Cari Fletcher, who cites Bruce Springsteen, Alanis Morisette, and Avril Lavigne as her musical heroe...

Fletcher Is Feeling The “Most Free” She’s Ever Felt Artistically

Her new album In Search of the Antidote lays it all out there, from unrequited crushes to a run-in with an ex at the Eras Tour.

by Princess Gabbara

In Elite Daily's series Early Influences, musicians reflect on the songs and albums that left a lasting impression on them in their formative years. Here, singer-songwriter Fletcher talks about her new album In Search of the Antidote, how Bruce Springsteen inspires her, and the inspiration behind the single “Eras of Us.”

Cari Fletcher, known mononymously as Fletcher, sees her on-stage persona as the "superhero version" of herself, but she’s realizing more these days that Cari, the real-life person, is ready to "have the mic."

Fletcher’s sophomore album, In Search of the Antidote, out March 22, is the culmination of months spent away from the spotlight following her Lyme disease diagnosis in late 2023. When she was forced to cancel some then-upcoming tour dates, life got unusually quiet for the 30-year-old artist — and that's when the anxiety and self-doubt grew louder.

“I’m like, ‘I have to heal faster because what if [the fame] all goes away?’” Fletcher tells Elite Daily.

Despite the "tremendous toll" the disease took on her physical and mental health, it also gave her time to step back, reflect, and heal some old emotional wounds. “When all these things start happening in your career that you’ve wanted for a really long time and that you thought might fix you … [you realize] nothing can fill the cup other than you,” she says. That inner work translates into an album she calls her “most honest” offering to date.

With over 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Fletcher has been putting out music since 2015. At 17, she auditioned for The X Factor and made it through to the fifth week, despite being dismissed as “forgettable” by then-judge Simon Cowell. She attended NYU and moved to Nashville, and in 2019, her breakthrough song “Undrunk” became her first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

Things took off from there. Along with Fletcher’s 2021 “Cherry” duet with Hayley Kiyoko, her 2022 single “Girls Girls Girls,” a reimagining of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” put her on the map as a queer artist. With lyrics like "I told my mom it's not a phase," it sounds like a real-time exploration of the singer’s sexual identity.

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That same year, Fletcher’s "Becky’s So Hot" off her debut album, Girl of My Dreams, became the talk of lesbian TikTok for its seemingly pointed inspiration — the artist’s ex-girlfriend and content creator Shannon Beveridge’s new girlfriend’s name happened to be Becky. Fletcher insists her latest work, In Search of the Antidote, is not inspired by one singular person.

"This album is just an exploration of love in all of its infinite manifestations," she says.

Still, listeners can expect plenty of lay-it-all-out-there tales about love, desire, regret, denial, and heartbreak, including "Ego Talking," "Attached to You," "Lead Me On," "Crush," and “Eras of Us.” The latter song was born last summer after Fletcher ran into her ex at Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, where they shared a hug.

There’s no way you can run into your ex at a Taylor Swift concert and not write a f*cking song about it.

"All the emotions hit me like such a wave. There’s no way you can run into your ex at a Taylor Swift concert and not write a f*cking song about it,” Fletcher says. "I went to the studio the next day and it wrote itself."

Other tracks like "Maybe I Am" and "Doing Better" point to Fletcher’s personal growth. "It’s the most free I’ve ever felt on an album. It is my favorite that I’ve ever sounded vocally," she says. "It feels like such a continuation of my artistic journey, but also feels really fresh and new."

Below, Fletcher tells Elite Daily about the artists who defined her childhood and inspired her to write honest music, and whose songs give her the most euphoric feeling.

Bruce Springsteen

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Growing up in Asbury Park, New Jersey, it wasn’t uncommon for Fletcher to look up and see none other than Bruce Springsteen riding his motorcycle. Two of Springsteen’s most iconic albums, Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A., were on constant rotation in her household, thanks to her dad’s love of "the Boss."

"I just remember the freedom the music gave me, and this love of Jersey and growing up near the beach and the simple nostalgia," Fletcher recalls. "Both those records were really pivotal in my development as a creator."

The song that takes the cake for her is "I’m on Fire," which she performed at The Stone Pony in June 2023 — the same venue where a then-unknown Springsteen first performed in 1974.

"It makes me cry," Fletcher says of the 1985 tune. "It gives me this feeling of home, but also deep, deep emotion and pain and lust … there’s something about that song that feels like church to me."

Springsteen's "rawness" resonates with Fletcher, even down to the "simplicity in the way he dresses." She says, "[He's] just a man and his guitar singing from his heart about love and loss and that has always spoken to me in the deepest depths of my soul."

Alanis Morissette

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Producing megahits like "You Oughta Know" and "Ironic," Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill took home five Grammys in 1996, including Album of the Year. It’s one of the best creations of all time if you ask Fletcher, who crowns "Hand in My Pocket" as her personal favorite off the 13-track LP because "it’s a story that keeps going and going, and you don’t know where it’s going to take you next."

Upon the album’s 1995 release, "You Oughta Know" quickly emerged as one of the most talked-about songs of the year for its scathing lyrics. "Is she perverted like me? / Would she go down on you in a theater? / Does she speak eloquently / And would she have your baby? / I’m sure she’d make a really excellent mother," the Canadian star snarls in the opening verse.

That rage and level of specificity helped set the stage for Fiona Apple, Pink, Avril Lavigne, and Fletcher, who credits Morissette’s songwriting style for giving her permission to do the same.

"You can see every single thing, every single detail that she writes. You can see it, you can feel it, you can taste it, you can smell it,” she says. "It’s so specific but so universal at the same time, and I’m just a die-hard fangirl."

Avril Lavigne

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Avril Lavigne’s inescapable 2007 chart-topper “Girlfriend” inspired “Becky’s So Hot.” But on a deeper level, the pop-punk artist also sparked a queer awakening for a then-8-year-old Fletcher, who was in awe after seeing the music video for "Sk8er Boi" for the first time.

"She got out there with this skater-boy aesthetic but was still so empowered and beautiful,” Fletcher says. “She went against the grain in so many ways and was a rebel in her own right to not just be this cookie-cutter pink pop princess. She was like, ‘No, how can I literally be the antithesis of that?’”

Lavigne’s Y2K-era debut album Let Go is one that Fletcher revisits often since it speaks to her "emo, sensitive Pisces" nature. "Anger and intense emotions get so repressed by women in our society, and when I listen to Avril, I just feel this freedom of expression," she says. "I can punch a pillow if I want."

The song "Complicated" stands out to Fletcher for the sheer fact that it’s "so simple but makes you feel so much."

Despite meeting Springsteen, Morissette, and Lavigne all within the past year at various events, Fletcher has yet to see any of her heroes live, but she’s manifesting it. "Dear Bruce, Alanis, and Avril, can I please get a ticket to your show? Can I sit in the front row? Please let me fangirl," she jokes.

With her global In Search of the Antidote Tour kicking off in the U.S. in September, Fletcher is ushering in this new era with a renewed sense of living in the moment. “I’m letting go of this idea that there’s some destination I need to reach," she says. "I'm good where I’m at right now in this moment, laying on the floor in my underwear having this conversation."

She’s ready to play her music live and stop trying so hard. “We can just be and that’s where Cari's at. She’s giving less flex, and it’s enough."