With her latest bop “Wish On Me”, emerging indie sensation Kirsty Grant proves she has everything it takes to continue carving out a niche for herself.

Layering seriously euphoric synthwork with soaring vocal moments, “Wish On Me” is another instalment of pop princess perfection. Weaving whimsical Disney elements into a dreamy hyperpop soundscape is no easy feat, but Grant impressively delivers the contrasting sounds with sincerity while caught up in daydreams about a love interest: “The more you make me wait, the more I want you / Make a wish on me.”

As the latest in a string of releases still planned to come, “Wish On Me” is a thrilling indication of Kirsty Grant’s capabilities. Read on for our chat with Grant about “Wish On Me”, industry double standards and the realities of surviving as an independent artist.

SheBOPS: Congratulations on the release of “Wish On Me” – I loved the production! How do you feel the production choices enhance the lyrical content?

Kirsty Grant: Thank you so much! 444BOY captured the feeling of the song in his production perfectly. There are so many moments that play into the lyrical content. Having the verses be as dreamy as they are, with the birds chirping and the little chime-like synth, emphasizes the lyrics “come make a wish on me” perfectly. Everything feels very light and airy in the verses as it is describing this exciting and fresh feeling in the lyrics “let’s make this fantasy.” When the pre-chorus comes in with “I believe, I believe,” it’s less of a daydream and more of a certainty that these emotions are real, so having the bass come through strongly with new synths and building with ascending chords mirrors it. For the chorus, the contrasting and hard-hitting synth stabs give that sense of urgency and euphoria that the lyrics “the more you make me wait, the more that I want you” hold – then releasing the emotion with prolonged chords for “know I’m in your dreams”.

You’ve mentioned that you wanted to lean into Disney elements as much as possible. What role do you feel Disney had in influencing the song?

The main Disney references were Cinderella and Tinkerbell. The influences that made it into the song are mainly in the production and soundscape, such as the birds chirping as an intro and massive strings for the release in each chorus, as well as the theme of “making a wish” and for the wish to be on me rather than a dream or goal. I wanted the song to feel and sound dreamy. I loved the idea of Tinkerbell being a character with a lot of contrasting emotions, so in the song we are contrasting soft synths and strings with heavy stabs in the chorus, which was a fun experiment.

The photography for the single is gorgeous! What can you share with us about how the photography connects with the song’s themes?

Thank you! I always get just as excited about creating the visuals as I do about creating the song. Music is such a visual thing for me and I always have to have reference images and videos when writing and finishing a song. This song felt bright and fun, so I knew I wanted something colourful and playful. I am lucky enough to work with my creative director Laurie TB, who guides my visions and makes everything come to life. We had the idea of keeping this daydream feel, of being in your bedroom and listening to music alone, letting the fantasy take over everything. Massimiliano, who was the incredible photographer for the shoot, captured the feeling perfectly.

What role do you feel “Wish On Me” plays within your journey as an artist?

I feel that “Wish On Me” plays a strong role in my artist journey, as it is another extension of my sound. My first release of the year and my next single (yet to be announced, and I’m very excited about it) are very danceable tracks that are leaning into escapism and feeling free. So to have this song act as a break between the two with this more playful and softer theme, can hopefully show listeners I have many sides to my sound and the music I love to create.

As an emerging artist, what do you hope audiences take away from you as an artist?

My favourite messages are listeners reaching out saying one of my songs has acted as a soundtrack to a situation they have been through. That is something that fuels me: imagining people listening to my song and it evoking an emotion in them or making them want to dance. Knowing my songs can soundtrack people’s experiences is my biggest goal.

Branching from that, what are some of the realities of being an emerging artist that you would like audiences to understand?

The honest side of being an emerging and independent artist is it can sometimes feel quite lonely, as it is me and only my belief that fuels my music. Each release takes so much time, energy and money, so seeing my work being valued and appreciated is indescribable.

You are originally from Scotland but now live in London. Have you spotted any similarities or differences between their creative communities?

I haven’t been able to have a fair comparison of the two music communities, as when growing up in Scotland, I was the only person I knew of in my proximity who wanted to pursue music and had this passion for it. I moved to London at 18, so to go from feeling quite isolated, to then being surrounded by like-minded and passionate creatives was incredible! My music journey really started in London, in terms of studying and then pursuing my dream of being an artist. So I never had that experience in Scotland, but I am sure the creative communities in Scotland are also so strong and amazing. My favourite thing about London is the fact that, even when studying music, almost everyone I am surrounded by and working with are not actually from London or even the UK. It is such a hub of so many creatives who all come to London, so it meant that I was surrounded by so many incredible musicians that could bring their own countries’ creative experiences into any writing session.

How do you feel about the representation and portrayal of women in music? Is there anything that you’d like to change?

From what I have seen, the representation of women in music is that in some cases, they can be underestimated and written off as a “has-been” if they are past a certain age. There is a point that I believe was brought up in Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary that I really feel to be true for women in the industry. She talks about having to reinvent herself so many times throughout her career in order to stay relevant and create these different eras. I have seen it so many times, and really it’s mainly female artists that create new eras and images with each album in order to keep the public interested. I think men can get away with never having to reinvent themselves like Katy Perry or Taylor Swift, throughout their whole career. There is the funny and famous image of Beyoncé performing alongside Ed Sheeran, who I both love, with Beyoncé in an incredible giant pink dress and heels and Ed in a t-shirt and jeans. Both of which are acceptable, but I just feel if Beyoncé had come out to perform in joggers and a t-shirt, the world would have had something to say. However, I do believe it is changing and I am very hopeful that the industry is becoming less ageist for women.

Is there anything about the music industry that frustrates you from a woman’s perspective? On the flip side, what are some elements about it that you love and celebrate?

I love and celebrate how supportive women in music can be for each other. I am constantly inspired by the female pop stars that I look up to. My female artist friends are such a unit of support, who I also get inspired and motivated by. I think women in music really look out for one another.

What issues do you think women in music are facing today?

It is such a common experience in the industry to feel undervalued and belittled as an artist or songwriter. I have so many stories of my own and from artist friends that all describe feeling not listened to when writing in a session full of men. It is not always the case and I have worked with many men who value my input, but unfortunately it definitely still is the case where men can make misogynistic comments about women in writing sessions and do not listen to or value anything you have to contribute. Overall, a feeling of being underestimated is definitely still prominent in some areas.

How do you think the music industry can evolve to become a safer and fairer place for women in music?

I think the industry is on its way to becoming a better place. I don’t know how to make certain men see that women can be some of the best producers, artists, songwriters or DJs in the world, as they will always underestimate them and view themselves as superior. But something that can be controlled is who you work with and creating a safe environment around you. I feel surrounding yourself where you can with the right people who support and value your talent is so important.

Lastly, what else can we expect from you in 2024?

I am currently working on my next release, which will be so exciting. I can’t wait for people to hear this next song, I am looking forward to announcing it and making the build up to the release as big as possible. The rest of 2024 will be full of music, as I set the goal for myself that I would release the best music I possibly can and release consistently this year. I am working hard on improving my vocal and music production, so I am also excited about continuing to learn and improve my artistry.

“Wish On Me” by Kirsty Grant is out now.

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