Grimes gave herself a stick-and-poke of three Cyrillic letters on her knee in September 2017. It’s placed upside down so that it faces towards her, which makes sense seeing as it was a DIY tattoo.
It seems that she meant to write “fae,” but it’s more of a transliteration than a translation. Her tattoo “ФАЙ” is pronounced like “fae,” but the actual word for fae/fairy in Russian is “ФЕЯ.” Coincidentally, her version looks more like the Russian word “РАЙ” meaning “paradise.”
Fae is an old English word for fairy, but Grimes has been using it to describe music that gives off fairy vibes. She curates a playlist called “the faé list” and has applied her own artistic backstory to the sound, writing “The fae are the children living at the end of the world, who make art that reflects what it’s like to live knowing the earth may not sustain humanity much longer. We live knowing that environmentally driven genocide is nigh, that the least equipped are to be struck down by the very earth itself. Repentance by the innocent for the sins of the rich. This does not mean that all fae art is directly about this, but that the influence of this reality is inescapable for the fae.”