A quiet drive clears your mind. In the same manner, Penelope’s music presses the reset button and refreshes the spirit. Delicate acoustic guitar and cinematic piano carry her honest stories of life, friendships, and relationships. The New York-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist channels eloquent Laurel Canyon songcraft and diaristic nineties-style lyricism through a minimalist prism where the words hit just as hard as the chords do. Generating millions of streams independently and developing a growing fan base, she crafts a soundtrack intimately attuned to every twist, turn, bump, and bend in the road of life with perspective far beyond her 23 years.
“The music is based on true emotions and storytelling,” she explains. “Any of the instruments complement the story and let the song be the hero. In my writing, I started to see things through different lenses. I was noticing colors, body language, and how people fit into nature and home. I love to drive. There’s nothing better than getting into the car and listening to a record while driving. I keep that in mind when I’m writing.”
Music surrounded Penelope from a young age. Her parents originally emigrated from Australia, while she and her older brother were born in New York. Mom launched a career in fashion, but also wrote orchestral compositions as a classical pianist. She enrolled Penelope in a music program before kindergarten.
“While my best friend and all of the other kids were eating goldfish and banging on drums, I took the class super seriously,” she laughs.
Listening to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Michelle Branch, and Taylor Swift, she picked up piano and eventually guitar. She recognized the potential of her voice by performing a solo in a grade school production of Fiddler on the Roof. For as much as she loved music, soccer dominated the bulk of her free time.
After being recruited to Stanford’s soccer team, an injury derailed her initial plans.
“I tore a ligament in my wrist,” she sighs. “I barely recovered from the surgery, and it sent me into a depression. I had no idea what I was going to do. I was making a lot of sad songs at the time, and my dormmates where like, ‘Why don’t you put these out?’ Once I retired from soccer, I decided to give it a shot. I felt like I had a competitiveness that could be applied to music. You prove yourself through skill, talent, and dedication in soccer, which is a lot like the music industry. I know my own strength from what I’ve endured on the field.”
A session at MDDN Studios and positive feedback from Joel Madden [Good Charlotte] boosted her confidence, and she continued to record. Her 2018 debut single “Catch Me When I Fall” caught fire right out of the gate, clocking over 456K Spotify streams. On its heels, 2019’s “Stranger”—mastered by the legendary Mike Dean [Kanye West, Travis Scott]—graced Spotify’s coveted “New Music Friday” upon release. Meanwhile, Amazon touted “u don’t know me” on its “Brand New Music” playlist. By the time she shared “slippin’ to you” in 2020, her total streams eclipsed 2 million and counting.
Along the way, the songstress crafted what would become her debut EP. Channeling folk intimacy, soul energy, and pop expanse, she introduces herself in the process with a simple, yet striking collection.
“I’m the girl next door, but I’m an old soul,” she explains. “I’m very thoughtful, loyal, and real. I always try to be truthful, and I’m never going to be someone I’m not.”
In the end, Penelope’s music is perfect to cruise through anything life might throw at you.
“I hope my songs are relatable to your life,” she leaves off. “I have a lot of thing to say about life. I think it will pertain to other people’s situations. I’m a singer; I’m also an authentic person. I’m going to be raw, because I want the audience to know their feelings are validated. I want the kid listening to feel heard by it.”