In 2006, when Anna-Catherine Hartley was a mere 18 years old, she released her debut single “Pop The Glock.” Performing under the stage name Uffie, the song was released on a whim with no expectations other than to have fun within her artistic community. Instead, she would experience immediate viral success. Following her breakout single, Uffie would go on to work with the GRAMMY Award-winning electronic duo Justice on their iconic debut album Cross, among many other high-profile collaborations with artists in the pop and electronic world. In 2010, Uffie finally unveiled her highly anticipated debut full-length, Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans, a stunning collection of electronic bedroom-pop and dance music.
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Following the release of the record, Uffie went on a series of hiatuses over the next 12 years, only releasing singles sporadically. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns that Uffie would begin work on her long-awaited sophomore album, Sunshine Factory, a fresh and invigorating project birthed by collaboration and new influences. Now Uffie’s inviting listeners into the fictional world of Sunshine Factory and pick up where she left off — stronger and more inspired than ever…
What was the journey like over the past 12 years to get to the point where you are now releasing Sunshine Factory?
It could not have been more different than the first record. The first record took so long to come out because of personal things happening, from starting a family to touring nonstop. This time, I was not expecting to make a full LP. I guess I’m thankful for the downtime I had during the pandemic lockdowns. [Laughs.] I was doing a lot of co-writing and fun singles on my own, but during the lockdown, I got burned out writing music on Zoom calls. I made a song called “cool” with a friend of mine from Norway, and it was the first thing to excite me since my EPs.
The only place we could both go to work on music due to the lockdowns was Portugal, so we met up in this little fishing village outside of Lisbon for two weeks and banged out all the demos. I had also done a song with Toro y Moi in the past that we never ended up finishing, and I wanted to have him featured on the record, so I sent it to him, and he told me he would love to help with putting it out. I went to see him in Oakland, and within two trips, he reproduced everything and played every instrument live.
What were you pulling from lyrically and sonically on Sunshine Factory?
I would say that this record has a bit more of a pop structure in the writing, due to me living in LA and writing for other artists, which helped me learn and grow as a songwriter. I wanted to keep the music fresh with a bit of humor to be true to my original work, but I also didn’t want to do the same shit I was doing when I was 19. I was going through a breakup at the time, which was a lot of inspiration, but I also pulled from wanting to escape from reality.
I was starting to write from memories, and I wanted it to feel magical because we all needed an escape [during the pandemic]. I created this fictional space called the “Sunshine Factory” where I feel all the misfits can gather. I wanted to dive into these worlds a little more poetically, but still keep it fun.
Your debut single “Pop The Glock” became a viral success in an age where social media was far more primitive than what we experience today. That led to you joining the famous French electronic music collective Ed Banger, among many high-profile collaborations. Can you walk me through the whirlwind career trajectory that followed after this breakout hit?
It was fucking wild, but it happened so fast that I don’t think I realized how big it got until I stepped away for a moment. Everything was in this internet world, but the internet wasn’t everyone’s world at that time in 2006. “Pop The Glock” was supposed to be a one-off single; I was dating [French electronic music producer] Feadz at the time, who made the song with me, and it was a fun thing to write, but I never considered doing music before that. The only reason I released it online was that I wanted a Myspace music profile page like all of my friends. [Laughs.]
It happened so quickly. Promoters were hitting me up on Myspace, and I was booking my own shows across the world. This all happened at the same time when everyone from Ed Banger was blowing up. It was really cool rising together alongside the collective, feeling surrounded by family. I really believe in the power of collectives and collaboration, and it was so cool that we could all win together.
Your contributions to the electronic music community really laid a foundation and inspired other powerful women in a genre that was very male-dominated at the time. What does it feel like looking back on your legacy and being a role model for others?
I remember being so pointed out if I used raunchy lyrics or was hypersexual. I was getting a lot of shit from a lot of places, so I felt it was important to show that I could do exactly what the guys I was surrounded by could do. This gave me ammunition to be 10 times more ballsy when people would talk shit.
You have collaborated with so many artists. Do you have any particular favorites, as well as dream artists you would like to work with one day?
The dream one is always Frank Ocean — there is something so magical and chic about him, while still having mystery. I think there is a lost art of being mysterious as an artist and not flooding everything, and I love that he’s been able to break through yet still maintain that. My favorite collaboration I have done was “ADD SUV” with Pharrell. He was a supporter since the beginning, and he’s a fucking genius. He always showed up with no ego and always came from a beautiful place where I ended up learning a lot from.
This feature appeared in issue #406, available below.
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