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She's that PRINCI: birthing fearlessness with PRINCI

4 December 2018 | 12:03 pm | Caitlin Medcalf

PRINCI is the debut record from Sydney's PRINCI and if you haven't heard about what all of the fuss is about yet, let this serve as a damn lesson. Class is now in session!

Her debut EP Just in My Room, Just on My Phone pulled the best elements of hyper-pop, dark club sounds and spoken word rap together for what was ultimately one of the best pop releases of 2016. The EP navigated both URL and IRL friendships, singing about the good and the bad, all through this beautifully digital post-modern frame of reference.

2018 sees a rapid departure from the sounds and themes explored on her debut long-form. I wouldn't see this release so much as a continuation of her previous release, but more so a way for her to  transcend her previous works and explore PRINCI as an identity and a celebration of growth. With this release, she wants us to be neither 'prince' nor 'princess', but to be PRINCI and be whoever the hell you want to be.

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The record is fearless, bold and open in a way that I don't think any other long-form release ever has been. From celebrating being celibate for the hell of it on 'Celibate' (something I've got to say, which has inherently seemed like a kind of taboo subject in all forms of music), to feeling herself on 'Fyi' to overcoming experiences of both physical and emotional abuse on 'Influence', you absolutely can't ask anymore of this record. It's personal in an incredibly intimate way, and also affirming in that sense too. By sharing her experiences, I think she's allowing herself both vulnerability and also the ability to connect with those who have been experiencing those feelings she's explored.

The record features frequent collaborator Atro of Slim Set on some of the record's production, as well as sounds from Jay CooperAiya and a remix of 'Diaspora Doll' from W.Y. Huang and for the first time ever, production from our gal PRINCI herself.

To get to know what she's been up to for the last few years and what it's taken to get the record off the ground, we chatted with PRINCI. Read up below!

Congratulations on the release of your debut album! For a bit of background, can you tell us a bit about how long you’ve been working on this release for and what it’s taken to get the LP off the ground?

Thank you! I’ve probably been working on this release for about two years. I didn’t know what it would become back then, but the skeletons of some of the tracks were there. With a lot of the tracks, I had the lyrics but the sounds behind them have transformed a lot. There were also many other tracks that have happened in this time that didn’t make the cut for this project. 

It really took this year to get it off the ground, to see it as a whole project and being ready to share different parts of me. I feel like actually finishing music or projects is always the hardest step. At the end of the day it just took the decision to say “I’m doing it and I’m doing it now”.

Reflecting on your back catalogue as a whole, what’s evident is how much growth you’ve faced not only as an artist, but as a person too. How has writing this record changed you?

Hahaha, the growth has been verrry real. When I first “started” I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, so I didn’t have my mind on music for live shows or releases. So as I’ve been writing these songs, my life has also changed a lot too, with performing, touring, collaborating and just inwards growth generally, which means the music grows too. 

I guess the short answer is, this record hasn’t changed me but I have changed it. 

This work is incredibly affirming - you’re encouraging the listener to embrace and explore the most authentic self they can be. Do you feel that creating this record has allowed you to feel that too?

Of course. For example with “FYI”, I wrote that during a harder time, and I wrote it to get me out of that. It works both ways, I’ll write it because I feel it or I’ll write it because it’s what I want or need to feel to be better for myself.

Production wise, you’ve got frequent collaborator Atro on board, as well as Jay Cooper, Aiya and W.Y. Huang. How important is collaboration to your process?

Collaboration is so essential and that’s what makes it so fun. I only work with people I high-vibe with and that’s because we really spend a lot of time together, knit-picking tracks back and forth and carving it out to what sounds best. It’s an honour to have these collaborators in my life and part of this album. 

You’ve included a couple of tracks you’ve produced on this record too! What’s the journey been like getting to understand what kind of sounds you’ve wanted to explore? Has it been liberating?

That’s something I’m still exploring, and probably will be forever! But releasing my own production has been very liberating. It’s something I’ve just been doing on the side but looking at the whole project I chose to include the self-produced tracks that I felt added a little sparkle. It’s super exciting to me to hear good feedback from those tracks as I have been a shy about them before.

The record is intensely personal, and in that sense, feels very explorative. You’ve never shied away from hiding what you’re feeling in your lyrics, and this record feels like a summation of a lot of feelings you’ve been having lately. Was it a relief to finish these tracks? Did creating this record help you heal?

Always in my feels lol. It’s definitely my song-writing sweet spot, probably cause it’s a way for me to process emotion. So yeh, this record sometimes subtly and not-so-subtly describes my states. For the songs I wrote some time ago it feels like a literal release to have them out. Like I can let go, move on, and always visit the feeling when I want to. When I don’t have songs released it does actually feel like I have them inside of me in my stomach or something. A baby, tho less painful.  

Did it help me heal? Certain experiences in my life still haunt me. Letting go doesn’t come easy for me. I’ve tried to trick myself into thinking that is has before and then it bites me back, as you can imagine. It’s really only me who can help me heal. That comes from living, and then I process that by creating. 

Although some of the topics you’ve covered must have been painful to paint pictures of, you’ve said that the album aims to ‘inspire others to extract beauty from pain’. What is it that you want for those listening to take from your record?

To extract beauty from pain. 

Feel yourself. 

It’s always the time to get the life 

you’ve wanted your whole life.

Photo by Kristina Yenko for Acclaim