ARTIST PROFILE

Iggy Azalea

Name: Amethyst Amelia Kelly

Birthday: 7 June 1990

Fav Dish: Mashed Potatoes With Gravy & Chicken

Amethyst Amelia Kelly (born 7 June 1990), known professionally as Iggy Azalea, is an Australian rapper, singer, songwriter, model, and music video director.

Amethyst Amelia Kelly was born in Sydney and brought up in Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Her father, Brendan Kelly, was a European-Australian painter and comic artist, while her mother, Tanya, cleaned holiday houses and hotels.Azalea lived in a house that her father built by hand from mud-bricks, surrounded by 5 hectares (12 acres) of land. According to Azalea, she has some Aboriginal (Indigenous Australian) ancestry: “My family came to Australia on the First Fleet. My family’s been in that country for a long time, over 100 years. If your family’s lived in Australia for a long time, everyone has a little bit of [Aborigine blood]. I know my family does because we have an eye condition that only Aboriginal people have.” Azalea has also said that her father “made her look at [art] as a teenager”, which has always influenced her life and work. She began rappingat age 14. Before embarking on a solo career, Azalea formed a group with two other girls from her neighbourhood: “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 [sic]. I’m too competitive.”

In pursuit of her desire to move to America, Azalea dropped out of high school. She worked and saved the money she earned by cleaning hotel rooms and holiday houses with her mother. She claims to have hated school, which, apart from art class, only made her miserable. She also said she had no friends and was teased for her homemade outfits. Azalea travelled to the United States in 2006, shortly before she turned 16. She told her parents she was going “on a holiday” with a friend, but eventually decided to stay and shortly afterward 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 the US, she received her General Educational Development(GED), and resided in the country on a visa waiver for six years, returning to Australia every three months to renew it. Azalea worked in the US illegally until February 2013 when she was granted a five-year O visa.

Azalea’s debut studio album, The New Classic (2014), peaked among the top five of several charts worldwide and received generally mixed reviews. It topped the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums making Azalea the first non-American female rapper to reach the top of the chart. The album was preceded by her debut single “Work”, and generated the US Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single “Fancy”. Azalea was featured on Ariana Grande’s single “Problem”, which peaked at No. 2 while “Fancy” was No. 1. Azalea joined The Beatles as the only acts to rank at numbers one and two simultaneously with their first two Hot 100 entries. She achieved three top-ten hits simultaneously on the Hot 100 with the aforementioned songs along with the album’s fifth single, “Black Widow”, later that year.

After her debut album, Azalea released a slew of moderately successful singles to build anticipation for her intended second album, Digital Distortion, though a series of label conflicts and personal conflicts saw the project being scrapped. After switching labels again, Azalea released the EP Survive the Summer (2018) under Island Records. Continued disagreements lead to Azalea becoming an independent artist signed to her label, Bad Dreams, through a distribution deal with Empire. Her upcoming second album, In My Defense, is slated to be released in Summer 2019.

Since her debut, Azalea has sold 48 million records worldwide, with 22 million singles in the United States alone. Azalea’s accolades include two American Music Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, a People’s Choice Award, four Teen Choice Awards, and four Grammy Award nominations. Azalea’s official YouTube channel has accumulated 2.6 billion views, while she has had 13 music videos receive over 100 million views on Vevo.