Hailing from O’ahu via Los Angeles, singer/songwriter Ipo Pharr is #EverythingGoals this season. The better half of Lowtops, the musical group she formed with significant other Riley Castillo which can decidedly only be described as “space reggae”, Ipo’s sunny disposition and killer style could make her reggae’s new IT girl. Yesterday we chatted a bit about Lowtops’ plan for the future, what inspires her and, of course, festivals!
AA: Tell me a little bit about your musical background … when did you start singing? Who did you listen to? What inspired to you to start doing music?
IP: I always loved music as a kid. I didn’t really learn how to sing from anybody, I would lock myself in my bedroom and sing along to the radio or my boom box. I was obsessed with music. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I really started to think ‘okay, I can do this and try music out as a career’. So I learned guitar my senior year. That’s also when I started writing and when I really discovered who I was. I’m like, “Whoa, I can put all my thoughts into music!” And that’s when it all took off for me.
Fast forward to moving to California and going to music school here in LA… I kinda did my own solo thing for awhile; that didn’t work out and I was pretty sad. At the time I was with my boyfriend, Riley, the other half of Lowtops, and he encouraged me to keep going because I really wanted to give up. He said, “Let’s try a new project and put your energy into something different, so that way you don’t have all your eggs in one basket or feel pressure”. We slowly started putting music together and have created this amazing sound that we’re really stoked on.
AA: Sometimes it takes outside perspective to help you remember why you started in the first place.
IP: For sure and it’s always nice to have someone else believe in you, especially when you’re not believing in yourself. Lowtops really is a salvation for me.
AA: Where do you see Lowtops in the next few years? What are your goals?
IP: We want to take this as far as we can. Festivals are the ultimate dream for us, playing to a big crowd of people, an ocean of people who are singing and moving in unison with you and each other. The first time I went to a festival and felt that experience was at Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival in Tennessee. I was watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I was so moved by the entire experience. It was then that I thought, “This is what I want to do. This moment right here”.
Bonnaroo is a dream. Cali Roots is a major dream for us. Maybe one day Coachella, you never know! [laughs] We’re just stoked on festivals, the world is stoked on festivals right now.
AA: I know! Isn’t it wonderful? I love it so much.
IP: Every year there’s like twenty new ones! A hundred probably. And everyone is having such a great time together … it’s united and it feels good.
AA: It’s definitely my happy place, I think a lot of people will say that. Are you and Riley going to Cali Roots this year?
IP: We are! It’s our first time there! We’re really excited.
AA: Does Lowtops have any new music coming out in the near future?
IP: Our first single is ready to drop, we’re putting a plan together to get a good release. There’s a possibility for a music video too. We’re going to follow it up with a mixtape that we’re going to release at the end of summer/early fall.
We just want to take it on tour, that’s the dream. Sleep in one hotel room with a bunch of people and be hungry and tired. We’re really excited to experience that.
AA: I’m excited for you. You’re on the cusp. Keep doing what you’re doing. Thank you so much for talking to me.
Follow Ipo on Instagram.