'War Paint' Singer FLETCHER Debuts New EP: Meet 'the Jennifer Lawrence of Music'
"War Paint" singer FLETCHER's debut EP, FINDING FLETCHER, is streaming now streaming exclusively on People.com
Pop rookie FLETCHER burst onto the scene earlier this year, nabbing a place on Spotify's Spotlight on 2016 list thanks to her breakout single "War Paint," a sleeper hit from the summer of 2015. On Friday, she'll release her debut EP – and PEOPLE is streaming it exclusively for a full day before it officially drops.
In addition to "War Paint," FINDING FLETCHER boasts five other new songs, including follow-up single "Wasted Youth."
"My thing with songwriting is making pop music with substance; that means something and has something to say. It sort of follows a typical pop format but through rhythmic and lyrical choices and concepts, the foundation of the song is where I like to take it left of center, more in terms of country storytelling," FLETCHER, 22, tells PEOPLE. "And just sort of take it outside the box that way, so it's not your typical bubblegum, stupid pop song that anyone can sing."
Give her formidable first effort a spin, and take a look at these five things to know about the up-and-comer.
1. She's classically – and collegiately – trained!
Growing up in Asbury Park, New Jersey, FLETCHER (born Cari Fletcher) has said she started singing at age 3, began getting her vocals in shape with classical training beginning when she was 5, performed in theater and took lessons to learn dance, piano, guitar, drum and flute.
Then when it came time to prep for her career in the industry, she studied at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, a part of New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
"I was at the Clive Davis Institute studying for a year, and then I took a year leave of absence, went to Nashville, and I created the whole entire project," she says of her entrance into the pop world. "Then I came back and finished up school, releasing music throughout that time."
2. She embraces her quirks – and wants "to be like the Jennifer Lawrence of music."
The budding pop star is self-aware, and though she's laser-focused on her career, she knows not to take herself too seriously.
"It takes a while for me to open up to people, but I also really like having a good time and letting go and letting loose," she says. "It's probably the more dominant side, that's extremely quirky and so clumsy. I was in a meeting the other day with the president of a major label talking about this music. And this huge burp just came fully out of my mouth. Like, a belch. I was like, "I'm so sorry, but…" I want to be like the Jennifer Lawrence of music."
3. Her music is personal, but she's not a naturally vulnerable person.
"I just have this thing about letting my walls down and the idea of anyone knowing that I'm struggling with anything or just the idea of people feeling bad for you, like, ‘I'm here if you need me.' That feeling makes me so uncomfortable. I don't like feeling vulnerable," she says.
So, music has become a major outlet for FLETCHER.
"The way that I can express it best is through lyrics and through songwriting," she adds. "It's not Cari talking about some s— she's going through; it's like FLETCHER talking about it. All the stories and all the experiences are so personal, but it allows me to remove my pride from the situation and just be like, ‘This is what I'm going through, and I know a lot of other people are dealing with the same thing, so I'm gonna talk about that.' Because I think it can change lives, and people can connect with that if I'm just real and my authentic self. "
4. She's already brushed elbows with modern music royalty.
Attending the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden last month, FLETCHER bumped into none other than Kanye West, naturally sharing the encounter on Instagram afterward.
5. She hopes to join the ranks of artists like Lorde and Ed Sheeran, whom she says are "moving the needle" of pop music today.
"I think Lorde is a lyrical genius. Troye Sivan, Jon Bellion, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey – These are all artists that sit in the Top 40 pop space, and they're on Top 40 radio, and they're selling out Madison Square Garden. They have massive followings and are killing it in the pop space, but they're moving the needle with their music. They're not just writing your basic love songs. They're spinning it in the most clever way," she says. "So that's the kind of music that I want to make: something that is totally pop-digestible but makes people feel something real. That's the kind of music that I'm moved by."