Pop singer FLETCHER, 22, first hit the mainstream music scene in 2015 with her Spotify winner “War Paint,” a beat-forward, liberating love song that put her on the platform’s watchlist for 2016. Now with a six-song EP out, the young singer-songwriter is continuing her foray into anthemic music in the vein of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, stuff that’s meant to speak to our souls and lift us up when we’re down. “Princess” is one of these songs: a rallying cry for young girls to rise up against social constructs and find strength in the face of limiting expectations. The accompanying video, premiering here on TIME, is appropriately raw and—to FLETCHER—a very personal reminder of the private pain that women experience. Here, FLETCHER shares the touching story behind the video.
TIME: What’s the story behind “Princess”?
FLETCHER: I wrote “Princess” two years ago when many of the women around me were feeling lost or weak. I wanted to empower them to feel hopeful and not helpless. We are all going through something, but experiencing the highs and the lows makes us who we are. “What if Cinderella had to save herself?” is a message I’ve always needed to hear.
Who are the characters in the video and how did you choose them?
The three characters in this video were inspired by a few of my friends in college. One was kicked out of the house for being gay, another left home because their parents didn’t understand their gender identity, and another dear friend almost lost her battle with bulimia.
This video is pretty emotionally powerful; what was the experience like of filming and producing it?
It was very powerful producing “Princess.” I cry most times I perform this song; it’s definitely the most personal record I’ve ever released. I think of my friends who inspired it. I think of all the other girls around the world who are experiencing the very same struggles. Seeing the actors bring those stories as well as their own stories to life was overwhelming.
Your music could be described as power pop, songs that are meant as anthems. How do you view your role in the pop landscape?
Thank you! I really look to empower others with my music. Within the pop landscape, I’m very inspired by those artists use who their voice for good. I especially connect with females who use their talent and platform to promote positivity and/or social change. From Lady Gaga to Selena Gomez to Beyoncé, it is important for us to be brave and bold with our voices now more than ever.