She started songwriting at a very young age, and now Piper Page has an EP under her belt along with her most recent single, ‘Risk’. The Missouri-bred rhythm & blues/pop artist—now based in New York City—gets honest in her single when reflecting back on her previous relationship.
‘Risk’ is for all the bad bitches with commitment issues. It’s lyrics are meant to empower other women and to let them know that it’s okay to be vulnerable. Oftentimes, we let our guard down when we get into a relationship and we’re basically putting ourselves, our hearts, at risk.
As part of our Women in Music & Mental Health series, we spoke to Piper Page about her single ‘Risk’, balancing a career in music as an artist and college student, the everyday struggle behind music promotion, and overcoming heartbreak.
HT: How are you doing? I know you said that you were busy but in general just like, how do you feel? I took a listen to ‘Risk’. I love it!
PP: Thank you. I am overwhelmed. I just moved to a new apartment today. Apparently, new people are moving in tomorrow so I have to figure out somehow to go all the way back to Manhattan and turn in my keys and get the rest of our stuff out. It’s a mess—I’ll be excited when this is done. But other than that, I’ve been working all day and doing life. It’s been a long day.
HT: Yeah, I saw that you’re a coffee drinker. I’m obsessed with coffee.
PP: I am obsessed with coffee. It’s almost a terrible thing.
HT: It is, it’s like a drug. My mom is also a caffeine addict. That’s something we talk about all the time, it’s just like, “yo, we’re about to die if we don’t have coffee in our veins.”
PP: Yes, and at this point it’s not even about the caffeine for me. Like I genuinely just like the taste of coffee. Like it doesn’t do anything to me—
HT: Anymore, yeah. *Laughs*
PP: The keeping me up part doesn’t really do that. I just genuinely like the taste.
HT: Dope, okay, well I’m glad that we can at least chat about that. And l’d love to get coffee! Now that I know you’re in the city I’d love to get coffee with you if anything.
PP: Of course, where are you in the city?
HT: Oh I’m in the Bronx. But I’m always in Brooklyn, Manhattan, anywhere really.
PP: Yeah, love that.
HT: Yeah, so, I guess just tell me about your journey. I’m really glad that your music even made it to my inbox because, I don’t know, it’s very telling and I love it. It shares a story so I just want you to share that with me.
PP: Yeah, so my journey so far, in general, I guess I started songwriting when I was about 12 but I’ve always been doing music. I played piano growing up, I played the viola in middle school, high school. I was always a dancer, always on stage and doing musical theatre all through high school. When I was around sixteen I would say, I started actually songwriting. Like I’d been writing since I was twelve but it wasn’t anything, like I didn’t think being a musician was what I wanted to do or that I could do. And then I would say around sixteen, I started actually songwriting, combining my love of poetry and music and playing piano together. Then I started working in a local recording studio in high school, I think I was a senior.
PP: Yeah, yeah, it was a really chill gig but I was an intern, studio manager, I just kind of helped other local musicians in the area work on music and I loved it! I didn’t realize the music industry was a thing you could do, like that’s something you could pursue. While I was working there, I wrote and recorded my first project which was, “Piper Page,” the EP, so I loved that experience. Then I also changed my application major to New York University to say Music Business at that time because I did not know that was a thing. It was Music Therapy previously, or Music Education. Changed my application, got into Music Business, was stunned that I got into Music Business ‘cause I was like, “I don’t know anything.” *Laughs* Then I came to NYU and it was the best thing ever. Right before I came to NYU I went on a tour and I also put out the EP at the same time. No marketing, you know, the team I have now—didn’t have them then. Didn’t know a single thing about the music industry other than the artists that I looked up to. I wish I could say— I feel like my life would’ve been way different had I been a fangirl.
PP: I was never a fangirl, or like a “stan” of anything. I liked artists, I loved music, but I was never like a One Direction stan and I feel like they have the leg up when it comes to literally anything in the music industry because they were like—like one of my current managers was a One Direction stan, still is, and it has benefited her so much because I didn’t know a single thing. But then I came to NYU, learned a bunch of things, met a bunch of great people and that’s when I also met my producer who’s also a really good friend of mine. And that’s the process of ‘Risk’ started there, I would say that was sophomore fall, last September.
HT: Wow, so you’re a junior now?
