Rising pop star LIZ is ready to rule the world.

Best known as LIZ Y2K, her bubbly, upbeat and extremely fun dance tunes take a personal turn with her newest mixtape Cross Your Heart. Released via NICOPANDA, Cross Your Heart is like the Lemonade of mixtapes. As a cross-pollination between an editorial and a soundtrack, Cross Your Heart, is born to make you rethink the experience of music.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, LIZ grew up in a Hindu household by way of Jewish and Christian origins. Given her upbringing, it has inspired her to develop a strong penmanship that not many pop stars have today. Here, LIZ and I chat about her favourite songs, Nicola Formichetti, and why she decided to release all of her new tracks at once.

Mountain View

You started out by calling yourself LIZ Y2K as a way to align yourself with the decades - like the late '90s and early '00s - that inspired your aesthetic. What aspects of the 2000s were you influenced by and how did it shape your view on music?

I think I was really attracted to the whole glossy aesthetic.You know... it's what I grew up on. Anything that is nostalgic for you is close to your heart and is ingrained in your sense of culture. So, yeah- I was just really inspired by that glitzy, exciting pop era from when I was a tween. I think my aesthetic will always be colorful, bright and glossy... even sonically. But, there is still room to experiment within that realm.

I can tell you got the whole Britney, J.Lo look down! Who were your favourite artists and why did they inspire you?

I definitely looked up to Britney for so many years, and she still influences me. Gwen Stefani is also an icon of mine because she has fun with so many different genres. She's super creative with how she plays with certain themes and somehow, make things her own. I think these days, everything and everyone is derivative of something from the past, so it's really about how you shape your vision and make it special and unique to you.

Madonna and David Bowie are my top favourite artists of all time because of their fearlessness, dedication, and commitment to their storytelling and the characters that they take on. I think maybe these days, people are a little shy and afraid to do that. I think it's cool to morph into different versions of yourself and channel different characters within. I personally like changing and I hope to do it a lot more, actually.

Speaking of NICOPANDA, you just launched a mixtape called Cross Your Heart, which contains a lot of your unreleased songs- which is something I don't see very often, because in pop music, so many musicians always have to constantly create new songs to keep up with the industry. Why have you decided to put your previously unreleased songs onto this mixtape?

You know, I was really dying to get out material. I felt that those songs went together well with the photos in the editorial. I actually have so much more that I didn't get to share in this project, but the rest shall follow soon. It would have ended up being way too many songs if I had even added one more!

Not many pop artists put out mixtapes, but I'm too hungry to share stuff in between my "commercial releases." I write so much, so I was really reaching a ceiling with my patience. Before, when I was solely on Mad Decent, I got to put things out almost instantaneously. Being on Sony now, it's a totally different beast, and there's a lot more waiting and politics you have to deal with.

Since my Just Like You EP in 2014, I only put out one LIZ single, ['When I Rule the World'] besides a few movie soundtrack songs and collabs. I've been making so much material that I really was starting to go crazy. Not only is it my main form of self-expression, but it's my artistry and livelihood as far as moving forward in my career and in my life. I just threw caution to the wind and said "Fuck it, I'm leaking this."

I feel that the mixtape was absolutely the right thing to do. I'm sorry that you've had to through this frustrating time. Now, with NICOPANDA, how did Nicola Formichetti get ahold of you? And how did you draw yourself to his brand?

Well, I've always looked very closely at what Nicola has been doing with pop artists. He's such a huge influence on pop culture. He's now the creative director of Diesel; he's doing really special things. It was actually Justin Moran (an editor who works with Nicola) who hit me up on Instagram through the Nicopanda account. He complimented on one of my pictures and said, "Hey, we love you!" and we started direct messaging from there and brainstorming about a project to do together that involved my music. It was an honor to be the face of Nicola's brand during this fun project. I'd love to do some more collaborations together. He's a wonderful designer and artist and he knows what's up. He's definitely a great one to have on your side!

