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Interview with Penny X about new indie anthem: back to your dad's

Berlin based PENNY X is a young Alternative-Pop artist that has defined herself as straightforward with her story-telling and lyrics. Her sound is built by a mixture of electronic and organic elements that simultaneously showcase her versatile voice: A vocalist who’s range varies from belting to whispering in one song, PENNY X writes her songs like short stories. After releasing her first singles in 2022, which already displayed different facets of her music, the singer now shows a louder and darker side to a Riot Grrrl interpretation with her new single ‘back to your dad’s’ likened to Olivia Rodrigo, Tate McRae, GAYLE and Maggie Lindemann.

The product of a songwriting session with producer Freddy Rochow, ‘back to your dad’s’ is a revenge song that came from jamming with some aggressive guitar chords. PENNY X writes:

“I'm not an angry person at all, but at that moment I had to think of how my ex had just posted these cute couple pics and even moved in with his new girlfriend - something he would’ve never done with me. Seeing him treating her so much better than he ever treated me made me really mad and then it felt like the song just started writing itself”.

With no song sounding alike, PENNY X has proven she is not just a singer, but she's a songwriter and musician through and through. A newcomer who started writing songs at the age of 12, the multiinstrumentalist went on to spend multiple months working with different Recording Studios in Nashville and Chicago. Such experiences aided her work on her music, which has significantly shaped her artistry today. PENNY X can’t be just one thing, that’s what the X in her name stands for - A concept she will also follow on her Debut EP, out in February 2023.

1. 'back to your dad's' is a melodic track with some awesome hooks - how did it come to you?

I wrote it in a songwriting session with producer Freddy Rochow. He was jamming chords on the guitar when we had the idea to write an angry revenge song, which was really fitting after I had just seen my ex with his new girlfriend. First we wrote the chorus/A-chorus, then the verses. But something was still missing to connect the verse and the chorus both melodically and lyrically and so we came up with the pre-chorus.

When we were listening back to what we had written so far I felt like the pre-chorus melody needed to repeat after the chorus. Kinda unusual but we did that and it finally felt like the song was complete.

2. What's the story behind the single, what have you learnt?

My ex had just posted some cute pictures with his new girlfriend on social media and I also had heard that they were even living together now. It made me so angry because he never did any of that couple stuff with me. I just needed to let go of all the anger and writing this song really helped me with that.

3. How has your background shaped the music you release today?

I grew up listening to the radio since my family didn’t have a specific taste in music and so I became a fan of mainstream pop music. During my teenage years - inspired by Taylor Swift - I listened to a lot of Country music but I also had a phase where I listend to bands like Nirvana and The Pretty Reckless. I feel like the music I’m writing nowadays is inspired by all of that.

4. What advice would you give to emerging artists?

Be patient and always remember why you started doing music initially.

5. What main things would you change about the industry?

Sometimes I wish it was less about social media these days but it can also be a very helpful tool. Also we need more support for women in the business!

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