‘play pretend’ – the Enchanting New Debut From strawbey

“There are times where we all knowingly ‘play pretend’ and although we often fail to acknowledge this, we’d all rather ‘fake it ‘til we make it’.” – strawbey

strawbey (credit: Marcia Pope)

“I remember the night you said you’d call me back” is the very first lyric to the dreamy bedroom pop song ‘play pretend’ by strawbey.


strawbey, a 19-year-old artist originally from Norwich, recently moved to East London – inspiring a move in his musical career, and kickstarting a creative new direction. Over the last year, he has documented multiple demo tracks on his SoundCloud, as he has refined his craft and dreamy synth-pop sound. For example, tracks such as his The Japanese House cover, ‘wild’,  demonstrates not only his musical talent but his range and diversity in genre. 



strawbey has also given an insight into who he is through his Instagram. Over the past few weeks, his updates on his social media have prepared us for the release of this new song. The lead-up to the single has not only shown his maximum engagement with his audience but also his passion for his creativity, and doing what he loves. 



View this post on Instagram


introducing strawbey the sad dream pop project from my bedroom

A post shared by ruben (@strawbey_) on


So, strawbey is a new and upcoming artist, but what about his style and genre? Well, the answer is not exactly simple as he experiments with a lot of musical genres such as bedroom pop, synthpop, indie and lo-fi music. As well as this his lyrics remain honest and contemplative. These genres are popular among artists such as Clairo, Chvrches and even David Bowie. 

strawbey by Marcia Pope

Now, to focus on the current release ‘play pretend’. Upon hearing, you would not believe its production was all done in lockdown. The track echoes feelings of a heavy heart and the pain of letting someone you love go, stirring up emotions you thought you never had. The lyrics are relatable and the vocals have the capability of making you feel like you are sat there listening to the artist and sharing in his experience. The song feels like it should play in the background of a teenage romance movie, or if you play the song at night it might hit you in your feelings a little differently. 

This song belongs to the greater collective of strawbey’s album – ‘play pretend’. The upcoming EP is inspired by his personal journey of the queer experience. We are told to expect “themes of secrecy, stereotyping, innocent young love and vulnerability”  and from the taster of this first single, I cannot wait to hear more. In terms of the production of this album Strawbey has worked alongside an alternative, electro-pop artist and producer, Jake Raywood.

Explaining his choice to work with the artist:


“I first came across strawbey from a mutual friend and the demos he had up on his Instagram really struck me. There was an honesty and directness that I was really able to connect with.”  – Jake Raywood

strawbey is not one to miss. 


strawbey’s brand new track ‘play pretend’ is out now. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *