Presented by Puma Rookie of the Year

Acclaim Allstars Card Hoodzy

Hoodzy

Hoodzy is a name you’ve probably doubt heard in the last year or so — the young spitter raised in Perth and based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast made her debut at just 16 on triple j’s Bars of Steel series and impressed audiences around the country with her confident flows. Hoodzy’s momentum has continued steadily and the now 18 year-old has several singles under her belt including ‘Nightmare’, ‘The Land’ and most recently, the undeniably cold ‘Hardcase‘.

Jumping on a Zoom call with Hoodzy, where she’s been busy celebrating her 18th Birthday with her mates and hitting the clubs, we chat to the young rapper about holding it down in her own lane as a young, queer Polynesian woman, setting her sights on music from a young age, and plans for her new direction.

Acclaim Allstars 2020

Congrats on being selected as a finalist for rookie of the year!
Thank you!

I wanted to take it back to the start for you, how did you first get into music? Did you grow up in a musical household?
Yeah, so all my family is into music but nobody really took it further. My parents sing and my siblings sing as well but it was just like, a family thing we did. But yeah it definitely came from being around music as a young kid.

When did you first start writing your own raps and who were some of the artists that were inspiring you early on?
Just the classics, Biggie and 2pac were the first ones I heard of. I think I would have been around year 8 when I first started writing raps, fresh into high school. At first, it was something I was just doing on my own, nobody really knew I was doing it until a year or so later.

You started really young! How old are you now?
I just turned 18 a couple of months ago.

So what was the school/music balance like for you?
So I was in school whilst I was getting into music and stuff but it was more of an at-home thing, no one really knew. As I got more into it, I stopped going to school as much [laughs]. I was drifting off the wrong way but I came back to school in year 10 for about a term and then I dropped it altogether. I knew what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to do music.

Talk to me a little bit about Hardcase, how did that song come about and what did you aim to say with that track?
That was my third track that came out. I was just in the studio one day I was with Solo [iamsolo] and we had a vibe that we wanted to work with, I would say it was a Dababy sort of vibe — it was when his stuff was coming out. It’s just a bit of a flex aye, it was nothing too deep.

So you grew up in Perth and you’re now up around the Gold Coast area, what prompted the move?
I was born in Perth and grew up around there but we moved to Queensland because my mum actually played volleyball here and she really liked it so she came back and we all moved over here. At the start of last year we moved back to Perth because that’s just where all the family was but I moved back to the Gold Coast a few months ago.

Do you feel like you kind of rep both cities?
Yeah! I feel like I probably lean more towards the Gold Coast because that’s where I’ve had a lot of my growth and started really doing the music stuff.

What’s the music scene like on the Gold Coast at the moment?
It’s never really been too hip-hop forward, I think Brisbane is probably a better place for that. The Gold Coast is sort of in the middle so it’s not as big but there are some people doing music.

I saw you on that remix with Swish Music and Nerve which was hard — and a good idea of what’s happening in Brisbane and Queensland.
Yeah definitely, those dudes are mad. Swish, Creed Tha Kid and all of that crew, Nerve. They’re all doing good things.

It’s been a pretty cooked year for everyone, especially people making music, but sometimes that forces us to reflection and reset a little bit. What has 2020 taught you about yourself and your approach to music?
The people you surround yourself with is definitely a big thing—before COVID hit I was around all music people and always doing something, constantly moving forward. Then I came back here and I’m around all my old mates, just chilling and hanging out again. I think the people you hang around with helps determine where you’re heading.

What’s been getting through this year the most? What are you reading/watching/listening to?
Yeah, not much hey, just turned 18 so I’m just having a good time to be honest! [Laughs] All the clubs and stuff opened up again here on my birthday so I’ve just been enjoying that on the weekends!

Something I admire about you is that you’re unapologetically yourself. Do you feel like there have been struggles you’ve needed to overcome to stand proudly as the person you are now?
Yeah for sure. Even now I still feel like I’m going to get judged for certain things, people are going to say things but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you are your own person and you have your own people that love you. You don’t have to seek validation from anyone else, just yourself.

Do you think music has helped you make sense of who you are or is it more that you’re able to make music because you know you who are?
Yeah, I think there is truth to both. Having the platform I have to rap and say what I feel and where I’m coming from is amazing, but also being able to do that as a female and being gay and being really young is also crazy too, so I’m grateful for both situations.

Yeah and I suppose there are not many people in your lane doing that — you don’t really have someone’s footsteps to follow but you’re setting a good standard for the next generation to come, as well.
Yeah for sure.

What kinds of things make you nervous?
Ugh, honestly everything hey. Sometimes I just struggle to talk to people or struggle to order food, you know? I’m just really on and off, it depends on what my mood is. Anything can make me nervous.

What would you like to see more of in the Australian music scene or music industry?
I would like to see more originality you know? Different styles. I think everyone is just taking the most popular style right now and just going along with it. To be honest at the start that’s just what I did as well, and I thought that’s what I really loved and what I wanted to do but as you get deeper and deeper you sort of start to realise what sound you want and what audience you think will work for you as well and will support you 100% Because there are some genres where the audience is very picky and they just want to hear things done one way.

Who are some other Australian artists that you’re rocking with at the moment?
When I was in Perth there were some other artists that really welcomed me like Shadow and a few rappers out there. I hang out with singers more than anything, Becca Hatch is a good friend. I just found out one of my old friends from high school’s sister is Miss Blanks, I had no idea! Jesswar as well is hard.

I think a lot of the time an artist is only as strong as the people around them — can you tell me a bit about the team around you and how you got connected with them?
So Hauie [Latukefu] reached out to me after I had posted a video on Instagram — it was just a 30-second clip of me rapping over the instrumental for Michael Jackson’s ‘Liberian Girl’. It just started from there, he chatted to my parents first cos I was only like 15 or 16. I just happened to be going to Sydney a week or two after so from there we met up and we’ve been working since then.

What can you tell me about Forever Ever Records, what’s your favourite thing about being part of that label?
It just has a very family feel to it, having other Polynesians around and having CG Fez signed to the label too, he’s just a real good dude. If I’m in the studio, Fez will come in and we just kind of help each other out. They give you advice for things you might not have realised you even need advice for so it’s real cool.

What are you working on right now? What can we expect from Hoodzy in the coming months?
There are a few things that are ready to go, we’re just figuring out when to put everything out because of COVID and stuff and getting down to Sydney is a bit hard at the moment. But there’s definitely a few things waiting for the right time.

What kind of themes are you hoping to explore with your new music?
I’m definitely focused on getting away from the genre that everyone is heading towards right now, I’m drifting towards like a Slowthai kind of vibe. This time has given me a bit more space to think about what I want to do and sound like.

Last question is an easy one — who is a dream artist you’d love to work with one day?
Rico Nasty or someone like that. Her energy and style is crazy!

Follow Hoodzy here for more.

Words: Cass Navarro
Photography: Finn Mullen