We caught up with ‘I Love You 3000’ singer Stephanie Poetri on her new single ‘Selfish’ from her forthcoming debut EP, moving on from the viral hit that made her a global sensation, and keeping busy during lockdown by streaming Minecraft with fans.

Stephanie Poetri, best known as the viral sensation behind global hit ‘I Love You 3000’, is one artist to be on the lookout for. The Indonesian singer, currently signed to 88rising, continues to help represent Asian representation within the music industry.

2020 may be the year of social distancing and stay-at-home-under-lockdown, but the bubbly and talented artist has kept herself busy. With a handful of new music released earlier this year, Poetri is now prepping up for her biggest release yet.

Her latest single, ‘Selfish’, marks an exciting new chapter for the talented artist. The song is part of her upcoming six-track debut EP AM:PM, a collection of tracks that will display her storytelling abilities through song. Half of the songs, the AM side, will present a brighter and lighter feel within the music. The other half, the PM side (which ‘Selfish’ belongs to), will dive deeper on the emotional side of things – a perfect soundtrack companion for those long, lonely nights.

‘Selfish’ deals with one’s feelings of jealousy for someone who doesn’t truly belong to them, setting the change of tone fans can expect more of from Poetri’s next major release once it comes out next year.

We caught up with the bubbly singer to talk more about the new track, the aesthetics featured within the music video, how she keeps herself busy by streaming video games with fans, and more. Read on below for the full interview.

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AL365: Hello Stephanie! This is Nicky from AsiaLive365. How has the year been treating you so far?

Stephanie Poetri: (Laughs) OK-OK. Meh. It’s OK. How about you?

AL365: It’s been quite lonely, I guess! Trapped under lockdown. 2020 has been a truly unprecedented year as many people would call it. You’ve been keeping yourself busy. Months ago, we’ve had new music from you with songs such as ‘Do You Love Me?’, ‘Touch’, and ‘Straight To You’. Just a few weeks ago, you’ve released a brand new single titled ‘Selfish’ which is from your forthcoming debut EP. Tell us more about this new track.

Stephanie: So basically, I feel like everyone’s been through a situation where you have a crush. But then you see them with someone else, and you’re feeling jealous, which technically you don’t have the right to feel jealous. They’re not dating you, they can do what they want. The song’s about that dilemma, when you like someone and you see them and you feel selfish about them, but technically you can’t so you go “What do I do?”

AL365: With the song there’s a music video to accompany it. How did you come up with the visual elements presented? There’s tarot cards, you riding a bike, you at a slumber party, etc.

Stephanie: (Laughs) I was more hands-on with the color scheme, the lighting and aesthetics. Basically, when I listen to the song, I hear certain colors. Not visually, but for example, I would feel like the song would have a neon purple or synthwave color scheme. I don’t know, I just felt like the song would go well with a super night party vibes aesthetic. The neon lights party that all TikTokkers have.

AL365: ‘Selfish’ is from your upcoming debut EP AM:PM. Why title it as such?

Stephanie: Throughout quarantine, when I was writing songs, there were two obvious directions I was going. One was the direction that ‘Selfish’ is heading towards where it’s a little more dark, angsty and moody – very much like nighttime vibes. But then I also kept going to the direction of something more light and bright. Something that feels like morning when you just woke up, and you want something that will chill you out.

At first I was like, “How do I put all this into one EP because I want all these songs out? These three songs sound similar to each other, and these other three songs sound similar to each other.” Then I realized, “Oh wait, these are the morning time songs and these are the nighttime songs.” ‘Selfish’ is part of nighttime. So there’s going to be three songs in the AM category, and three songs in the PM category.

AL365: So all songs in the EP involve teen angst or…?

Stephanie: Oh, not really. With the AM songs, a lot of it has more to do with quarantine and life. But with the PM ones, they’re about relationships because I feel like at night you can get emotional.

AL365: You have a knack for songwriting. How do you come up with ideas when brainstorming ideas for new songs?

Stephanie: Sometimes I write elements of a song by myself like a melody, and lyrics would just come to my head. I try to record it as soon as I can within that night, or next week I would go on my Ableton and try to record it. Sometimes I have workshop sessions on Zoom with my producers and songwriters, and try to make a song together. It just kind of depends on the day but usually as I come up with a melody, lyrics would then come up at the same time. At first it might be gibberish, but some words will stand out and that’s what usually what happens.

AL365: What are some of your musical influences?

