ElyOtto
 

 

When the 17-year-old hyperpop singer, songwriter and producer ElyOtto (Elliott Platt) was laid off from his job at the local Petland in his Canadian hometown, he decided to allow himself to channel the frustration he felt into his music. Hunkering down in his makeshift Calgary studio (aka his bedroom) whenever he wasn’t otherwise beholden to high school classes–he swapped the hours he used to spend at his part time job, focused on making music. “I thought what I was posting was only going to be heard by a hundred people, tops,” he says, shaking his head. “I never could have imagined the past few months.”

Born to parents who play in bands as part of Calgary’s local music scene, ElyOtto, who is trans, says he remembers distinctly his house being filled with the sounds of roots music as a child. This lead him to pick up instruments (“though I never mastered them!” he says with a grin) noodling around with things like keys, chords, and melodies. The real spark came when he discovered the glitching, frenzied electronic trappings of OMFG and Skrillex; for a while, he says, he thought DJing would be his path to success, teaching himself GarageBand and looping found samples he’d stumbled across all over the Internet. In 2016, unsatisfied with the generic sounds that had started to clutter the genres he’d once sought inspiration from, ElyOtto discovered the keyboard attachment in GarageBand and started playing around with melodies. “That just blew my mind,” he says. “That’s what convinced me to start making my own music. That was when I realized I could make music.”

Drawing on his newfound love of hyper pop artists like Dorian Electra and Kid Trash, ElyOtto started making songs as thought experiments; each one built on the last, teaching him something new about what he could bring to the genre, and what he wanted out of a career in music. “I was like, ‘Fine, I'll make it myself and it'll sound great’,” he says of putting music up for others to stream. “It’s become the best way to get out my emotions whenever I’m really not in the mood for talking,” he says with a sheepish smile.“SugarCrash!” was born of that mid-pandemic, post-Petland wave of inspiration (and frustration) that drove ElyOtto to just create and create and create late last Fall; when he posted it on SoundCloud, he expected... well, nothing at all. But a song like “SugarCrash!”—an in-on-the-joke slice of hyperpop perfection that, though only somehow the tip of the iceberg of his talents, suggests a bold new voice ready to steer the genre into the next decade –couldn’t be contained. “I uploaded a little TikTok about it, like, ‘Hey, check out my new song if you're interested,’” he says. “And it just blew up from there.” The best way to experience “SugarCrash!” is to see its power for yourself. Go ahead: open TikTok. Start scrolling. If fate has anything to say about it, you’re about to hear the song at least once as you browse before it implants itself in your memory for good –that’s the strength of a young trans artist like this, with a winking and warm track that’s steeped in hyper pop’s history while hinting at its future.

With the surprise phenomenon of “SugarCrash!” –nearing 65 million streams on Spotify in mid-March –ElyOtto’s keeping his eyes on steering the future of a genre that’s now his for the taking. “Before all this, I just didn't think that my life was going to go anywhere,” he says. “Music was really the only real work I could do and feel happy and accomplished with. There’s a lot of pressure on what comes next, but I’d be failing myself if I didn’t try –and I can’t wait for what comes next.”