In the new issue of Music Week, we shine a spotlight on Brooke Candy for our regular On The Radar feature. In the feature Candy tells us about the remarkable journey that’s led her to finally releasing her debut Sexorcism – which features a host of guest appearances, including Charli XCX and Iggy Azalea.
In the piece, Brooke speaks candidly about her early career as an artist signed to RCA – where she recorded a duet with Sia – and finding her true calling as an independent artist in total control of every aspect of her career.
Here, in an unread extract of our interview, Candy opens up about her mental health, industry double standards and more...
What do you consider to be your big break as an artist?
“I still don't feel like I’ve gotten it. I feel like I’m just pounding my head against the wall all the time making art that no one actually gives a shit about. But I'm still making it because I have to make it, if I don't make it… I just don't feel happy. It's my only outlet. I continue to do it, but I still don't feel like I am where I want to be. I always want to be better and doing more, but it's nice that I finally have this album out. A lot of fans that have followed me know this has been a long time coming. I don't think signing to Sony was a big break, that was just money in my bank account if anything. My big break will be being recognised on a greater scale based off of the art that I just naturally make from my heart. And if that never happens, that's fine because I have made the art, but hopefully one day that does happen and I'm just recognised as a good artist.”
With songs like Drip, do you ever worry that your music is too explicit to break as big as you want it to be? Does it pose a problem for, say, radio play?
“My songs are explicit, but look at Lil Kim on Hardcore – she had a couple of radio songs. Boss Bitch, my song with Ashnikko, is radio friendly. Freak Like Me with TooPoor, that’s very radio friendly. I have songs on the album that are very radio friendly. I'm explicit, but what artist these days isn't? Cardi B is explicit, Nicki Minaj explicit. Male rappers especially are explicit, and every one of their fucking songs is on the radio. It's crazy. I love Post Malone, I give him a shout out on one of my songs. He won a Grammy for an album that's highly explicit, and he's a white rapper. As a female, I get so much shit for being a white rapper and this man won a Grammy for it and my songs are just completely overlooked. Maybe his songs are just that much better, but I think every rapper is really explicit. A lot of radio stations will just play their music and bleep out the explicit remark, but I think maybe it's just because I’m a woman and it's shocking, maybe too subversive, and turns people off, but that just makes me so sad.”
How come Happy, which was originally billed as Sexorcism’s lead single, isn’t actually on the album?
“I actually made that at the same time that I did make this album, but this album felt so much different from that song. This album is uplifting and sex positive and fun. Happy is a real representation of how I feel on a regular basis, but that's not the kind of art that I necessarily want to project to younger kids and young queers and teens who are just trying to understand their identity. That's not what I always want to reflect. I am so unstable mentally and emotionally. Even when I'm sober and my life seems to be perfect, I just have the kind of brain that really, really can't see things – it's a delusional sadness. I suffer from bipolar disorder and things like that kind of warp my reality. That song was a really cathartic moment for me to get out – it was an emotional release for me in my mind and that's how I felt when I made that. It is good for young people to hear, because everyone's struggling with emotional instability. It feels like everyone on planet Earth is having some sort of mental breakdown, or a psychotic break. I swear to God, since Donald Trump was elected and Brexit’s been happening, everyone is in a space where they're having a nervous breakdown. So that was my song for that. That song was really just for me. That was a cathartic moment for me, to just get out something that I had been holding in for a long time.”
You've got some amazing people on the record. How was it working with Charli XCX?
“I swear to God, she is single-handedly saving pop music. She is writing everyone else's songs and writing her own, using her giant platform to uplift artists that don't have a platform by featuring them and giving them exposure, and then she’s also putting together an all female rock band. She is really special and so fucking cool. You can just tell in this industry when you look into someone's eyes what their intentions are: I can tell if they are an authentic human being that wants to make a connection, or a soulless, social climbing-opportunist. Charli is an authentic human, when you look in her eyes she is funny, charismatic and really honest, raw and real. I respect it. All the women on my album, although I haven't met all of them, give me that vibe.”
You have Iggy Azalea on the album, too…
“We never met, but we had some funny texting conversations. She gave me some good advice where I was mentioning that I was nervous to release the [album] because it’s so scary. She said her dad told her once: ‘You don’t make art to please everyone, you’re not trying to make everyone happy – that's not your purpose. Your purpose in making art is to just create. It’s a cathartic creative experience for you, and it's immersive for you, and you shouldn't be worried about making the entire world happy. If you're making the entire world happy with your art, you're probably doing something wrong.’ I was like… Damn. I took that and ran with that, like, ‘Thanks Iggy, that’s fucking amazing!’”
So what do you hope people will get out of Sexorcism?
“I hope people listen to the album and they just have fun with it and they’re kind. I’m really sensitive. No one has to be kind, but people are quick to use the internet as a means to be really, really detrimentally hurtful. Be kind, listen to it with a different perspective –if it's not your like favorite type of music, maybe you can find something about the album artwork or the videos or something you like. Give it a chance. For the ones who are ready to give it a chance and have been waiting for a long time for it, I’m so excited that they’ll have something to listen to for the next few months and be weird to and get freaky too.. Have fun with my album. Don't take life too seriously, don't my music too seriously or me too seriously and have a good fuck to Rim.”
Youcan read Brooke Candy’s On The Radar interview here.