Categories Interviews

Tkay Maidza: “It takes a lot to be heard by men”

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Rapper, singer and songwriter Tkay Maidza was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, grew up in Adelaide, Australia, and now lives in Los Angeles. On tour until the end of the year, the artist told us about her “chameleon” journey and her second album Sweet Justice, which will be released on November 3.

How and when were you introduced to hip hop for the first time?

I was introduced to it when I was like 3 years old. My parents would play a lot of Missy Elliott, but the moment I really started paying attention was when Nicki Minaj released her first mixtape. Felt like she was really speaking to me at that time.

You’re a singer, a songwriter, and a rapper. Which activity came first?

I was a rapper first. I began singing because I wanted someone to sing my choruses and didn’t know anyone.

How and when did you create the character of Tkay Maidza and how would you define it? 

It’s an extension of me. It’s not so much a character but almost a manifestation of the ultimate version of me. Someone that the childhood version of me would look up to.

You’re about to release your second album Sweet Justice. How has your music evolved since your first project?

I feel like I set intentions and make music I love now. I speak about my real life instead of making up scenarios. More relatable.

Which song of yours best represents you and why?

“What Ya Know” from my new album or “24k”. It’s a mix of every version of me: the singing, the rapping, the introspection but confidence.

How do you usually write? Do you have any routines?

Not really. I just try to write down any thoughts I have and let the stream of consciousness coke through. Sometimes it’s just a poem. Other times it’s melodies.

You were born in Zimbabwe, then moved to Australia, and now live in Los Angeles. What is your relationship to these three cities and what do they mean to you? 

I’ve learnt that I can be a chameleon and take small elements from each place I live in. It’s all about how I feel in a city and not so much if I belong there.

As a female artist, what issues did/do you have to face throughout your career? 

I think people sometimes don’t take you seriously… It takes a lot to be heard and seen especially by men.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Yeah, I believe in women having voices and being heard. I’m here for fairness between genders and think that women are underestimated so I try and do my best to be a good example of strong femininity.

How has the Covid pandemic impacted your projects?

It didn’t really stop anything for me. I was stuck in Australia for a while, but I definitely needed3 the downtime to realize that I should move out of my parents’ place and take the next leaps.

You just announced a North American tour for September. Do you also plan to come to Europe?

Yep! I’ll be there in November.

What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved?

You guys are great! Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you.

Find Tkay Maidza on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and her website.

© Dana Trippe

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