By Marcus Brooks
Welcome to Add To Queue, a series where I do a deep dive into the most interesting artists on the rise you haven’t heard of. Today’s artist is Remi Wolf, a 25-year-old Los Angeles-based artist who describes her sound as “funky soul pop”. Her soulful voice, colorful persona, and creative quarantine music videos have garnered her both a dedicated fanbase and a plethora of industry connections with just two EPs.
A year after graduating from USC’s Thornton School of Music with a BM in Popular Music, Wolf independently released her debut EP You’re A Dog! in 2019. Full of psychedelic distortion, slinky guitars, groovy beats, and Wolf’s energetic vocals, it caught the attention of the indie music scene and was very well received.
A standout is “Doctor,” a rollercoaster of a track where Wolf gives some of her most impressive sky-high vocals to date over a smooth guitar riff and bouncy percussion. After Island Records A&R representative Hill Coulson saw one of her sets during a mini tour in New York City, Wolf signed to Island Records in January 2020.
Keeping with the canine theme, Wolf released her major-label debut, I’m Allergic To Dogs!, under Virgin EMI/Island Records in 2020. This project is everything that her debut was, turned up to an 11. Every single song is inescapably catchy; it is nearly impossible to listen to this EP without a steady foot tap going the entire 16 minutes and 39 seconds.
Of particular note is “Photo ID,” Wolf’s most commercially successful song to date with over 33 million streams on Spotify. “Photo ID” is the quintessential Remi Wolf experience. It’s bursting with her infectious energy as it slides through different hooks while constantly keeping the listener on their toes by adding and subtracting sonic elements. Another notable song is “Hello Hello Hello.” If that title sounds familiar to you, it probably is; a remix of the song was featured in a popular Apple ad for the iPhone 12.
A new project has yet to be officially announced, but her stellar EPs show she has the talent to stick around for a while.
Given that I’m Allergic To Dogs! was released throughout spring 2020, Wolf had to get creative with how she used her new major-label resources for the music videos. In the video for “Woo!,” she dances around colorful, animated landscapes accompanied by semi-lifelike 3-D renderings of herself with different eccentric outfits and hair (some are even sporting Medusa-like long black tendrils).
The “Photo ID” video takes it a step further; the goopy 3D renderings are the focus of the entire video with no appearance from real Remi Wolf at all. Wolf has cited the Spy Kids and Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movies as inspirations and those influences certainly ring true. One of the many hilarious YouTube comments said it best, “I’m surprised the human mind can create something that incomprehensible to other human minds. I have no idea what’s going on what.”
With her energetic, upbeat music and colorful persona, Remi Wolf seems like quite a fun person to be friends with, so it is no surprise she has racked up an impressive list of industry mutuals in such a short time.
Her Instagram comments are often filled with a healthy number of blue checks, including star couple Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello. Internet-beloved hip-hop producer, Kenny Beats, enlisted her (as well as her main collaborator Jared Solomon) to model new merch for his popular show, “The Cave,” on his Instagram. Her friendship with fellow indie standout Dominic Fike even blossomed into a remix of “Photo ID,” fit with added guitars and a signature rap verse from Fike. The remix package We Love Dogs!, featuring remixes of her first two EPs by the likes of Fike, Sylvan Esso, Kimbra, and Beck is further evidence of the deep roots Wolf has planted herself in the music industry in just two years.
Although Wolf has yet to fully blow up, she is definitely putting the world on notice. She was included in NME’s 100 Essential Emerging Artists for 2021, as well as the slightly more exclusive Fender Next Class of 2021 (previous artists include King Princess and recent Grammy nominee Black Pumas), and Vevo DSCVR Artists To Watch (previous artists include Billie Eilish and Sam Smith).
She also recently took on late night, giving an electric virtual performance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her songs are packed with energy and powerful belting, but she still manages to give crystal clear live vocals as she dances around (or bounces around in this Photo ID ft. Dominic Fike performance). This will serve her well as she takes on a packed festival season schedule with appearances at Bonnaroo, Music Midtown, and Austin City Limits (among others).
Check out her latest single, “Liz,” on all streaming platforms and be on the lookout for Remi Wolf at festivals later this year.