LIZ is one of the newest members of the Mad Decent family, she dropped her second release Hush on label’s JEFREES imprint earlier this week. LIZ is a pop princess who sounds like Britney Spears did back in the day, but instead of pigtails and a school uniform, LIZ wears Timberlands and baseball jerseys. Although the Pisces singer (born in March) just turned 26, she’s got no problem being seen as a teen popstar. “My whole vibe is pretty youthful.” Heartbreak, crushes, unicorns and daydreaming make up the fabric of her lyrics and she’s not interested in being “taken seriously,” in the traditional sense. LIZ’s project is all about feeling good and having fun.
This is the first time Mad Decent’s signed a pop act, so we caught up with the California singer to find out more about what makes her so special. Check out the music video for her single, “Hush,” above and scroll down to read the full interview.
Mad Decent says “Hush,” would have been an essential anthem of every bedroom dance party if it dropped in June 2000. What’s driving you to make Y2K-esque pop in 2013?
I reference a lot of late 90’s early ‘2000s R&B and pop records but make it current. No one’s gonna hate on a great well-written pop song. I don’t mind people’s guilty pleasure.
I think a lot of the DJs that are “tastemakers” doing their own edits of Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync are cool—but I’m actually hitting it right on the nose. I’m a pop artist actually making new music just like that. When I was younger I was made fun of because I like ‘N Sync, Britney, and Christina. I tried to do darker music, piano-based and playing coffee houses, but then I realized this music is way more fun!
Is there a moment in pop music you’ll never forget?
I do remember the day when ‘N Sync’s Celebrity was coming out—I was in 8th grade, it was before the time we had internet on phones, and I knew they were gonna drop the new single “Pop,” that day. I brought my CD player that had crappy radio signals to school and snuck out of class to hear them drop it. I listened on my headphones in the bathroom.
There’s a picture of JC [Sachez] at the beginning of my “Hush,” video because I loved him. I had photos of him taped in my locker when I was in school and I knew all his choreography.
Tell me about your partnership with Mad Decent?
I was doing toplines for some DJs and EDM artists and I got on the radar of Diplo and Paul Devro, who asked to hear my solo stuff. I played it for him and he hit me up two weeks after saying they wanted to put out my stuff. Mad Decent for me are such tastemakers and they’re so involved with the progression of music and pop culture. I’m so lucky they’re as fearless as they are. I’m the first real pop artist they’ve signed—they totally get the references and the sentiment. Underneath all of that are really well written pop songs.
Who do you get compared to most often?
Ashanti and Katy Perry—maybe because of my style. It was crazy—last night my manager texted me and was like, “I just met Katy Perry and she said I’m obsessed with your artist LIZ—she’s like the cool version of me.”
Well Katy’s electric style really sets her apart, kind of like you. Is that really how you dress or were the Timberlands and snapbacks a styling choice for the video?
I this is just how I dress! I wear basketball shorts, I wear Jordans, I wear Timbs—I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy. I had some custom engraved Timbs made that have my name on the back of them. I wear my army jacket a lot it goes with everything. Big gold hoops go with everything too. I got some cool leather leggings that I like to wear with jerseys.
Totally. What was it like to work with Riff Raff, one of the stars of Spring Breakers?
I met him a couple times, he’s wild. I wasn’t with him when he did that verse on that song. And as far as Spring Breakers goes, people keep making comparisons between the video and the movie. We shot that video before the movie came out, so I didn’t even know the ski masks were a thing. It doesn’t bother me—people can compare me to whatever they want. I just want to make fun colorful videos—I’m not rebelling against anything.
What’s the most exciting thing happening in music right now?
The whole idea of selling out has been washed down the drain. I’m over that—I used to want to be taken really seriously. No shade to artists who do, but for me it would be easy to do a black and white video and make it really dark and moody—but I’m over it. I want to do something more fun and carefree.
Why do you think that’s important?
Theres a lot of crap going on in the world. I’ve gone through some really heavy stuff and this music helps me feel better. I don’t think it’s that complicated—you should make music that makes you feel good.
What is some music that’s helped you through hard times?
I was watching Sinead O’Connor perform the other day. She’s always amazing. If I’m down I try to listen to stuff that’s gonna make me feel better. I listen to lots of rap too, like Bone Thugs N Harmony. I really want to get Krayzie Bone to do a verse on one of my songs.
Are you really a unicorn?
My manager made this joke—that I’m made of unicorn blood because I’m so sweet and innocent and people shouldn’t take advantage of that. You know, like how could you take the blood of a unicorn? They’re so magical and mystical.
Do you watch Game of Thrones?
I don’t have time to watch Game of Thrones I’m too busy writing songs and tagging golf courses in Inglewood.
I’m working on an album but it’s nowhere near ready yet—we’re gonna keep putting out singles through the year. I’m really excited for my next single, it’s a secret but there will be a lot of great remixes. I’ve been going back and forth with Ryan Hemsworth, so I’m excited to work with him.