Photography by Shervin Lainez.
When Sadie Dupuis took her first break from fronting the acclaimed indie quartet Speedy Ortiz this past January, she spent two weeks writing what would become Slugger, her debut solo album that she’s now released under the name Sad13. The project — full of glossy production that stands in stark contrast to her band’s moody grunge-rock — found her mining more personal experiences: an abusive past relationship, her sexuality, and her own brand of feminism.
“I think, growing up, a lot of the music I listened to maybe wasn’t for me,” says the 28-year-old Philadelphia-based singer. “It was rock bands writing songs with heteronormative breakup anger. The woman was always the villain.”
But on Slugger, named after a character from the Japanese anime Paranoia Agent, Dupuis surfaces as a playful pop heroine. The record peaks with “Get a Yes,” a catchy, easy-flowing track about sexual consent that calls to mind a more polished Liz Phair and unfolds through the lens of Dupuis’s demisexuality, an orientation in which a person experiences physical desires only after the development of strong feelings for someone. “If I do have any sexual attraction, it’s based on years of an intellectual relationship,” says Dupuis, who self-produced the LP. “The dialoguing aspect is the most important — and most exciting — for me.”
While Slugger may be a pivot from her main gig, and a creative risk, Dupuis is reveling in the freedom that comes from tapping into a different side of her personality. “These are topics that people deal with all the time but that are often excluded from pop records,” she says. “But this is my life, and I’m going to write about it.”
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