PP: I’m going on my junior year, yeah.
PP: Before this year I still wrote music, still loved it, still loved performing but I hadn’t been putting out projects because I didn’t know who I was as an artist. I didn’t know what my sound was gonna be, I didn’t know what kind of music I wanted to make. I was still figuring myself out. I was a 18-year-old, 19-year-old girl who had just moved a thousand miles away to New York City from a small town where everyone makes folk country singer-songwriter music to suddenly the mecca of good music.
PP: All the artists I listened to growing up, like, this was the place where everyone was making it. Everyone around me was so talented. The kids in my program are just absurdly talented but it’s super inspiring. Eventually, I got my act together and was like, “I’m gonna work on a few songs, work on a few demos with my friend Will,” and that’s where that process started was in September. I sent him the scratched demo of it, like my voice memo, and was like, “let’s start there.” And he did. We took it for maybe four months, four-ish months, he worked on it, passed it off to another producer, he finished it. And at that point, with the second producer, I was like, “Oh, this is no longer just a demo on my list of things I wanted to get done. This is a fully fledged song, it’s done and it sounds really great. I guess now I put it out. I guess I gotta do that now because it just exists.” It was about that time that I stopped hoarding my music. *Laughs* And then since—the song was done in April—since then, we formed my artist team, we did a four week-long marketing plan, and then worked on the music video, did a two-week marketing plan for that, released it and here we are.
HT: Dope! No, I love it. I wish that I was kind of there in the beginning but I don’t know much I could’ve done. *Laughs* Like I’m doing it now so I guess it’s good that I’m hearing your story. You mentioned that you didn’t really know yourself when you were first creating that demo or like understood the type of music you wanted to put out. Have you figured that out now or are you still kind of teetering?
PP: I think I will always be figuring it out. For the rest of my music career, I will always be figuring it out. And I don’t wanna have anything decided. I don’t want to be that kind of artist. I like to say that I try to genre-blend. I don’t wanna have a distinct sound. I want things to sound different but still me. And ‘Risk’, before it became what it is now, sounded like all the songs on my EP. It sounded very singer-songwritery and acoustic but that’s not me. That was me trying to get people to listen to it because of where I grew up and where I’m from. I thought if I made the songs very acoustic, that’ll get people to listen. Um, it didn’t. *Laughs* And I also didn’t like it, even when I put it out, I was not confident in that project at all. But it’s because I didn’t know anything and I didn’t know who I wanted to be as an artist. I would say two years later, yeah I’m still figuring it out, but I have a better idea based on the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met and the way that I live my life now versus how I did years ago. All of that combines to make my music now.
PP: I mean, I label myself an R&B-pop artist and I guess at the core of that is who I am but I will always love musical theatre and you will probably hear that in my songwriting. And I will always love jazz music and I mean, you’ll hear the jazz instruments in the back and the rhythms that I choose. I will always just put music out that I like that represents who I am.
HT: Yeah, I love that. I love that about you. Great! So, what do you plan on doing next, ‘cause your school— which I think is great, I think it’s perfect that you’re studying Music Business while doing this.
PP: Thank you.
HT: ‘Cause I know a lot of artists who are studying something different and just dropped out because they didn’t feel like it was pertinent but even before you landed on Business you already were like, “Music Therapy, Music Education.”
HT: What is your ultimate goal musically? What are you trying to do with it? ‘Cause it sounds like you’re trying to do something, I just don’t know what.
