Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known as Iggy Azalea, is one of hip hop’s newest rising stars. Born in New South Wales, Australia, Iggy has always had a love for hip hop and started rapping at the age of 14. She cites Tupac Shakur, Andre 3000, Missy Elliot and Eve as some of her greatest influences.
In the Beginning
At the age of 16, Iggy decided that if she wanted to make it as a rapper, she would have to move to the U.S. She told her mother she was going on vacation in Miami, but she had no intentions of returning to Australia.
I was there for two weeks when I called home and said, ‘I don’t want to come home yet. I want to stay longer.’ So I stayed another three weeks. I was there for like a month and then I called again and said, ‘I’m not coming back.
Putting In Work
After spending a few months in Miami, Iggy decided to move on to Houston, Texas. Before moving to the US, Iggy had been in contact with Houston-based producer Mr. Lee, who’d heard some of Iggy’s work through her MySpace page. Once in Houston, Iggy said Mr. Lee taught her how to “rap like a girl”.
Houston is where I started getting good at rapping. I had to have someone tell me, “You’re still imitating what you think it’s supposed to be, but it doesn’t have to be that. Just be who you are and sound like a girl.”
Rapper Vs. Model
After a few months in Houston, Iggy moved on to Atlanta where she attempted to pursue modeling as a way to pay for her burgeoning rap career. She sent photos to Elite Models but, despite being a size two, she was told she was needed to lose 4 inches off of her hips and two inches off of her thighs if she wanted them to represent her. In the end, Iggy chose not to purse modeling with Elite because she didn’t want to become so focused on losing weight and cause her rap career to suffer.
Interscope Comes Calling
While in Atlanta, Iggy uploaded a music video to YouTube, piquing the interest of Neil Jacobson and George Robertson of Interscope Records. After attempting to contact her for several weeks, she finally flew out to L.A. to meet with them. Much to her dismay, they tried to mold her into a crossover artist. Determined to do things her way, Iggy initially decided not to work with Neil and George. After returning to Atlanta, she uploaded two freestyle videos to You Tube “Two Times” and “Hell of a Life”. After viewing the videos, Jacobson and Robertson finally got on board with Iggy’s vision. They told her they now understood what she was trying to do as an artist, and would allow her to have creative control of her image and sound. They have managed her career ever since.
Earlier in 2012, Iggy was featured on XXL’s Top 10 Freshman List, solidifying her spot as an artist to be reckoned with. 2012 continued to be a good year for the budding artist, as she joined forces with T.I. and became one of several artists on his Grand Hustle record label. This summer she released two singles “Murda Bizness” and “Flash”. Her debut album “The New Classic” is set to be released in 2013.