Armed with just a pair of towering platform boots, an ability to write contagious club anthems to suit her lightning-fast emcee flow, and an undeniably soulful voice, Tkay Maidza has become one of the most buzzed about young artists in Australia in 2014.
At only eighteen years old, Tkay was not too long ago playfully rapping along with Youtube videos after attending classes at Uni and couldn’t imagine the effect of uploading her first startling single ‘Handle My Ego’ off-handedly to triple j Unearthed. Within hours the track – a mix of tongue-in-cheek verses, delivered with quick-fire-feeling across a backing of thundering dubstep – was shared thousands of times…not bad for someone who had been rapping for eighteen months and singing for less than!
In the year that has followed, she’s toured the country, played sell-out club shows. Yet seemingly unfazed by the fuss, Tkay is focused on crafting and refining her unique music and determined to carve her own path.
Like many young musicians, Tkay’s first forays into music were playful – jamming with friends, stealing time in her dad’s studio, recording sketches of songs on her iPhone and scouring the Internet for new tracks. Born in Zimbabwe and now living in Adelaide, she credits her musical family for influencing her to take her song-writing talent seriously, inheriting her drummer and guitarist father’s rhythm. With her mother’s encouragement has hit pause on her studies to focus on her live shows, touring and hone her astoundingly self-taught skills.
Influenced as much by sing-along-radio-soul and underground electronic music Tkay credits a wide array of artists that have helped shape her style, from glitch-hop to pop and back again. With an ear for both soaring melodies and dark bass thumps her remarkable rap flow sits comfortably across breakneck tempos, shifting drum patterns, chrome-plated synths and bursts of low end – and with a vocal range as impressive it is as angelic— Tkay provides a perfect foil for the dark, futuristic R&B production.
After the success of her first single ‘Handle My Ego’ with the churning dubstep producer Badcop, Tkay was asked to jump on a collaborative single ‘Arm Up’ with Mad Decent’s only Australian producers Swick and Lewis Cancut and her deft-tongue tirade shines against the heaving siren samples and drum loops. Back with Badcop for her next single, ‘Brontosaurus’ the Jurassic-sized dancehall jam saw Tkay craft more of her now-signature contagious choruses.
Her latest track ‘U-Huh’ with her tour DJ Elk shows an incredibly fierce and fearless young woman, her lighting-fast flow and clever wordplay sparks with an insatiable hook that urges you to dance.
One thing’s for sure with Tkay Maidza, whether it’s hearing her spitting spirited and self-assured bars over a chaotic dance-floor enticing track, or signing to Dew Process and a breakout set at Splendour in the Grass, a showcase at Brisbane’s Big Sound, Queenscliff Music Festival and a spot on the Listen Out line-up, as well as acclaimed club tour with Nina Las Vegas – this is looking to set be just the beginning.