Peach PRC makes “depression-pop” anthems you can dance and cry to
It’s no secret: TikTok has become a constant stream of content where music fans discover their next obsession. For Australian pop artist Peach PRC, it’s been a game-changer, helping her land an international record deal that’s on the cutting edge of pop music.
Shaylee Curnow, better known as Peach PRC, got her start in music by piecing songs together in her bedroom. The singer had developed a recognizable bright pink aesthetic with intense Barbie Fairy Princess vibes, which she says is a fashion taste she inherited from her mom. Her moniker comes from her time spent as a stripper in Australia, where she would dance under the name Peach Porcelain. The first people to hear her music were her strip club clients, so sticking with the name felt natural.
After joining the social media platform in 2019, the 25-year-old-singer began posting covers and original music while also opening up about her day job as a stripper and her struggles with mental health. That candor has since helped her gain 1.9 million followers on TikTok. Now signed to Republic Records, touring with acts like YUNGBLUD and playing the festival circuit around Australia, her relationship with TikTok has needed to evolve.
“I’ve had to keep it a little bit more professional, just because there are more people that I’m representing, like brands and my team, but I still push the boundaries a lot,” Peach tells AP. But due to her love of pushing boundaries, her singles “Josh” and “God is a Freak” have gone viral on TikTok, thanks to their relatable themes and Peach’s knack for social media promotion.
Being a TikToker-turned-professional singer has had its challenges, though. “Sometimes I feel frustrated. I’ve been putting out Facebook and YouTube videos for years, and then TikTok came around, and everyone’s like, ‘This TikToker is now putting out music!’ And I’m like, ‘I’ll take it. But I swear I was doing this before.’”
Largely, she’s been able to put that feeling aside, but there’s plenty of stigma around rising to fame through the app due to the countless amount of short sound bites that go viral only for the whole song to be released and be a disappointment. And that’s where Peach stands out from the crowd — she’s putting a lot of thought and her personality into her lyricism, making pop music you can both dance and cry to.
[Photo by Jess Gleeson]
“I call it depression pop because you don’t know that it’s sad until you really listen to it,” Peach says. “But it came about by accident because that generic sort of commercialized pop music is so difficult to write.”
So instead, Peach writes confessional lyrics and puts a hyperpop spin on them. “I just have so many things to say, and I have so many feelings.” Peach shares. “I love writing music that reminds me of the super electronic dance, radio pop from the early 2010s. It feels nostalgic that way.” The addition of a hyperpop melody was a happy accident: “I just have too much to say, so I ended up cramming a bunch of words in there and then tried to speed it up and make it fun.”
Peach’s latest single “Forever Drunk” was originally written as an emo anthem. But when she took the song to the recording studio for her first collaboration with Grammy-nominated songwriter Bonnie McKee and production duo Space Primates, they decided to move the song in a more upbeat direction. Peach explains she sang the original version for her writing partners, and when she was finished, she said, “I know it sounds sad and slow while I’m singing it, but make it sound sparkly and pop,” so that’s exactly what they did.
Thankfully, even though Peach asked for the song to sound “sparkly and pop,” her co-writer McKee understood that didn’t mean the lyrics needed to be overhauled. So, ultimately, it remained a true dance-while-you-cry anthem.
While Peach didn’t have much experience co-writing prior to working with McKee, she plans to collaborate with her again. Still, Peach admittedly struggles to write with others. “I did well with Bonnie because I love her writing and sought her out,” she explains. So in this case, writing with someone else was an exciting endeavor.
And it seems she’ll continue to embrace the changes that come with being a pop star for the TikTok generation. “The idea of a pop star, or celebrity, even, has changed because of the influencer and because of how accessible it is now [with social media], which I think is a really positive thing,” she notes. Peach knows she’s had a hand in transforming what a pop star can look like and is ready to embrace what comes next. Her chronic oversharing TikToks and relatable pop lyrics aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.