Western Sydney's A.GIRL's debut single, 2142, released back in 2019, made a serious splash, and she hasn't let up since. Her ability to blend hypnotic R&B vocals with thoughtful, introspective bars turn every song of hers into an event, and her community-focused mindset means she's become one of the stars of not just the Western Sydney scene, but the wider Australian R&B/hip-hop communities.
Recent appearances on triple j's Bars Of Steel and Like A Version segments have further highlighted A.GIRL's myriad of talents, while the release of singles like the drill-infused Vision (as part of Red Bull's 64 Bars series), the cinematic Luv Drunk and the bouncy Jaecy-featuring We Them Boyz have showcased different sides to her sound. She's carrying the momentum she's built up in recent times into 2022 and beyond.
Her latest track, Getting Older, is another milestone moment, and it's a celebration of growth. Gliding over production from BeatsWithSheph, it's a reminder to "live fearlessly", and go after what you want - even if you're starting to see the world a bit differently. Getting Older is A.GIRL's reminder to be confident in yourself, even when the temptation is there to pull back. As she puts it, the "rose-coloured glasses", but that's not stopping her in her tracks - instead, it's giving her a clearer idea of what she wants from life.
To celebrate the release of the track, we spoke to A.GIRL about her community, how her mindset's evolved in recent times and how to get the most out of yourself. Check out Getting Older below and read on to pick up some wisdom from A.GIRL!
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Cool Accidents: Firstly, I wanted to congratulate you on the release of Getting Older! The song celebrates this idea of maturing, and the changes in the way you see the world as you get older. How do you think the way you view things has changed over the last couple of years?
A.GIRL: Things have definitely changed for me BIG time. I’m obviously older, more mature, more cluey and ‘in the know’. I’ve always been street smart, but I definitely see things for what they are now. The rose-coloured glasses are off! I’m way more confident with my art and not afraid to go hard and show it!
Everything about the song feels like a celebration, from BeatsWithSheph's breezy production to the fun-filled visuals and your melodic vocals (both when you’re singing and rapping). You mention that it’s a reminder to “keep living fearlessly” – how does that mantra play out in your own life?
A.GIRL: "Live fearlessly" is something that's been instilled in me since I was young. I’ve tried to embody that message in my adulthood and throughout my teenage years. It’s something that does come naturally to me because my family are a fearless bunch of ‘go out there and do it’ people. So, it’s always been within me to be like that!
Getting Older’s the kind of song you can listen to while driving around with a car full of mates. When you’re going for a long drive, or you’ve been put in charge of playlisting duties for a drive somewhere, what’s the song/album you’re choosing to set the tone for the trip?
A.GIRL: It’s always Kiss Land by The Weeknd, or Trilogy, anything Drake and anything PARTYNEXTDOOR. I can seriously listen to any of their albums, on repeat, front to back, without skipping a song, and it’s good for rainy drives, nighttime drives… not so much daytime sunshine vibes though LOL. I still cannot escape the trio that are The Weeknd, Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR. They’re just too damn good!
I wanted to ask about your essay for Red Bull, where you called for unity in Western Sydney. I’d love to know more about what you’d love to see change – especially given that for outsiders (like myself, being from Victoria), we only get a surface-level picture of what’s going on in Western Sydney.
I’d love to see the stereotype of Western Sydney 'being a place that’s not welcoming’ disappear. I feel like growing up in Western Sydney, the community is something that I have felt like I can always go to if there’s no one else to run to. Travelling around Australia recently I have just realised how community-based Western Sydney is. And how much me, being a 'Westie', I rely on. I rely on my community. So, I think that in general, taking away that stigma around Western Sydney communities ‘being scary’ needs to stop. It’s welcoming, warm and always has your back.
I want the mentality of the Western Sydney people to change. We kind of have this 'tall poppy syndrome' going on where it’s like, one cannot be greater than the other. Or, if we’re shit, we ALL have to be shit together. We’re ALL great... nobody can be greater than everyone else. I hate that, it’s widely spread throughout. Some people are going to win, and that’s all good.
