Fletcher is a badass singer-songwriter, who’s here to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community. Hailing from a beach town in New Jersey, real name Cari Fletcher puts her heart and soul into her music, making records for the masses to relate to. Her strong, relentless spirit yields an endless catalog of pop ballads, directly influenced by the different artists she grew up listening to.
Her parents only had 2 CDs in the house: Bob Marley and Celine Dion. Fletcher’s always held an unwavering passion for vocals, even beginning classical vocal training at the young age of five. Since then, making the vocal the forefront of the song and the lyrics has always been a priority. She fondly recalls seeing Bruce Springsteen perform at The Stone Pony, equipped with real instrumentation mixed with a pop sound.
Having graduated from NYU’s famed Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music, Fletcher describes herself as a “ TMI, really sensitive, wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve, messy bitch from Jersey Shore. I like telling stories. I like connecting with people and making people feel good. I want people to feel shit when they listen to my music, it’s emotional as fuck.”
Her breakout single was 2019’s “Undrunk,” who’s music video currently hails over 7 million views and counting. Fletcher then followed it up with her critically-acclaimed project, you ruined new york city for me, which served as her debut with Capitol Records. Life and love aren’t black and white, and she reminds us that it’s okay to be a hot mess and not have it all together.
Now, she releases her new single and visual for “If I Hated You,” exclusively on Flaunt. Fans can look forward to her forthcoming project titled The S(ex) Tapes, releasing later this summer. Read below as we discuss the turning point in her music career, greatest memories from “Undrunk,”
You say you’re a “singer-songwriter from Jersey Shore,” I loved that show back in the day.
Did you really? It’s so funny because it’s such a bad representation of Jersey, but there absolutely is a strip of the Jersey Shore that straight up is the show. There’s definitely that vibe that still happens but Jersey’s actually really rural, I grew up on horse farms.
How was growing up in Asbury Park, New Jersey?
Growing up near Asbury Park and being a really big fan of Bruce Springsteen, who’s such a storyteller, has resonated with me so much from a really young age. Focusing on transparency, honesty, detail, and putting somebody inside of a scene, inside of a moment, inside of a specific feeling is really important to me when songwriting. Growing up near so many iconic venues and a place that’s really rich with a lot of musical history has totally impacted my artistry.
When did you realize music could be a career?
Man, I never had a crazy aha moment. I was a Disney princess impersonator, a Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift impersonator for little kids’ birthday parties as my job in high school. I’ve definitely had some finer moments in life, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Performing always made me really nervous. Still to this day, I have crazy performance anxiety. But once I’m out there, it gives me this high and this feeling I can’t explain, that I’ve never gotten from anything or anyone else. I definitely chase the highs.
What are your greatest memories from the release of “Undrunk”?
Hearing it on the radio for the first time. It was a really emotional moment hearing it on Z100, the station I grew up listening to my whole life. It really was a crazy full-circle moment, I was bawling in my car when I heard it for the first time. “Undrunk” really resonated with people, so many people connected with the song. I love hearing other people’s stories on who their “Undrunk” person was. I had people telling me they’re sending it to exes or shitty one night stands — fuck yeah, that’s the Fletcher brand.
I love the visual for “Forever,” who or what inspired this one?
I wrote that song in New York City with a couple of friends. We actually wrote it the day after I wrote “Undrunk.” It’s a song about meeting a perfect person, but me not having my life or my shit together enough to be able to give them forever. At the time, I wasn’t able to commit to be with somebody forever, even though it is somebody super incredible. The video was really important for me to highlight and uplift other women. I wanted a bunch of gorgeous girls, humans of all shapes and sizes and colors. They’re really good at twerking, their butts were insane. It was a really fun time and fun shoot.
What can we expect from your new single “If I Hated You”?
I’m super excited. I was quarantined with my ex over the last couple of months, somebody who’s been in my life for the last 4 years. It’s been a complicated situation. There’s been a lot of growth and a lot of love. This is a really honest relationship, one that is completely different from my really shitty ex that I wrote you ruined new york city about. “If I Hated You” is about moving on and growing, doing all the things I need to do and all the reasons why I can’t be with them right now. It’d be so much easier if I hated you. I wish you could do something shitty and fucked up to make me hate you, but I don’t.
How’s it feel to have all your videos hit millions of views?
It’s really cool. The reason why I make art and make music is because I want people to listen to it and hear it, it’s therapy for me. It’s the only way I’m able to make sense of the shit going on in my life and in the world, it’s a release in that way. If one person watched it and felt something, or if a couple million people did, that’s amazing. At the end of the day, it’s my way of making sense of the world. The views are really cool, but that’s not really what I’m chasing.
How was linking with Kito on “Bitter”? What’s your guys’ relationship?
Kito’s such a badass. That song was originally synced in a TV show called The L Word, I actually had no plans of putting that song out. My fans started harassing me like “bitch, where’s ‘Bitter’? Where’s that song?” Finally I said “okay wait, I’m in quarantine.” Kito and I ended up finishing the production over FaceTime, I recorded my vocals from where I was at. It was a really collaborative process, worked on by women from start to finish — from the writers to the producers to the video director to the video editor. A really sick process.
Talk about having a platform and standing for the LGBTQ+ community.
As a queer artist, I grew up not feeling like there’s enough representation within music or media in general. I’ve always wanted to be the artist that I needed when I was a little girl. I want people to see themselves everywhere, not just within me. I’ll always talk about my queerness, I’ll always stand and fight for my LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, that’s also not my headline. It’s not the main part of my story. It’s why I often try not to use pronouns in my music, because I never want anybody to feel excluded from a song or story. It means everything to me, to be able to be who I am and be loved and celebrated for that. I want to be able to provide that space for other people as well.
What can we expect from your forthcoming project, The S(ex) Tapes?
It’s pretty risqué but totally honest and vulnerable. It follows the trajectory and story of the journey I’ve been on over the last 4 years. The complications of being in love and being in a relationship, still feeling like I need to learn how to be independent and deal with shit I’ve never dealt with before. Learning how to stand on my own feet. The shit we go through in life isn’t black-and-white, things aren’t perfect. I don’t have my shit figured out at all. I’m fucking emotional, a hot mess train express at all times. I don’t know that I’ve been as honest as I am right now, especially because it’s something that I’m currently going through and is currently happening. It’s not a past experience I’m reflecting on and have perspective now. I’m super in the middle of a breakup, and it really sucks. But I’ll be okay. I’m excited to put out music, it’ll help me.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I hate being uncomfortable. I’m honestly a vintage t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Occasionally, you can find me in a pair of heels, but I’ve decided over quarantine that I never want to wear them ever again. Throughout the last couple of months, it’s been fully sweatpants and sweatshirts. I need to burn all of them and never see them ever again, because I’m so sick and tired of what I’ve been wearing. My fashion sense is pretty street casual.
Goals for yourself at this point of your career?
A lot of things have shifted in terms of what’s actually important to me. All the glam that comes with everything isn’t important, it’s about connecting with people and being honest. There’s a lot of things in the world being uncovered, like the fight for racial justice that’s happening. So much is being exposed, we all need to keep continuing to do that in our own way. I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve and being honest about my experiences, what I’m going through. The dream is to sell out Madison Square Garden one day. That’ll never stop being my dream, as a Jersey girl growing up going to shows there. I miss live shows more than anything. My goal’s to be a good person and make good music, that’s it.