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Brand collaborations have become something of a milestone for musicians. It’s a mark of bankable reach, but, despite the prevalence of artist-brand partnerships, the stigma of “selling out” for the wrong collaboration still lingers.
So when rising pop star glaive was approached by smartphone accessories brand PopSockets to star in a new campaign, he was at first hesitant. “My manager is like, ‘there’s this thing, and you should look at it,’ and at first I was like, ‘no, that’s crazy,’” glaive tells Rolling Stone. “But then they sent a treatment for it with all the looks and shit, and I was like, ‘actually, this is gonna look really cool.’ And then I got [to the shoot] and I was like, ‘wow, this actually is really cool,’” he recalls.
glaive’s campaign with PopSockets was centered around a two-piece, limited-edition collection dubbed Dimensionals, which sees the brand’s signature phone grip given a metal, rock and roll-inspired overhaul. “I hadn’t seen a PopSocket — can I say that? I hadn’t seen a PopSocket since I was in middle school. And I was imagining, like, the same thing. They were just solid colors when I saw them,” says glaive. “And they bring out these like big metal joints and I was like, ‘these are actually pretty sick.’ I had no idea what to expect, and I had just seen pictures, but I didn’t realize they’re like, actually metal and nice to look at.
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glaive, whose real name is Ash Gutierrez, turned to music out of pandemic-induced boredom, found success on SoundCloud, and quickly inked a deal with Interscope. A few EPs later and, this year, the 17-year-old North Carolina native finds himself on tracks with Machine Gun Kelly (“More Than Life”) and as the opener for The Kid Laroi’s “End of the World Tour.” Next year, glaive is looking forward to another major milestone: his debut studio album.
Rolling Stone sat down with glaive in Los Angeles to hear about his foray into brand partnerships, his upcoming debut studio album, and how he spends “up to 14 hours” on his phone per day.
Rolling Stone: This was your first time posing for a fashion photoshoot. What did you think of modeling?
glaive: I love it. I mean, that’s like, the one thing that I want to do, to be honest. I don’t really have too many passions other than music, but I feel like I could do [modeling]. I’m tall, and like really skinny. So I feel like I checked the two boxes that you really need. It’s an interest of mine. I’ve always been interested in like, fashion houses and shit, so fingers crossed we’ll do more of it.
What did you like about modeling?
Well, since I was like 15 all I’ve done is music. And I love that I do music, but sometimes it’s nice to have somebody just be like, “you’re pretty. That’s enough! You don’t gotta sing or do anything, just like, just look.” It was a pretty easy gig for somebody that’s not relying on it as, like, a full-time job, you know what I mean?
What do you think of the PopSockets Dimensionals Collection?
I hadn’t seen a PopSocket — can I say that? I hadn’t seen a PopSocket since I was in middle school. And I was imagining, like, the same thing. They were just solid colors when I saw them. And they bring out these like big metal joints and I was like, “these are actually pretty sick.” I had no idea what to expect, and I had just seen pictures, but I didn’t realize they’re like, actually metal and nice to look at. And then they bust out this container of like 50 PopSockets and they give it to me. And it’s pictures of my face and shit. And I was like, “that’s what’s up.” And I got one on right now [takes out his phone]. It’s a selfie I took in a bathroom, and they put it on a PopSocket. And I was like, “hell yeah.”
How do you typically spend time on your phone?
My most used app is Ryah [laughs]. Na, I’m playing [opens Screen Time]. My most used app is YouTube. That’s a pretty normal one, I feel like. And then my second most-used app is a video game called Retro Bowl. It’s like a football game. And then Twitter. I have an average screen time of seven hours and 35 minutes a day this week. But you’d never believe that last week it was 10 hours and 44 minutes.
That’s a lot.
When I’m on tour it gets up to like 14 [hours] sometimes. It’s like, you’re not ever really awake for more than 14 hours. How does that even happen?
What do you watch when you’re on YouTube?
