Saweetie On Her 'ICY GRL' Breakout & Plans For 2019: 'If Your Music Isn't Timeless, It's Going To Be Forgotten'


She tells Billboard about her private highlights from 2018

As 2018 winds down, Billboard is asking a few of the artists who helped outline the 12 months in music to look again on their accomplishments, favourite reminiscences and pop-culture obsessions from the previous 12 months. Check out different interviews with St. Vincent, Anne-Marie, Kali Uchis, Dan + Shay, Swae Lee, Lauv, Old Dominion, Mitski, Sofi Tukker and Jason Isbell.

In her bouncy motivational hit "ICY GRL," Bay Area rapper Saweetie spits assured rhymes about sipping Hennessy on the seashore and "stacking paper steadily so I can reside in luxurious." But the 25-year-old artist, born Diamonté Harper, admits she wrote the music "in a room with only a mattress in it."

"There was a second the place I didn't actually have something," she remembers. "And the one choice was for me to both mope, which I don't like doing, or to be aspirational."

Today, these aspirations are wanting extra like realities. After an Instagram clip of Saweetie freestyling the music went viral late final 12 months, she signed to Warner Bros. Records in February, and the studio model of the monitor has since raked in additional than 126 million streams throughout all platforms. During the remainder of her jam-packed 2018, Saweetie launched her debut EP, High Maintenance (in partnership together with her very personal label, ICY); appeared on tasks with David Guetta, London On Da Track and Kehlani (who added her personal spin to an "ICY GRL" remix); and even starred in an advert for Rihanna's Fenty Beauty. 

The morning after her third Rolling Loud set, Saweetie tells Billboard about her proudest moments of 2018, why she insisted on going to school and her plans for the brand new 12 months.

First off, we have now to speak about your outfit at Rolling Loud. Where did you discover these skirts?

I am going on Pinterest loads for inspiration. There was this scene from a extremely outdated film — I'm not even positive what it's from — however the woman who was really carrying [the skirt had it in] a satin blue, and he or she had white fur round it.

I used to be like, "Oh my gosh, that jogs my memory of Mean Girls." I requested pink with white fur, however then Ariana Grande got here out with "thank u, subsequent." So I used to be like, "Let me simply do a dope, loopy shade." I modified it to scorching pink. I feel it actually added to the efficiency. I'm lastly getting the [hang of] what works for what kind of occasion and what colours stand out. What folks didn't know is that we needed to repair these skirts an hour earlier than we arrived as a result of they have been too lengthy. [Laughs] So it was a large number, nevertheless it ended up understanding.


Happy Holidays from the Icy Grlz ——–

A publish shared by ICY (@saweetie) on Dec 16, 2018 at 1:46pm PST

You first obtained into music at age 14. What made you wish to be a rapper?

Around the time that I used to be in highschool, a variety of rappers have been popping out with mixtapes of them rapping over different folks's instrumentals, particularly Young Money. I assumed it was so fly and dope what they have been doing. I used to be already writing poetry, so I transitioned from writing poetry a cappella to writing over beats, and it was far more thrilling to me that approach. You know whenever you're a child and also you're like, "I wish to be this," after which a pair weeks later it's one thing else? Me desirous to be an artist by no means actually light away. I knew that it doesn’t matter what else I attempted to pursue, my ardour was at all times that. I didn't report till I used to be most likely 18. Not rising up in a L.A. or New York, you're simply pondering, How the hell am I going to push by way of this sport? But finally time went on, social media took place, and that's what I began utilizing to place my music on the market.

What motivated you to start out posting freestyles from your car on Instagram?

I couldn't afford studio time. I had turned down hospital job provides, and I used to be like, You hold not desirous to work anyplace else, so it is advisable go 100 p.c for what you wish to do. And because you don't have a studio, how else are you going to get your music out? Recording within the automotive and posting the movies on-line.

