Iggy Azalea - “Hunger”.
Iggy Azalea - ARTISTdirect “See The Music” Interview
Iggy Azalea is one of the most in demand new hip hop stars on the planet. Having recently signed a record deal, hip hop fans both sides of the Atlantic are eagerly awaiting the first full length album from one of rap’s brightest shining stars.
The media seem intent on depicting a rivalry between Azalea, Angel Haze and Azealia Banks, but when Gigwise caught up with her while she was in Brighton to perform at The Great Escape, the rapper was keen to explain that there’s plenty of support in the scene, male or female.
We chatted with her about moving to the US, fellow female rappers and what she’s gotplanned for the rest of 2013…
It seems like things are moving pretty quickly for you at the moment and you’ve got a busy summer ahead of you. How are you managing with everything?
It’s the same as always, last year I did the same thing and the year before that, even though I didn’t do the festivals over here. I was still on the road, so I think once you get on the road and you get going it doesn’t really matter, it’s just work as usual. It’s good to be busy, I think if I wasn’t it would drive me crazy.
The video for ‘Work’ went quite a way to explaining your story and how you ended up where you are. How important is it to you that people know your backstory?
It’s very important. I think it’s important for I anybody that’s being influenced by somebody to know who they’re being influenced by, so I think it’s very important for anybody who’s listening to my music to know where I come from.
Do you think knowing these things about your history changes the way people listen to your music, or the way they interpret it?
It made a lot more people not hate me [laughs] so…
It seems a bit that when you decided to leave Australia and go to the US you were risking being a small fish n a big pond, rather than a big fish in a small pond in Australia. That must have been scary?
Yea, but I was also an unhappy fish in a small pond in Australia, I’d rather be a happy fish than a sad fish.
Were there times since you got to the US that you were worried it might not happen for you, or were you always confident you’d get there?
Erm, I dunno, I think everybody has moments when they wonder if they’re lunatic, but I always thought it would happen. I never really felt like there was any other option so I think when you know that you’ve made sure there’s no plan B you don’t dare think about it not happening, because that’s when it’s really scary, you know?
Yourself, Angel Haze and Azealia Banks tend to get lumped together as a bit of a trio by the media. Is that a good thing or a bad thing in your mind? Or should people be considering you all separately?
It’s a good thing because one of them’s me [laughs]. I dunno, I can’t really tell anyone what to do, it’s up to you guys if you want to put us together or not.
It was great to see you onstage with Angel Haze at The Scala, how important was that collaboration for you?
It was important, I feel like I get asked all the time about female rap or not having industry peers and things like that and I feel that a lot of time we actually do support each other in silence and I just wanted to come out and show that I support someone and think someone else who does the same thing as me is great and the doesn’t freak me out, you know what I mean? I think it was important that people saw in the public that there can be positive things as well
Does it worry you that the media try and impose a rivalry on the three of you? Is that something that concerns you?
Kind of, not really. It’s something that annoys me, but I don’t know if it’s something that concerns me so much. I mean I don’t think it really changes anything I think everybody knows, I mean the media can say ‘oh, there’s only room for one female rapper’ – at the end of the day if somebody’s good you’ll make room for them and there’s always been multiple girl rappers, it’s happened before and it’ll happen again. I won’t be the last girl to rap and neither will Angel Haze or anybody else. so I don’t know if it really matters if the media want to make out there’s a rivalry. Do you know what I mean?
And would you ever be interested doing a similar onstage collaboration with Azealia banks if you found yourselves in the same city at some point?
Ahaha, next question…
Are there extra challenges to face when you are a woman in the rap game – or do you tend not to think about that?
If you’re somebody who’s going to go into this thinking about why it’s going to be hard to be a girl, it’s not for you. I’ve never felt like I had a problem if it was boys or girls I was working with, I’ve always gotten along with men or boys just as well as girls and I think support is support, if it’s got a vagina or a penis it doesn’t really matter. I think if you feel intimidated by being around a lot of men and that’s the sort of thing that throws you off then it’s probably not the right thing for you. I think most women that rap feel the same way that I do and are cool being around just people.
What have you got planned for the future? You’re gradually releasing more singles, is there an album on the way?
I’ve just released ‘Bounce’ in the UK, though it’s not on iTunes yet. After that I’ll release another song called ‘Change Your Life’ which will have T.I. on it, and that will be released in America and the rest of the world all at the same time. After that I’ll release an album which will be early September. So it’s there, it’s happening and it’s pretty much done, all I have left to do are interludes and things like that. As far as the actual songs go they’re all done. It’s just unfortunately now since i’ve only just got signed and been able to start working my singles I’ve kinda got to go through the motions releasing singles before I can drop an album. so people are like ‘When is it coming?’ and I’m like ‘It’s actually done!’ but I’ve got to do the singles, and sell singles and do what labels like to do. So I’ve got to run through all that and then I’ll finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief and release my album.
Obviously getting the album out there is going to be a massive thing for you this year, but what else are you really looking forward to this year?
You know, what I’m really looking forward to is simply releasing the song ‘Change Your Life’ because I feel like everybody needs to have ‘that’ track. I love ‘Work’, lyrically I love ‘Work’, but ‘Change Your Life’ is the song I genuinely believe in. I do believe the reason people group me and Angel Haze and Azealia Banks all in the same catagory, if we’re going to be real about it, is that none of us have had a hit yet and once one of us has a hit we won’t be in that same category and I want to be the first and I believe I will be with ‘Change Your Life’. So I just want to hurry up and release that record and film an awesome video for it because I believe in it and I just want to see if my belief is correct.
