As a young artist, it must be super hard to protect one’s individual creative vision, finding oneself under the industry’s pressure. What was your experience with that?
TI: I think it’s actually the simplest option to stay true to yourself because all you have to do is avoid overthinking and trying to be like anyone else. If you answer every question or speak from a place that feels true to you and stands for what you believe in, then that’s it. I’ve never tried to change what I look like, or what I sound like, or what I speak like, or what I say; neither have I concealed the content of what I speak about. I think that’s the most important thing. It is really easy to just miss young artists these days. Not only are they young, but we’re also crowded amongst other young artists that do talk about bullshit and it is really hard to be taken seriously with both of those things working against you, but I think it’s all about working in time. It is never about people understanding right now, but I need to make sure that whatever I say is something I believe in and I care about. I don’t want to be silly and stupid just because being a character would get me more publicity. Truth be told, I’ve never asked to be famous, I’ve never asked for this. I want to play live music for as long as I can, to people that want to hear it. I’m not saying I hate what’s happening to me, I’m not saying that it’s the worst thing in the world. But to go viral, to be rich and famous is nothing that I wanted to happen, but when it happened, I knew that I had to take it in my own way and not copy other artists, not strive to be more famous. It’s just me!
How did you experience your collaborations with record lables so far?
TI: I never ever thought I put pressure on myself to sign with a label. I’ve met with labels thinking that I probably won’t sign. My biggest influence is Macklemore and it so happened that I met a bunch of genuinely right people that were very much for the artists. I’ve never once been told that I couldn’t do this or I couldn’t do that. I think that people start believing in new generations of artists that want to own all of their music and have something to hold on to and be proud of when they die. That want to express themselves in whatever way they want to. I don’t have any regrets with any person that I have ever taken on. I was lucky enough to be signed with a label that I really love. From my managers to my agents as well, we are all a big family. I definitely didn’t go with the first person that asked, I took my time to make sure that I was making the right decision and until today, I haven’t regretted it for a second, that is such a big thing to say. A lot of artists couldn’t say that about their contracts. I repeat this all the time, but I have some friends that aren’t as lucky as I am and it really hurts me so much because people can really take advantage of an artist, especially when they’re young and new.
Your new single Ur So F**king Cool is so striking, it is exactly what we needed in these weird times. Is it true that the story is based on a real life experience from a party you attended in L.A.?
TI: Yes, it’s true. I just wrote this song to let other people know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Maybe you should go and have some beers with your mates because it’s way funnier.
So true! Do you think that narcissism is the new social disease?
TI: I don’t really know. I wouldn’t think about narcissism first. There are so many other things that I’d put before that that need to be controlled, fixed or changed on this globe.
TI: I think right now is the time when we need to stand up to online bullying, we need to speak up against racism and be vocal in a way that it’s not just another trend. And in Australia right now, we are having a big problem with people disposing of their masks in the wrong way. At the end of last year, we were getting to a very good place in terms of protecting our planet from pollution and making the right decisions as a country. Now, we really got a problem with something that seemed very easy to fix. We have a lot of things we need to work towards. I definitely think that we’re on the right path, but there’s still a lot of negative things out there. It’s a whole world that we’re talking about and you’ll never get everyone on the same side, this is the hard reality of it!
You mentioned Macklemore is one of your biggest idols. You had the chance to meet him at your show in Seattle and to even collaborate. What was the most unexpected thing about him when you met?
TI: It is a scary thing when you’ve spent so much time thinking about how it would be to meet someone that has inspired you so much. You know, I’ve cried to his music, I’ve laughed, I have felt empowered and strong, and gotten through so many things. I had such huge expectations for him because listening to his music, it felt like we’ve been best friends for a whole life. He was honestly everything that I could’ve wanted. He ended up watching my set, calling my manager the next day saying, “I want to work with her, I want to be a part of a song with her.” He even asked me to come and work with him in the studio for the day. I got to open up and talk to him about what it is like coming up in social media. That was so good, he is such an inspiring person. When he walked off after we spent a day at the studio and we said goodbye, I looked at him from behind and he had this big puffer jacket on. He was walking away and I was thinking, “Holy shit, that was Macklemore!” It was so surreal.
Who else would you like to meet in person, no matter if alive or dead?
TI: There would be a few but I’d definitely say Freddy Mercury, I’m a huge fan. And I would absolutely die if I met Michael Jordan – I have played basketball my whole life, I’m such a huge fan of his. And then Kanye West, I think he is a genius, I genuinely respect him and have also seen him performing live, he’s awesome and I think he’s very smart and an amazing producer. And then Christina Aguilera, she was my first love in music. I think she has a phenomenal voice and she’s such a huge inspiration for me. Because she was my first love in terms of growing up having that first favorite artist, it is just something that never dies.