It’s a cold and dark October evening in east London, the onset of winter creeping in. And yet in Bethnal Green, around 200 people are alight, an assortment of faces buzzing with anticipation as they crowd into an intimate venue called The Pickle Factory. They’re here to see PinkPantheress, who’s playing her first show. 

The 20-year-old began posting on TikTok on Christmas Day of 2020, with the catchy single “Pain” breaking out shortly after. It’s the first time for many fans to witness the musician in person. Up until recently, she would rarely show her face on social media, either. The gig, one of three, sold out almost instantly, with listeners scouring the depths of the internet in its aftermath for tickets and footage. Suspense and excitement circulate. “No matter how big or small you are as an artist, I think it’s always important to start off with smaller shows and venues so that you can work your way up to the bigger ones,” PinkPantheress tells us afterwards.

It’s just over a week later, 3 p.m. in London, and PinkPantheress arrives on our Zoom call. She’s just woken up, and whilst she agreed to our interview, her camera remains off and her publicist reminds me not to share her name. There’s an air of secrecy to PinkPantheress, anonymity deeply entwined with the UK artist. Yet, despite being clad in this mystery, she’s easy to talk to, self-aware, a little self-deprecating, and quick to articulate herself. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, but as PinkPantheress knows, it’s easy to jump to conclusions when judging an artist’s online persona. 

“I think if you want to have people perceive you a certain way then there are definitely things you can do online to kind of push people in that direction,” she explains later on the topic of privacy. “For example, I wanted everyone early on to know that I’m not the type of person to let [out details] about me. I wanted to make clear that I’m a musician first and then everything else second.”

In mid-October, PinkPantheress released her debut project to hell with it, the 10-track project a culmination of previously teased TikTok snippets, a handful of already released tunes (“Passion,” “Just For Me,” “Break It Off”), and several new songs. Weaving between genres, she performs over iconic garage samples, old school jungle beats, R&B, bedroom pop, and emo stylings—genre never a constraint. As she explains, everything is about natural progression, and the mixtape, a blend of old and new clocking in at just under 19 minutes, feels like a fitting first step.

We sat down with PinkPantheress to talk through to hell with it, navigating the music industry, viral snippets, and more.

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