Poppy in September 2016
Moriah Rose Pereira
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Also known as|
(September 10, 2019)
|Total views||492+ million|
(February 3, 2020)
Moriah Rose Pereira, better known as Poppy and formerly That Poppy, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, YouTuber, and religious leader. In 2014, she rose to prominence by starring in sometimes unsettling performance art videos that presented her as an uncanny valley-like android entity who commented on and satirised internet culture and modern society. The videos achieved viral fame. In 2013, she signed a recording contract with Island Records and released Bubblebath, her debut EP.
In 2016, Poppy became the face of Sanrio's "Hello Sanrio" collection. In 2017, she signed to Mad Decent and released her debut studio album, Poppy.Computer, which consisted of art pop and bubblegum pop songs. To promote the album, she embarked on the Poppy.Computer Tour, which consisted of shows in 34 North American cities as well as London and Tokyo. In 2018, she released the surreal comedy online series I'm Poppy on YouTube Premium. She also released her second studio album, Am I a Girl? In stark contrast to her first album, Am I a Girl? began to show a heavy nu metal influence.
In 2020, she released her third studio album I Disagree through Sumerian Records, shifting her style even further away from pop to a sound incorporating heavy metal and industrial music. I Disagree featured increasingly disturbing, violent, and macabre visuals in her music videos, continuing a shift in her music videos that had begun with her second album.
Moriah Rose Pereira was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She recalls wanting to be a Rockette as a child and grew up dancing, which she did for 11 years. She is naturally a brunette. She did half of her education in public school, where she was bullied for being skinny and quiet, and completed her studies via homeschooling. Her background is Latina.
Poppy began her musical career in 2011. She created her YouTube channel: "Poppy".
2015–2016: YouTube partnership, Bubblebath, and 3:36 (Music to Sleep To)
Poppy moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to pursue her musical career. There she teamed up with director Corey Michael Mixter, best known by his stage name Titanic Sinclair, to make a series of abstract promotional videos posted on her YouTube channel, now simply known as "Poppy". As of April 2018, the channel is actively uploading videos and has attracted a large audience. In 2015, she signed to Island Records under the name That Poppy and released her debut song, "Everybody Wants to Be Poppy", in June of that year. She performed at the Corona Capital Festival in November 2015. She released the song, "Lowlife", a month after releasing her first single "Everybody Wants to Be Poppy" and released her first EP, a four-track pop record called Bubblebath, on Island in February 2016. The EP consists of four songs; "Lowlife", "Money", "Altar", and "American Kids". In August 2016, she released a series of advertisements for the shoe company Steve Madden on her channel as a part of its Steve Madden Music program.
In October 2016, Poppy released an experimental ambient music album called 3:36 (Music to Sleep To), composed by Sinclair and herself, with assistance from polysomnographists from the Washington University School of Medicine.
In November 2016, she became the face of Japanese retailer Sanrio's first "Hello Sanrio" collection.
2017–2018: Poppy.Computer, Poppy.Church, and Am I a Girl?
Poppy's debut studio album, Poppy.Computer, was released on October 6, 2017 by Mad Decent. Her first concert tour, the 36-city Poppy.Computer Tour, started on October 19 in Vancouver. In November, Poppy announced that her second studio album was "almost ready", and that she was going to Japan again to finish it.
On April 17, 2018, Sinclair's former partner Mars Argo filed a 44-page lawsuit in Central California court against Sinclair and Poppy alleging copyright infringement, stating that Sinclair based Poppy's online persona on hers, as well as emotional and physical abuse Sinclair had allegedly subjected her to in the period after their separation and the subsequent abandonment of the project. On May 7, Poppy made a public statement about the "frivolous" lawsuit, saying Argo was attempting to manipulate her psychologically. She called the suit a "publicity campaign" and a "desperate grab for fame". The Sinclair case was settled out of court on September 14 "with no money exchanging hands" Argo released a statement in January 2019 that all rights to Mars Argo had been assigned to her as part of the settlement. The copyright case against Poppy was dismissed.
On July 6, 2018, Poppy released a cover of Gary Numan's song "Metal" as a single on all digital platforms. On July 27, she released the first single for the album Am I a Girl? titled "In a Minute". She released the album's second single "Time Is Up", which features American DJ Diplo, on August 22. she released "Fashion After All" on October 12. "Hard Feelings" was released on October 19 and "X" was released on October 25. In September 2018, Poppy announced on her social media that she was already working on her third studio album. On September 11, Poppy's Twitter account announced an album release and costume party for October 31.
