Powfu on Romantic Comedies, Viral Fame, and His New Single “im used to it” [Q&A]

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A lot can change in a year. Following the viral success of his single "death bed (coffee for your head)" featuring beabadoobee, Vancouver native Powfu signed with Columbia Records, landed regular rotation on SiriusXM's AltNation, and is now releasing a follow-up single titled, "im used to it." 

Landing alongside Bon Iver and Joji on Spotify's New Music Friday playlist, "im used to it" shows the fearlessness of the young artist. With a sound that leans more towards punk and emo-rap, Powfu's latest single is quite a daring departure from his previous releases. 

But despite all of the change in his life this year, "im used to it" shows the rising star staying true to himself. Created in his bedroom, just like before, he continues to write his music alone and with the same lo-fi production techniques that defined his hit single, "death bed (coffee for your head)."

Ones to Watch spoke with Powfu to discuss his dad's punk band, his favorite romance movies, and how his life has changed in the past year.

OTW: You said during your video with Genius that you often write in the perspectives of others. Do you feel "im used to it" speaks to your own personal life or did you assume the perspective of a sort of character for this?

P​owfu: "im used to it" is about my personal life and how my 12th grade year was the start of my music career… Along with not having many friends and graduating early.

Your breakout hit, "death bed (coffee for your head)," was created from a beat you found online. Now you're signed to Columbia Records. How has your music making process changed since then?

The way I make music has not changed at all. I still sit alone in my room whenever I want to record something. Now that I'm signed though it is a lot easier getting in contact with bigger artists that I look up to.

You've become a TikTok superstar with "death bed (coffee for your head)." Are you interested in using TikTok to help share your music in the future?

I know a lot of people get sick of TikTok songs because they are hearing them so frequently, but it can also give a song the extra push that it needs. So, I would say yes.

"im used to it" features more inspiration from punk and emo-rap acts than your previous music. You mentioned in an interview with NME that your dad was in a punk rock band called Faber Drive. Do you think his music inspired you to move into a more punk direction with this song?

Yes, my dad is definitely a big inspiration, and growing up, Yellowcard was my favourite band. So it's always cool to incorporate that type of music into my lofi-hip hop style.

I've been listening to AltNation recently, and you're all over it! When was the first time you heard yourself on the radio, and what was that experience like?

I actually haven't heard myself on the radio yet, but I have had friends send me snaps of it on the radio. It will be a cool experience though.

How has your experience been, going from virality and signing a record deal to sheltering-in-place in a matter of months? That's a lot of change in one year!

It's definitely a mix of emotions. I'm very thankful and blessed to be where I am today. I was expecting to travel and play shows at the start, but it will most likely be delayed for a while. So instead of in person, I'm doing everything online, which is also cool.

You've mentioned that you watch a lot of "cringey romance movies," including The Notebook which inspired "death bed (coffee for your head)." What are some of your go-to guilty pleasure shows and movies?

Some of my favourite are End of the F**king World, Dear John, and The Best of Me which all hit me in the feels.

Who are your Ones to Watch?

Rxseboy, Ouse, ohsobrkn, and Jomie. They are all super talented and have the drive.

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