Meet Quinn, the 16-year-old internet musician who was the young face of hyperpop until she deleted everything and started over

By CreatorStack ยท 13 days ago

Quinn became the face of a music genre before she was old enough to get a driver's license. Last year, the high school junior went viral on SoundCloud and YouTube as a hyperpop prodigy, working in an emergent style of pop music that mixes futuristic vocals with chaotic synths and hard-hitting drums. She sang sincerely about personal humiliations (like feeling left out of a friend group) in a high-pitched voice or rapped over beats that oscillated between manic and melancholic.

In 2020, The New York Times, Vice, and Complex wrote about Quinn, and Spotify used her image as the cover for its popular "hyperpop" playlist (240,916 likes), which is the internet music scene's version of having your face plastered on a billboard in Times Square.

But in March, half a year after Quinn's peak of fame, the 16-year-old deleted all of the hyperpop songs from her SoundCloud page, stopped collaborating with other artists, and opted instead to make foreboding ambient and video game-themed jungle music featuring no vocals or lyrics.

Quinn comes off as ambivalent about celebrity. Despite claiming that she doesn't want fame and attention, she griped that numerous former hyperpop friends copied her emo-pop style and went viral without crediting her.

On September 17, Quinn, who has over 50 million plays on Spotify, self-released her debut album, "drive-by lullabies." Quinn said she's prouder of these 14 songs than any other music she's made. Fans and critics agree: the music website Pitchfork gave the record a rave review and many listeners online have called it her best release to date.

Quinn represents a new breed of self-conscious, experimental internet musicians who catapulted to viral fame during the early days of the pandemic and are now grappling with the perils of young stardom.

Growing up on the internet has heavily influenced her music style, the artist said. Her hobbies include trawling through obscure YouTube channels to find long-forgotten rap and electronic mixtapes for inspiration and taking shots of "liminal spaces," or eerie hallways and other in-between areas, a photography trend popular on TikTok. She also conducts live Q&A sessions with fans on Twitter.

Collaborating with people online is a core feature of Quinn's music. She used to work with loads of other teenage artists before she stopped producing hyperpop songs. She was also a member of several internet-based "collectives," which are music-making communities that function like different friend groups in a virtual high school that spans the planet. Many hyperpop collectives have their own Discord channels, in which young people from all over the world work together on songs long-distance.

Around late 2019, she started making hyperpop music. The genre, which is sometimes called "digicore," had already existed in various forms since off-kilter pop pioneers such as Uffie and the PC Music label, but it didn't become a fully-fledged movement until the late 2010s, when artists like Quinn joined the scene.

Although Quinn said she feels like "an outsider" nowadays, she retains over 74,000 Instagram followers and 600,000 monthly Spotify listeners. Her unapologetically earnest antics and experimental impulses have earned her a fanbase that sees her as a multidimensional innovator.