Prentiss, 15 and feeling deeply
In his music videos, several of which have recently become taste-makers’ bonanzas, Prentiss looks more like a little brother than a rebellious rock star. Many show him in the wild wearing hippie clothes and singing sweet, heartbreaking lyrics that sometimes come from poems he writes on his phone. “I try not to think about it too much,” he said in a recent video call from his home in Jackson, Miss., straight after his daily workout, his hair a bushel of curls abounding. “My purest emotion comes from my first thought.”
It’s been just two years since Prentiss started posting songs and videos online, but already the 15-year-old pop singer has over 50,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, half a million views on YouTube and a contract. ‘registration. He got a shoutout from Justin Bieber and made music with Kid Laroi, the Australian singer-rapper, who gave him advice on navigating the world of music as a teenager. He was also part of the program of Lollapalooza, his first festival.
And now Prentiss — her full name is Prentiss Furr — is recording her debut album, “Crescent,” which is full of personal and thoughtful songs. Prentiss said that when he started making music at age 11, “I didn’t know what my feelings were. I understand better how I feel now. On “Where It Hurts,” a song about self-doubt from “Crescent,” he sadly sings, “I try to be a different version of me/because every version of you wants me to go. »
He grew up listening to a wide range of music – Kesha, Justin Bieber, Pearl Jam, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band – and one of his biggest inspirations is Yung Lean, the Swedish rapper. On “Crescent,” which will be released later this year, he tries several different sounds in songs that have flashes of club music, pop-punk, and hyperpop.
“Where I’m from, there isn’t a certain culture or a certain genre,” he said of his hometown of Jackson. He thinks he’ll end up sounding like a “weird” no matter what musical path he takes. “If I was worried about pushing a certain sound or a certain image or hanging out with a certain type of musician,” he said, “I wouldn’t have built my own career.”
One thing he’s not afraid to embrace is imperfection. “Some notes are off, a little off, don’t make exact sense, but you can create the image in your head – the best artists are the ones who throw that curve intentionally,” he said, trying to develop their own idiosyncrasies. “No matter how long it takes – two, three, four, five years – the twist will be mine,” he added, “and I want it to be hard to replicate.”
While finishing the album, Prentiss took high school classes online, taught music theory himself, worked with a vocal coach, and experimented with new sounds. He even has his eyes set on a role model for his adulthood: super-producer and guru Rick Rubin, known for his bucolic and blissful lifestyle.
“At some point, I’m going to stop everything,” Prentiss said, “and have a random crib with four different hammocks, seven different piggies, all in the middle of nowhere.”
A version of this story originally appeared in The New York Times for Kids, a special print section that appears in the newspaper on the last Sunday of each month. The next issue hits newsstands August 28.