“Publish whatever you want,” says Brooke Candy with a nonchalant wave of the hand; “Who wants to have secrets?”
A publicist’s nightmare, a journalist’s dream: Brooke’s so open that if you’re not careful, she’ll envelop you entirely. At least, that’s what happened to Clash when we lay on her bed, post-blunt, to chat about who she’s been hooking with up, where she’s been partying, and why she’s been feeling down.
In pint-sized person, telling us her secrets, the same LA girl who raps, “Pussy is a weapon / I be shooting dudes at random,” and wields a sword while wearing silver body armour in Grimes’ ‘Genesis’ video suddenly doesn’t seem so scary. Is the badass bitch a façade, or is Brooke softening up now that she plans to take her music and her message more mainstream?
Brooke’s in London to record an exclusive track in collaboration with fashion designer Alex Mattsson for the launch of his new collection (and more on that, here). The same “freaky princess” once notorious for her lack of clothes – she’s an ex-stripper – is fast securing iconic status in the fashion world.
“I wasn’t bred as that kind of person, it wasn’t imposed on me, it was a natural inclination,” she tells us. “McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Gareth Pugh, Viktor and Rolf… fashion designers are f*cking crazy, and I can connect.”
So why Mattsson and why now, we ask. “His clothing is so well tailored, so beautiful, so f*cking rich and opulent looking, but still has the odd factor. It suits me. I’m transitioning, out of the costume and the armour. I’m evolving into something more high end.”
Brooke’s self-conscious stylisation and reinvention is an affinity she shares with all the obvious big players in the pop game, so it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when she tells us that she’s on the cusp of a new phase, where her music will take a more accessible and commercial direction.
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Brooke Candy, ‘Das Me’
(Do we really need to warn that this song features strong language?)
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But logistically, we wonder, how do you go about repackaging something as distinct as Candy’s nasty-ass brand of feminist rap?
“I’m working with a writer named Sia, who’s helping me write pop hooks. She’s really good. I want to write more melodic music that reaches a greater scale of people – mass amounts.”
Admittedly, lyrics like “I be cuttin’ off yo’ dick, boi” have hardly been ‘radio friendly’, but they’ve also marked Brooke as the most insurgent and important feminist voice in music of the moment, her linguistic games giving male rappers a taste of their own misogynist medicine.
As the ‘selling out’ alarm bells ring, Brooke reassures us: “The only reason I would tone down anything is so that I could appeal to really young girls; I want them to take my advice.”
She continues: “But I will never tone down my message. I stand for equality. I’m a woman; you have to do that if you’re a woman. I’m gay; I stand for the gay community. And for people that feel weird, for loner people. That’s what I was when I was younger.
“I had such a horrible time (when I was younger), I was f*cking miserable, and I think it’s because the place where I grew up is like a crazy Stepford town with robotic people. When I was sad, music helped me a lot, but I didn’t have a role model, so I’m just trying to appeal to my 13-year-old self.”
Brooke flippantly alludes to her “sadness” more than once, but when looked in the eye and asked if she still experiences it she freezes up. “I feel sad,” she mutters, quiet for the first time. “I’m generally happy, but there’s always an undertone of sadness, of loneliness. People are embracing me and I thank God everyday, but at the same time I’m alone in this hotel room.”
Brooke hasn’t been in one place long enough to date anyone since a girl back in LA last year, and even that was only for a “hot minute”. She did recently hook up with a Brooke Shields lookalike on Diplo’s tour bus at SXSW, but that’s by the by. Most of her nights are spent with Netflix (last watched: Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion) or her fans.
“I’ve gotten some crazy email messages lately. Someone told me the other day, ‘I wouldn’t be here or alive without you.’ That’s heavy. So whenever anyone emails me, I answer that shit. I stay awake doing it, they deserve it.”
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Brooke Candy, 'Everybody Does'
(Again, if you are easily offended, probably don't bother)
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Formidably hardworking, Brooke doesn’t party as much as you might expect. She’s so rarely at home in LA that when she does layover she’s just happy to chill out and smoke weed with her flatmates.
London makes her want to party, though, and “New York has its moments” – like a recent night out with Mykki Blanco, Amanda Lepore and Nicola Formichetti, where Brooke got so “f*cking raging” that she flashed her tits on camera (…happens to the best of us, girl). They’d spent the day modelling an ad campaign, shot by Terry Richardson, for a new brand of water called ‘Pop’.
“What is that, like water for gay people?” we ask, excitedly picturing the line-up. “Exactly!” replies Brooke, ever happy to rep the gay community as one of few out-and-proud females in the limelight. “It’s always an artist’s choice to be out,” she says firmly. “The management can say whatever they want, but it’s the artist’s choice. Trust me, it takes one to know one, and I know every f*cker that is gay in this industry and if they came out it would be so uplifting. There are a lot of them, but they’re not willing to be who they are.”
Few people are as willing to “be who they are” as Brooke Candy, which is why, despite the castration threats, tit flashing and weed smoking, Brooke’s a “f*cking” good role model.
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Words: Amelia Abraham
Photography: Matthew Stone
This feature originally appeared in issue 86 of Clash magazine. Said issue, with Beady Eye, Disclosure, Primal Scream, John Legend, Eve, Ghostface Killah and much more, can be purchased here.
Find Brooke Candy online right here.
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