THE ROAD TO RAP & PORN: BROOKE CANDY KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES
I first saw Brooke Candy in Grimes’ music video for ‘Genesis’ back in 2012. I didn’t know anything about her at the time, but I was intrigued by her presence and fell into a bit of a rabbit hole trying to figure out who she was. I found her really refreshing at that point in my life; I had just left my suburban adolescence behind and here was this ballsy, unique and sexually-charged woman who really gave zero fucks.
Since then, Brooke has become a rapper, performance artist and icon in the queer community, riding a rollercoaster career that's taken her from the Los Angeles underground scene to a major label record deal, which she subsequently left after being geared towards a mainstream pop market. Now, Brooke is back to tour Australia and New Zealand, hungrier than ever: She'll be playing a Mardi Gras club show this Thursday at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory, then on Saturday, she'll be performing with the iconic Amanda Lepore at The Imperial Hotel.
When we catch up with Brooke on a beautiful day at Little Bay beach, she's already performed one show at Oxford Art Factory; and as a reflection of her own personality, her gigs invite a crowd that's equally fierce and fabulous. The gig was a filled with punters in full latex and light-up stripper heels, posing for photos with others who also put admirable effort into their outfits. In the middle of Brooke’s set, she invited five attendees to vogue and death drop on stage while she performed.
"The relationship between my fans and me is the most important thing. A performance is truly an exchange of energy... Having a crowd that loves what you do and understands what you do, it gives you the energy that you're giving back. It's the best feeling in the world," she says. "I feel so fucking blessed." However, things haven't always been so positive at Brooke's shows, as her last tour of New Zealand resulted in her being punched in the face by a man while she was DJing. "It's almost nice to be back here to prove to myself that I'm not intimidated by that kind of stuff," she says.
Brooke's appeal doesn't just revolve around her music, but her commitment to the visual world she creates: A fantasyland saturated with sex. Brooke’s aesthetic is all-encompassing, from captivating music videos, a soaring social media presence, and live shows that often border on performance art. Last year, she collaborated with Shibari master Hajime Kinoko, and performed her entire set while bound in an intricate knotted spiders-web.
"I think I developed the intersection between art, music and sex just naturally, because they're three things that have always kept me alive. I had a really traumatic upbringing and what I turned to when I was younger, was art. And also, I turned to hurting myself. And as an adult, I can't do that anymore," she says.
"I can't have a feeling of sadness and then just cut myself. So for me, Shibari or teetering on the line of pain as a performance, helps to alleviate a lot of my mental anguish. And I go through a lot of depression, a lot of sadness and despair."
Performances like these have made Brooke into a no-holds-barred spokesperson for sexual freedom and liberation. "It's time to take the word back, 'Slut' is now a compliment/A sexy-ass female who running shit and confident," she raps on early single 'Das Me'. Brooke makes it clear that she lives by those words. "I'm just a highly sexual being. If I had it my way, lately with the guy that I've been dating, we've been having sex five times a day. If I could have it like that every day, I would. I'm a very horny, sexual person and it's liberating," she says. "Women and men are 100% fucking equal, and so if men can have sex with no strings attached and it's totally socially acceptable, then women should be allowed to do the same.”
Taking things one step further, one of Brooke’s biggest projects outside of music is an avant-garde queer film she directed for Pornhub, wholesomely titled I Love You. Featuring violin players, luxurious set design, and Asa Akira sucking her fingers in outer space; I Love You has Brooke's boundary-pushing aesthetic all over it, and making a porno that feels like a fever dream is actually not surprising at all. "That was something that I would much rather do than make another music video. It was a medium of art that I had never explored," she says. "Obviously I'm obsessed with sex, to an extreme. It was just a moment of, 'Oh my God, I'm gonna get to experience something that I've never done!' That's so exciting."
Back inside music, Brooke is gearing up for the release of a new album that celebrates some of her most loyal fans. "Initially I was gonna call it Songs For Strippers because it's just fun! It's fun, rap, booty-shaking, booty-bouncing, sexy music. And I'm in a place right now where I'm just feeling very horny and sexy all the time, so I made an album that kinda reflects that," she says. "I hope that everyone enjoys it once it comes out, you know? Because I worked really hard on it, and it's definitely a direct representation of who I am as an artist and what I am here to do on this planet."