Sky Tonia Ferreira (born July 8, 1992) is an American singer-songwriter, model, and actress. As a teenager, Ferreira began uploading videos on Myspace of herself singing songs she had written, which led to her discovery by producers Bloodshy & Avant and an eventual recording contract with Parlophone in 2009. She released her first extended play, As If!, in 2011, which combined elements of electropop and dance music. Ferreira's second extended play Ghost (2012), however, incorporated pop with more stripped-down song structures and featured collaborations with Jon Brion and Shirley Manson, as well as the critically acclaimed track "Everything Is Embarrassing", which she composed with Dev Hynes.
After multiple delays and disputes with her record label, Ferreira's debut studio album Night Time, My Time was released on October 29, 2013, and marked a departure from her former style, incorporating more experimental indie rock with synthpop elements. The album was preceded by its lead single "You're Not the One". That year, she ventured into the film industry after appearing in Eli Roth's The Green Inferno and garnered media attention after being arrested for drug possession. She was exposed to a mainstream audience after having been announced as an opening act for the international Bangerz Tour, headlined by Miley Cyrus, which began on February 14, 2014.
Ferreira's earlier work incorporated elements of dance-pop, while her recent projects experiment with acoustic, new wave and primarily indie rock musical styles. Her lyrical content originally incorporated themes of rebellion and teenage romance, and has since evolved to discuss personal insecurities and more mature romantic themes. Outside of her work in the entertainment industry, she has modeled for several brands and magazines, most recently serving as the spokeswoman for the hair care brand Redken in 2014.
Life and career:
Early life and career beginnings:
Sky Tonia Ferreira was born in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California on July 8, 1992; she is of Brazilian, Native American, and Portuguese descent. About her mixed background Ferreira has stated that "My dad is Brazilian and Portuguese and my mom is Native American. It's funny because I came out looking like, pretty white."
Ferreira was largely raised by her grandmother, who had been Michael Jackson's personal hairstylist for over 30 years. She commented, saying: "I was raised around him, I always saw him and had holidays with him and stuff like that", adding that she was unaware of his fame until she was 13 years old. Ferreira expressed interest in singing as a child and, with Jackson's encouragement, Ferreira's grandmother enrolled her in opera lessons. Ferreira has stated that she was sexually assaulted in her adolescence twice, firstly involving a neighbor, and secondly in an incident that involved a stranger who had broken into her home. In an interview with Rookie, Ferreira said: "I've never said anything about this publicly because I don't want it to define me, but I feel like it's appropriate to say something here. People feel like it defines you, and it doesn't. It's really unfortunate and disgusting and traumatizing, but it doesn't make you who you are." Ferreira dropped out of high school after completing her sophomore year.
Ferreira later began maintaining a Myspace profile where she uploaded demo versions of self-written tracks. Shortly before her 15th birthday, she wrote a letter to producers Bloodshy & Avant requesting that they offer a recording contract to her, which she says happened "kind of right off the bat" after they came across her profile. In 2009, she was signed to Parlophone, and began finalizing the debut studio album that she says was first begun when she was 14 years old. In 2010, she ventured into the film and modelling industries after starring in the independent film Putty Hill and appearing in the magazines Dazed & Confused and Interview.
2011-12: As If! and Ghost:
After releasing the tracks "17" and "One", the latter having peaked at number 64 on the UK Singles Chart, Ferreira announced that her debut studio album would be released on January 11, 2011. Its planned lead single "Obsession" had first appeared on the compilation album Now That's What I Call Music! 35 in 2010, and peaked at number 37 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. These plans never came to fruition, and were substituted for the extended play (EP) As If! and its lead single "Sex Rules" that March. A writer for MuuMuse spoke favorably of her "vocal and musical versatility" and commended the project as a "rock solid 5-track collection of next-level crunchy pop cuts." During this time, Ferreira was featured in the advertising campaign for the Calvin Klein "CK One" product line alongside Cassie Ventura. The following year, she was photographed by Ellen von Unwerth for the cover of Vs., and appeared in the Adidas "Originals" commercial with rappers Big Sean and Snoop Dogg.
In November 2011, Ferreira announced that her debut studio album would be released in 2012, with a lead single planned to precede its release that February. She was later revealed to have been working with Jon Brion, Greg Kurstin, and Shirley Manson on the project. In early 2012, Ferreira revealed Wild at Heart as the title of her record, and confirmed "24 Hours" and "Swamp Girl" for its track listing. "Lost in My Bedroom", described by Ferreira as "the most electro pop song on the album", surfaced online that March. After releasing the music video for the track "Red Lips" in June, she stated that she renamed the record I'm Not Alright.
With her debut studio album still unreleased, Ferreira announced that her second extended play Ghost would be released in October. It respectively peaked at numbers 8 and 71 on the U.S. Billboard Top Heatseekers and Alternative Albums component charts to the Billboard 200. Its lead single "Everything is Embarrassing" was described by Katherine St. Asaph of Pitchfork Media as the track where Ferreira "could well have her breakout moment", complimenting it for beginning with "snappy, crisply sung dance-pop about long-awaited moments" and eventually transitioning into "what should be a buoyant chorus". In her debut television performance, Ferreira performed the track on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in January 2013. The previously leaked track "Lost in My Bedroom" was included on Ghost, and was featured on an episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy in December.