You now have greater than 1.5 million Instagram followers. How have you ever adjusted to social media fame?
I’m not used to getting bizarre feedback. You have folks sending you paragraphs about your work, and it’s similar to… [Laughs] I learn my feedback. People would let you know to not, however I like interacting with followers. Besides that, I don’t go to blogs. From time to time, I see folks simply say off-the-wall shit, and as a substitute of popping off again on-line, I simply put it in a music.

It might be tempting for aspiring artists to forego the standard school route and do music full-time, however you have been decided to get your communications and enterprise diploma at USC. Why?

I made a promise to myself. I used to be like, my dream college is USC, and if I can get a level from USC, no person can inform me shit. They have the primary communications college within the nation, and that's my main. I used to be like, if I apply to USC and get in, that's an indication that I want to remain in school and end it. If I don't get in, I'm going to drop out of college and transfer to L.A. to pursue music. So I utilized. If you get denied, you get an envelope, however in the event you get in, you get a extremely massive welcome package deal. Every time I checked the mail, there was no package deal, so my coronary heart could be beating. Time has handed, and I lastly get a packet. That was an indication to remain at school. And I'm glad I did, as a result of it actually taught me find out how to be an grownup and have a balanced way of life.

What did you write your admissions essay about?

I attended a soccer sport at USC, however I didn't go to the college but, and I simply defined how the environment made me wish to be a Trojan and the way I felt like I was already one. It was a extremely private essay. The level of the admissions [process] isn't to sound good — it's to sound like a human and make that emotional reference to whoever is studying it. You solely have 300 to 500 phrases to make them really feel like they know you. It's so worrying, woman! 

You put out your debut EP, High Maintenance, early this 12 months. What's the story behind that title?

High upkeep means a variety of care. My relationships are excessive upkeep, my physique is excessive upkeep, and my soul is excessive upkeep. I actually care about my mates and my household; I eat good; I pray loads. So it's like, I actually care about my relationships with my household, my mates, my physique and my soul.

The EP oozes confidence. Where do you suppose you get yours from?

There was a second in time when I didn't have a variety of issues. I used to be renting rooms off of Craigslist. I wrote "ICY GRL" in a room with only a mattress in it. I feel when you don’t have anything, your solely choice is to be aspirational, since you need higher for your self. I'm the kind of particular person the place, although I could also be struggling, you're not going to see it, as a result of I understand how to place myself collectively. Some criticism I've acquired is, "Oh my gosh, she hasn't lived by way of something in her life, she's associated to so and so and he or she went to USC." [Saweetie is said to producer Zaytoven and actress Gabrielle Union] Y'all know nothing about me. Just as a result of I'm associated to whoever I'm associated to doesn't imply I've had doorways open to me due to their title. So there was a second the place I didn't actually have something. And the one choice was for me to both mope, which I don't like doing, or to be aspirational. I feel that perspective has caught with me since.

Was there a second this 12 months whenever you realized, "I've made it"? Did any of the lyrics in "ICY GRL" come true?

I really feel like my lyrics at all times come true. I'm critical. [Laughs] “Put it in my financial savings and spend money on the proper firms” — I’ve made some strategic investments in music, trend and wonder that I’ll be revealing in 2019. And I'm not in a mansion proper now, however I'm undoubtedly residing higher than what I used to be residing in a 12 months in the past, in order that was a satisfying prophecy for me. I used to be like, "Wow, I must be cautious about what I say, and if I'm saying it, I must imply it." It's an excellent factor, although!

Why was it vital so that you can begin your personal label, ICY?

I assumed it'd be dope for there to be a powerhouse that's ran by a lady. I really feel just like the powerhouses which have come out earlier than are male-dominated. So I wish to sooner or later set up artists and grow to be an ICY powerhouse. I feel that'd be dope.

What was your most proud second of 2018?

Performing at Oracle Arena [in Oakland for the Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour]. Going again dwelling and receiving love from folks within the Bay Area was tremendous thrilling for me. It was really my favourite efficiency thus far. I had a lot enjoyable on that stage. I’m very grateful that Migos and Drake introduced me out that night time. It was actually attention-grabbing how the stage was arrange — particularly with that [the floating part] and the graphics. I used to be capable of get perspective as a fan and perspective as a performer, so it was actually dope to get these two insights. 


