Brace yourselves Tel Aviv. You haven’t seen anything quite like Brooke Candy before. But on May 10, the American rapper, singer and songwriter will take the stage at the Barby in Tel Aviv for her first-ever show in Israel.
The boundary-pushing artist is best known for her highly sexualized lyrics, raunchy music videos and unapologetic, take-no-prisoners public persona. After years of releasing singles – and an aborted album with Sony RCA – Candy’s debut record, Sexorcism, is due out later this year. Her most popular songs to date include “Happy Days” and “Living out Loud,” and she has collaborated with Sia, CharliXCX, Pussy Riot and more.
Candy (yes, it’s her real name), who grew up in Los Angeles in an observant Jewish family, doesn’t know quite what to expect from her first trip to Israel, but she’s up for a good time.
“It will be my first time in Israel,” she told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview. “I don’t have any expectations, I’m just really excited for the show... I’m really excited to put on a great performance for the fans that I have in Tel Aviv.”
The rapper, who identifies as pansexual, said she isn’t quite sure how much free time she’ll have during her stay, but hopes to make the best of it.
“Even if I’m there for just a night, I’m hoping I can experience some sort of super-fun, vibrant, LGBTQI friendly nightlife in Tel Aviv.”
Tel Aviv might be known for its gay-friendly, edgy cultural scene, but even Candy said she may tone things down a bit for the city. During an upcoming show in Paris, she said, she’ll be suspended above the stage in an act of shibari, or Japanese bondage.
“I think for the Tel Aviv show it’ll be a little more PG,” she said, “but it’ll still be equally as entertaining and crazy. I’m planning on doing really crazy, punk outfits, and involving the audience – bringing people on stage and just kind of doing my thing. I’m gonna be really interested to see how Tel Aviv responds to a performer like me, because I consider myself to be a bit unconventional, definitely, on stage.”
Candy first rose to prominence in the 2012 music video for “Genesis” by Grimes. She went on to release several music videos, including “Das Me,” and “I Wanna F**k Right Now.”
IN 2014, she signed a record deal with Sony RCA, who pushed her to record more radio-friendly tracks. But Candy left after her vision wasn’t being realized.
“I had signed a very large deal with Sony RCA, and they kind of took control of my aesthetic and my sound,” she said. “And that album took forever to make. We made over 40, 50, 60 songs, and they kept all of the songs when I left the label.”
Her upcoming album, Sexorcism, is independently recorded, and so far includes the explicit tracks “XXXTacy,” “Drip” and “Happy.”
“This album is from my heart and it’s pure and it took just four days to make,” she told the Post. “I’ve just got so many amazing features on it, and it’s just becoming something much larger than I think Sony could have even done.”
Candy said her experience since leaving the label “is proving to me that this is what I’m meant to do, because I did this all on my own, and I did it from my heart and I listened to my heart. I left Sony regardless of the amount of money they were offering and the amount of money I could potentially make, to just follow my dreams and make sure that I was making the art that I wanted to make to maintain my integrity and peace of mind.”
Candy said her upbringing in California was disjointed, and in many ways, informed her musical choices today.
“My dad was Orthodox and I spent a lot of time in Orthodox temples, doing Sabbath dinner,” she said. “Some of those family actually come to my show, which is funny, but they love it. It’s so different to be a child like me and come up the way I am.”
On the other hand, she said, “My mom’s family was modern, we were Jewish but we weren’t extreme, it was very loose.” But when she came out to her family as queer, things weren’t all smooth sailing.
“My first album is coming up, [and it] is reflected also in my day-to-day life,” she said. “Every musician is influenced by any moment from his life – wasn’t the best, very abusive, very sadistic, and unfair. I created art of them, I made beauty out of ugliness and that is the most important thing.” Tickets for Brooke Candy’s appearance at the Barby in Tel Aviv range from NIS 165-185 and are available at barby.co.il.
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