when you’re, like, mid-pierce?
Yesterday was the first time that I worked since the whole New York Times thing. Yeah, a couple of people recognized me. They didn’t say stuff to me. They were just like, ‘That’s Kitty Pryde.’ I heard someone say that when I was walking through the mall and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s terrifying.’ But nobody came in my store and tried to talk to me or anything. I was really glad about that.
Well, maybe you’ll get more ear-piercing appointments now.
Yeah, this is my last week at Claire’s, though! It’s sad. I don’t get a chance to fraternize. I’m not quitting, I’m just taking some time off because of all the crazy stuff. I feel bad. All these cool things are happening and I’m like, ‘Well, I can’t do it, I have to work that day.’ So I’m just going to take some time off until it quiets down.
So your song — I saw on your Tumblr that you had written it to impress a boy while in traffic.
Yeah, I was driving on a very long drive by myself and I was stuck in traffic and it was right after Beautiful Lou gave me that beat, so I had it on my iPod. I was just listening to my iPod — I had the beat on repeat because it was cool. It was like the soundtrack of my terrible drive. And then I just started thinking of the words, because I was thinking about this boy that I liked and yeah, so… It all came at the same time. And then I hurried up — I was like, ‘Oh, that sounds cool,’ so I had to text it to myself while driving. It was a horrible idea.
Has the guy heard the song? Have you heard anything from him?
Yeah, he’s my boyfriend now!
So that worked out well.
Yeah, it worked out. He’s here — he’s playing videogames in my livingroom.
Did you win him over with the song?
No, it was before the song came out, which was good because I think that if he had heard the song he would have been like, ‘What…?’ But, you know, whatever. I didn’t let him listen to it for a very long time — I was like, ‘Don’t hear it. I don’t want you to hear it. I really don’t want you to.’ Then, eventually, it just got to be a really huge thing, so I was like, ‘If you want to hear it, that’s fine.’
Yeah, I would think someone would have played it for him by now.
Yeah, I don’t really know what people are saying to him, because he doesn’t really talk about it, but I’m sure there’s people saying things…
And your EP — The Lizzie McGuire Experience. Are you a fan of that show?
Yeah! That’s like my favorite show! I still have like every episode. I’m compared to her a lot because I act a lot like her, I guess. My mom always called me ‘Lizzie McGuire’ when I was little — when that show was on. I was just like really clumsy and would do dumb stuff. You know how she’s really moral and she gets upset about stuff when people break the rules and she’ll tell on people and she just wants to be a good friend? I would stress out about stuff like that and my mom would compare me to that. So that’s why I named it that. It’s not some pop culture statement. I’ve never made a pop culture statement on purpose. So people reading into things are weird.
That’s funny. You have a lot of fans among people I know who are in their 20s and 30s and they’re probably looking for some kind of irony, but it seems like you’re pretty straightforward.
Yeah, ever since that Justin Bieber song came out, I’ve read all sorts of articles about what I’m trying to say to the world. I just think that’s funny because I was just trying to say that I love Justin Bieber.
What do you think of some of the other musicians that you’re been compared to — Ke$ha, Kreayshawn…?
I like them all. Like Kreayshawn and Ke$ha, I can definitely dance to their music and I love them and I think they’re really cool. But I haven’t got to talk to them yet, so I can’t be like, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re good friends.’ I think their music is awesome, but I don’t think that it’s like mine. I guess I can see it, because we’re all small girls and at least me and Ke$ha both have freckles. But that’s kind of all the same that I see. Kreayshawn, I guess because we both try to rap — she succeeds and I… not so much.
I don’t think our music is the same because they kind of talk about different things than I do, probably because their lives are so much different than mine. They actually party and wear fancy clothes and Ke$ha talks about going out to the club and crazy stuff like that. I don’t really talk about that, because I would rather talk about normal stuff. I’ve tried to write a few songs about the club and stuff like that, but they never come out very good.
Do you go to the clubs? Is that a thing for you?
Um, I’ve been to the club before. Maybe a couple of times. And I was like, ‘This is really weird and awkward and… whatever.’
So all your lyrics are pretty true?
Yeah, I would say so. I guess there’s probably some if I went through and thought about it that are like, ‘Oh, I probably just said that because it rhymes.’ But for the most part, they’re all pretty true. The one about stalking the boy — really, really in-depth — that’s not true. I didn’t really stalk him, I promise.
So when did you start making music? How old were you?
I think it was January — not this past January, but the one before that. I got a MacBook for Christmas, so I was like, ‘Oh, GarageBand.’ So I just started messing around with that and I posted the songs on my Tumblr. A couple of people, people that I knew in my real life, my friends, would listen to it and be like, ‘Oh, that’s funny.’ And that’s as far as it would go.
Did you have any musical training before that?
No, I didn’t know how to use GarageBand, either, I just kind of messed around with the sliders the whole time. When I was seven I tried to play the piano, and that’s about as far as my musical training goes. I have no idea what I’m doing.
So what are you up to now?
I’m working on an EP with Beautiful Lou, so it’s going to be a bunch more ‘Okay Cupid,’ I guess. Not the same deal, it’ll just be me and Beautiful Lou. It’s not going to be a studio thing, it’ll just be the same way I always do everything — mixed by the same guy, my friend who’s a college student. I’m definitely going to start working on an album, but I think we’ll go into a studio for that.
Any labels interested in signing you?
I don’t really know. I’m too trusting of a person, so I just kind of leave that up to my managers, because I get really excited about things right away and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, a record deal!’ and I don’t really think about things. I just don’t want to make any mistakes by saying anything to anybody by myself, so I just let my managers handle all that stuff. But I think some people have talked to them about signing me. But we haven’t had any serious discussions about it yet.
So you said your friend is in college. Are you in college as well?
Um… Yes, I will say. Since the New York Times told everybody that I’m a college student, I guess I will confirm that, yeah, I’m in college.
What year are you?
I’m not going to tell you that.
Is there a reason why you want to conceal your age?
I don’t know. Since nobody knows right now, it’s really funny watching them try to figure it out. It’s going to come out soon; we’re going to tell everybody soon. I promise. We’re just waiting for the right moment. The people that are asking me the most are like, ‘I need to know how old you are so that I know whether I’m allowed to legally think you’re super hot.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s really creepy and weird.’ I don’t want that.
Yeah, that must be creepy. All this attention must be kind of weird, since people will basically say anything online.
Yeah, they say what they want because I think a lot of the times they don’t think I’ll ever see it. They think I’m not paying attention, but sometimes I’ll just stumble across a really weird thing and I’m like, ‘This is disturbing, I’m just going to get off the Internet now.’
Well… If you’re in college now, I guess you’ve grown up with the Web. Obviously you were using Tumblr before and all that. Do you think being so used to Internet culture has prepared you for any possible negativity?
Actually, I think that of all the people that I know, I’m definitely glad that this happened to me. My best friend — she’s one of the girls in the video — she’s just not as used to the Internet as I am, so she was a little upset [about some of the comments]. People will find any aspect of anything to say something mean about online. But since I’ve been so active online, I’m really desensitized to a lot of the mean stuff that people say. A lot of it, I think, is really funny.
Image courtesy of Kitty Pryde