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Weekly updates

LIZ’s Timberland-clad feet are straddling the line between pop star and another normal twenty-something from Los Angeles. The bubbly blonde seems to have popped out of thin air as Diplo’s newly annointed golden child, the only R&B artist signed to Mad Decent’s new imprint, Jeffrees, but the story is much longer for the 26-year-old crooner. “I’ve never really done this before,” she giggles at our stylist and photographer team, but given her Mad Decent affiliation and focus on collaborating with the hip-hop community (including a vocal spot on 2 Chainz’s recent album) LIZ’s imminent success feels inevitable.

How did you get involved with Mad Decent, and what exactly is Jeffrees? 

Jeffrees is still fairly new. It’s Paul Devro’s label, he finds so much cool stuff on the internet and it’s his way of getting great music out there. It’s all free, and it’s supposed to be sample free. I respect Paul a lot. He’s such a tastemaker, as much as Wes (Diplo.) He’s really instrumental to Mad Decent as a whole.

I just kind of met those guys just from writing and working in so many studios. I was working with DJs, I always wanted to work with them, so it was a dream come true when they wanted to release my stuff.

Mad Decent is known for electronic – especially dancehall influenced – music. What made you think it would be a good place to release your music versus something more pop or R&B focused?

I don’t know. I was always doing my own thing. I was going to do the same thing no matter what. They just happened to be really down for it and interested in actually releasing a R&B project. I would be at the Mad Decent studio, I was writing on some Major Lazer stuff and even some Dillon Francis stuff. I remember Paul being such a R&B head, I just had a feeling he was going to like what I was doing, and he did. I don’t think you should change yourself in fear of a certain community not getting it. Do what you do, and if it’s dope, people will follow.

Who is producing for you now? How do you choose who to work with?

I work a lot with Djemba Djemba. We have a lot of in-house guys at Mad Decent, but he’s kind of the wizard, he does everything. He totally gets my aesthetic and what I’m going for. These French guys, the Picard Brothers. – we met once when they were in town and we just send each other stuff back and forth. I’m doing a little bit more stuff with Ryan Hemsworth. I’m working with Salva this week. I love the underground guys; they are the future.

I feel like the hip-hop and pop appreciating hipster crowd has already caught on to you. Do you have a desire to appeal to a more top 40 pop loving listener? 

Absolutely. I dream of the day that I can be on the radio. They just played my song on KIIS FM while I was gone. I am a pop artist, but I just want to do it my way and build it organically. I don’t want to push something on radio that isn’t the right single. I want DJs to pick things up organically and see what people are responding to. I am all about mainstream life as well, tastefully. I definitely want to collaborate more with the hip-hop community. I am starting to dabble in the world lately, but it’s all through the more tastemaker producers, that’s how I’ve been getting in that door. I’m on the 2 Chainz album as a bonus track on the deluxe edition. It was so funny how that happened, I had written that hook for a Major Lazer song over two years ago, in Switch’s house back when he was in Major Lazer. Wes always liked it, but we never knew what to do with it. He and FKI made a new song with 2 Chainz and he sent it over and was like, “surprise LIZ.” I’d love to get in with DJ Khaled and those guys, for sure.

I like how you have a sort of nostalgic internet look fused with a traditional pop aesthetic. What are some elements of each scene that you like and mix?

You can definitely see my mainstream pop influences that come out especially in my live show. I have two dancers, we even made them custom jerseys. The whole show is choreographed, I’m dancing the entire time. It’s really entertaining, it’s a little bit of Britney meets TLC vibe. The choreography is something that I love, the underground side, I mix it up, I have my DJ play stuff like Trippy Turtle in between. We took ‘The Boy is Mine’ by Brandy and Monica and made a deep house version that she plays in between songs while the dancers battle.

Who do you think is your demographic?

Probably girls, and the gays, probably close to my age. I think younger people could get into it, that’s why radio is so important. Kids are pretty savvy these days with the internet, but I definitely remember the only times I really knew about an artist was if they were on the radio or on TRL.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be?

I would love to do something with Bone Thugs and Fabolous. I think those could actually happen though. I have a girl crush on Katy Perry. I want to be her best friend, she knows who I am and I am so excited. She told Diplo she liked my stuff, I want to go on tour when I am cool enough for her.


Words by Lina Abascal

Photography by Ben Clement

Styling by Simone Vinski