PP: Yeah, no, I’ve always loved music, I always knew I wanted to work in the music sphere somehow, some way. When I applied to NYU, I was Music Education but I wanted to do Music Therapy but that was only in the grad program so I was just going to minor in Psych and then study it as grad. But then, things changed when I was working at that internship and realized that the music business was something you could do and pursue. I knew somebody had to be the artist’s manager and the publisher and the entertainment lawyer and all that. I knew someone had to be doing that. I didn’t know you could go to school for it. So the more I was learning as an intern, that’s when I changed my major. Now I would say, I mean I’ve done a lot of internships so far while I’ve been living here for two years. I’ve tried a little bit of everything. I’ve done touring, I’ve done live, I’ve done marketing, PR, branding and licensing and all of that. I’ve done pretty much every job that you can do except for entertainment law and one of my minors is in entertainment law. So, I would like to pursue that. I think I would go to law school. We’ll see how I feel by the time I graduate, whether that still rings true. No matter what my major was going to be or what it is now, what will always ring true is that I want to work with the minority groups in music. So when I wanted to be an educator, I wanted to work with kids of color. Because when I was growing up, I grew up at a PWI in the whitest possible neighborhood in Missouri. I had maybe one Black teacher and it would’ve definitely helped had my music teacher been Black. I think that would’ve done wonders for me. So that was the initiative there and when I changed my major to Music Business, the idea was that I’d still uplift women of color in the industry because they are the most skated, they are the most jaded in this industry. As one, as a woman of color in this music industry, I know how difficult it is for us to rise and level up in this industry than everybody else. The majority of TikTok stars right now are white kids and they’re blowing up — some of the music is great, but then there’s that group of Black musicians on the Internet that we have yet to discover or that are being discovered but they’re not the ones getting signed.
PP: So that I think is my current goal. I would like to pursue entertainment law, advocate for women of color in the music industry. Right now, I work in marketing and I absolutely love it. I’m finding new, creative ways to develop up-and-coming artists, a lot of women, so that’s exciting. And then I also love live music so I’ve done that. I perform obviously, so being on stage, working with venues, event planning was always my thing in high school. I think it will always be my thing whether I stay— I mean think I will stay on the performer route forever but depending what level I go. As a performer I still think I will always work in the music industry.
PP: As my thing, like it’s the only thing I love doing, like I truly love doing this. I don’t know if I could do anything else. I would still be a teacher, I guess. Way down the line, I would still love to teach. I loved working with kids and my focus was students with disabilities and little kids and still love that today. I wouldn’t give that up, I wouldn’t make it my full time job, but I wouldn’t give it up.
HT: Yeah, no, I love it. I think it’s interesting the more and more I interview people — and I’ve been doing this for so long — I’m starting to realize that a lot of women that are in music or that are just artists are able to multitask and do multiple things at the same time.
HT: I wanna talk about this with you ‘cause you’ve been doing this since high school. And I’m the type of person that understands everything you’re saying right now so I feel like it’s perfect. What are some ways you’re able to manage all of those things? I’m sure it’s not perfect or your ideal way but how are you able to stay on top of working on that demo but also graduating high school and then going into college and then also trying to figure out how you will begin your life.
PP: Yeah. It’s a lot. I do a lot. I think I’ve always just been doing the most. In high school, I was in every single club but also in choir and show choir, trying to be a musician, trying to get into NYU. Even after I graduated high school, I was going on tour, putting out an album, moving across the country. Then I got to college and I’m working multiple internships at one time, being a full time student, I’m a cofounder of a collective and I’m a full time musician. I’ve always been doing the most.
PP: Now, I think I go about things— I have a really incredible artist team that helps me— takes a lot of the heat off of the things I have to do. I mean, I don’t think it’s necessary for every independent artist to have one but I think it’s helpful.
PP: You’re doing that many things and you’re wearing that many hats, it gets incredibly overwhelming. I mean, you shouldn’t have to. If there are people out there who want to help you, say yes to that. It took me a long time to realize that. I had to start saying yes, like, “oh, these people want to help me be a musician and be good at what I do.”
PP: I guess I should agree. *Laughs* I guess I should say yes and not have to do everything myself. So they’ve taken a lot of the heat off of me. Um, going to therapy. *Laughs* Having that support system and then also having a support system within my various communities. So like, my program, my major at NYU, is fairly small, I guess, compared to other majors. There’s about 40 people per class so we are all very tight and we’ve got an incredible academic advisor who helps us stay on track. She’s also an incredible Black woman, so, getting our head on straight. I’ve found a great support system in them, like my best friend is from that major and she’s also a Black female musician. So that’s been incredible to find those people who you can share experiences with and when you’re struggling, they can help you figure that out because she’s probably been there, too. And then other communities like with my friends at NYU and with my collective, Stage Whisper-Her, I found the two best possible people I could to run a company. So that’s been great, I would say my parents have been incredibly supportive through their kid just deciding to be a popstar. *Laughs*
HT: *Laughs* So it’s like, the support, the mental health, the physical health.
