brooke candy unleashes her sex demon on 'sexorcism'
The artist's debut album is a celebration of sexual freedom, pleasure, and not giving a fuck.
Photo by Rony Alwin.
“I like having sex on a regular basis,” says Brooke Candy over the phone after leaving rehearsal just days after releasing her debut album SEXORCISM. “But I almost feel like I’ve pushed out so much sexual jargon, and actually had so much sex while making it — like, I need to take a break, maybe. I’m not a sex demon anymore. It came out, it’s on the album. Now I’m free...”
The rapper has never been afraid to open up about her past, her pleasure, or her sexuality to the hundreds of thousands of fans she connects with through her music. Still, she says she hesitated releasing SEXORCISM, her first full-length record, up until the day it came out.
The 12-track album is a celebration of sex positivity, identity, hard work, and dedication, it's also an ode to not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks about her. “Eat my pussy at my funeral / Eulogy into my booty hole / Pay your respect, I’m the priestess of sluts (That’s right) / Look at my neck, diamond, penis and nuts," she unapologetically raps on her standout track “R.I.P” featuring Ashnikko.
i-D caught up with Candy to talk about identity, SEXORCISM, and who Brooke Candy really is.
Did you ever doubt releasing SEXORCISM?
Literally every day up until the day I released it. I always doubt everything I make. I think I have this thing called imposter syndrome — I just found it out. I've been Googling a lot of symptoms lately; I think I'm just becoming more neurotic. [Imposter syndrome] is like, everything you do you think is terrible and people are gonna find out you're a fraud. This whole album — and everything I’ve ever done — it’s like, what is my purpose? Why even put it out? Does anyone fucking care? Am I putting it out for myself? No. I’m putting it out to help. Is anyone listening?
I've been knocked down in this industry so many times. I was talking to a friend the other day and I was like, “Is this it — am I just going to retire?” [But I] chose the most difficult fucking job in the world; this is what I chose to do. If it’s made [one person] feel powerful, that alone is enough.
Are there misconceptions about you as a person versus the music you put out?
I think I definitely put up a really hard exterior. But in reality, I'm a very soft, gentle person who wants to be peaceful. I'm actually kind of introverted. I just like to play with my dogs and be in nature. I like to surf. Then I have this persona that’s so super-charged, aggressive, hypersexualized — I think the one thing that is between my stage persona and my real life is that I am a hyper-sexual person. Like naturally, in my day-to day, I do like to have a lot of sex.
How would you describe your music production process?
[My work] is weird. It’s important for me to always be pushing myself to create a visual that comes from a place of like, nowhere. I don't want to make something that feels like it's already been made; I want to create something that feels totally new and fresh that feels freaky and cohesive to what I’ve put out in the past. Occasionally, I'll veer off and I'll make something that is totally different than the rest of my body of work. But, that's cool, too. It's cool to just morph and change and play different characters and have different identities within singular art projects.
How impactful was singer/songwriter Jesse Saint John during its creation process?
He was very impactful. He helped pull almost every feature, I would say. He was so crucial, like getting Erika Jayne, Aquaria, Violet Chachki. He helped with Iggy [Azalea]. He is such a kind person who I’ve just grown up with essentially; I’ve grown up making art with [him]. He has a big heart. I would come to him and be like, “What do you think about this, can you help me?” and he’d be done the next day. I was like, “What, bitch, what!”
What has the reaction to SEXORCISM been like?
We did this all independently. I don't have any money backing anything, every video has been a favor or I've paid for it. I've, like, gone fucking broke and I worked so hard on it. It’s a really nice thing to see people actually accepting me and liking [the album].
Coverage surrounding your work dubs you as an artist focused on identity and being queer — what inspired that route for you to take within your music?
I’ve struggled with my identity for a long time. I came out to my mom and I was kicked out of my house. I was really confused about my identity; it was basically like a mama bird pushing her baby bird out of a nest. Now, like, who do I have to protect me? It’s like, wait, should I not be this thing because I don't have any protection anymore. It's taken me a really long time to come to terms with my own sexuality, but also my identity as a human being.
I think a lot of people have placed certain stipulations or ideas about who I am on me. I’ve taken them on and lived them, but really, they have nothing to do with me. They're not part of my spirit or my soul. Life is just like a constant, continual, identity search; we're all kind of living these lives based off identities that maybe people have placed on us, or that we think we're supposed to have. It’s been such a struggle for me. Beyond identity-identity, who is Brooke Candy?
I wake up sometimes and there’s days I have like different personalities; I've named them. I have two that I know of for sure — even Charli XCX was like, “Oh yeah, I've seen those two.” One’s named Dominique and one's named Courtney. That's like another identity. I think that we all have the capacity to experience that.
And queer identity is such a taboo topic and it needs to be talked about. That was something [important for me] when I made my erotic film, I Love You, I had every type of queer person in it. I wanted it to help queer people truly identify like, “What do I like?”, and do it in a way that was sensual and kind. That’s something that I never had. It’s something that resonates in my work because it's something that I struggle with.
So, who is Brooke Candy?
I'd like to think of myself as a leader in some way, shape or form. Someone who is fearless, someone who wants love and wants to give love and someone who just wants to help and be a voice for those that don't have a voice. I’m ever-changing. I'm multifaceted. It's hard to pin down who or what I am. I'm a performer, I'm an artist, I take photos, I paint, I surf, I direct porn, I direct music videos.
I have this belief that everything kind of means nothing. Not in a nihilistic way, but in a fun way. We're all just energy and bones and flesh. It’s crazy. I'm 30 years old and when I was 25 if you had asked me that question, I would've given you an answer so arrogantly sure of who I was. Between the age of 25 and 30, I’ve changed so much as a person that I don't fucking know. In five years, I could be living on a fucking farm, you know? I'm loving, caring, sensitive, emotional and I make art. That’s all I know.
What is your favorite song on the album?
Maybe “Freak Like Me” with TOOPOOR. There’s a line: “I’m not America’s sweetheart / I’m more like Jeffrey Dahm’ / Rather be hated for who I am than loved for what I’m not.” That's something I've lived by since I started making art and that no one has understood or cared about. Again, I've like pigeonholed myself because I have to just be who I am, regardless if you hate it or not. But that line and that song — and the way it's sung in this pop format — I just think it's so cool.
SEXORCISM is available now.