That Poppy is an undeniably highly successful Internet sensation and has placed herself on the entertainment world’s radar since the Poppy project grew roots in 2014. The Youtube video for her song ‘Interweb’ now has over two million views. Many of her other videos have now surpassed the one million viewer mark, putting Poppy on the brink of breaking through the online video platform. This year she received the Steamy award for Breakthrough Artist and was a closely watched entrant on the red carpet, escorted in a box by Titanic Sinclair for her protection.
Poppy is currently in the process of making the transition from an entertaining Youtube personality to a serious pop star. She certainly has the art direction side of things covered well. That Poppy has a unique style of design for her clothes and videos. Her color palette tends to be pale pastel and her costumes very feminine, drawing clear links with Japanese Harajuku and Kawaii design. Indeed, the more you look at the work of That Poppy, the more it is possible to see the influence of cultural fusion from the East.
That Poppy is currently embarked on a 19-date tour around North America, making stops in the United States and Canada. On November 4th, 2017 she performed at Stubbs Jr. in Austin, Texas. Ambitious Variety was there to see That Poppy in all her mysterious glory.
The vibrant crowd was clearly very enthused about seeing the mysterious singer in the flesh. She has inspired a dedicated following in a relatively quickly. There was an almost cult-like atmosphere, perhaps inspired by her storytelling and compelling mysticism. Ambitious Variety spoke to a few That Poppy fans, to find out just why they love her so much.
MARK AND KAYLA
Why are you here?
(MARK) Because of the mystery behind Poppy, and I enjoy her music.
What do you think of her kawaii barbie child style, and the lore and mysticism she has built up? What makes Poppy, Poppy?
(MARK) I guess that’s part of why I’m here, actually, how she’s become popular from just a few weird videos and is now launching a music career around that. It’s drawn me in and I’m fascinated by it.
(KAYLA) I think Poppy’s lore is something that appeals to older audiences as we see here in this demographic. However, the kawaii, childish, Barbie aesthetic can definitely draw younger audiences. Coax them into her nonsensical videos. Her sweet innocent look can be very wholesome too, and I think, lots of fun. But, there is also a darker side that brings in a larger audience than people who just think she’s cute. There is a darker facet to it than ‘She says cute things and she does nice things.’ She has a dark side as we can see with Charlotte. There is a more subtle side to her, such as her relationship with Computer Boy. And then, of course, there is all the behind the scenes stuff with Titanic Sinclair.
One way I’ve heard her described is a ‘culture vulture’. As her fans, what do you think?
(KAYLA) When you look at it from a certain perspective, then yes. You can say ‘Oh, the kawaii aesthetic, obviously from Japan. The Barbie aesthetic, kind of American’. The childish innocence many cultures appreciate, for reasons I can’t explain. I don’t really know this subject very well. It’s not like she’s the only one that does this: piecing it all together, mixing mashing cultures. Hence, culture vulture.
Do both of you think Poppy will leave a mark in today’s pop culture?
(MARK) Possibly! I don’t know yet.
(KAYLA) She’s not very big now. She does have very niche [and]dedicated fan bases across the globe. If she really sticks this through for, I guess, the rest of her life that would definitely make an impact. Until then, it’s uncertain.
As the concert progressed, it became clear that Poppy has a phenomenal talent for audience interaction. There was a clear feeling of shared experience and unity. As Poppy gave out blood-colored ‘Poppy juice’ and asked her audience if they trusted her with their life, I asked a pair of fans for their reactions.
CARRIE AND ISABELLE
What do you think about Poppy’s interaction with her audience? And what do you think of her ‘Poppy Juice.’
(CARRIE) I think it’s really fun and unique, because she really does her videos in live action, which is great, to bring back elements of things that have happened before. So it’s really cute.
(ISABELLE) Poppy juice though, we didn’t get any! They ran out!
Now it’s nearly the end of the night, what are your overall feelings and emotions, and general thoughts about what Poppy might be doing to move forward in her career?
(CARRIE) To move forward, I guess she’s just exploring more of her computer image. It’s really fun, interesting and unique from other artists. So I really like the image that she’s had this far.”
There are three songs where they really do take Japanese pop culture influence. How do you feel about that?
(ISABELLE) There is a difference between appreciating and appropriating. I feel like she does credit her style and does make the effort to tell people she gets influences from Japan, so I don’t really think its a matter of taking from the culture, but I’m not Japanese American, so I really can’t say.
The Computer Tour concert was a very memorable experience and talking to fans shed new light on That Poppy, and her unique brand of cultural fusion. Clearly, there are so many people looking forward to seeing what interesting music and creative projects That Poppy will present us with next.