PP: Yeah, you need all of it in order to be a fully functioning human. Some days I wake up and I’m like, “Ugh, I don’t wanna do this.” But I’ve got two incredible managers who are like, “No, you have to do this and we’re going to do this because that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help.” It’s been great to have the support systems, the mental health, taking care of yourself and also knowing that it’ll all work out.
PP: Maybe not right now, maybe not next week, but somewhere down the line it will work out for you. I don’t think, a year ago, if I had said that, I would’ve believed that. ‘Cause I definitely didn’t think I would be in the place that I am in now.
HT: Mhm. Wow, that’s amazing. So, okay, now that ‘Risk’ is out, I’m guessing you’re done with all the marketing planning. Are you planning to work on other stuff or are you kind of just taking a break? *Laughs*
PP: Yeah, no, so ‘Risk’ — the marketing for that was a really long thing, it was really worth it. It was really well-received. Truthfully, I just don’t know if it ever ends. *Laughs* I don’t think it ever stops. The marketing for ‘Risk’ will stop when the next single comes out.
HT: When will that be, or you don’t know yet?
PP: I don’t know when, I think it’ll be September. I guess I can say that. I’m working on it now. I think it’ll be September. I’m trying to make it a goal — like there’s always going to be something else. I don’t want to have too many unfilled spots. It’s been a few weeks since the music video release so there won’t be a song for another two months but there’ll be some other things. There will definitely be some other things that happen in between there. I just don’t wanna lose momentum.
PP: I’ve got a good thing going. People really like the song and that’s great. I love the song. And I wanna keep doing this. I wanna make it happen for me. Yeah, I think the marketing truly never stops even if you stop seeing constant posts about it or I stop doing the “Get Ready With Me To My Song” every single day. Even if the TikToks stop, the marketing truly never stops ‘cause we’re always doing something on the backend that you just don’t see at the moment. It’s not immediate marketing, it’s slow. Things like this — we’re doing an interview about the song right now and the song came out two months ago. And I’ve been doing a lot of stuff like this so, yeah, I think it just never ends and it’s a lot but it’s worth it in the end. Soon, we’ll start promoing the next song and then when that happens, we’ll start promoing the video for that and then when that stops, there’ll be another song.
HT: Well what does it look like when you are on your down time ‘cause I know what it’s like to always be on so what is it — is moving your down time right now? *Laughs*
PP: So, I will be completely honest about it. I had a long conversation with my managers about it yesterday because the last three weeks, I pretty much did disappear from social media. I didn’t do it on purpose, I was just so overwhelmed. *Laughs* The move, you know — I looked at 30 apartments. The move, starting a new job, I’m starting abroad in the fall, so getting all the documents ready for that and trying to get my visa on time. It was just a lot that I truly forgot for a sec that I was like, “I have to be on. No matter what, I have to keep up appearances because that’s my job as an artist no matter what.” And it’s really hard! It sucks sometimes. I just really need some time to just do me and not have to be on all the time. It’s just unrealistic, it is, because we’re human. Sometimes it’s just not gonna work like that. But I think I needed it, I needed the time to take a break and step back and then also I think I did need it to realize what happened because of it.
PP: Because I wasn’t on, because I was pretty much just not on Instagram. I posted a couple TikTok videos but — I was shadowbanned for a really long time and that — I just had no motivation after that. After I was shadowbanned, I was like, “Okay, well my views are gonna be low for the next two weeks so why — I’m not gonna put out any content until it’s lifted.” But I saw numbers going down and streams were slow and I was like, “Oh no, people are forgetting, they’re gonna forget about me! They’re gonna forget that I exist!”
HT: Hoo, yes!
PP: “Oh, no! That’s not good!” Yeah, it was a snap back to reality real quick yesterday, having that conversation I was talking to them, I was like, “Ahhh! I’m panicking! Numbers are slow and—” I mean it’s obviously not all about the numbers but when you’re an artist—
HT: That’s what people look at.
PP: Yeah, you’re looking at that stuff. You just have to. Yeah, it was a real snap back to reality, like, “Oh, I guess I can’t go ghost mode.”
HT: Yeah, I’m gonna go off the rails really quick because this is something that I know a lot of people struggle with and I think it has to do with the fact that once social media became a big trend and it was no longer a trend, it was just like, “Yo, we’re here to stay,” people felt like they always had to be on on social media.
