We’ve been fans of digital pop songstress Rina Sawayama since she released her debut EP, RINA, last year. With tracks like ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ and ‘Ordinary Superstar’, the London native has been writing the frenetic pop soundtrack for the internet generation, sharing her love for freaks like you and me. Now, the singer has released the ultimate outsider anthem with ‘Flicker’, a neo-pop ballad in which she opens up about her experience and feelings being Other.
“When you’re down, feeling low, just remember your name,” she sings, “they ain’t us, they ain’t us baby.”
In a press release, Sawayama detailed the story behind the song:
“The first day of reception year at school my teacher totally butchered my surname while calling out the register,” she wrote. “I remember crying so hard and that was the first time I realised that I was different to all the others in class. […] When I was writing ‘Flicker’ I was thinking how our name shapes our experience in life and identities us in a deeper way than we realise,” she added. “Whether it’s a name that no one can say, or the frustration of being misgendered, or quite simply being misunderstood for who you truly are – this is a song for you.”
Sawayama has long been open about her experiences as an Asian woman in the worlds of fashion and music, after sharing a story about the time she was listed as an “Asian addition” at a photoshoot. With her music, and ever-growing social media presence, the singer continues to try to change Asian female stereotypes and works to increase representation for all Asian women.
So, BRB. Listening to ‘Flicker’ on repeat.