Wonderland.

TKAY MAIDZA

Meet the Australian rapper exploring the soundscape of her own parallel universe.

Tkay Maidza

KKCO SHIRT, VEST AND TROUSERS -TALENTS OWN EARRINGS, BRACELETS, NECKLACE AND SHOES – DAVID YURMAN RINGS

Tkay Maidza
KKCO SHIRT, VEST AND TROUSERS -TALENTS OWN EARRINGS, BRACELETS, NECKLACE AND SHOES – DAVID YURMAN RINGS

Taken from the Spring 2020 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the issue now.

Meet the Australian artist exploring the soundscape of her own parallel universe.

Tkay Maidza has always been ahead of her time. Having skipped two years of high school to release her first track when she was 17, the Zimbabwean-born Australian artist, now 23, is still confounding audiences with her mature and rhythmic flow. With her upcoming projects Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 & 3, the singer-rapper is ready to delve into heavier themes, pulling away from the world of commercial pop to lean into trap and hip-hop — genres in which she’s already making waves. The Australian hip-hop scene is rapidly evolving, with female rappers cleaning up at the ARIAs (Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards) last year including Sampa the Great and, of course, Maidza. She puts this down to globalisation, stating that despite hip-hop’s legacy of championing individual areas, a more universal sound has emerged that anyone, from anywhere, can tap into. “It’s more likely that I can tour elsewhere, because my story is universal and resonates with a lot of people,” she muses, explaining that, with the growth of streaming services, she doesn’t have to tell an “Australian story” anymore and her music holds a wider appeal: “Everyone is less alone. You can say what you feel, and you will most probably still fit into a place.” Percussive rap verses intersect with heavily-accented speech on her latest track, “IDC IF U BE DED”. Opening with the line: “I’ve told you so many times, just respect my privacy / If I’m going to put something on the floor, I put it there…” the song underlines her IDGAF attitude, encompassing her motto, “you saw, you kill and just go ahead with it.” Maidza tells me she’s been rebuilding her confidence with her new music, as after the initial explosion of creativity that comes with newfound fame, she admits to feeling torn between commercial interests and tracks that better represent her as a person.

Tkay Maidza

-HARDEMAN CROP SHIRT AND BUSTIER -KKCO STOCKINGS -STYLIST’S OWN HEELS -TALENT’S OWN NECKLACE

Tkay Maidza
-HARDEMAN CROP SHIRT AND BUSTIER -KKCO STOCKINGS -STYLIST’S OWN HEELS -TALENT’S OWN NECKLACE

As she explains, you can “get lost in the sauce trying to be better, and then you can lose that fire. But then you reach a point where you’re like, ‘oh, I like making energetic music as well.’ I think I’m just starting to find that balance of existing in both worlds.” This equilibrium has also altered Maidza’s process for making music. While she used to draw elements from a variety of places, rapping over somebody else’s beat and sourcing various instrumentals and producers, she tells me she’s developed her own clear, individualistic vision and learnt to trust it entirely, “instead of having like ten people on a song, but everyone doing only five percent.” She gives me a taste of what this cohesiveness will actually look like, explaining that Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 & 3 comes together as a thematic project to form her own fictitious universe. Aside from all the tracks being produced by the same person and with the same soundscape, each song will act as a radio channel Maidza tunes into when she wakes up in an apocalyptic, dystopian future and tries to figure out where she is. “Eventually I’ll just scrap all of the pop stuff, when it’s time,” she insists, “but I’m still finding that transition.” It seems she still has some way to go before her friends completely accept the switch — Maidza’s mates still send her memes mocking it, which she compares to “that little sister that won’t shut up…” But going into 2020 armed a strong sound and clearer path, Maidza leaves no doubt that she’s more than ready to combat any potential naysayers, and is on the verge of building a veritable empire in the process.

Tkay Maidza
Tkay Maidza

PHLEMUNS BUSTIER AND BACKLESS DRESS (WORN BACKWARDS) LEVIS DENIM JEANS TALENT’S OWN BOOTS AND BRACELETS

Tkay Maidza
PHLEMUNS BUSTIER AND BACKLESS DRESS (WORN BACKWARDS) LEVIS DENIM JEANS TALENT’S OWN BOOTS AND BRACELETS
Tkay Maidza
Photography
Kristen Jan Wong
Fashion
Bin X. Nguyen
Words
Erin Cobby
Hair
Darine Sengseevong at Art Department using Oribe
Makeup
Karina Moore at Art Department using Lancome.
Production
Federica Barletta
Photography Assistant
Larry Armstrong-Kizze
Special Thanks
MSA Studios Los Angeles
TKAY MAIDZA
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