Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
One phone call can change your life, and nobody knows that better than up and coming, genre-defying singer Conway. Before being selected to open for Ellie Goulding on her current tour, Conway was, as she tells us, “playing to about 50 people at a bar in Orange County with a horrible sound system…and people were eating burgers.”
Conway’s Big Talk EP was released via Columbia last fall, and a chance meeting with photographer Zach Gold at the annual CMJ fest resulted in the stunning music video for her song “Hustler,” which Idolator premiered in February.
When she hit New York recently as supporting act for Goulding’s two-night stand at Madison Square Garden, we knew we had to have Conway into our studio for a chat. Head below to find out all about this truly original new force on the pop scene.
WHERE SHE GREW UP: St. Louis, where, Conway tells us, “It’s got a lot of blues and jazz history. Musically, for me, I was really interested in that.”
CONWAY HEADS TO THE COAST(S): She eventually relocated to Brooklyn, where she got into playing with her own bands. Later, she moved again, to Los Angeles, where she recorded her Big Talk EP.
WHAT SHE SOUNDS LIKE: Florence Welch‘s younger, loose-cannon sister meets Debbie Harry at the back of a seedy bar…before hopping on a table and turning the place into a makeshift disco. This is rowdy pop with no boundaries.
WHERE YOU MAY HAVE SEEN HER BEFORE: Conway toured the West Coast with St. Lucia in 2013.
HOW THE ELLIE GOULDING GIG CAME ABOUT: “We found out one week before that we were going out with her,” Conways admits. “We’d been hearing for awhile that she was saying no to a bunch of people and couldn’t make up her mind… Then all of a sudden we get this call that’s like, ‘We want to invite you to the tour…in six days!”
HOW SHE MET “HUSTLER” DIRECTOR ZACH GOLD: She was doing a self-described “dingy Brooklyn show” during last October’s CMJ fest. “There were 30 people in the audience,” Conway explains. “He came up to me at the show and was like, ‘I’m a director. I’d love to do something with you’.”
Once she sorted out that Gold, who has worked with David Bowie and shot for Vogue, wasn’t just some creepy stalker who wanted to throw her into the trunk of a rusty Datsun, she went to his studio and began work on the eye-popping “Hustler” clip.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER LIVE: Conway just extended her run on Goulding’s tour, and the pair will now be on the road together through May 4. See the full lineup of tour stops here.
OUR ASSESSMENT: This is one plucky, fearless girl on the rise who has plans to head overseas and bring her edgy pop sound to Europe (starting with London) next. We’re expecting a debut album that fully defines the Conway sound by year’s end.
You might also like