Tkay Maidza: The Next Big Rapper From Oz?

Growing up all over Australia (Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, Perth, Whyalla), Tkay Maidza was constantly forced to adapt to new friends, new schools, and a new environment. Music was her rock. She would dance and sing along to the radio and TV. She performed for family and friends using toy musical instruments. Her father, a miner, played guitar and was a vocalist for some small bands.

For Maidza, a childhood filled with move after move was a gift and a curse.

“I’ve lost so many friends, gained so many, dealt with starting my life again so many times,” she says. “It’s pretty hard but that’s what I generally find inspiration from.

That inspiration has most recently been manifested into Switch Tape, Maidza’s debut mixtape released late last October.

“The whole mixtape is about an angry little girl,” she says. “Mainly about losing friends and wanting to win at something.”

The project has been received with acclaim, with website AltSounds calling it “one of the better mixtapes to drop this year.” She spits rapid-fire rhymes, darting in and out of electro beats with a nonchalant flow. Her choice for beats leans more toward electro bounce than it does traditional hip-hop, though hip-hop forms the nucleus of her sound. She handles hook duty on many of her tracks as well.

With a lean, 30-minute run time, Switch Tape is an appetizer for Maidza’s debut album, which she plans to release on Dew Process (London Grammar, Mumford & Sons) later this year. In October, she performed Switch Tape at SOBs in New York City as part of the CMJ music marathon. It was her first time in the States. And how did she like it?

“It was scary how (America) is exactly what you’d expect it to be,” she says. “In-N-Out is pretty good, too!”

This is poised to be an even bigger year. Her single “U-Huh” is steadily climbing up the charts. But even with all the attention that comes with a larger fan base, Maidza maintains her focus: “I really want to travel and live somewhere else with my music,” she says.

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