Tkay MaidzaDivine vocal melodies, instinctual beats, and new layers of personal insight and complexity drive the fresh EP (Last Year Was Weird Vol. 1) from 21-year-old Adelaide rapper-singer, Tkay Maidza.

In late ’16 (around the release of debut LP TKAY) you said that you were writing for yourself, and it was just a bonus that other people cared. Do you still feel that way?

For sure. I think you can probably tell that I’ve kind of grown up. It sounds more mature, for sure. When you’re writing at the beginning, you’re like,’I want to make the best record I can, and for people to like it’ and then when time goes by either you fall into a hole where you’re ducking your head, or you’re just doing it for yourself. In the middle of it I was like, ‘I don’t even know what song’s going to come out, so I might as well just try and figure myself out.’

What was the number one weird thing about last year?

I think I just had a lot of experiences where people were kind of mean to me, and then you’re like, life is so strange. Does that make sense? It seems like kind of a dark title but it’s not meant like that. I just went through some stuff.

The song White Rose is about a missed opportunity in love, and the symbol pops up again in Say It (“I’m a white rose”). What does it mean to you?

Whoever has the white rose could be your friend, or it could be someone who you appreciate a lot but they don’t appreciate you as much. It’s strange, I came up with the concept when I was walking home from pilates!

Pilates is really good for contemplative time.

Yeah, for sure. You’re always really zenned out. It’s so slow, so you’re literally spending hours laying down, and your mind is in some other world. You come out of it and you’re like, ‘Where did the time go?!’

Growing Up has some astute lyrics; What’s the difference between growing up and getting older, to you?

Growing up is finding out more about yourself and finding more about the world in general. You have days where you have really bad experiences, and you have really good ones, but then that makes you who you are. When I was writing this EP, a lot of my songs came out of conversations with friends and family; no one wants to get old. We’re not going to be as fast as we were. I like all the craziness and weirdness of life, but I just wish I could learn things and not age.

Last Year Was Weird Vol. 1 is out August 31 via Dew Process.

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