In 2012, Azalea became the first female, non-American rapper to be featured on XXL magazine's annual "Top 10 Freshman" cover issue. On 30 July 2012, she released Glory, her debut extended play (EP), which was executive produced by Grand Hustle label-boss and American rapper T.I.. On 11 October 2012, she released her second mixtape TrapGold, which was produced entirely by high-profile producer Diplo and 1st Down of production team FKi. The mixtape is significant for foreshadowing Azalea's new approach to music and her later work, which heavily includes electronic elements.
Azalea's debut studio album The New Classic, is set to be released in 2014. Initially set to be released with Grand Hustle and Interscope Records, after label conflicts, in 2013 Azalea finally secured a deal with Mercury Records and later Island Def Jam, to release her debut album. The album was preceded by the lead single and Azalea's commercial debut single "Work", which successfully charted on several international music charts and peaked at No. 17 on the UK Singles Chart. The other two singles that supported the album were "Bounce", and "Change Your Life", the latter of which features a guest appearance from T.I.
Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly, in Sydney, Australia. Her family later relocated to Mullumbimby, New South Wales when she was still an infant, into a house on 12 acres that her father built by hand from mudbricks. Her father was a painter and comics artist, while her mother cleaned holiday houses and hotels. Azalea says her father "made her look at [art] as a teenager", which has always influenced her life and work. Azalea began rapping at age 14. Before embarking on a solo career, Azalea formed a group with two other girls from her neighborhood: "I was like, I could be the rapper. This could be like TLC. I'll be Left Eye. Azalea eventually decided to disband the group because the other girls weren't taking it seriously: "I take everything I do serious. I'm too competitive.
In pursuit of her desire of moving to America, Azalea dropped out of high school; instead choosing to work and save the money she earned by cleaning hotel rooms and holiday houses with her mother. She claims to have hated school, which besides her art class, only made her miserable. She also says she had no friends and was teased for her weird homemade outfits. Azalea traveled to the United States in 2006, right before she turned 16. She told her parents she was going "on a holiday" with a friend, but eventually decided to stay and shortly after told them she was not coming back home: "I was drawn to America because I felt like an outsider in my own country, I was in love with hip hop, and America is the birthplace of that, so I figured the closer I was to the music, the happier I'd be. I was right. She recalled: "My mum was crying, saying, 'Just be safe.' I was thinking, 'I'm going by myself. I'm fucking crazy!". After her arrival in America, she resided in the U.S. on a visa waiver for six years, leaving the country every three months to renew it. She is currently in the country on a five-year O visa, having previously earned money illegally. Music career 2010–11: Moving to America and career beginnings
A self-portrait of Azalea from 2012.
When she first came to the United States, she stayed in Miami, Florida, and after a brief stint in Houston, Texas, Azalea settled for a few years in Atlanta, Georgia, working with a member of the Dungeon Family named Backbone. She says folks would laugh at her because "they thought my raps sucked." But having grown up getting laughed at, she was able to shrug it off. Meanwhile, she'd met a guy from Interscope Records who kept encouraging her to move to Los Angeles, and so in the summer of 2010, she decided to do so. She was briefly managed by Interscope. In 2011, Azalea began uploading a number of videos featuring her freestyling on YouTube, that subsequently went viral. Azalea's career began to flourish when her first official music video, for a song titled "Pu$$y", was uploaded on her YouTube channel.
On 27 September 2011, Azalea released her first full-length project, a mixtape titled Ignorant Art, saying she made it "with the intent to make people question and redefine old ideals". Her song "Pu$$y", was included on the mixtape and features guest appearances from YG, Joe Moses, Chevy Jones and Problem. In November 2011, she released a music video for her song "My World", directed by Alex/2tone. The video features a cameo appearance from character actor and former wrestler Tiny Lister, which earned her more attention due to its rising popularity online. "It's supposed to have like, all the ridiculousness of a big-budget '90s video, but then chopped and screwed," said Azalea, of the video. In December 2011, Azalea revealed she would release her debut studio album, entitled The New Classic, as soon as she signed a major record label deal: "once that's sorted out and I establish an over all sound and direction for the album I will be able to know what artists would make for a dynamic collaboration". On 11 January 2012, Azalea released the music video for "The Last Song", her third video from Ignorant Art. In an interview with Billboard, released on 27 January, Azalea hinted at an Interscope Records signing, while also revealing hopes of releasing The New Classic in June, and for her debut single to precede it in March.
Awards and nominations
Year Organization Award Work Result
2012 XXL Magazine Freshman Class Fan Vote Finalists Herself Won
mtvU Woodie Awards Breakthrough Woodie Nominated
O Music Awards Best Web-Born Artist Nominated
2013 MTV Video Music Awards Artist To Watch "Work" Nominated
BBC Radio 1Xtra Hot Summer Awards Hottie of the Summer Herself Won
MOBO Awards Best International Act Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Push Nominated
Best Australian Act Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Urban Video "Work" Nominated
Best Styling in a Video Nominated
Channel V Australia V Oz Artist Award 2013 Herself Nominated
Attitude Awards Breakthrough Artist] Won