Last night was crazzyyyyyy!!!!!!!!! —— BAY AREAAAAAAA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A publish shared by ICY (@saweetie) on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:36pm PDT

What’s probably the most memorable fan interplay you had this 12 months?

I keep in mind this woman telling me that after she listened to “B.A.N.,” it gave her the boldness to interrupt up together with her boyfriend who she’d been with for eight years, as a result of it simply wasn't wholesome. I used to be like, "Wow, the facility of music! I’m glad that I used to be ready that will help you transfer on to one thing that’s higher for your self." When folks can hook up with my music, I really feel like I’ve achieved my job. When I grew up listening to music, it may make me actually joyful, make me actually wish to dance, or assist me deal with a tough time in my life. So if I’m ready that will help you really feel emotionally higher, I really feel like I did my job.

This 12 months, you additionally starred in a Fenty Beauty Super Bowl advert. How did that come collectively?

My buddy runs the advertising and marketing for Fenty. When "ICY GRL" first got here out, she confirmed them the video, and so they thought I'd be an ideal match for the advert. So "ICY GRL" was the pitch, and so they cherished it.

Did you get to satisfy Rihanna?

No, however I'd like to.

Do you suppose she is aware of that you just give her a shout-out in "B.A.N."?

[Rapping] Ever since I lower you off, my pores and skin glowin' like Rihanna's. Hopefully she does!

How are you preparing for the massive sport? Peep how the #FENTYFAMILY does it

— Fenty Beauty (@fentybeauty) February 2, 2018

If you might journey again in time 11 months, what recommendation would you give your self?

To not say sure to all the things. It at all times sounds good, however whenever you’re really in a busy day or a busy week, it will probably get a bit worrying. It sounds thrilling to be busy and have entry to all these occasions and belongings you couldn’t do earlier than, but when your physique is drained, it’s actually laborious to do all of these issues without delay. I haven’t actually discovered a stability but.

Time for some rapid-fire questions. Favorite metropolis you visited this 12 months?

I at all times take pleasure in going to Miami. I like South Beach, staying by the pool all day, consuming meals.

Whom did you textual content probably the most in 2018?

My supervisor. [Laughs.] There are issues continually happening.

Who’s an artist that you just’d invite to a vacation dinner with your loved ones?

I’d invite Kelly Rowland, as a result of I heard she will cook dinner. She may assist my grandma out within the kitchen. She’d be excellent at a vacation social gathering.

What’s a music that you just couldn't get out of your head this 12 months?

“ICY GRL.” I hear it in all places. People are at all times reciting the lyrics to me.

What’s a musical development you’d wish to see go away in 2019?

You know what’s humorous? I’ve heard folks say they’d wish to cease listening to rappers have songs with out choruses, and that’s me. [Laughs] Like, “ICY GRL” didn’t have a refrain, “Pissed” didn’t have a refrain. So I’m fairly positive that I’m any person’s reply.

What are your targets for subsequent 12 months?

Put up a pair No. 1s on Billboard. I would like the No. 1 — I’m gonna have the No. 1 album. And I’d similar to to proceed to make nice music, as a result of I feel longevity is totally vital. I feel a variety of artists get recycled nowadays, so I’m making an attempt to ensure my music is timeless.

What does it imply to you to be timeless?

There's a bizarre dynamic happening within the business, as a result of the followers need a lot music continually being put out. If your music isn't timeless, they're going to hunt out the following artist for his or her music, and your music goes to be forgotten. When you may have one thing timeless, it mechanically turns into one thing in music historical past. Who wouldn't wish to have one thing that's ceaselessly going to be cherished and be performed, whether or not it's at a marriage, a celebration or simply in your automotive? If I can have one thing like that, I'd really feel actually completed.