“My girlfriend is almost more enthusiastic than I am — I was like ‘WTF is this thing I’m charting on? Ze Billboard?’ She freaked out, laughed so hard at me and said, ‘It’s not THE Billboard, just Billboard Hot 100.. you don’t know what Billboard is?’” she said.
Even though Soko doesn’t wholly understand what Billboard is, the singer’s track “We Might Be Dead Tomorrow” is nevertheless climbing its charts; it’s currently at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart.
Given that Billboard started factoring YouTube streams into charts last year and “First Kiss” has been viewed close to 70 million times on the video-sharing service, Soko’s inclusion on the charts was inevitable.
Nevertheless, it’s still surprising to the singer, who was basically invisible to labels mere weeks ago. It was not until she agreed to be a part of fashion label Wren’s short film, “First Kiss” — in which strangers smooched for the first time on camera — that her music was catapulted into the public eye (or, rather, ear). Good thing she’s a self-proclaimed “kiss bandit.”
“Two weeks ago I was still struggling to get anyone interested in signing my second album,” Soko said. “And now, I have back-to-back meetings with labels who are finally ‘out of the blue’ waking up because, ‘They’ve been fans for years… uh-huh.’”
The song in “First Kiss” comes off of Soko’s first record, I Thought I Was An Alien and deals with her childhood fear of death and subsequent fascination with living.
“I lost my dad and a lot of family members at such a young age,” she said. “I know it sounds morbid — I was a pretty morbid kid — but it’s actually not anymore how I see it. It gave me that vital passion for life, and will to conquer it all and live and love fully and make every day the best page of the storybook of my life!”
She sees the song as a call to love now, as opposed to nattering on about fear of relationships.
Soko’s second album, which was produced by Ross Robinson, who has worked with The Cure, is called My Dreams Dictate My Reality and, she, said, “It’s very different from the first one — a lot more ’80s-, punk-, goth-, New Wave-, post-punk-influenced.”
“I guess I’m stoked that finally people are interested,” she added, noting that she has seen an uptick in sales and is looking forward to being able to pay her rent. “Hopefully I’ll find a label to put my second album out on. All I care about is making art, and it reaching out to people in such an immediate and real way — it’s the best you can ever ask for, really.”
Not bad for a woman who decided to take part in “this little art project where you’d have to kiss someone” on a whim.