When he drives me to meet his mother, Shira, for a quick bite at a local bagel shop, Antonoff doesn’t even bring a wallet. “We can get my mom to pay.” “He has this thing he does—‘I didn’t bring my wallet,’ ” says Rachel. “You have a little bit of lip droop,” his mother says soon after she walks in. ” Then she apologizes; it’s probably her genes that made him so prone to cavities despite regular flossing and brushing. She takes it a little far for me.” “You don’t need to have an opinion,” says Antonoff, kneading his face. ” It turns out I’d seen Antonoff’s mother before, though we hadn’t been introduced. Which is like the final frontier of friendly.” Antonoff is also a spill-your-guts-to-anyone-you-meet kind of guy.
“I don’t eat Fun Dip at night or anything,” he says. ” He’s so tired from holding his jaw open for hours, he says, that he can’t even get excited about fun.’s opening for Bruce Springsteen at a free concert in Dallas the following weekend, and he’s skipping a Miley Cyrus concert at the Meadowlands he really wanted to check out. Shira playfully swats his hand away from his cheek—“Give it up,” she says—then walks over to the cashier. She’d been that lady enthusiastically cheering him on, alongside his father, Rick, in the row in front of me when Bleachers played their first single, “I Wanna Get Better,” during the fifth week of Late Night With Seth Meyers. ” Antonoff wants to know when we first meet, immediately after that show. As soon as he sits down, I get a Cliffs Notes rundown of the tragedies that have shaped his life, the neuroses he carries with him from them, and the psychologists, anti-anxiety meds, and other various coping mechanisms he uses to deal with them.
The real surprise, though, came when he went to check out. “Everyone looks at me like I’m a fucking nut, but when was the last time you saw someone clean a plane?
1 everywhere from Australia to Mexico, won the Grammy for Song of the Year, got covered on Glee, and appeared in two Super Bowl commercials, for Chevy and Taco Bell.
That’s when he got a place with his older sister, fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, on the Upper West Side and then, soon after, moved in with his girlfriend, Girls creator and star Lena Dunham, in Brooklyn Heights, both times leaving all his stuff behind in New Jersey. album, 2009’s Aim and Ignite; and where he dreamed up his deeply personal, ’80s-nostalgia solo project, Bleachers, its first album out next month; and where he probably began plotting his one-man takeover of the pop-song ghostwriting industry—which happens to be going pretty well: He co-wrote Taylor Swift’s Golden Globe–nominated “Sweeter Than Fiction” and Sara Bareilles’s “Brave.” “I never felt compelled to move out,” Antonoff says.
“They informed me that you’re no longer paying for it? “They were like, ‘All right, see you next time.’ I was like, ‘Send the bill to my house.’ And they were like, ‘We were told not to do that anymore.’ And I was like, ‘Really? It’s just gross.” He always hugs hello and good-bye—that’s not just friendliness; he avoids shaking hands.
He thinks the “coolest” one is the platinum record for fun.’s 2012 Some Nights album. “But selling a million albums feels like an impossible thing to do.” He seems totally at home here, which isn’t surprising since he never technically moved out.He lived with his parents full-time (or as much as anyone who tours eight months a year lives anywhere) until only a year and a half ago—after fun.’s “set the world on fi-ire” rallying-cry single “We Are Young” went five times platinum and spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, hit No.