Here’s what you need to know about Tucker Pillsbury: He’s a 21-year-old artist based in Los Angeles by way of Portland, Maine, his sign is a Taurus, and he performs under the moniker ROLE MODEL. Today, we’re premiering the music video for “play the part,” the lead single off his forthcoming debut album expected for arrival in 2019. A dreamy looking Pillsbury stars in the visual which he co-directed with Holler (who previously worked on the treatment for “i don’t rly like u”) and finds him stuck in the backseat of a drive down a turbulent lover’s lane.
“Are you nice because you’re nice/ Or are you nice because you need something?/ Tell me if you need someone who can play the part,” Pillsbury repeats in the chorus while delicately holding a cigarette between his fingers.
The whole aesthetic is like something out of a ’90s coming-of-age drama with Pillsbury giving My So-Called Life‘s Jordan Catalano a real run for his money. If this doesn’t convince you that Pillsbury is the wholesome boyfriend that you deserve, please seek counsel immediately.
ROLE MODEL previously dropped the Arizona in the Summer EP in 2017. After you watch the video, scroll down to learn more about him in this exclusive Q&A.
What was your entry point into music?
I was in school for film and toward the end of my freshman year I had met these two kids who recorded themselves rapping and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. They asked me if I wanted to rap on a song with them, and they brought the equipment to my dorm and left it there. So for two weeks I watched all the tutorials for logic and learned how to record myself.
What was your experience like growing up in Maine? Do you think that living in this environment has influenced your aesthetics as an artist?
It takes you awhile to be thankful for where you grew up, but I will say as soon I set foot in LA I called my mom crying, venting about how much I already missed home. It’s a HUGE part of me, whether it’s visible or not.
When did you start writing and rapping your own songs?
I started writing raps when I found out I could record them. I also ended up switching majors after I found music, and took a ton of literature classes because I thought it might help me rap better.
What artists did you gravitate toward when you were younger? How has your taste in music changed as you’ve gotten older?
It was all over the place. My mom had always played Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Otis Redding, and a lot of that peaceful Sunday cleaning music. I used to HATE it, but now that I’m older and I miss my mom all the time, I play that shit just to feel safe and to help calm me down. As much as I use music to help with anxiety and everything, I still lose my mind to Smokepurpp. Love u Purpp.
How has the transition been moving to LA?
It was a really, really tough summer. It was a LOT of couch surfing with my manager all around LA over the course of 4 months. That shit beat my ass, but I think everyone has to experience those lows to have that happy ending.
What is the song “Play The Part” about? What was going on at the time when you started working on this track?
It’s honestly about slithering my way into a relationship because I don’t like the way it looks from the outside. I hate the word toxic, but we all see a WHOLE LOTTA toxic relationships these days and not all of us are confrontational enough to say anything. I am lucky enough to have an outlet to express that frustration and point out those flaws, even though I’m just a little thot behind a computer screen lol.
How is the accompanying visual an extension of that? What was your concept for this video?
I wrote the treatment for the video the same day I finished the first draft of the song. I wanted it to be simple enough that people were hearing every single word, but I also wanted to have some bigger moments. I felt like a villain when I wrote the song and I wanted that to visually come to life in the video. My good friends George and Tazer helped bring it all to life.
What do you stand for as an artist? Is there a small part of you that wants to be a role model to someone out there? What do you want to be remembered for?
The whole idea is to show people that imperfection is perfect. The name came from a really dark period in my life when I was making really bad decisions and I felt like giving myself a name that bold would give me some direction. I am definitely still a fuckup in many ways, but I think that is everything the name stands for.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
I still have the same goal as last year, which is to hug SZA. I have a good feeling about 2019.
For more of our premieres, check out PEAKES’ new video for “Still Life” right here.