FPA’s slow-burning bedroom-R&B is literally otherworldly. Today, the multi-talented Minneapolis musician shares the title track off her forthcoming album Princess Wiko. It’s a gorgeous, heart-wrenching drama about a fictional princess who’s forced to say goodbye to a lover in another universe (we’ve all been there!). “I want you for eternity / Don’t care if you’re not meant for me,” FPA sings in the chorus over layered guitar, cello, and keys. “I’ll never say your name in peace / Will it keep on haunting me?”
“Princess Wiko” arrives with a video directed by Brendan Lauer and shot by Kyle Moe, which is just as moody and mournful as the song. “There was no vision,” says FPA. “That’s one of the reasons why it was my favorite video to make. Brendan just let me react to the song while fully embodying the Princess Wiko character.”
FPA is the project of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Frances Priya Anczarski. “Princess Wiko” comes after her previous singles “Baby” and “The Loved One,” all of which follow 2020’s Yang Chen. Check out the new “Princess Wiko” visual and read a brief Q&A with FPA below. Princess Wiko is out November 5 via 37d03d—you can pre-order it here.
When did you first conceive of the Princess Wiko character? How’d she come to you?
Last year, before quarantine. I’ve always wanted to write a book, or short stories. I wanted to write about other worlds and the people who would inhabit them. I wanted to tell the story of an atypical princess, someone who must adhere to the norms of her era, while also including the struggles we live through today. I’ve always loved historical fiction, and wanted to merge that with fantasy/sci-fi, and so Princess Wiko was born. I think it’s also easier for me to write about personal things under the guise of a character and story—that way I still feel like I’m being true to myself while also being comforted by the fact that it’s not me who’s naked in front of the world, but Princess Wiko.
What’s the story behind the title track? What compelled you to close the album with this song?
Princess Wiko is about a woman born into nobility, with all the responsibility that entails. She falls in love with someone from her own portal (something like a city-state in this story), and ultimately has a child with this person. Unfortunately, she’s bid by her family to move to a different portal and remarry to strengthen alliances. And from there, it’s a downwards path of self-discovery, suffering, and fate. I don’t know, I hope to finish the book one day. I put this song last because it fit best, I guess. “Miss you, I really miss you, forgive you, of course I forgive you.” She has left her portal and begins a new life, she’s remembering the one she loved, thinking that nothing else will ever compare.
I know you wrote and recorded most of Princess Wiko in your bedroom. What’s your current set-up?
Right now I have a studio space in Northeast Minneapolis pretty close to my house.
How have your arrangements evolved since Yang Chen?
They’re more sophisticated. On Princess Wiko I introduce many more instruments than on Yang Chen. Princess Wiko has cello, violin, harp, trumpet, and organ, in addition to all the other instruments you would expect. I would’ve only dreamed to have harp on my record during Yang Chen—on Princess Wiko it’s on the first track, played by Sarah Grudem (thanks again). And also thanks to Andrew Broder for helping me find some of the musicians, and for all the work he put into the record. Next album I will have a full orchestra, Inshallah.
You’ve said before that you’re drawn, musically, to “super feminine energy.” Do you feel that energy in Princess Wiko? Is there any other music or art that’s given you that energy recently?
Yes, absolutely. Like Yang Chen (Goddess of music), Princess Wiko is pure feminine energy. Recently I read the book The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory, it’s about Catalina of Spain, who later became Queen Catherine of Aragon (married to King Henry the VIII). It’s historical fiction but I like how the novel is focused on the life of the Queen instead of her husband. I also like the album Any Dead Coquette by Soubrette (who is also from Minneapolis)… It’s a great album, and I don’t know if Soubrette would say the same but it gives me that same type of energy.