Thank you very much, Iggy Azalea. Her single ‘Work‘ is out now, and will be followed on 8 July with the follow-up, ‘Bounce‘.
After spending the last couple years owning the music blogosphere, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea scored a long-overdue chart hit earlier this year with ‘Work‘ after signing a major record deal.
She’s promptly put out a follow-up in the form of ‘Bounce‘; a summer-soaked anthem that shows a lesser-seen playful side to the star.
We caught up with Iggy at this year’s Great Escape festival to talk about her recentsuccess, her loyal fans and long-awaited debut album.
Hi Iggy! We’re talking to you at Brighton’s Great Escape festival; what to do make of Brighton?
“I’ve been here before supporting Rita Ora but I’ve actually been able to see some of it this time. There’s a burnt out pier opposite my hotel – It’s been killing me the whole time and I’m like, ‘Why doesn’t anyone love it?! I can see its potential’. It’s also really cold, I thought it was meant to be summer?”
We promise the UK gets warmer than this.
“Well I see girls in London wearing skirts and tights when it’s like zero degrees and I’m like, ‘It’s cool, dude whatever you think!’. I love this season.”
You’re currently Vevo’s ‘Lift’ artist, which seems to be working out pretty well for you, doesn’t it?
“Yeah I’m happy about that, I didn’t think I would get it because there were a lot of other names on the table. It’s great that things finally seem to be swinging my way, because in rap music there’s a lot of competition with different artists and different styles.”
Your first proper single ‘Work’ has been a big hit in the UK; are you pleased the public seem to be ‘getting it’?
“I think it’s all starting to make sense, which is great! I feel like I’ve worked really hard on my music for my album, trying to make sure you can see the separation between that and what I was doing on the mixtapes. I didn’t really take the mixtapes seriously and I hope people could see that! If they think my album is s**t compared to my mixtapes I’ll be heartbroken because I’ve really tried with it!
“The production on the album is a lot better and so are the lyrics – although I would say that because I wrote them. I pride myself on being an excellent beat picker. If people hate me and think I’m a crap rapper, at the very least I hope they think I have good beats.”
Are there plans to release ‘Work’ in the US yet?
“I’ve signed to Mercury in the UK and then Def Jam to release my music in America so it will be the first single for them now. It’s annoying as now they’re a single behind! We’re all about ‘Bounce’ now.”
You’ve acquired a large fanbase without the help of a major label; has much changed since the deal?
“I think some people think I’m like anti-label and I’m not. I just wanted to sign a deal when the time was right. I’m anti being shot out of a rocket when you’re not ready and the songs and image aren’t there. I think labels are skipping on the whole development side of an artist so you have to do it yourself these days. I wasn’t ready to make an album last year, but now we’ve taken our time with everything the timing feels right.”
The video for your new single ‘Bounce’ looks like it was a lot of fun to make…
“I hope it does. That’s how I play my cards darling! That was the plan for it – I feel like ‘Work’ was a really good song for people to get to know me as it’s obviously biographical. With ‘Bounce’, I wanted to make sure people know there’s a fun side to me as well as the sombre and serious one. Some of the fans have been a bit freaked out by the song and asking me why I’m going pop. I’m like, ‘It’s not all pop, it’s summer – relax!’”
Is there a balance of pop and rap on the album then?
“Yeah, definitely. It’s funny hearing people say to me, ‘Don’t turn commercial, this doesn’t have a lick of substance,’ when ‘Work’ is probably the only song I’ve done with lyrical substance! I wanted to make sure the record has a lot more story-telling than I’ve done before – not that I have a Drake Take Care album or anything. It’s still wrapped in a fun package like ‘Work’ but I had so many songs like that, that afterwards I was like, ‘F**k, actually I need more fun songs about nothing!’”
So it’s a bit like Nicki Minaj’s album then?
“She definitely had both sides but I think hers was – I don’t wanna be mean to her because I’m not being mean – but I don’t think that it was dynamic. I could see both sides and I’m not saying it has to be that way, but it was very rigid in the way that it flipped between the two [sounds]. I like to make the music flow like a river – I’m like, ‘You have to listen to the album from track one to ten!’”
When is the album due out?
“I know when, but I don’t want to say for definitely because if it gets pushed back people on Twitter will scream at me.”
Why don’t you give us a rough date?
“The beginning of September.”
Your fans have also been asking why they can’t download ‘Bounce’ yet…
“The problem with kids – and I was one of these people too – is that they think they work in the industry and know how it all works. They’re like, ‘put ‘Bounce’ out now or it’s gonna flop!’. I’m like, ‘I need to promote it first or it’s gonna flop!’. It’s coming out on July 8 and I need fans to trust their fave on this one because it’s for the best. I need to hashtag that – #trustyourfaves.”
Will there be a third single before the album?
“There is – it’s called ‘Change Your Life’. I’m most excited for this song and that’s why I keep telling everyone about it. It was originally going to be the first single but the label said it would be a waste because not enough people know about me for it to make a proper impact.”
You featured on Katy B’s ‘Danger’ EP. Has she returned the favour on your album?
“No but now that you’ve said that, it probably would have been a smart move. That collaboration was crazy. I was like, ‘What is this all about?!’, but I love it, even if I don’t understand what the song is about. She was really sweet and sent me a bottle of Dom Pérignon. I don’t drink, but now when people come over they’ll think I’m rich!”
Iggy Azalea’s new single ‘Bounce’ is out on July 8. Watch the official music video here.
Yes, you’re saying it right lol