Also, the crime that happens out here, on a daily, that never makes the news. I’ve been piping on about this for ages, but I would love for it to end. And that starts with the youth. If we give more back to the youth, educate more, inspire more, then I think things will change.
On that note – the faces we’re seeing in hip-hop in Australia are changing, but this change isn’t always reflected in the decision-makers. What would you like to see improve at a structural level so we're hearing from artists of all backgrounds?
The playlisters, playmakers and the people who are the OGs within the industry need to put themselves in our shoes. They need to come out here and experience the lives that we live. You can then understand the culture that very much surrounds Aussie hip-hop today.
I feel like if people from the North Shore or East come out West and see what the lifestyle is, how we’re living, and understand what we’re talking about, then you'll start seeing the real talent. It won’t be whoever is popping on socials. Because they’re IN the community doing the work, seeing it firsthand, then they'll be able to spot the talent from a mile away, because there is so much talent out here. People just need to get out here and do it.
Having spoken to people that have been in studio sessions with you before, the comment is often made that you’re the hardest worker they’ve ever seen in a session. When you’re preparing for a session, what mindset are you in & what processes do you go through to ensure you’re getting the best out of both yourself and others when you’re working on music?
I feel like the mindset I’m in is that I'm 'un-f*ck-with-able’. No one can touch me. And that’s not on some cocky shit. I used to have the biggest insecurities surrounding myself as an artist, and as a female artist especially. I was often the ONLY female in the room. I would freak out, to the point where I wouldn’t step up on the mic, I wouldn’t write, I wouldn’t feel comfortable, I couldn’t be me. I never felt like I earned my spot in that room because my insecurities were at a high. Now, I have changed my mindset. This helps me write because I’m writing my best shit. No one can come in and mess with my groove or my workflow. My confidence is solid right now. ‘Un-f*ck-with-able’.
It’s also important to maintain relationships with the producers or whoever is in that room. It’s always important to me, to make sure I am working with people who authentically love my vibe and my energy as a person before even stepping into the booth. That’s VERY important to me.
I wanted to ask about something you mentioned in the triple j interview for your Like A Version (which was excellent, by the way). You spoke about being boxed in as a “female rapper, and I wanted to ask about how people’s perception of the music you make might not always link up with how you view yourself as an artist – and whether those perceptions place pressure on you to conform to a certain sound?
Like I said, I have reached this point of confidence, so it’s just like no, if you don’t f*ck with it, then I don’t really care! So, A.GIRL has really grown and I have moulded my own mindset. I’m not scared anymore to confidently step out and do what I wanna do. Not everybody is going to love your sound, not everybody is going to like your image, not everybody is going to like what you have to say. Be comfortable that not everybody has to like you. I think the most important thing I learnt this year so far is, as long as I like me, I’m good.
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Finally, you’re on tour at the moment with ChillinIT, and there are a heap more live shows planned for you throughout 2022. What’s been your favourite part of being back performing live – and are there any tour stories you can share?
The best part of being on tour is being busy! I’ve been speaking more recently about my personal life and trying to balance work and life. A lot has been happening in my personal life, so it’s a big blessing that I can escape the reality of personal things for a minute and be able to do what I love on a level that I have been wanting to be at for a very long time.
I am fortunate and grateful that I am busy enough to keep my mind off things. On my feet always. Doing what I love. That’s obviously a huge blessing. Connecting with fans and listeners again. OH MY DAYS! Seeing the twinkle in people’s eyes when they first discover me as an artist. That interaction with OG fans and brand-new fans has been really really dope.
Tour stories, though, there are a lot. Chatting about ChillinIT specifically, he’s one of the craziest, genuine, party-rocking people I’ve ever met in my life. And observing him has been really dope. I love being on tour with him and the genuine love he shows for me on and off camera, on and off stage… yeah, he’s a sick person to be around. Big love for him and his crew.
A.GIRL is playing at the Sydney Opera House on May 29th as part of VIVID Live.