Texas native and the indie pop princess Tiffany Stringer has released her most vulnerable song to date, “End of an Era.” Stringer passionately recounts the end of her very publicized eight-year relationship for the first time. Stringer got her start in dance at 2-years-old before transitioning over to singing when she became a KIDZ BOP kid (yes I asked, she told us “Firework” by Katy Perry was her favorite song to perform). In her early 20s she released “Blonde” before going on to release “Control,” “Tease,” and “Perfect” that really lean into the nostalgia factor of an early Britney Spears. So far this year Stringer has released two other songs, “Heaven” and “Shut Up,” which are a bit of a genre switch from her usual bubble gum pop style — these are a lot more personal.
“End of an Era” is Stringer’s way of closing one chapter and opening a new one. It’s the first time she’s ever publicly discussed the breakup in this manner but she’s ready to finally let it free. I asked about how healing writing is, that sometimes you don’t even realize what you’re bottling up until you sit down and allow yourself the space to process. Stinger agrees, noting that she feels like she gained a real sense of clarity in the songwriting process. “I knew I was hurting, I knew I was really sad and I could not figure out why. I’m a very logical person, I like to find an answer and when we did break up I could not figure out why I was doing it — it didn’t make sense in my brain at the time,” she says. “I feel like my gut was telling me to leave but my brain was like ‘what the hell are you doing!?‘ You know, your brain starts panicking but I decided to trust my intuition and do it. I got to sort through all my emotions, all my thoughts, and just pour it all out there. I got to sit and think like okay, what is it I actually think? Why did I do this? While I was trying to protect him and find this honesty, I realized that it has nothing to do with him. I love him and I’m not going to say our relationship was perfect. It wasn’t because he was a bad person; he’s an amazing person who always tries his best, but I wasn’t happy and I wanted to make sure that I was taking care of myself. I had to be willing to let go in order to do that.”
Stringer calls in from a coffee shop in New York City where she’s been spending the last month. We joke that she’s having her own Carrie Bradshaw moment ala Sex and the City. As it turns out, there’s a bit of truth in it. When asked about her visit to New York, Stringer perks up to muse about how much she loves it there. She talks about how the trip came to be — her friends had gone for New York Fashion Week and said she should tag along. “I do not know what happened in my brain because like I said I’m a very very logical person but I was just feeling the energy! So I asked myself, ‘what do you want?’ as opposed to what the logical thing to do is and I said, ‘I want to go to New York!’ I booked a flight, a one-way ticket; I had no plan. I was sleeping on a cushion on the floor at my friend’s apartment. I had no idea what I was doing I just knew it sounded fun. It’s been inspiring because this new beginning for me is ‘what do I want’ not what do I think is right, or what’s going to bring me goodness it’s just about what sounds fun, you know?”
I’m not kidding, I think watching Sex and the City is the reason why I ended my relationship. I started it and I was like, ‘they dump good men for these silly gooses? Like, what?’
As mentioned, Stringer recently ended a very public relationship but she didn’t release “End of an Era” because she knows people are searching for answers to “why” it happened. Stringer wrote it because it’s something she needed. “Something I realized while writing this is that everything I had written in the past, there was a little part of me that was writing it so people would love me. This was the first experience I had where I fully wrote this song because I needed to. So I wanted to make sure I honored the relationship with him — there are a lot of breakup songs that are like ‘screw you, you suck!’ or ‘I miss you.’ It was hard because this breakup had a lot of that in it. I wanted to make sure it was something that captured that for me and my healing.”
“When it came time to release it, I honestly had been really scared. It’s so nuanced, people feel like they’re owed an explanation and I get that. There were a lot of things we were hiding in our relationship and I’m trying to find a way to navigate it because I do love him and there’s a lot of love between us but not everything lasts forever. That’s kind of why I wanted to release it because I just wanted to start being honest. I felt like I hadn’t been for so long because I wanted to protect it — him, our relationship, me.”
I felt like I was sacrificing my honesty in order to keep our relationship together and it was hurting me a lot. That’s what I’ve been prioritizing through all of this: honesty.
Not only is Stringer prioritizing honesty, she’s also living authentically for the first time in a long time that especially shows in her online presence. Oftentimes the lives people curate online are just a fraction of reality — they’re painted in pastels with perfectly curated outfit photos and food inspiration — there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes and it’s easy to lose yourself trying to live up to “perfection.” Stringer wholeheartedly understands this concept, and it’s part of the reason she’s posting videos of herself even in the midst of crying — something she would have thought twice about doing before. “I will tell you I’m good at painting the picture,” Stringer notes with a chuckle. “I think there was a part of me that was like, ‘I just want to live authentically’ which now you see pictures and videos of me crying on the internet which, I’m like, ‘is that a lot? Why am I doing that?’ But I would rather be real and the people that resonate with it resonate with it and if they don’t they can get the hell out of here!”
The conversation shifts to the misogyny and sexism surrounding female artists, especially ones that are candid about their relationships and experiences. Women like Taylor Swift, Sabrina Carpenter, Halsey, and countless others have all been at the center of public scrutiny, but is the culture changing for better or for worse? Stringer’s opinion is that with things like the Barbie movie, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, and Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, we’re in a girl renaissance.
“I think there’s been a lot of polarizing opinions about what girls should do for so long and we let that stop us from being who we are for so long. There’s something so beautiful about finding your world of women. Having women around you that support you. I feel like in some ways, yes, it can be polarizing and people do have their opinions, but I feel like the girls are starting to catch on that that’s happening,” she says. “While I agree that misogyny is out there — and it’s not going anywhere, it’s engrained in some of these people’s heads — but I think it’s more so a question of, what are we paying attention to? For me, that’s where I’m at. Yes it’s out there and I’m aware that it happens, but I just don’t even care to look at it. I’m focusing more on who it resonates with and that’s the girls or the people that come from a space of love, which I’ve found a lot of in my female friendships.”
Speaking of her friendships, when asked about who her inspirations are right now, she doesn’t miss a beat before mentioning her friends. “For the first time in my life I’m surrounded by the most beautiful, confident, badass women I have ever met. I made the “End of an Era” music video with all of them — it’s just me and my best friends making this video and dancing — they’re the ones who have been truly inspiring this new era. They’re like the checks and balances system for my democracy. They call me out on my shit, comfort me when I’m not feeling well. I would not be living the life that I am right now without them.”
The interview is winding down but I can’t help but ask Stringer what’s she most looking forward to in this new era, in the spirit of new beginnings. She laughs and pauses for a beat. “Ya know, I think I’m still figuring that out, to be honest with you. But what I can tell you about I’m enjoying exploring right now is saying ‘yes’ to life. Before, I was always trying to figure it out and find all the answers to finally be happy but I’m realizing it’s a journey and I really think I’m beginning to realize that. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m starting to date people, I’m being a girl — trying on clothes and new hairstyles, dabbling in all kinds of different music. I’m letting myself say yes to what feels good in the moment instead of worrying about if it’s the right choice. So that has really been inspiring this new era and all aspects of my life — music, dating, friendships, life, family, love — It’s just about asking myself what feels good, and I’m following that.”