I don’t particularly consume the most interesting content because most of the time I’m just doing it to relax. [Looks at YouTube history]. There’s this YouTuber called damianluck925, and he just goes and like smokes weed in public places. I fuck with him. I’ve watched his videos a lot. A Justin Vernon song, “A Song for a Lover of Long Ago,” a Lil Peep video, and a glaive song, an unreleased glaive song, because I got to keep up with what the people are saying. But yeah, I try to consume shit that’s like pretty informational, normally, so that wasn’t a great example. But also I’m really into fashion. I watch a lot of like fashion-based YouTube videos about the history of shit. So I just watch a lot of like, information shit because I don’t go to school anymore, so I don’t really, like, learn anything. So I try to get that through random YouTube videos.
When did you stop going to school?
When I was like 15 or 16. I have one class left to graduate, and I really want to do it so I can be like “I graduated from high school.” It’s calculus, which is the hardest. I liked school when I went. I was pretty good at it, too. But yeah, bigger fish to fry I guess. But I will finish it one day, but that day is not today.
But you still get some learning done on your phone through YouTube.
Yeah. I tried a lot to, like, not be on [my phone] as much because it’s really bad for my brain. But I love Twitter. I be on that bitch a lot, but apparently not as much as YouTube. But I feel like I use Twitter the most out of all the social medias. Like I open my phone and look at Twitter and then I put it down.
Do you look at what people are saying about you on Twitter?
I would love to sit here and be like, “no, I would never do that,” but I do that shit all the time. And I think it’s bad because it’s like, you shouldn’t care what people are saying, but also there’s been times when people have said, like, not the nicest things, and now I just kind of got used to it. So I’m now thinking like, with the positive shit I’m like, “oh, that’s really nice! Thank you so much,” and with the negative shit I’m like “ah, who cares, such my dick!” That’s how I felt about it. But one day we’ll do an interview and I’ll be like “I don’t even have a phone anymore. I just email people on my laptop.”
People mostly refer to you as a hyperpop star, but also a digicore star, or just a rising pop star. But how do you describe yourself?
Huh. That’s such a good question. I’ll say this: For a long time, when I was like, 15, 16, I was really bothered by people saying my music was like “hyperpop.” Because I was like, “I just make music, there’s no need to genre it.” But I think as I’ve aged and grown I’ve been like [hyperpop] is a pretty accurate description of what I do. I think a lot of people think of hyperpop as like a certain type of music, but that’s never what it is or never what it has been. It’s always just, like, people making music that they like, and that’s kind of what I do. I don’t ever try to make music that has a certain type of genre. Like, for all the songs that are on my album, everyone thinks it’s this crazy sonic departure from what I was doing before, but to me it sounds the same. There’s just guitars now, opposed to there being like synths before. I don’t ever hear a difference. I’m just always like, “it’s me singing, the production goes hard to me, so that’s it.” But you can say whatever the fuck you like. You can call it hyperpop, you can call it pop, you can call it rap, you can call it fucking country. I don’t care. As long as people like it and as long as people care enough about it for it to be interesting then that’s all that matters to me.
You’re finishing up your debut studio album. How’s that going?
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It’s going really good. I mean, I feel like — everybody experiences this when they’re young — I feel like I’m trying to be more assertive, I should say. And I’ve been struggling with the dichotomy of like, being scared to say shit, but also like, “this is my shit, my songs.” So I’m like working on that but it’s going really well. I’m getting it to a place where I’m happy about it.
Where does that feeling of wanting to be more assertive come from?
I mean, everybody has opinions about it, right? Everybody has opinions about music, and everybody can talk about it forever. But like, at the end of the day, it’s my songs. And it’s like me saying it, I’m the one that’s putting it out. If it sucks, and everyone hates it, the random people that gave me the opinions don’t get the backlash from it. So just trying to make sure it’s as true to myself as possible, which is easier said than done, but I think we’re getting there.
Can you share any timeline for the release?
I mean I want to do it as soon as possible. I’m being told like early next year. March, hopefully, March. If they let me do it in January I’d do it in January. But it’s like, realistically, March. But I’ll say that and it’ll fucking come out in 2027. But yeah, hopefully March. That’s what everyone’s shooting for at least. And that’s what I want as well. But we’ll see. Only time will tell I guess.