Meet the “queer and brown” Minnesota artist refusing to be put in a box.
“I don’t think I’m an artist you can throw in a box ‘cause I’ll shape-shift that muthafucka into a rhombus, and then make it 3D.”
Whatever you do, don’t try and categorise the music of Dizzy Fae. It’s not a thing that can be tick-boxed and neatly filed away. Enigmatic and amorphous, her depictions of love and connection span alternative R&B, hip hop, jazz, 80s synth – and her explosive accompanying visuals dance around it creating a layered, hyper-coloured universe.
Trained as a classical singer in opera and jazz, as well as a dancer in ballet, African and modern, the Minnesota artist’s interdisciplinary talent has caught the eye of Lizzo and Toro Y Moi, who she’s opened tours for.
She’s spoken openly about being “queer and brown” and pulls no punches when it comes to talking about the importance of identity and being open. Her mesmerising video for track “Her/Indica” is about falling in love with a woman for the first time.
And with new song “Company” dropping today, we caught up with Dizzy and talked being vulnerable, her constantly evolving sound, and touring with Lizzo…
Hey, how are you?
Hey! I’m always good. Even if I’m not, I’ll always be good ja feel me?
Tell me how you first got into music?
I was actually just reminded that I had a solo in my kindergarten choir recital, so I’m pretty sure I was in the womb using my mom’s umbilical cord as a mic.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to whatever my mom and older siblings were listening to, like Prince, Tears for Fears, The Police/Sting, TLC, Boys II Men, etc. Very 80s and 90s vibes coming from my mom. My sister had a bunch of CDs and would always blast music to help her fall asleep, so I’ve basically memorised the albums of Pretty Ricky, Cherish, B5, Lloyd and for some reason she would fall asleep to New Boyz.
What genre would you categorise your music as?
I didn’t make my first song till I was 16 and in school I trained in classical and jazz, so my sound pulls from everything I am made of. I take everything in my head out when I make music, so I don’t believe my sound will ever stop developing.
What generally inspires your music?
Everything inspires my music.
You’re part of this amazing generation of out-and-proud artists and your songs document your experience of being “queer and brown”? Why do you think it’s important to be liberated and showcase these feelings and emotions on a public platform?
More people should be themselves and love who they are.
2018 was a big year for you, especially with your mixtape, where you both sing and rap, was it scary putting out like a larger body of work?
Thank you! It was kinda like walking into the classroom of a new school, it’s already the middle of the school year, and the teacher asked me to the front of the class to say my name and one fact about myself, but one fact couldn’t sum me up so instead I just said nothing and handed the class my mixtape.
How was it touring with Lizzo? And you’ve done shows with Kehlani and Toro y Moi – how have you chosen people you’ve worked with? Is there anyone on your list next?
I went on US tours with Lizzo and Toro y Moi, and those didn’t happen cause I planned them, they just happened. Some of my favorite shows were with them! Both amazing people, truly. I’ve never been one to have specific people I want to play with, I let fate decide that and continue making art. So expect the unexpected with ya girl.
How do you want people to feel after coming away from one of your shows?
I want them to smile anytime they talk or think about it. I want them to feel safe and not alone. A show to me is an exchange, and if you’re in the crowd I want you to know I see you and I feel you.
What’s the best feedback you’ve ever had?
The best feedback I’ve received is physical movement. If i can get a crowd moving freely, then i know I’m doing my job.
Your music videos have a really hypnotic, ethereal quality to them – how involved are you with the process?
I always start off with the idea and it forms from there. Life is a beautiful collaboration. For my next project, I will be writing and co-directing them all.
Your video for “Her/Indica” was about you falling in love with a woman for the first time, do you feel vulnerable putting out music that’s so close to you?
I think being vulnerable is the best way to move. I enjoy being myself entirely.
How was it putting together your upcoming mixtape?
It’s amazing how much you grow if you allow yourself to. For this second mixtape, I worked with the same producers Alec Ness and Psymun but I added some other amazing producers in like Sir Dylan, Falls, and Kim-tee! When you work with people for so long in a passionate state of mind, the evolution of the results are timeless.
What’s next for you?
New project coming out and whole lot of dizziness coming to you. Shit’s about to be cracking, bonkers, fresh, yummy.