Australian rapper Iggy Azalea recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Azalea discussed her earliest musical memory, the success of her No. 1 hit "Fancy," the challenges of being a female rapper, and collaborating with artists such as Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lopez, among other topics.
"I was very surprised about how massive 'Fancy' was purely because it's a rap song," said Azalea. "It's really scary to try to have massive expectations for yourself when you're a female rapper because it's a really hard lane to be in. It's difficult, but I love that."
Born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in Sydney, Azalea, a former model, was inspired to move to the United States in 2006 at age 16 after listening to hip-hop and R&B artists such as Missy Elliott, TLC and Tupac Shakur. She subsequently lived in Miami, Houston and Atlanta before moving to Los Angeles, after which she released the 2011 mixtape Ignorant Art, which featured the popular single "Pu$$y." She made headlines in 2012 when she became the first female, non-American rapper to make XXL Magazine's annual Top Ten Freshman list. She subsequently teamed with GRAMMY-nominated DJ/producer Diplo for her follow-up mixtape, 2012's TrapGold.
After inking a deal with Mercury Records in 2013, Azalea released her debut album, The New Classic, in April. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and features 12 tracks, including the hit singles "Work," "Fancy" (featuring British singer/songwriter Charli XCX) and "Black Widow" (co-written by GRAMMY nominee Katy Perry and featuring Rita Ora). The album also includes the single "Change Your Life," a collaboration with GRAMMY-winning rapper T.I.
Earlier this year Azalea was featured on Grande's single "Problem," which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In May Azalea became the first artist since the Beatles in 1964 to have their first two chart hits rank No. 1 and No. 2 simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Fancy" and "Problem," respectively.