That's what I love about Nicola so much! I remember he had this pattern with Lady Gaga and since then, he's taken Brooke Candy under his wing... and all of a sudden, she's everywhere. I feel that this NICOPANDA collaboration will have a huge magic touch.

Well, I feel like I've been needing a reinvention of my career, in a sense. I decided this year that I wanted to incorporate fashion, art, and design into my life and my own releases. I went to Fashion Week this February and September... I was a part of Piers Atkinson's SS17 LFW show and have kind of been taking advantage of 'out of the box' opportunities left and right. It's an organic thing that's happened though, because fashion and music go together like bread and butter in my world. I knew what I wanted to do, and I put that idea out into the universe. This month, I'm participating in a few fun projects in Tokyo including a virtual reality art installation, as well as a music video and a few editorial shoots.

It's really awesome and I'm happy for you that you're pursuing more opportunities. Speaking of your songs, the ones that resonate with me are 'When I Rule the World', 'Cross My Heart' and 'All Good' (where you featured Vic Mensa). There's a different beat that goes through a vibe. For 'All Good', you channel hip-hop. On 'Cross My Heart', you channel dance pop, and 'When I Rule the World' is a very pop track. You once said that your music represents today's modern girl whose musical identity composes of different genres and encompasses today's mainstream pop. Who or what is the modern girl and where do you relate yourself to her?

I just think that being influenced by a ton of different genres isn't a bad thing anymore. Before, it may have been looked at as not being cohesive, but I think these days, there's so much genre bending, and it doesn't matter anymore. think my personality, my point of view, my lyrics, and my style are what strings it all together. You know, bringing it back to Gwen Stefani and Madonna- they've played with so many different styles, images, looks, themes... but they each always tied everything together with their spirit and their sense of self. So, I'm learning to embrace that rather than be paranoid about whether people are gonna 'get it' or not. When I listen back to my music, there are definitely different dynamics and vibes here and there- I find it all goes together well.

I hate the pressure of releasing a single. It's a catch 22 because people need something to grasp onto in order for them to discover the rest of your catalog....but it's just tough for me because I don't just do one thing. It's hard to wrap up every single part of yourself into 3 minutes (which is impossible) and know that it may be the only song a lot of people will ever hear of yours. In a perfect world, I'd much prefer to put out bodies of work consistently. It's a lot more interesting that way, in my opinion. I'm still searching for that one breakthrough single that encomapsses enough sides to me, that can express who I am in a nutshell.

I think this mixtape gives me a better idea of who you are; your spirit, identity, etc. Among all of the songs, which ones are your most favorite and personal?

I love 'Star' so much...it was therapeutic to write. It was the last song that I wrote for this project and I wanted it to go first because I thought it set a certain tone. 'Cross My Heart' is also a very important song to me- it's a fun track, but the lyrics are meaningful and hopeful. It's about facing uncertainty head on. I titled the mixtape Cross Your Heart because that whole lyric "cross your heart and hope to fly" is very reminiscent of where I'm at right now in my life. It represents my spirit and the amount of courage that you have to sometimes fake in order to make it.

Faith is a really big thing in my life. I just think that everything happens for a reason; things happens for you, not to you. I learned I had to stop being a victim, and it's something I have to remind myself of daily. It's really hard though! Sometimes, you just wanna crawl in bed and feel sorry for yourself and blame all the things that are going wrong in your life on everyone else. But, that's just a narcissistic, selfish way to live.

Anyway, I wanted to show my human side on the project along with the fun, cheeky records I'm maybe known for. That's why I put these songs together as a body of work- to take you on a little journey. I think most of the songs are relatable, and I hope that people can find something to connect to. That's what it's all about.

Will you be doing a tour?

I'm doing a show at VISION Tokyo on Nov 18th and I'm working on setting up some shows in NYC and London for December. I'm going to put out some more music next year, so hopefully, I can get some nice tour dates around those releases! It's been a while since I toured, and I would really love to get back out on the road.

Mountain View

Listen to LIZ's Cross Your Heart mixtape below.