From her days as a hair salon receptionist until now, St Louis-born, LA-based pop princess, Slayyyter, has made music for the gays, girlies and everyone in between. Following her 2019, fourteen-track mixtape, Slayyyter, featuring tracks like BFF, Daddy AF and Mine, the “micro internet influencer” returns, bigger, bolder and better than ever, with her debut album Troubled Paradise, released on June 11.
While tracks like Self Destruct, Venom and Throatzilla wouldn’t sound out of place on her first mixtape, others like Troubled Paradise, Clouds and Letters reveal a more intimate side to Slayyyter. With the new sound also comes new visuals, with art by Munachi Osegbu (think: WAP) and her recognisable platinum hair refined to a single blonde streak. Join METAL as we chat to the artist – hilarious and down-to-earth as always – about her newfound passion for bedazzling, overcoming imposter syndrome and “very, very humble beginnings”. From Missouri to California and now the world, Slayyyter’s arrived. Are you ready?
How has lockdown been for you? Have you picked up any new hobbies?
I feel like I’ve gone through so many things during lockdown, like moving to LA and becoming acclimatised to the city. One hobby I picked up was actually bedazzling, or buying rhinestones and gluing them on to things. I got super into it. I’ve even started making lots of stuff for future videos and photoshoots, which is pretty funny. 
Wow, I didn’t expect that.
Yeah, everything in my apartment has rhinestones all over it.
Before LA, where did you originally come from?
St Louis, Missouri. Kind of a far move that I’ve made. I grew up there my whole life in a small, mid-west suburb. [It was] really quiet, and a kind of small town vibe. That’s where everything started from, just me trying to get out of there.
Would you say there’s much of a separation between Slayyyter, as a persona, and Catherine Slater?
Definitely. I feel like my persona is a bit more sexual and very over the top. I actually have social anxiety so in real life I’m honestly quite shy. My music gives me a bit of an edge in that it sounds like I’m this outgoing, party person, but it’s the polar opposite of who I am. It’s a bit like an alter ego.
Does making music help you work through things like your anxiety?
I don’t know if it helps me work through it, honestly. But sometimes music is like a mask, although a helpful one. I feel a lot cooler when I’m making songs, when I’m writing them and thinking of raps to say. It helps me, naturally, to be more confident in myself.
So to talk a bit about your upcoming debut album, Troubled Paradise. I loved the cover art for it, made by Munachi Osegbu. For those who don’t know, it features you, dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, on a green hill, surrounded by tulips, and in front of a rainbow. It made me think of the line, ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto’. Or in your case, ‘‘We’re not in Missouri anymore’. Am I reading into it too much?
No, you hit the nail on the head! That’s exactly the reason that I wanted to use Dorothy. The album is a snapshot of my life over the past two years, and in a way I was swept up by this crazy tornado, like Dorothy, and put in this crazy city and music industry. It still doesn’t seem real. It feels very dreamlike.
In the album, and in songs like Clouds, there’s a lot of longing to go back home. (There really is no place like home.) It can feel really isolating as an artist making music, so it made the most sense having The Wizard of Oz’s aesthetics being the visual forefront of the sound.
It does feel really fitting. Osegbu directed the video for the track Troubled Paradise, too. The video itself feels like a really momentous pop moment, with the jungle set, leopard-print bodysuit and dancing in the rain.
Slayyyter  Troubled Paradise .jpg
What were your inspirations behind the video?
My reference for the video was really random. You know those corny, 1990s marine paintings – they would always be of a leopard, palm trees, the moon, or a sunset over the ocean – ones that you would buy on vacation in little stores on beach towns? Yeah, I was obsessed with those kinds of paintings. I remember when I was making Troubled Paradise I’d tell people that it sounded like one of them, and everyone would always respond like: ‘What are you talking about?’. I don’t know how, but it just sounds like one of those paintings to me. Very jungle-esque. So we referenced those images a lot, and in the end produced this Garden of Eden, paradisical feeling.
By the sounds of it, you’re really heavily invested in the visual aspect of your songs, almost as much as their sound. Would you say that’s true?
Absolutely. Visuals are just as important to me as the music itself. If I can’t see a music video play out in my head when I’m making a song, then the song isn’t good enough or enough of a hit. I have to see the visual in my head. And, even though there isn’t a visual for every song on the album, there could be. In my head, I could plan a video for each.