2013-14: Night Time, My Time:
In June 2013, Ferreira starred in the short film IRL playing Angel, which has been described as "an eye-opening look into the reality of young life in New York". That month, she again renamed her debut studio album I Will, and stated that it would be released "later this summer". She noted that it would be composed of "ten up-tempo songs, all still pretty electronic, although for some reason it comes across more pop-rocky live." It was again renamed Night Time, My Time, and announced to be released on October 29, 2013 by Capitol Records. Upon its release, it received favorable reviews from music critics; at Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 79, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 30 reviews.Rolling Stone listed it as the fifth-best debut album of 2013, noting its potent blending of synthpop elements with a more grunge-inspired indie rock sound. The album was also listed as the 25th best overall album of the year by Complex. The record debuted at number 45 on the U.S. Billboard 200. "You're Not the One" was released as the lead single from Night Time, My Time on September 24, 2013.
In September, Ferreira starred as Kaycee in the independent film The Green Inferno. In the early morning of September 14, she and her boyfriend, DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith, were arrested at a traffic stop in Saugerties, New York for drug possession. Ferreira, who was in possession of ecstasy tablets, was arrested on drug possession and resisting arrest; Smith was in possession of heroin. She bailed herself out of $1,500 with her American Express credit card. In October, Ferreira cancelled the final week of her tour with Vampire Weekend after sustaining a hemorrhage to her vocal chords, which she later added was caused by a vocal node that was repeatedly misdiagnosed as laryngitis. In November, Ferreira and Icona Pop were announced as the opening acts for Miley Cyrus' Bangerz Tour, which began on February 14, 2014. Later that month, she released her third extended play, Night Time, My Time: B-Sides Part 1. In December, Ferreira was announced as the spokeswoman for hair care brand Redken.
On February 20, 2014, during the third performance opening for the Bangerz Tour, Ferreira fell and split open her shin onstage. After completing the performance, Ferreira was taken by ambulance to an Anaheim hospital and treated with 60 stitches. As a result of the injury, she was forced to temporarily pull out of support for the tour, but returned shortly after.
2015: Masochism and film roles:
On July 16, 2014, Ferreira announced via Twitter that she was working on her second album. She described the sound of the album as "more aggressive" and is working with Ariel Rechtshaid and Justin Raisen, with whom she produced Night Time, My Time, as well as Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes of Primal Scream. Ferreira also expressed the wish to collaborate with Gesaffelstein. She is also set to be featured in the upcoming drama Elvis & Nixon, directed by Liza Johnson. Ferreira has also joined the cast of The Trust, which also stars Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood, and is directed by Benjamin and Alex Brewer. Following fan speculation, she confirmed on April 6 that her upcoming second studio album will be titled Masochism.
Musical style and influences:
Ferreira is primarily a synthpop singer, but her earlier work incorporated elements of dance-pop and electropop, most notably seen in tracks from As If! and Ghost, this one also included elements of acoustic and new wave. Her lyrical content originally incorporated themes of rebellion and teenage romance; Andrew Unterberger from Popdust opined that "17" "plays the girl-gone-wild tale as a near-horror story, clearly meant to shock and upset", while noting that "One" "instead features a robo'd out Sky bemoaning the breakdown of connection in a relationship, and her own inability to feel anything as a result." As her career progressed, Ferreira more frequently experimented with elements of indie rock, which were commonly heard in her debut album Night Time, My Time. Ferreira has cited Madonna,Prince,Fiona Apple,Gwen Stefani,Alice Cooper,Nancy Sinatra,Cat Power,Hole, Elliott SmithBritney Spears, and the Runaways as musical influences.
Julianne Escobedo Shepberd from Rolling Stone wrote that Ferreira's "songs are catchy, but they're also thickly glazed with fuzz and synths, evoking influences like Suicide, Siouxsie Sioux and the krautrock group Harmonia". Karolina Ramos from The GW Hatchet compared Ferreira to New Zealand recording artist Lorde, both of whom she felt "tackle contemporary love, desire and insecurity with depth, composure and frankness." She compared her musical style to 1980s pop music, and noted that "her throaty, sultry vocals call to mind Lana del Rey, abandoning brightness and vivacity for a colder tone. Still, Ferreira can drop the edge, with gentler tracks like "Sad Dream" showcasing her vocal range and seldom-observed softness." Andrew Unterberger stated that "through a variety of singles, EPs, guest features and live appearances, Sky has proven herself one of the most talented singers, creative songwriters and savvy collaborators currently working in the genre", but blamed "bad marketing, label disputes and her own perfectionism" for the extended delay of Night Time, My Time; he also stated that the repeated renaming of the record itself "should give you some idea of the musical identity issues she's suffered over the years."
After establishing a friendship with recording artist Miley Cyrus in 2013, Gregory E. Miller from New York Post noted that the media and general public would continue "following her every move". Ferreira commented that "Miley's obviously way bigger and all eyes are on her, but I feel like we're kind of going through a similar thing where everyone's trying to say that we're trying to make ourselves objects, but really, everyone else is making it more like that--sensationalizing sex and reading into things. It's nice to have someone that gets it." Ferreira had also generated a minor controversy after appearing topless on the cover for Night Time, My Time, to which she responded "there's nothing about that photo that's pornographic; we came on this earth nude."
In July 2014, Ferreira performed at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York City to benefit the David Lynch Foundation. Ferreira announced that the funds raised would "go towards Transcendental Meditation (TM) programs for at-risk students; veterans with PTSD; women who are survivors of domestic violence; American Indians suffering from diabetes; the homeless and incarcerate." Of her own practice she said, "TM sort of saved my life."
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license