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Who is Iggy Azalea? Brief Background

Updated on April 27, 2016
Iggy Azalea performing.
Iggy Azalea performing. | Source

Fancy isn’t just one of Iggy Azalea’s chart-topping songs; it’s also a word that would best describe the 25-year-old Australian hip-hop singer. She started rapping at a young age and aside from being known for her viral videos, she also writes her songs and had several modeling stints.

Humble Beginnings

Amethyst Amelia Kelly, popularly known as Iggy Azalea, was born on June 7, 1990, in Sydney. She grew up at Mullumbimby, New South Wales. Her dad was a painter and a comic artist, which was why she grew up with a huge appreciation for the arts. During her teenage years, she was in a group together with two other girls from her neighborhood but was later disbanded.

She dropped out of high school and earned money by cleaning hotel rooms and holiday houses, which was also the job of her mother. In 2006, she traveled to the United States to fulfill her desire of being closer to the hip-hop scene and to take a chance on her career.

Success in Music

When she was in the US, she lived in various places including Miami, Houston, and Atlanta. During her stay in Atlanta, Georgia, she worked with Backbone, a member of a group called The Dungeon. It was also during this time that her stage name was created. She got the Iggy from the name of her childhood dog, and Azalea, from Azalea Street, the street that her family lives in.

Her first few attempts in starting her career weren’t easy. There were times when people would laugh at her, tease her for the kind of music that she makes, and receive negative comments about it. She was able to overcome those adversities.

She mentioned that she was used to that kind of treatment, having experienced that in school, where she had no friends. Then she was able to meet someone from Interscope Records and was encouraged to move to Los Angeles. She signed with Interscope in the summer of 2010.

September 27, 2011, marks the day when she first released a mixed tape through digital download and was entitled, Ignorant Art. The mixtape signals Azalea’s rise to stardom, as it garnered positive reviews from influential critics. A controversial music video for the promotional track, Pu$$y, was uploaded on her Youtube channel and instantly became viral.

Azalea was then signed to rapper T.I’s Grand Hustle Records. My World’s music video, which featured a cameo from former wrestler Tiny Lister, was uploaded on Youtube. The video gained attention online and further cemented Azalea’s popularity. On January 11, 2012, the music video for The Last Song was released.

The rapper’s debut extended play, Glory, was released on July 30, 2012. The music video for Murda Bizness was uploaded on Youtube, which was directed by Alex/2Tone. Azalea participated in the making of the video, taking responsibility for its creative direction.

Work, Azalea’s debut single, was released on March 13, 2013. It was also the year when Azalea signed a record deal with Mercury Records and a solo record deal with Island Def Jam. The music video for her most successful single, Fancy, was released on March 4, 2014. It was the singer’s first single to chart on the US Billboard’s Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs.

Her debut album, New Classic, was released on April 21, 2014, and was the highest-charting female rap album. In March 2016, she released Azillion and Team, which are from her second album, Digital Distortion.

Style and Influences

Azalea was involved in the Southern hip-hop scene of Miami, which influenced her music. Her songs had various genres, including hardcore-rap, electronic dance music, and electro-hop.

She started writing songs after being fascinated by Tupac Shakur’s Baby Don’t Cry (Keep Ya Head Up II). She also mentioned that Missy Elliot is the rapper that she admires the most. As for fashion, her influences include Gwen Stefani, Victoria Beckham, Fergie, Christina Aguilera, and much more.

With fiance Nick Young.
With fiance Nick Young. | Source

Personal Background

In 2011, Azalea dated A$AP Rocky, an American rapper. Rocky’s mixtape title: Live. Love. A$AP was tattooed on Azalea’s fingers. When the two broke up, she crossed out the A$AP part of the tattoo.

Azalea revealed on Vogue that she had undergone breast augmentation, and talked about having a nose job with Seventeen magazine. She decided to make it known to the public so other girls would also be proud and love their own body shapes.

Since 2013, she has been in a relationship with LA Lakers’ forward, Nick Young. On June 1, 2015, the couple announced their engagement. And just recently, the two were swept up in wedding cancellation rumors after Young confessed to cheating on Azalea.


Azalea was the first non-American rapper who is a woman being included on the Top 10 Freshman List by XXL. Iggy was also a recipient of two American Music Awards in 2014, and one MTV Video Music Award. She won three Teen Choice Awards and one MTV Europe Music Award. She won the 2014 ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist and 2015 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Hip-Hop Artist.

She was placed #1 on Maxim Hot 100 in Australia and was the 46th in rank on the 2014 Australasian Music Industry Directory Power 50. She had four nominations at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. She was also on the list of the 9th Annual Billboard Women in Music. She was also placed number one on Billboard Year-End’s Top New Artist chart. In 2015, she had five nominations in iHeartRadio Music Awards, and twelve nominations at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.

Indeed, Iggy Azalea is not just your typical singer-rapper-songwriter. Oftentimes, there are explicit and controversial contents to her works but there would always be a touch of her ideas and beliefs in every one of them. And aside from being a chart-topping artist, Iggy also remains being truthful about herself. She is not a secretive person. She pictured herself as “a musical escape artist for people”, and true enough, she has, and will continue to create songs that will delight listeners and at the same time, focus on her thoughts and her stories.

Here is a sneak peek of her latest song Team.

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    • Evane profile image

      Eva 21 months ago from Philippines

      @ Matthew5 She is a good rapper. She's pretty and very talented.

    • profile image

      Matthew5 21 months ago

      Great hub article. Yes you are right she is a good singer.