When buzz for Snail Mail (aka Lindsey Jordan) began to sweep the world of indie rock in 2018, press coverage often referred to Jordan as an artist who represented the future of indie rock – helping the genre look less male, pale and stale than it had in the past. But for Jordan, it's a thorny topic. She recognises why it was being pointed out, but after a while, the coverage started to take a toll on her.
"I hated having to answer questions about being a woman and being gay and being young. All of it, to me, has nothing to do with the music," she says.
"I think the main takeaway is just that it's necessary to address that there are problems still but at the same time it definitely takes away from the individuality of each of these artists' work. I also think it's weird because there have been women in music for so long, but all of a sudden it's like, 'girls are in bands!'"
Coming out publicly was something Jordan did cautiously – she didn't want to "exploit" her identity, but saw a need to increase visibility of queerness in music. "There are so many young queer people who don't have a lot of musicians or idols they can identify with," she says. "Growing up, I didn't have any and I think maybe things would have been very different for me if I had."
Jordan's debut album Lush received overwhelmingly positive reviews last year, making Billboard, Noisey, and Pitchfork's best-of-the-year lists. She was only 18 at the time of its release and critics were struck by the lyrical maturity and emotional wisdom that seemed to betray Jordan's youth. But to her queer fans - familiar with the way analysing your sexuality from a young age forces you to grow up fast - it made sense.
"There's so much fear, so much anxiety that comes along with [coming out] ... it really does age you and that sucks," says Jordan. "But I also think it really developed who I am as a person."
Jordan's emotional insight is evident on Heat Wave, one of Lush's lead singles; a sprawling, high-energy ode to a failing relationship with a green-eyed lover, set in the midst of a hot summer. It's directly related to a time in Jordan's life, but immediately recognisable to anyone who's had to contend with unrequited love.
"I was dealing with a relationship that was kind of going out the window, and it was summer, and I was just totally destroyed by it – but I was going swimming and stuff and I was like, 'what an awful time to be so distraught'," she says.
And the eyes? "Yeah, the eyes were green." Jordan doesn't see them any longer and she'd "like to keep it that way".
Jordan has been touring relentlessly in the wake of Lush's release, but her approaching shows in New Zealand will mark her first time Downunder. Having fans so far from home is "crazy," she says.
"It makes no sense to me. I can't believe people are buying tickets to see Snail Mail in New Zealand."
WHO: Snail Mail, aka Lindsey Jordan