Several songs on your album, including Troubled Paradise, seem to revolve around one particular relationship. Am I right in thinking this?
Well, I feel like there are a few things going on in the album. But yes, it is mainly about one relationship.
Again, was that something that the album helped you to deal with?
Absolutely. Music helps me get over anything. If I feel something really intensely – whether that’s anger, jealousy, feeling love for something, or feeling depressed – songs help me navigate through it. You can write it all down, turn it into something cool for a three-minute piece of music, and then be finished with it. After that, the emotion kind of goes away.
As you said, writing the album completely helped me to get over somebody who wasn’t very good for me. After writing the album, I was at peace with everything. I even went back to them and was like, ‘hey, look, I wrote this album about you’, and it was fine. We’ve laughed about it since. Writing music has been the most therapeutic relationship I’ve ever had.
My favourite track, Clouds, somehow feels both really happy and really sad at the same time. Listening to the beat made me want to shake my ass, but after hearing the lyrics, that feeling turned into me wanting to cry. What were you trying to convey with this contrast?
Honestly, it’s funny because I wasn’t even trying to make something contrasting, I just thought the beat sounded very sad. The beat is so dance-y, though, and after fully making it and listening back I was like, ‘oh, this is like a Robyn track!’. It’s very sad lyricism over something that’s very fun to dance to. I was in a really sad mood when I wrote it, and that’s what came to mind; all morning and all day long, when I was alone in my Airbnb, I kept getting this intense imposter syndrome. The track was also one of the last songs that I made for the album (during pandemic times) and it became one of my favourites. And even though it’s not the title track, it set the tone for the entire album and embodies its whole theme – me being sad. (laughs).
Do you still get imposter syndrome? Or have you since come to terms with your status as a micro internet-influencer?
You took the words right out of my mouth. A musician too, of course.
I definitely have come to terms with it. All the feelings I had of feeling like I didn’t belong to the music industry shifted as soon as I made this project. To me, at least, it’s a damn good album. I did a good job, and I feel really proud of making it. After making it, my life became a little less troubled because it felt like I was supposed to be doing this. It’s okay if I’m not the best singer, because I’m still an artist worthy of making music as a career. I definitely feel like life has got a little sweeter following the sad zone of all those songs, which is nice too. Sometimes you have to create something to figure out what makes you happy.
Exactly, and I have been lingering on the sadder moments so far, but there are definitely some happy, sexy, quintessentially ‘Slayyyter’ songs in Troubled Paradise. For one, there’s Throatzilla. Three straight minutes of you extolling your dick-sucking abilities is pretty iconic, not to mention empowering. You reclaim this open, unashamed sexuality that women aren’t often expected to have. What was going through your mind writing this track?
It’s so funny because when I think about when I wrote this song, it was the most un-sexy situation ever. I was laying under the covers, about to go to bed, just tapping on my phone and laughing away to myself. I literally wrote it on my friend’s couch in LA, before I really got my own place, wearing my pyjamas and glasses. So, very unsexy. The stuff on my earlier mixtape was very sexual, so I thought people would be pissed off if I didn’t have anything talking about being a slut. I needed the one slut song for the girls.
From your earlier mixtape, it definitely feels that you’ve branched out. It’s not that you’ve shown more ‘depth’, because I think being a slut is deep enough on its own…
…but you’ve shown different sides to you on this album. Is that what you were intending, to broaden out from the image of Slayyyter as just making really sexy songs?
Yeah! Looking at forums and different places, I really read into when people are criticising me, especially my music. After my mixtape, people called me a one-trick pony, but I wanted to show people that I have actual emotions, and that I can put these emotions into music and they’ll actually make good songs. So, I feel like I did want to show a different side, but I also wasn’t trying to force it too much. I’ve naturally moved into this space.
In Venom (aka. Daddy AF on drugs), you whisper the line, “I like to serve, I’m a server”, which has been stuck in my head for days. It really reminded me of the humour on ‘stan Twitter’ where artists like you, Ayesha Erotica, Graveyardguy and Chase Icon first blew up. Has your relationship with Twitter changed much since your earlier days on the platform?