In 2018, Poppy began to drop hints about a new project and website called Poppy.Church. At first, the purpose of the website was not known, as it only featured a cryptic message and an opportunity to enter one's phone number. After a few months, however, the purpose of the site was made clear. Every day at 3:36 PDT, certain people who entered their phone number would receive a link to join the Church. There they could fill out a profile, create an avatar, and pledge their allegiance to her. As of August 24, there is an Atrium, which acts as a chatroom, a theater, a gallery which changes weekly, a lobby like another chatroom, a bulletin board with announcements, a personal report page, a box office selling tickets for Poppy's Am I a Girl? Tour, a backpack, and a settings page to edit contact information and character. On August 23, room invites were sent out to members of the Church who were showing "Faith, Dedication, and Loyalty". There are 100,000 rooms, with 1,000 halls connecting to the corresponding 100 rooms in that hall. (For example, Hall No. 1 has rooms 1–100, Hall No. 2 has rooms 101–200, and so on.) Members of the Church can visit each other's rooms, leave comments on their walls, and access provided social media.
Poppy attended the 2018 American Music Awards. After winning the Breakthrough Artist in 2017, Poppy returned to the Streamy Awards in 2018 as a presenter. Her cover of "Metal" was featured in the video game WWE 2K20.
2019–present: Choke, I Disagree, and graphic novels
On January 8, 2019, Poppy announced a graphic novel through Z2 Comics entitled Genesis 1, which was released to comic book stores on July 10. The graphic novel tells the origin of Poppy. The description on Z2 Comics' website reads "Is she a girl? Is she a machine? Is she humanity's redemption, or its damnation? Don't be scared – either way, she is Poppy… and you love Poppy. Witness the genesis of the internet phenomenon in this original graphic novel, bundled with an exclusive brand new album." It was co-written by Poppy, Sinclair and Ryan Cady, with art by Masa Minoura and Ian McGinty. She elaborated in an interview with Gigwise that the album released with the graphic novel, titled I C U: Music to Read To, is an ambient music album meant to be listened to while reading.
On January 23, Billboard announced Poppy would star in the augmented-reality experience A Jester's Tale created and directed by Asad J. Malik. It was produced by RYOT and 1RIC, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival as part of the New Frontier program. The storyline "transports viewers inside a child's bedroom to meet a cast of character holograms". Later that month in an interview to Forbes, Poppy announced her new single and video called "Voicemail", produced and directed by Sinclair. It was released on January 31. After attending the iHeartRadio awards in 2016, she returned in 2019 wearing a dress designed by Viktor & Rolf, and sat front row at their fashion show.
In 2019, Poppy revealed plans for a movie and her own music streaming service. She attended the Billboard Music Awards. Her song "Scary Mask" was released on May 29, and featured American rock band Fever 333. The song was included on her second EP, Choke, which was on released on June 28.
On September 30, 2019, Poppy announced that her third studio album entitled I Disagree would be released on January 10, 2020 through Sumerian Records. The title track was released as the second single from the album (following "Concrete" in August) on October 4 alongside the album pre-order. The album continues the metal sound featured on her 2019 EP Choke and the latter half of Am I a Girl? "Bloodmoney" was released as the third single from the album on November 6, 2019, and "Fill the Crown" was released as the fourth single from the album on December 11, 2019. The final single from the album, "Anything Like Me," was released alongside the album and the music video for the track on January 10, 2020.
A statement confirming that Poppy and Sinclair parted ways was released in December 2019. She accused him of glamorizing suicide and using this to manipulate her, alleging she and Sinclair's former collaborator Mars Argo suffered similar psychological abuse.
On January 28, 2020, Poppy announced her second graphic novel, titled Damnation: Poppy's Inferno. It will be published on September 8, alongside a soundtrack album, Music to Scream To.
On June 3, Poppy released a cover of the 2002 hit, "All the Things She Said". Shortly after, the song "Khaos x4" was released, along with the announcement of the deluxe version of I Disagree, titled I Disagree (more), later released on August 14.
Poppy's YouTube channel was created on October 6, 2011, and her earliest video is from November 2014, an abstract skit called Poppy Eats Cotton Candy, directed by Titanic Sinclair. The videos are described by their producer Sinclair as "a combination of Andy Warhol's pop accessibility, David Lynch's creepiness, and Tim Burton's zany comedic tone". The channel has been discussed by other YouTubers, including PewDiePie, Social Repose, Night Mind, the Film Theorists, Reaction Time, and the Fine Brothers on their React series. She starred in an episode in which she reacts to children reacting to her videos. She has also appeared in an episode of the acclaimed web series Good Mythical Morning.
Sinclair alludes in an interview that Poppy's character in the promotional videos presented itself to him as an android and how some of the concept relates to the uncanny valley hypothesis. Poppy has stated that her YouTube videos tell a story.
Poppy's friend Charlotte, a celebrity-interviewing mannequin with a synthetic voice, is a recurring character. She usually appears interacting with Poppy but also on her own. She appears to have developed a drug and jealousy problem after Poppy became famous, which strains their relationship, although Charlotte became Poppy's opening act for her 2017–2018 Poppy.Computer Tour. Other characters include Charlotte's son, a boy mannequin who has taken the brunt of abuse at the hands of his mother during a drugged stupor; Plant (voiced by Sinclair), a potted basil plant who is one of Poppy's closest friends and biggest supporter; and Skeleton (also voiced by Sinclair), a plastic model skeleton who is revealed as Charlotte's drug dealer.
