"Thanks for wanting to talk to me; I don't think I'm very interesting..." Enter the casual observer into a word association game with the name Brooke Candy and few would come up with 'modest', yet when the chameleonic pop-rapper speaks outside her friends Dalston flat on a bleary Monday morning, she does so with a diffidence that belies her fierce cyber-Spartan media portrayal.

It's been four years since Candy stormed onto the scene with her art-pop banger, 'Das Me', unleashing reappropriative bars as the internet looked on in a state of terrified enchantment. Now signed to RCA, Candy is still incorrigibly fierce, but she's also less gung-ho and more tactful; wise enough to know that she has to play the game to achieve her ends.

Despite her privileged background, Candy is no stranger to adversity. The daughter of a Hustler Magazine mogul, the teenage runaway decided to carve her own rocky path which eventually led to heroin addiction and destitution. It was only through stripping that Candy found stability, or, in her words, "empowerment", and so it's no surprise she's slightly cynical about getting on board with the major label operation.

"I'm still hustling as hard as I was when I put out my first ever video. Everyone has their two cents and their opinion on what I need to be doing, but the reality of the situation is that I'm an artist and the only way this will work is if I'm honest and create work that's transparent and from the soul and heart. The only person who can know what that is, is me. It can frustrate, but it's a give and take and to get to where I want to be I have to give a little bit and work within the system."

Candy's latest single, 'Happy Days', is microcosmic of the quid pro quo concept she speaks of. Undeniably more-radio friendly than past material, Candy's "feminist glam alien" image has moderated, while the track itself is PG compared to the salacious rapped bark of 'I Wanna Fuck Right Now' and 'Firey Dick'. Here, Candy's message is grounded in gravitas: "The song is about antidepressants, yeah. I don't think a pill can just magically fix a person's problem. We all have our issues and vices and we all have our demons. I've been able to conquer mine through stuff like meditation, yoga and healthy diet. The idea that you can swallow a magical pill and all your problems vanish is just so scary. For me, it's an important conversation to start and issue to bring up."

Alongside mentor Sia, Candy has been hard at work on her debut album for little over 3 years. Now finally due this summer, it comes as little surprise that the records gestation has been a transformative process in terms of both artistry and personality. Initially a reticent singer, Candy now cites it as her primary vocal style: "Now I enjoy it. I actually prefer it to rapping. It allows me to be more expressive in other ways, because rapping can be linear. With rapping I have to be very intense but with singing I can be a bit more dramatic and soft. Right now it's something I prefer, yeah."

As the lines between pop and the underground continue to blur, Candy's transition to the mainstream is perhaps not as shocking as it may have been 10 years ago. In the post-Gaga age where you're just as likely to hear a SOPHIE beat in the charts as you are in a club, her rise even seems logical. The singer, however, refuses to mount any critique of her predecessor's aesthetic ideals: "To an extent it's a cool time, but remember that even when Christina and Britney went to make a visual they done so with people like David Lachepelle. That doesn't happen anymore. Those visuals were so sick, sexual and weird. Sure, they were conventionally hot and attractive and they both fit into this cookie-cutter formula, but when you dissect them aesthetically, they were so next level and fucking weird visually. Now I feel like everyone is plain and operating out of fear. I feel like we've dropped the ball. No one knows what to do and no one knows where we're headed or how to handle the situation."

"For me, pop is my medium as an artist and I'm using it for a vehicle to promote positive change, or at least that's what I'd like to hope I'm doing. We're given this platform and it's our responsibility to use it and do something with it. I'm obligated to do something with it and help people. I don't know anyway else to live."

Pop might not know where it's headed, but the same thing can't be said for Brooke Candy, and the only thing for sure is that it's to a place that's very interesting.


Brooke Candy's debut album (executive produced by Sia) is out later this year on RCA in the US, and Columbia in the UK.