If American audiences are fickle, there’s hardly a word to describe the taste of the Internet: it giveth and it taketh away. For months, via MySpace and MP3 blogs, amateur club popper Uffie spread to tastemakers worldwide. With just two songs — the popular bubblecrunk “Pop the Glock” and the blatant come-on “Ready to Uf” — a young fashion princess made her way onto Internet heartdrives, impelled by her sexy-slurred lyrics over warping, stuttering beats, tick-tock electro, and vocoder vox. But, just as quickly, the backlash began. PitchforkMedia.com, the barometer of indie cool, recently gave “Pop the Glock” one-half out of five stars (“hipster cliché,” it said), and bloggers have begun to call her out too (“I just decided that I hate Uffie,” says one).
TWO SINGLES AND A DREAM: The multinational MySpace queen and her man are out to prove to the Internet that she has what it takes.
“It’s really getting serious now,” says Uffie over the phone on a much-needed vacation, “so I take it seriously now. It started out as just fun with my boyfriend. Then it blew up, and now I’m starting to take charge of it.” Said boyfriend is Feadz, a French DJ and member of the red-hot Parisian club scene. The two came to the US earlier this year and played a few dates that were not received well. She admits, “I did a tour in March and, honestly, 90 percent of the shows were, like, disasters.” These appearances, hyped and well attended by the industry, surely prompted the backlash. “Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing.” Now, after an extensive European tour, Uffie has her bearings. “I’m a lot more confident in the show and I think it will be a blast. The hardest thing for me is talk in between tracks, but it’s getting better.”
The two are doing 14 dates in the US, from Phoenix to Boston, and though they’re playing a stocked hip-hop bill at Allston’s Great Scott August 29, they resist being classified as just hip-hop. “I don’t think she is an MC,” says Feadz in a prominent French accent. “I mean, we’re doing music for pleasure, and it came out this way. She can’t come and say she’s an MC, because she’s never rapped before.” Uffie adds, “I literally have no history in music whatsoever. Feadz was like, ‘Write a song’ and I was like, ‘Okay!’, and he was like, ‘Now try to sing it!’, and that was ‘Pop the Glock.’ ”
Much of Uffie’s biography is skewed, so let’s try this: born Anna-Catherine Hartley in Miami, she soon took off to Hong Kong, which she still considers home. There she grew up with her dad, a fashion-company director, and her mom, who worked “in the lace industry.” She went back to Miami to attend high school, then left for Paris to study fashion. Within days she hired Feadz to DJ a party and there they met. “I remember it was in the club, it was crazy, and she was a pretty fucked-up,” says Feadz. “I really had a crush from the first time I see her. It was two years and a half ago, something like this.”
Now the team are taking on the US market, and its backlash, with two singles and a dream. Feadz: “We do a very fun show, like classic DJ and vocal and we’re gonna give our best. There are no special effects, no lights or anything.” What they do is similar to the scene that birthed them. Uffie: “The Paris scene, there is something about all their style that is really incredible. Even if you’re dead, you get up and dance. They have so much emotion and power.” Uffie and her DJ are the poppiest of the French sound, and that does lead to haters. But as Feadz explains, “It won’t be perfect but we are going to give it the best energy we have. It worked the first time, and I hope it will work again.”
UFFIE & FEADZ + 7L & ESOTERIC + RED FOXX + BRENDAN WESLEY | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston | August 29 | 617.734.4502
On the Web