The channel also has an animated promotional miniseries called Everybody Wants to Be Poppy, directed by Titanic Sinclair and illustrated by Melanie Foreman, which stars Poppy as herself, Titanic Sinclair as Rex, actor Matt Bennett as Pho, Canadian singer-songwriter Simon Wilcox as Phoebe, and Los Angeles-based photographer Sam McGuire as Wyatt. The series documents Poppy and Rex's journey as they attempt to find a "magical kale smoothie".
I'm Poppy series
I'm Poppy, a short film and the first episode of a proposed television series of the same name written and directed by Titanic Sinclair, made its world premiere on January 23 at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. In it, Poppy leaves the Internet for the real world and confronts the pitfalls of fame, including cults, deranged fans, Satan, and her bitter rival Charlotte.
Poppy explains that her stage name originated as a nickname given to her by a friend.
Poppy has described herself as a "kawaii Barbie child". She has described her music style as "music [that] makes you want to rule the world." Poppy states that she drew inspiration from genres such as J-pop and K-pop, as well as reggae. She recalls beginning to write music in 2012. She told Tiger Beat her musical inspirations are Cyndi Lauper, unicorns and Elvis Presley. She is a fan of Jimmy Eat World, No Doubt, Norma Jean, Marilyn Manson, and Blondie.
Poppy's identity was initially kept guarded. She explained, "I don't want people to talk about how old I am; I want them to talk about what I'm making [...] People, especially nowadays, are so obsessed with knowing everything. They'll have to invest their time in finding it." In 2018, Poppy revealed in a statement on Twitter that she had kept her identity guarded due to being a survivor of abuse in the past.
In mid-2017, Poppy published a book called The Gospel of Poppy, which parodies the Bible and contains "prayers" and transcripts of her YouTube videos.
Critics have both praised the catchiness of Poppy's music and described her persona as distant from reality. Racked called her "sweet, but alien" and "brightly addictive". PopularTV said of her music: "Paralleling Gwen Stefani in the No Doubt era, That Poppy mixes punk with ska-pop and makes you want to get up and dance." The UQ Music Blog described her as "Electra Heart meets Princess Peach". David Mogendorff, who works in artist content and services for YouTube and Google Play Music, said she has "a strong J- and K-pop influence".
Poppy's YouTube channel is often regarded as a commentary on social media. Vice described the tone of the channel, saying, "If you have the patience to work your way through all the videos on this channel, certain trends start to emerge. The most obvious is Poppy's fixation with the internet and social media culture, which she claims to love. But far more interesting is the general tone of the videos, which have gotten progressively darker over the last two years." Gita Jackson of Kotaku suggested the videos are a commentary on the experience of being online, writing, "In a way, she's made every YouTube video, ever. Her channel is an index of every insincere apology, desperate bid for views and assurance that they couldn't do it without her fans you'll ever see. That Poppy is not only skewering the absurdity of people who make a living as public figures on the internet—she has it out for the entire experience of being online." Mogendorff said the videos are "like social commentary... touch[ing] on the anxieties of modern life" and "a really interesting way of communicating, personal but strange".
V Magazine listed Poppy as part of the new generation of music, saying that "her hatched-from-an-egg, Glenda the Good Witch vibes have inspired labels from 'human ASMR' to a one-woman 'digital rabbit hole', none of which seem to stick". Paper magazine also listed Poppy as one of the 100 women revolutionizing pop music, noting that "no matter what Poppy does, we can learn to expect the unexpected".
Poppy has spoken in interviews about her gender identity, saying, "I haven't figured it out, but I'd like to stay gender neutral. I don't want to classify myself. I'm just Poppy." Her gender questioning influenced the themes of Am I a Girl? In a 2019 interview, she revealed that she identified as a woman, and said that she thinks "everyone should be able to identify with whatever they choose".
|2019||A Jester's Tale||Herself||For the 2019 Sundance Film Festival|
|2015||Everybody Wants to Be Poppy||Herself||Lead vocal role; 3 episodes|
|2017||Internet Famous with Poppy||Lead role; 5 episodes|
|2018||I'm Poppy||Lead role|
- The Gospel of Poppy (2017)
- Genesis One (2019)
- Damnation: Poppy's Inferno (2020)
Awards and nominations
|2016||19 Under 19 Awards||Most Influential Song||"Lowlife"||Nominated|
|2017||Streamy Awards||Breakthrough Artist||Herself||Won|
|WOWie Awards||Best YouTube Channel||Nominated|
|Unicorn Awards||Iconic Moment of the Year||Won|
|Song of the Year||"Computer Boy"||Nominated|
|2018||Shorty Awards||Best in Weird||Herself||Won|
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The album is due out on January 10 via Sumerian Records, and it promises to be quite the departure for Poppy.
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