Amethyst Amelia Kelly, professionally known as Iggy Azalea, is an Australian rapper, singer, songwriter, and model who topped the ‘Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums' chart as the first female and non-American rapper. A fan of hip-hop music, she moved to America, the birthplace of that genre, to pursue her music career. She gained the attention of the media when the music videos of her songs 'Pu$$y' and 'Two Times' went viral on YouTube. While her debut mixtape 'Ignorant Art' earned her recognition, her debut studio album 'The New Classic' increased her popularity. Some of her chartbusting singles are 'Fancy,' 'Work,' 'Black Widow,' 'Team,' and 'Change Your Life.' She has worked with popular artists like Rita Ora, Tyga, Beyoncé, and T.I. Along with 'The Beatles,' she holds the record for claiming the top two positions with her first two 'Hot 100' entries in the ‘Billboard’ chart. She has also modeled for top brands and went on to appear in the movie 'Furious 7.' She was in a relationship with pro basketball player Nick Young for three years before breaking up with him. In 2016, she started her own production company, ‘Azalea Street Productions.’
Childhood & Early Life
Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly on June 7, 1990, in Sydney, Australia. Her family moved to Mullumbimby, New South Wales, when she was still an infant.
Her father Brendan Kelly was a painter and comics artist. Her mother Tanya cleaned holiday houses and hotels. Her father encouraged her to consider a career in fine arts when she was a teenager.
Azalea, who was ridiculed at school for her homemade outfits, used to hate school. However, she attended her art class with zest. She eventually dropped out of high school and started working with her mother to raise money to follow her dream of moving to America.
She started rapping at the age of 14 and even formed a group with two other girls. However, the group was eventually disbanded as her bandmates were not serious about pursuing a career in music.
Since the age of 11, she was drawn to hip-hop music. However, she felt alienated in her homeland as there was none to share her interests with. She made friends with Derek, a teenager from the Bahamas, whom she met online, and started sharing her rap songs with him for his inputs.
Just before her 16th birthday, she convinced her parents to allow her to go on a holiday trip to America, and flew to Miami where Derek lived at the time. Soon after, she revealed to her family that she has decided to pursue her music career in the US, and would not return home anytime soon. For six years, she worked illegally in the US without a work visa.
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Iggy Azalea started her music career, working with Backbone, a member of the hip-hop music group 'Dungeon Family' from Atlanta, Georgia. During this time, she met FKi and Natalie Sims, with whom she would collaborate in the future.
In 2010, she relocated to Los Angeles. The following year, she released her first full-length mixtape 'Ignorant Art.' The music videos of her songs went viral and her album was praised for its aggressiveness.
In 2012, after a brief stint as a model, she returned to the music sphere and sought help from Southern rapper T.I. for the release of her debut studio album 'The New Classic.' However, the album was delayed after ‘Interscope Records,’ which managed her at the time, objected to T.I.'s involvement in the project. She later released the album on April 2014 under ‘Def Jam Recordings.’
To keep her fans occupied, she decided to release an EP titled 'Glory.' She included the single 'Murda Bizness' which was originally meant for her debut album. She released another single titled 'Millionaire Misfits' on June 2012.
On October 2012, she released her second mixtape 'TrapGold.' It was produced by ‘FKi’ and Grammy-nominated producer Diplo.
On November 2014, she reissued her album 'The New Classic' with a new title 'Reclassified.' The album housed five new songs, including 'Beg for It' and 'Trouble.'
Her second studio album 'Digital Distortion' was scheduled to release on July 2016. However, she postponed the release to 2017 due to her break up with her longtime boyfriend Nick Young.
She then released her EP ‘Survive the Summer’ on August 2018 under ‘Island Records.’ The EP housed songs like ‘Tokyo Snow Trip’ and ‘Kream.’ In 2018, she established her own record label, which was then named ‘New Classic Records.’
On July 2019, her second studio album ‘In My Defense’ was released under her own record label, which had its name changed to ‘Bad Dreams.’ The album received mixed to negative reviews from music critics.
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In 2011, Iggy Azalea shook the music industry with her mixtape 'Ignorant Art.' She impressed the critics with her brashness and earned praise for her "raw statements."
Iggy Azalea's debut studio album 'The New Classic' (2014) earned her multiple awards and nominations, including four ‘Grammy Award’ nominations. The album contains her most successful single 'Fancy' which was her first single to reach the top spot on ‘Billboard Hot 100.’ It retained the top spot for seven weeks straight.
Awards & Achievements
In 2012, Iggy Azalea was featured on XXL's 'Top 10 Freshman List.' She is the first female, as well as the first non-American rapper, to be featured on the list.
She won her first award in 2014 at the ‘American Music Awards.’ With nominations in six different categories, she was the most nominated artist of the event that year. She won the awards for 'Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist' and 'Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album.'
With eight nominations, she was also the most nominated artist at the 2014 ‘MTV Video Music Awards.’ She won an award along with Ariana Grande for 'Best Pop Video' for the single 'Problem.' She also won three ‘Teen Choice Awards’ the same year.
In 2015, Azalea was nominated for four ‘Grammy Awards.’ The same year, she won the 'Favorite Hip-Hop Artist' at the 41st ‘People's Choice Awards.’ She won three awards from 12 nominations at the 2015 ‘Billboard Music Awards.’
She is the only singer besides 'The Beatles' to occupy the top two spots on ‘Billboard Hot 100’ singles chart with her first two entries. She achieved this feat with 'Fancy,' her chart-topping single from the album 'The New Classic' (2014), and 'Problem,' her collaborative work with Ariana Grande.
Personal Life & Legacy
Iggy Azalea started dating American rapper A$AP Rocky in 2011. She confirmed the relationship early next year and even got the title of Rocky's breakout mixtape 'Live. Love. A$AP' tattooed on her fingers. However, on July 2012, Rocky announced that they were no longer dating. Azalea later crossed out the 'A$AP' part of her tattoo.
On November 2013, she began a relationship with pro basketball player Nick Young. The couple lived together in Tarzana, California for a while and also appeared together on the ‘GQ’ magazine. They got engaged on June 2015, but a year later, Azalea confirmed that they have split.
She has publicly admitted to have gone through plastic surgery, even though she had initially decided not to discuss it. She mentioned that there are things about herself that she doesn't like but has learned to accept, and there are things that she changed through surgery.
She was presented with the ‘Woman of the Year’ award by ‘GQ Magazine Australia’ in 2016.
Her stage name is a combination of her pet dog's name ‘Iggy’ and the name of the street she grew up on, ‘Azalea Street.’ Her family still lives in Australia.