Today, you don't need a record label to become a pop star. Heck, you don't even need a radio station to pick up your song anymore. Instead, musicians worldwide are gaining acclaim by posting their songs to TikTok. This is how Mothica, a burgeoning pop singer, earned mainstream attention when her song "VICES" gained traction on TikTok. Fans clung to her authentic spirit and the truth behind her lyrics, as she writes from a place of newfound sobriety and years struggling with mental illness. We sat down with Mothica to learn how she went from an unknown artist to a celebrated newcomer overnight and how she plans to take 2021 by storm.
Take us through how you found fame on TikTok during the quarantine.
I wouldn’t call it fame, but I had a few videos go viral and it led me to build a really awesome new fan base and community. I posted at least once a day and it’s ironic that my least planned out video is the one that everyone attached themselves to, which was me listening to my song “VICES” for the first time.
How long have you been making music and when did you begin pursuing it as a serious career?
I’ve been writing music since I was a kid, but I didn’t dream of being a musician. It was more of a special and secret hobby for me, and I was terrified to be on stage. I started producing music around age 18, so it’s been about six years of releasing music publicly.
Why do you think your songs resonated with the TikTok crowd and what are some of the themes within your work?
The video that initially went viral is me hearing the mastered version of my song for the first time and crying because of the emotional release I felt finally having this album complete. That song and my album talk about depression and overcoming addiction. I hit one year sober a couple of days before I posted the video, which was really incredible.
In your music, you’ve been vocal about your struggles with mental illness and addiction. Take us through what that time in your life was like and what you hope your fans will take away from your story.
For my listeners who feel like they can’t imagine themselves getting sober, I hope they hear my story and see themselves in it. I had a “live fast, die young” mentality. But I was sick of feeling awful physically and emotionally, so I thought what if I actually try to be the best version of myself? What if I try to get better and actually finish all the pipe dreams I had? And this is me doing that.
Your album “Blue Hour” is currently climbing the charts. What went into putting this album together and how does it feel to see it gaining mainstream recognition?
To see it chart for over 24 hours was really surreal! In a lot of ways, I felt like this album was my last real push. I kept releasing songs but my audience was growing smaller and smaller with every release, so I feel really excited to have more of a platform to share more sides of my story.
What are some of your favorite songs from the album and why?
“Blackout,” because it’s the most conceptual. “SPIRAL,” because it’s the song I needed to hear. “R.I.F.P.,” because it empowers me to let go of the past.
How will you be promoting this album in quarantine?
I’m making a couple more videos for it, and maybe a stripped version. I hope to do a proper livestream show with my band. There will be a couple of remixes and a few more songs before the end of the year.
Take us through your experience getting your first tattoo.
My first tattoo is a geometric cube on the back of my neck. At the time, I really liked minimalism and architecture. A lot has changed since then, obviously.
What’s your favorite tattoo and why?
I really love my right sleeve because the artist, Ian Healy, did an amazing job. It shows a hawk in flight with an arrow through it, and a ram skull with a fern leaf. He also did my back piece and I love his style.
What went into the design of getting your back tattoo and how was the process?
I don’t get a tattoo until the idea feels really solid in my mind. For my back tattoo, I saw a painting of a woman stabbing herself called “Lucretia.” The story of Lucretia is really similar to mine. I wanted it to show my experience with self-harm, so it’s a representation of me as Lucretia, being cradled by Death (the skeleton) and surrounded in a frame of flowers.
What’s your most meaningful, symbolic or significant tattoo?
Other than my back piece, I have a tattoo on my wrist that says “forever fifteen” that reminds me of my first suicide attempt. I would’ve been forever fifteen, so I try to be strong for that younger version of me.
Do you have any tattoos related to your music?
All the words on my body are song titles of songs I've released or haven’t finished yet. I have “chaos,” “VICES,” “heavy heart” and “NOW.”
Will you be getting any tattoos to celebrate “Blue Hour?”
My most recent tattoo is three moths swarming a lamppost, which is the origin story of the name Mothica. I think my “VICES” tattoo on my hand will be my “Blue Hour” piece.
What’s up next for you?
I’m planning my biggest music video yet. I’m also working on more collaborations and a follow-up EP, starting in January.