Poppy talks jewellery, creative expression and her new album Zig

Singer-songwriter Poppy has returned with her fifth studio album, Zig. Here, she discusses the record's healing powers, how jewellery is key to self expression, and how shooting with Cole Sprouse on an LA rooftop nearly ended in disaster

26 October 2023

Story by Will Lavin; Photography by Cole Sprouse; Creative direction by Tim Holloway; Styling (jewellery) by Joshua Hendren; Styling (fashion) by Shalev Lavàn

Standing on the rooftop of a Downtown LA studio, Poppy takes in the vast, effervescent landscape of the city she’s called home since moving from Nashville, Tennessee over 10 years ago. Posing for celebrity photographer Cole Sprouse, she’s braving the LA heat – while pairing high jewellery pieces by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Bulgari with metallic mini dresses and high shine short sets — for her debut Something About Rocks cover shoot.

Despite most people’s natural urge to go straight to gushing over the California hotspot’s stunning weather, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter praises the city’s “obscure” music and art scenes, which she feels are underrated. “The deeper you go into it, the more you peel back the curtain, you can always find experimental music shows and people that are doing interesting things and creating really interesting works,” she explains.

Van Cleef & Arpels white gold Lagune Précieuse necklace, set with sapphires, aquamarines and diamonds and white gold Harmonia ring, set with tourmaline, sapphires, onyx and diamonds; Alexander McQueen top; Wolford tights

Poppy (real name Moriah Rose Pereira) can lay claim to being one of those people doing interesting things. Her unique brand of pop perfectly toes the line between sophisticated high-concept art and glitzy chart anthems, often blurring genre lines and disregarding labels altogether. “I would describe Poppy’s music as the constant exploration of novelty,” she says, referring to herself in the third person. And it’s not just music Poppy excels in, she’s a multi-hyphenate whose subversive creativity spans the worlds of fashion, visual arts and dance, the latter of which is where she started her career.

Her new album Zig is set to continue the evolution of her unique artistry. Diving deeper into her innermost thoughts, she embarks on a learning journey that finds her tapping into “newfound emotions” — both good and bad — while the project’s soundscape plays like a patchwork of riotous, disjointed electro anthems, buzzing pop capers, hair- raising spirituals and dreamy acoustic gems. There are times throughout the album where it feels like it could be a distant cousin to Madonna’s 1998 techno-pop classic, Ray of Light.

Ahead of its release, Poppy talks to us about her growth as an artist, blazing a trail in fashion, how jewellery is key to self expression, and the dangers of shooting with Cole Sprouse.

Cartier white gold Juste un Clou necklace, white gold Juste un Clou bracelet, set with diamonds and white gold Juste un Clou rings, set with diamonds; Naked Wardrobe bodysuit

You flew back to LA in the middle of your tour for your Something About Rocks cover shoot. Was it worth the trip?

Oh absolutely. It was really fun, despite it being really, really warm outside.

As we understand it, you’ve always wanted to work with Cole Sprouse. What was it like to finally get in front of the camera with him?

I’d met Cole a handful of times in the past. I love his eye and that’s why I’ve always wanted to shoot with him. So it was awesome we finally got to do this. I love how it all came together.

Didn’t the two of you share a pretty dangerous moment where you almost fell through a roof?

Haha! Yes. We were trying to get this one shot and I was on top of this elevated part of the roof — which might have been a utility shed. Whatever it was, I was laying down on my chest and Cole was laying on his side, and he was trying to direct and tell me what we’re going for and the roof started shaking. Then I look scared, and he went, “Hey, if we go down, we go down together.” And I was like, “Yep, and with millions of dollars of jewellery around my neck. Diamonds at that!”

Gucci white gold Lionhead high jewellery jacket earrings, set with peridot, topaz, amethyst, yellow beryl and diamonds and white gold Lionhead high jewellery bracelet, set with peridot, topaz, amethyst, yellow beryl and diamonds; Saint Laurent clothing

Well, we’re certainly glad that didn’t happen.

Agreed. I didn’t want that to happen. But the idea that Poppy and Cole go down with diamonds, that’s pretty epic.

Jewellery can mean different things to different people. What does it mean to you?

It depends on what type of jewellery we’re talking about. If we’re talking about diamonds, then I would say that’s luxury, status and class. It makes me think of old school Hollywood and the glamorous women of that time. But if we’re talking about something I might wear on stage, my jewellery on stage is a little more rugged. I think it’s another tool for self expression, and accessorising, of course, but adding another layer on to an outfit and the finer detail.

Read the full cover story in our winter 2023 issue, available here.

Makeup by Francelle Daly; Hair by Patricia Morales; Nails by Britney Tokyo; Digital tech David Maziarz; 1st photo assistant Erin Michael Roy; Stylist assistant (fashion) Eden Shim; Make up artist assistant Madrona Redhawk; Executive producer Johnny Pascucci; Senior producer Kevin Warner; Production manager David Newman; Production manager Vicente Luna; Production coordinator Nick Lambrakis; Production Robby Fiore; Production Juanes Montoya

Like this? Discover Bulgari’s new Cabochon jewellery collection

Something About Rocks Summer 2024