Stephanie: Lauv, Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie. Lately, it’s Keshi, Alec Benjamin. There’s a lot of artists, I’m just name-dropping them at this point.

AL365: You have a viral hit called ‘I Love You 3000’ which many people know and love, and had catapulted you into stardom. How have you evolved as an artist from the wildly popular track to your debut EP? Was there anything new you’ve learned this year in your career?

Stephanie: Good question. I still stay true with the whole acoustic pop because I really like acoustic pop, and it allows my voice to be pretty chill because I can’t do the crazy things you know? One thing I realize is the ability to use production to tell a story as well. With ‘I Love You 3000’, the story is told by its lyrics and the production is accompanying it. Now, I’m trying to find a way that the production tells the story. With ‘Selfish’, there’s a moment of pause, the guitar is super sassy, little things like these that I find more important than I used to.

AL365: Was there any pressure after ‘I Love You 3000’ to create the next viral hit? If you check YouTube right now, the music video has over 89 million views and over 110 million streams on Spotify which is, quite frankly, a mind-blowing achievement for a rising new artist.

Stephanie: It’s crazy! Ahhh! Well yeah, there’s always pressure but I always try to remind myself that your aim isn’t to write a hit song. Your aim is to write a song that you like, that you think is good, and that fans will like. It all comes down to just putting out songs that feels true to me, and if I keep trying to recreate ‘I Love You 3000’ it might come off as ingenuous. I don’t really mind if I put out a song and it doesn’t really do as well because I would literally have people come up to me and tell me that it’s their favorite song despite it getting only one-fifth of the views and plays. As long as it brightens someone’s day, that’s great for me. I don’t need it to be big.

AL365: But then! You had a follow-up called ‘I Love You 3000 II’ with GOT7’s Jackson Wang. Any dream collaborations you would like to do?

Stephanie: Yeah! I would love to collaborate with…a lot of people. (laughs) I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from Halsey lately. When I say collaboration, I don’t want to sing with people. I want to write songs for people or with people, whether they end up going to me or to them. If anyone from BLACKPINK want some English-based acoustic song, I gotchu! KnowwhatImsayin?

AL365: What have you been doing during lockdown to pass the time?

Stephanie: I started streaming so now I’m a streamer! I’m a gamer girl. I play Minecraft on stream. So basically the same as I used to do but now I’m streaming while playing it. I also do music streams.

AL365: I was just going to get into that. You love interacting with fans. I’ve seen some of your Minecraft and Q&A streams. Do you find fan interaction to be an important part of you career especially during this COVID-19 season?

Stephanie: I don’t know, I never really thought about it like that. For me, I felt disconnected from all of my supporters because I didn’t have a chance to meet up with them or anything so I was trying to figure out a way to talk to them. But it definitely made me feel closer to them, so I think if any artists are interested I would definitely recommend. I know Keshi streams but he doesn’t do it as often as I do. There isn’t a set schedule, he literally does it like once a month when he’s feeling it where he plays Valorant on stream. It’s just a nice place to talk with your supporters, be able to interact with them, and just vibe.

AL365: What do you think about livestream performances? Do you think they will be the norm post-lockdown?

Stephanie: I don’t know if they will be the norm because it just doesn’t feel the same. You know when you go to concerts and when you leave, you have that weird but feel good moment where you go ‘Oh my god, what just happened?’ I don’t feel that way with livestream performances. I don’t think these kinds of shows will replace concerts, but they’re definitely a great thing we have right now to emulate real live concert experiences. Maybe one day, as we get used to it, livestream shows will start feeling like real concerts.

AL365: When can we expect the EP to come out?

Stephanie: So the EP will come out early next year, but I’ll have some singles coming out before that, likely in January.

AL365: Looking forward to it! Any other future projects or plans to go on tour?

Stephanie: Oh gosh, I don’t know yet! (laughs) It’s so uncertain. As long as we all stay positive! And do our part!

AL365: What would you like to say to all your fans in Asia?

Steph: I would like to say thank you very much for all your support. I really appreciate it and I’m glad that I could represent us Southeast Asianers. Maybe one day I can go there and perform, or maybe go there for fun. I’m pretty close, I’m in Indonesia right now so not too far. Technically, I can there very quickly. You might see me in the street, chilling. You never know.

AL365: Thank you so much Stephanie for taking the time to answer our questions! Been a pleasure talking to you!

Stephanie: Thank you so much for having time for me as well! Bye-bye!