HT: And it kinda sucks, like you said, it sucks ‘cause when you’re an artist or even someone that’s just doing stuff behind the scenes, you don’t necessarily look at social media as a part of our lives, you look at it as a tool. *Laughs* Or just like, “This is like a work tool and we’re trying to go this way.” But, for you, as a person, as a human, being able to just shut off or just shut down, like, “I’m not gonna go on Instagram for this week or two weeks,” it’s kinda wild to think it snapped you back, you’re like, “Shit, my fans!” *Laughs* Like, “My fucking fans! I can’t!” While at the same time, it’s like, this is the only way you can communicate with your fans.
HT: What is something that you can do where you can just shut off, ‘cause I feel like Beyoncé doesn’t have to be on Instagram all the time so it’s like, why do you have to be there all the time?
PP: I wish I had an answer to this, I do. I’m still figuring it out because I’ve never — this is the first time that I’ve had people looking up to me in this way or relying on me to put out content or trying to keep up with me. I’ve never had eyes on me like this.
PP: And so I’m figuring out what to do. I just didn’t know what to say to all of this. I really was just like, “I’m gonna do my thing, I’m dealing with life, I’m dealing with things, I need a minute.” I’m also trying — I mean, I’m still figuring out the balance between personal life and then music things, like music posts because before I was an artist, my Instagram was just my Instagram. My TikTok just had some dumb videos about dating. I wasn’t actively putting out content for the purpose of people listening to my music.
PP: [Or] getting to know me as a person; it just existed. So when “Risk” promo started, that’s all I was really putting out was content about the song or content about the video. And I was doing stuff in between, when I was hanging out with friends and, you know, I had a big move, and I was doing all these cool things I guess, but I was like, “Nobody wants to see that.”
PP: “Nobody cares that I’m doing that.” I guess that is what Instagram is for but is it really that for artists? Like am I now in a different category of social media because I’m an artist or can I still post these more casual things, like me on vacation with my family? Like, do people care?
HT: Yeah. Like, “If I stop promoting the song, will people still follow me because I’m just being me right now?”
PP: Exactly. And then the numbers were going down anyway, and I was like, “Oh, I guess they want a little bit of both.” And my managers were like, “Yeah!” *Laughs* “That’s exactly what they want! Piper, post something!” And I was like, “Oh, okay. I guess.” *Laughs* It’s a learning curve, it’s a learning curve for sure. I’m still figuring out how I can not be on all the time but still have that communication and that relationship with people that love my music.
HT: Yeah, I think that’s a — I don’t think anyone has that figured out but I do notice that it’s happening all the time. Thank you, that was super honest, I love that.
PP: Thank you, yeah.
HT: So, okay, you answered — did you say what ‘Risk’ was about? I mean, it’s obvious, taking risks and it has to do with you moving across the country. I feel like it’s an accumulation of a bunch of things.
PP: It is an accumulation of a bunch of things. ‘Risk’ was, I guess the current meaning, or like what it meant at the time I finished writing it was the hesitancy to be in a committed relationship with somebody because of a lot of factors, because I was moving to New York at the time of the start of the relationship, because I have been screwed over so many times before that in other relationships and I didn’t want that to happen again. It was a lot of things but at the time I finished the song, a year after I started writing it, that’s what it was at the time was that I didn’t want to be vulnerable and I just wasn’t ready. But I wanted it, you know, you want something so bad but you’re just not sure it’s that. Bad bitches with commitment issues — that’s who it’s for and that’s what I am. *Laughs*
HT: Aside from the relationship aspect, I feel like it kind of goes in hand with what you’re dealing with social media-wise or even just helping women of color ‘cause I feel like that’s all a risk factor as well. You’re putting yourself almost like — not on behalf of all of them but just someone to look up to. You even mentioned it before, you’re like, “Yo, these people are looking up to me, they wanna see my music.”
HT: I feel like you’re just taking a bunch of risks. *Laughs* You’re taking so many risks!
PP: Definitely. I mean, that’s a part of growing up is you’re just constantly taking a bunch of risks and that’s what it is. I would hope that people can take the lyrics and apply it to whatever is happening in their life. It will always be relevant. I mean, the song may be about a relationship but it will always be relevant to something.