Isaiah Faber—a.k.a. Powfu—wasn’t just raised on pop-punk, he was raised in pop-punk. Born in Vancouver in 1999, Isaiah is the son of Dave Faber, the frontman for Faber Drive, a Canadian alt-rock outfit that has toured alongside Warped Tour royalty like Simple Plan and MxPx. That pop-punk influence filtered down to the music he makes as Powfu, internalizing the genre’s melodic cadences, high-school-heartbreak themes, and self-deprecating lyrics. But Powfu is also very much a product of the SoundCloud-rap generation, offsetting his blink-182-inspired hooks with a sad-eyed conversational flow and atmospheric lo-fi bedroom beats, while giving voice to every misfit who’s pined for girls who “date the ones that I hate” (as he brat-raps on the 2018 single “Douchebags”). As he entered his 20s, Powfu’s concerns went beyond airing out petty grievances to pondering more existential crises. On his 2020 single “Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head),” he bids adieu to the one who got away as he prepares for his own imminent demise, all while an eerie earworm chorus (sampled from alt-pop phenom beabadoobee) offers a ghostly reminder of the good times that can never be relived. But while the song sounds like a genuine cry for help, Powfu insists he’s just engaging in creative role play, telling Apple Music, “Every song I write, I just try to write new, different stories.” And in this case, it had the happiest of endings: “Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head)” became 2020’s unofficial soundtrack to COVID-induced isolation, hitting the Top 10 in no fewer than 17 countries, while Powfu’s major-label debut EP, poems of the past, includes a new version of the track with a guest verse from his childhood hero, blink’s Mark Hoppus.
HOMETOWNVancouver, British Columbia, Cana
BORNMarch 31, 1999