We caught up with the talented Aussie singer/rapper Tkay Maidza at Governors Ball in NYC on June 2! She’s headed back to the studio, but first, Tkay reminisced about the wild conversation that she had with Kate Middleton after she performed for the royal couple in 2014.
This conversation with Tkay Maidza has been edited and condensed for clarity.
You just finished a bunch of American dates. What were the highlights?
Oh, man. We started off in Alabama for Hangout Festival, and the site was incredible. The VIP section had a swimming pool and jacuzzi! Everyone was so nice. The festival was considerate to the artists, too, where nobody’[s set time conflicted.]
I was at Boston Calling in Massachusetts over Memorial Day Weekend, and the crowd was really into your set. It was awesome.
There’s something about what I do, where a lot of people will just stop by, then stay. They just want to dance, and I love that. That’s the whole point of what I do. I want everyone to enjoy the moment and be happy.
Your hype man is amazing, too. I love that he was wearing a Harvard letterman jacket during the show.
I remember him on Scream Queens! He played the candy striper. I had no idea that was him.
He’s a producer and has worked with Kendrick Lamar; he’s so good. We see the Harvard shop [in Cambridge], and ten seconds in, he’s already bought a jacket. Then he’s like, you should buy something, and he’s a bad influence, so I ended buying a jacket as well. [Laughs]
So after this, you go back to Australia, right?
Yeah, I’m doing some festivals — I think I’ve played every festival in Australia at this point. Now I’m doing the lowkey ones and re-jigging my vibe.
Do you have a backstage ritual?
My new thing is to take Polaroid photos. This last tour has been a rush, so I haven’t had any real rituals. Usually it’s like, “Ah, we’re late, we have to go on!”
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
I played a dive bar that sold sushi and stuff. Another weird gig was, I played for Prince William and Kate Middleton.
No way! You rapped for Kate Middleton?
Yeah, they came to Australia, and I had to play for this government initiative thing, for our community center [in Adelaide.] I had just signed a record deal…so they came on a tour, and I had to play a song on national TV.
What did you sing?
It was “Brontosaurus” and it was weird. Prince William was like, “Congratulations on your record deal,” and I was like, “What? Who told you?” Kate was like, “Yeah, I was trying to get Will to dance, it was so embarrassing,” and I was looking at the ground the whole time. It was crazy.
You’ve collaborated with Martin Solveig and Troye Sivan. Who else do you want to collaborate with one day?
My dream is to work with people like Cashmere Cat, Kanye West, Pharrell. I want to go more deep into the soulful side of hip-hop and dance music.
Are you working on new music?
Yeah, I’m back into the studio right after this. I’ll have a session here [in New York] and in LA, on the way back to Australia.
If someone hasn’t heard you before, what song should they listen to first?
“Ghost” is like my favorite song, and I love to play it live. If someone likes pop, I’d say “Simulation.”