Prentiss: A Birkenstocks Rockstar

Photographs Courtesy of Prentiss

On July 29th, 15-year-old artist Prentiss dropped a four-track EP with two new songs, sky is falling and take my time, to accompany the previously released cardigan and let myself go. The project itself, titled “prequel,” is just that: the prelude to his upcoming album, “crescent.” The collection is soaked with those ever-so-familiar sensations of teenage heartbreak, from texting when you know you shouldn’t to tousled post-breakup conversations. With his own voice maturing, his sound has followed suit. Certain tracks blend dreamy hyperpop with alternative rock while others fuse electronic synths with smooth notes of piano.

At age eleven, Prentiss was dabbling with making music on GarageBand and editing videos on Youtube. Last month, he secured his spot as the youngest to perform at Chicago’s music festival, Lollapalooza. The Jackson, Mississippi, native is a modge-podge of nature and the pop artists that have preceded him. He grew up on Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, and Justin Bieber. With the release of his sensational single “October” in 2020, he caught the attention of his icon, Bieber, as well as Sxrillex, and blink-182’s Mark Hoppus. Since being signed to Cinematic Records, he said his melodies are becoming more polished as he’s able to work with a wider range of notable names to bring his ideas to life.

Prentiss’s approach to fashion is a reflection of his musical process: “The best thing for me is to not overthink it,” he said, “I try to keep a good day-to-day style and just wake up and wear something that looks like me.” Rather than shopping in store for the latest trends, Prentiss prefers thrifting as a way to mold his own style. Despite the fashion industry’s rapid fashion turnover, Prentiss remains constant– perhaps a testament to his authenticity as an artist.

Lately, he said he’s been wearing a Jimmy Buffet-inspired medley of sun hats, safari shorts, and graphic tees. Like Buffet, Prentiss was born and raised in the south which he said is where he gets his taste in footwear. “I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks for the entirety of my music career,” Prentiss said, “It’s the only shoe I’ll ever wear… Recently in the summer, I got my first pedicure and I just started wearing them without socks.” In the interview, Prentiss admitted that having one’s toes out as a man is definitely an edgy statement, though adding a Hawaiian shirt to the mix is what brings it all together.

When speaking with Prentiss, it’s clear how down-to-earth he is. When asked about what clothing he gravitates towards, he said the only brands he could name are Carhartt and Birkenstocks. He doesn't pay much attention to brand names. “That’s what I like to say before any photoshoot or video,” He said, “I don’t like to have too many clothes there.” In other words, Prentiss has remained his own stylist, even in lieu of his rise in the charts.

This feeling of casualty is ever present in his music as he continues to effortlessly blend a wide range of genres. Occasionally he’ll look to grunge-rock icons like the Beatles or Kurt Cobain for inspiration. Though, at its core, Prentiss’s style is as genuine and laid back as his persona. He is now on the brink of finishing his album, while simultaneously taking high school classes online and catering to his monthly Spotify listeners, which has since grown upwards of 50,000. If there’s one thing Prentiss emulates, it’s that the rockstar lifestyle isn’t always a layer of gloss; sometimes it’s a crunchy granola pairing of Birkenstocks and fishing shirts.