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“There’s layers to every person” A talk with Liz Y2K

Mad Decent artist and valley girl LIZ Y2K is taking the world back to the early 2000s, and she is doing so in the most aesthetic way possible. By her use of R&B and dance-pop sounds, along with a modern twist and the nostalgia for her younger years, she has curated a style that is so perfectly LIZ Y2K. She has toured with Charli XCX, collaborated with artists like Diplo and Pharrell, and continues to release fun, danceable tracks, including her most recent single “When I Rule the World.” With LIZ’s talent and individualist return to Y2K R&B, this pop star might just one day actually rule the world.

Photographer: Jasmine Safaeian
Interviewer: Sadie Bell

Tell us about your upbringing and how did it shape the person you are now?
I grew up working professionally since I was a child, including dancing with a professional ballet company. So, I learned how to have discipline at a young age. I was also lucky enough to try out a bunch of things creatively, so I could get a sense of what I wanted to do.

How does it feel to be the first woman signed to such a respected, creative label like Mad Decent?
Well, certain female artists such as Kito & Reija Lee and Maluca had released material off of Mad Decent before me, and I think they opened the door for me to be the first POP artist to release off of the label. I really owe it to Paul Devro for believing in me and putting out my songs on Jeffree’s….and to Diplo for taking a chance on me. It’s an honor to rep this crew. There’s so much history and cultural significance in Mad Decent’s impact on the music world, especially in the last five years.

You’ve successfully avoided the trap in the music industry of only being that girl featured on tracks – how does it feel being able to have a sense of your own control and work on your own material ?
Yeah, I never ever had the intention of being a faceless voice on other people’s tracks. Certain collabs can bring you exposure and be great for credibility, but you’ve gotta have a strong solo project going on with a clear vision in order to properly transcend. I’ve always hustled in the music industry since I was twelve years old. Session after session, show after show. I’m finally pretty confident and comfortable with myself…It’s really in the songs at this point. Timing is also key when trying to go about breaking a trend to the mainstream.

 

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“The economy sucks…lots of things suck. So, sometimes you just wish you could be a kid again. It’s ironic because I’ve been working with adults since I was a kid, so I probably should feel old or grown up…but I really don’t.”

 

Since your music is so inspired by 90s and early 2000s R&B, what is itabout this time period that inspires you? Are you glad you grew up when you did and are you nostalgic for that period now?
I am glad I grew up when I did. I think there was a lot of innocence back in the 90’s/early 2000’s. Music and music videos seemed more magical too. Sometimes, they were the only way you could access or get to know an artist. I think social media is wild and fun, but it also kind of depletes the mystique of pop stars these days.

Your music has such a youthful essence to it. What does youth mean to you and how do you embrace it?
Well…I’m not a girl, not yet a woman. LOL. I think millennials are just growing up faster and slower at the same time, if that makes sense? We’re more savvy and exposed to all sorts of things very early on, but it’s also a lot harder to support yourself these days as a young adult and feel like a ‘grown up.’ The economy sucks…lots of things suck. So, sometimes you just wish you could be a kid again. It’s ironic because I’ve been working with adults since I was a kid, so I probably should feel old or grown up…but I really don’t. Maturity and knowledge are more important to me, but those can be expressed in different ways. It doesn’t mean you have to act and dress like society’s idea of a ‘mature adult’ and only write/sing serious material.

How have you come to so artfully craft the great aughts-reminiscent aesthetic you have in your style and online-presence?
I guess my nostalgia, all of my memories, and the Internet are to thank for that.

Now who is the girl at the core of this great aesthetic and music- what do you want your fans to know about you as a person?
There’s layers to every person, and I hope people can relate to that notion. I was judged a lot growing up and I want to continue to challenge that. I often felt like I didn’t know where I fit in. I still feel like that, and I guess I want people to know that that makes you human and that’s normal and okay. When you listen to my music or come to my shows, I want to create a safe place for everyone to just feel whatever they want to feel and be whoever they are most comfortable being. No judgment allowed.

You released your single “When I Rule the World” in July, can we expect more new music from you soon? What are your hopes going forward?
Yeah, I’m excited about releasing more songs and videos and collabs. I have a bunch of material I can’t wait to put out. I’m in London right now writing new stuff. I’m also involved in a new interactive online magazine/brand called OKgrl that expresses the vibe of my aesthetic and of my friends. Stay tuned.

 

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