I feel like I go through phases of not using it at all, to using it every day. I’m back into tweeting every day at the minute, though. Without Twitter, or stan Twitter specifically, I wouldn’t be here with a music career or a platform. It’s been a crazy thing that I’ve used to promote myself and my music throughout the years, but I use it a bit differently now, where I just talk about my music and myself. (I used to be really funny) It’s been pretty wild to see this all happen from Twitter alone, so I still love it and feel like it’s a great tool. My personality is also very Twitter based. Even with lyrics in the songs: I’m not trying to reference the platform, it’s just how I talk now. My personality is Twitter.
Me too, it’s pretty infectious once you’re on there.
Literally! I’m always like, ‘let’s go serve bitch, let’s go’.
Do you think Twitter or social media feel like a more ‘democratic’ version of fame, since your followers vote you into power?
Honestly, it does feel like that. People give attention to whoever everyone decides is ‘cool’ or ‘good’. Like, this week we like this artist; she’s cool, listen to her music. Then next week, someone else blows up. That can turn into, ‘oh, we hate her’, just as fast, though. But yeah, it definitely does feel like that.
Speaking of Twitter legends, I was happy to see that the album’s graphics were made by Glitchmood (a UK-based digital artist). He’s created some of your most iconic visuals, like the art for BFF, Daddy AF and Mine. You guys seem like an iconic duo.
Thank you! It’s so funny because he was one of the first people I came across on Twitter when I started my music projects. I put out my first song without any official album art – I might have made something on Photoshop – but he was like: ‘no, let’s make something that looks good’. Then he started doing all my single covers, which gave me such a cool visual identity. He’s such a cool 3D artist, and at the time the 3D art made me look a lot cooler than I was. People were like, ‘what is this, is she on a label?’. In reality, I’d just hit up my friend Josh (Glitchmood) and bought some single art after getting paid that week, working my little receptionist job.
You were a receptionist?
Yeah! I was a receptionist at a hair salon, which was the last normal job that I had. Before that, I was a waitress at a sushi restaurant. Before my music hit off, I was doing this little receptionist desk job, making old ladies’ hair appointments. I had to eventually quit because my music was hitting off, and I kept taking time off work to go to New York and LA to perform these shows.
That’s cool. Wherever an artist comes from, if they make good music, I’ll listen. But there’s still something nice about an artist going from, like, a normal job to making music in LA.
I feel like it’s inspiring. I hope people know that it really is possible to do whatever they want. I come from very, very humble beginnings. I do not have rich parents, I do not have any connections in the music industry whatsoever. My dad wasn’t even really around growing up, it was just me, my mum and my sister. For all this to happen, it’s like, you don’t have to have connections or know people. All you need to do is make cool shit. If you market yourself online, and there are so many different ways to do it, there’s no limit to what you can do.
That’s a really inspiring sentiment. 
Yeah, I mean, we’re in this time where there are so many ‘industry plants’ (I actually think that’s such a stupid phrase, and I hate to say it). But what I mean is it doesn’t always have to be that way. You can achieve home-grown success with what you do.
You finish the album with Letters, a really intimate, pared back, and almost-acoustic track about finding love again. Was it important that you ended the album on a hopeful note? Is it a hint for what’s to come?
Absolutely. It’s a nod and a wink to what my next chapter of music will be. Being in love, being hopeful, feeling that you’re right where you’re supposed to be all of a sudden. In the album, Cowboys is a pretty bitter song about getting ghosted, and Troubled Paradise is a ‘how could you do this to me!’ break-up song. Letters was the very last song I made for the album, and I felt very different that kind of day. I had something different to say, and Nate Campany, one of the producers, started playing the guitar, I started singing melodies, and I just felt that it was really special. It’s a send-off into the next era of Slayyyter. Being in love, having a valentine again.
That’s sweet. I look forward to it. After the release of Troubled Paradise, do you have any other plans coming up that you can share with us to ‘keep us fed’?
Other than the album, I actually have a lot of upcoming music. I’ve made quite a hefty head-start on the next project, and I have quite a bit of music in the vault. I’m also planning shows right now, too. Hopefully I’ll have another album out before I go on tour, but the Troubled Paradise live show is going to be quite an event! Hopefully everyone can look forward to that.
I’ll be waiting in Scotland!
I just got my passport, so I’m ready to take this shit international. Let’s go!