Never Living Comfortably | Meet Icy Girl, Saweetie

Author: Sheila Deiz / Photos: Angelo Vasquez
03.09 / MISSBISH Artist Series

From her short raps in the car to hitting 16 million views on her "ICY GRL" music video on Youtube, Saweetie is taking her music career to the next level. Freestyling over the hit "My Neck, My Back" by Khia, Saweetie's skills as a rapper shows she's the next one up with a flow that many have described as old school and throwback. Now, she's joined Warner Bros. Records and has her own label called ICY. Her music is running through all social media platforms and is now on streaming sites such as Apple music, Spotify, and more. More recently, she announced her EP High Maintenance which is soon to drop on March 16th. With so much to look forward to this year, we got the chance to get to know Saweetie a little more and talk about the hit "ICY GRL" that set it off.

First off, what's the inspiration behind your name?
My grandma gave it to me, and I didn’t like how Sweetie looked so I added an “a” in between the “s” and “w." I put it on MySpace and people started to call me that.

What kind of music did you listen to while growing up?
A lot of Bay music when I️ was in middle and high school like The Pack, D'Lo, NHT Boyz, and Go Dav, but as a kid, my parents played a lot of classic rap like BIG, Kim, Foxy, Dr. Dre, and Pac. My mom loved Lauryn Hill so she played that a lot as well. And of course, old school music! I love El Debarge, SOS Band, and the Isley brothers just to name a few.

From your song “Focused," you mentioned your roots in the Bay Area. How has that influenced you and your music?
It has definitely influenced me to be honest in my lyrics and unexceptionally me. I feel like Bay artists are really great at portraying their personality and supplying a unique vibe.

"I’ve always had an entrepreneur’s mindset and I would like to capitalize on my success to grow my empire."

You also mentioned getting your degree at USC, what can you say about being a college-educated woman in the music industry?
It has definitely made me a critical thinker so my moves are always calculated and thought out when it comes to maneuvering through this industry.

Love the track “ICY GRL!" What or who is the inspiration behind it and did you expect the outcome that it got?
Thank you! And at the time I wasn’t where I wanted to be at in life so I made something that would inspire me to be better and to remind myself who I was. Sometimes life sneaks up on us and we slowly slip into something we’re not. I wasn't hustling like I used to in college and I had no drive... So I was like, "Saweetie, girl, wtf get on it and let’s make your dreams come true and write your way out of this hole you’re in." (I tend to talk to myself a lot, LOL).

If you had to choose a line from "ICY GRL" that best describes you, what would it be and why?
I would say at this moment it would def be, “Never living comfortably got a lot of goals to meet.” Although I have gotten a lot of notoriety and praise for my song, I have to remind myself not to become complacent because this can all go away if I don't continue to work hard.

Who are some of your biggest influences and why?
It’s hard to say... I watch a lot of interviews to learn from the previous greats. So as of now I would def say JAY-Z. I respect and I admire how he was so business savvy at such a young age and how he wrote his own rhymes. I write my songs and it isn’t easy when you’re trying to express yourself but still be relatable at the same time.

Talk a bit more about the vibe of your EP High Maintenance and what we should expect to hear.
The vibe of my EP is a quick ride through Saweetie’s current life; problems I’ve encountered, wishful "bougielicious" requests, wants, and needs. There’s also a song that’s super nostalgic and feels like I’m venting from me to you.

Congrats on the partnership with Warner Bros. Records! Despite many other labels, was this an easy decision to make? What sealed the deal?
Honestly yes, the decision was easy to make. Although I had several contenders who were interested in doing the partnership with me and my label ICY, Warner stood out immediately after I visited them. They are just as passionate about my music as I am and I loved that the environment felt like home. I followed my instinct and am satisfied with the decision I’ve made.

In five years, I hope…
To have a successful debut album and to have a couple businesses thriving through my brand. I had my own clothing line in college that did well which I used to pay for some of my tuition. I’ve always had an entrepreneur’s mindset and I would like to capitalize on my success to grow my empire.

If you can collab with anyone (alive or not), who would it be and why?
Aaliyah for R&B. I loved her growing up and would watch her videos and tried to mimic her, she’s so iconic to me. And Mac Dre for rap, anything he did was crazy with a message so I would’ve loved to do something with him to create an epic bay slap.

What are three hidden gems in the cities you’ve lived - Sacramento, The Bay, and LA?
The Bay — There’s a Forever 21 in Frisco by Union Square. Growing up, when I would go to the city I️ loved going there because dancers like Retro would just be vibin' and dancing. I’m not sure if that type of scene is still there but it was always a joy to be around that.

Sac — I love food so off tops, Bakers Donuts is definitely a hidden gem. Their donuts are so delicious I always go there when I come back to Sac.

LA — The Alleys. I️t surprises me that a lot of people don’t know what it is. It’s basically a swap meet for everything you can think of and a wholesale district. But I love it there and will dedicate a day to shop and find some good bargains.

Who is your main MISSBISH?
Eh, I️ have a lot of mains so it’s hard to say but if I️ had to choose it would be my grandma. She’s my best friend and I love talking to her.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
I def love the slogan: Feel good, do good, look good. I️t reminds me of, “Manicures and pedicures I’m always tip top” (ICY GRL lyrics). With that said, MISSBISH means to me a girl boss who’s about her business and still maintains her fly!