12 Musicians From the CULTURED Archives Reflect on Silence, Growth, and Heartbreak

Phoebe Bridgers. Photography by Daria Kobayashi Ritch.

1. Towards an Everyday Feeling: The Anomaly That Is Phoebe Bridgers

There hasn't been much perceptible difference between Phoebe Bridgers the person and Phoebe Bridgers the performer. Despite the music industry's efforts to coax the artist's online presence into something polished and marketable, Bridgers maintains her authenticity as an artist fueled by quiet sensibilities. Following the release of her 2020 sophomore album Punisher, CULTURED's April/May 2021 cover star reflected on the experience of navigating a blistering spotlight, and her decision to take a creative hiatus after her album’s debut. 

Moses Sumney. Photography by Erik Carter.

2. Moses Sumney on Sexuality, 2021 Mystery and Songwriting

Moses Sumney’s sophomore album, græ, came out in a year without touring or fanfare. Nevertheless, the record made its way into the cultural bloodstream. In his summer 2021 cover feature, Sumney talked to his friend and musical peer Caroline Polachek about the vulnerability that comes with fame.

King Princess. Photography by Angalis Field.

3. Why King Princess's Hold On Baby Is Not a Pandemic Album

The pop sensation's 2022 record, Hold On Baby, was set to be the album of the summer. It represented two years of work—both on songwriting and on accepting inner truths, and all of the good, bad, and ugly along the way. In conversation with actor and friend Brandon Flynn, CULTURED's Summer 2022 cover star reflected on the emotional registers she explored, from lust to self-loathing.

Chance the Rapper. Photography by Philip-Daniel Ducasse. 

4. Theaster Gates Digs into Chance the Rapper's Newfound Revolution

Chance the Rapper had an explosive rise from young Chicago poet to sound artist and philanthropist. Some of his interdisciplinary endeavors—including “The Highs & The Lows,” a hybrid music and visual arts album that he premiered at Art Basel, “Child of God,” an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana in January 2023—have blurred the definitions and expectations of art and entertainment. In all that he has done, Chance has sought to connect, represent, and advance ideas of Blackness. CULTURED's Winter 2022 cover star spoke with artist and professor Theaster Gates about the trajectory of his career and the meaning of his work.

Remi Wolf. Photography by Daniel Prakopcyk.

5. Remi Wolf and Lukas Gage on Finding Your Authentic Self

The admiration between actor Lukas Gage and musician-songwriter Remi Wolf flows both ways. Their relationship lives mostly in text messages, defying timezones and packed rehearsal schedules. For CULTURED's 2022 June/July issue, the pair committed their relationship to print while Wolf was on the road touring her debut album Juno. Gage, a longtime fan of Wolf's, skipped the niceties and dove deep into the artist's psyche, asking about the voices in her head, and how her varied influences collide to create a signature pop blend.

Mary J. Blige. Photography by Gillian Laub.

6. Mary J. Blige Proves That Staying in Power Is All About Reinvention, Self-Possession and a Little Two-Step

Moments after Vice President Kamala Harris accepted her Vice Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2020, Mary J. Blige’s 2007 track “Work That” became an anthem for the occasion. The song preached female empowerment and self-actualization and was a fitting accompaniment to Vice President Harris's history-making nomination. For CULTURED's 2020 Fall issue, the artist reflected on the feeling of having her work intertwined with one of the most significant moments in American politics, the aftermath of her divorce, and her burgeoning acting career. 


7. The Artist Formerly Known As Grimes 

Grimes, formerly known as Claire Boucher and “c,” has worn many hats when it came to self-expression. The Vancouver-born art-pop musician saw her share of drama, including the 2018 tabloid scandal that ensued after she attended the Met Gala with Elon Musk, triggering one of the most traumatic years of her life. A year later, as CULTURED's 2019 Spring cover star, Grimes reflected on her introduction to the music industry, her album Miss Anthropocene, and her optimism for the future. 

Suki Waterhouse.

8. It Girl Suki Waterhouse Gets a Cool New Sound

You may know Suki Waterhouse from fashion campaigns, the films Love, Rosie and Insurgent, and her recent turn in the Amazon Prime hit series Daisy Jones and the Six. With an enviable, effortless sense of style and an A-list group of friends like Cara Delevigne and Georgia May Jagger, Waterhouse's It Girl status is undeniable. But it's easy to forget that the model and actress started her foray into the creative world as a musician on the streets of Camden, London, collaborating with talented neighbors and playing in bars to cultivate her unique and soulful sound. After years of writing songs on the side, Waterhouse returned to her first love last year with her debut album, I Can’t Let Go—a collection of searing ballads and summer bops. 

Arooj Aftab. Photography by Darian Donovan Thomas.

9. Arooj Aftab Wants More Than a Grammy

Arooj Aftab was the first artist to win a Grammy award for Best Global Music Performance, and she had mixed feelings about it. Ahead of her return to the Grammys stage last February, Aftab discussed her complicated relationship with the Awards and the overwhelming responsibility of the accolades she's earned. 

Maggie Rogers. Photography by Anton Corbijn.

10. Maggie Rogers Wants You to Surrender

After a year of musical metamorphosis and divine transcendence, Maggie Rogers released Surrender, her sophomore studio album that took its title from Rogers’s recent Harvard Divinity School thesis. CULTURED's Winter 2022 digital cover star discussed the role of spirituality in public gatherings and her nervousness about how live audiences would respond to her renewed sense of self.

felicita. Photography by Vasso Vu.

11. For Musicians felicita and Caroline Polachek, Stubbornness Is a Strategy

felicita first met Caroline Polachek in the spring of 2017 when Polachek traveled to London to work with cult producer Danny L Harle on what became Pang, the album that catapulted her into pop consciousness. That summer, felicita and Polachek collaborated on “Marzipan,” a single from felicita’s first album hej!  This spring, the two musical renegades reunited in London, where they shared a studio and made their newest work. To mark the release of felicita's sophomore album, Spalarkle, the PC Music ambassador sat down with Polachek to talk psychedelic playgrounds, Close Friends story content, and stubborn heroes. 

serpentwithfeet. Photography by Juan Veloz.

12. serpentwithfeet's Music Takes Love to Another World

serpentwithfeet sings a new kind of R&B that’s experimental and heavenly. Tracing the milestones of his early life and career, the artist reflected on the implications of success and the evolution of his sound over the years. In a busy year that saw the release of his full-length 2021 album Deacon and his EP DEACON's Grove, the musician told CULTURED why he treasures silence most of all. 

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