The New Badd Girl of pop
By Damian Rodriguez
Bubblegum pop was the sound of choice for the 80s. This bred the Mariah Carrey hyperventilation pop sound of the 90s, which gave way to the sultry siren global pop takeover of the 2000s. With each new generation comes their own variation on the popular music sound, it is now the time for the bad girl pop of the 2010s.
Leading the charge of this new group of strong, independent female artists is LA based singer-songwriter Iambaddluck. She is a member of a new class of pop artists who sing lyrics of female empowerment and gender equality, all with the familiar pop sensibilities that have made the genre so commercially feasible in years past.
With catchy beats, choreographed dances, and infectious hooks, artists like Iambaddluck, Bebe Rexa, and Tove Lo are creating a tougher, grittier, more real pop sound for a generation of girls who don’t pine for boys waiting for them to call. Instead they make the boys take a blood oath swearing their souls to them in perpetuity before deciding whether they want to go to the movie or not (or something like that, but I like the blood oath thing, it just makes it easier for everybody to be on the same page.)
When Iambaddluck and I meet for the first time, I am standing in the main dining room of The Ivy restaurant in Beverly Hills. I see a head of neon purple hair making its way towards me through a crowd of moms and grandmas, who all stop and stare at this hair and the person wearing it as she crosses the room. With unbothered confidence, she walks toward me and introduces herself (as if there would be another purple haired, thigh-high boot-wearing, crescent moon earring adorned girl at The Ivy which I might have mistaken her with). We proceed to have the most amazing lunch, striking up conversation as if we have known each other forever, even though this is the first time I meet her outside of the world of Twitter. Her Boston-bred candor and kind demeanor are a welcomed contrast to the celebutantes, wannabes, and neverweres that prance up and down Robertson holding trendy shopping bags around their arms like crosses to ward off poor and untrendy vampires. Not Iambaddluck though, she is cool as shit.
So first off, when people address you what should they call you? Iambaddluck, Baddluck, BL, IMBL?
BL: Wow, you got all the nicknames down! I introduce myself as Baddluck. Iambaddluck is my official artist name, in conversations it’s Baddluck, people who know me really well call me BL.
It’s an exciting time for you, your first single “Oath” is doing really well on Spotify. It has over 121,000 streams. You’ve described your sound as “Wicca Pop.” What does Wicca Pop mean to you?
BL: Wicca Pop means a lot to me. I’m from Massachusetts, I grew up near Salem. When I was trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted to do, and what my artistry was, I fell back on a little bit of where I come from and a little bit of what I love. I always felt like I had this very bubbly personality but I also had this very dark, very edgy side cooped up inside of me. Finally when I was given a pen and paper, and allowed to do whatever I wanted, that very dark, very edgy side of me is what I wanted to do.
How did “Oath” come about?
BL: “Oath” came about just by me doing writing sessions for other artists. Four maybe five months after it didn’t get picked up by another artist, my team and I were like. “Well, maybe you should just do it.” And I said, “You know what that’s not a bad idea.” I got approached by a label and they were like, “We love your voice, and we think you should just start compiling these songs for yourself.” And “Oath” was the first one that came to mind that was in my catalogue.
What’s next musically for Iambaddluck?
BL: “Oath” is definitely a taste of things to come. It gives you a vibe and general gist of where the Dark Pop goes and where it can go. The next few singles are very Dark Pop too, and I can’t really not do that because that’s just the way that I write. Conceptually they take on a new level, they hit upon a few new themes that we haven’t really touched on yet. It’s very dark, it’s very edgy, very me. I get more edgy to be honest, and it’s only getting edgier. I say things that most artists wouldn’t want to say. We are in a session and we’re like, “Nobody’s going to want to cut this.” And I’m like, “That’s me! Nobody except for me!”
What can fans of your music, and people just discovering your music, expect from you and expect from the Iambaddluck brand?
BL: I think it’s very obvious when people come across me, and come across my brand, what I stand for. I don’t really care what people think of me, and I want my fans to think the same way. I walk to the beat of my own drum, and I want my fans to be able to take that on and be able to do it themselves too. To be able to do what they want to do, and believe in what they are doing, without other people saying otherwise. I mean I’m weird as fuck and I want my fans to be ok with that, and to be proud of that, and be able to be like that themselves and be proud of it too!
People are responding to you and people are excited about your music. What are some of the best fan reactions or fan interactions you’ve had so far?
BL: Best fan interactions…definitely when I get recognized that’s really fun. I was in a Starbucks and I had a fan recognize me. When the barista shouted, “Baddluck – Pumpkin Spiced Latte.” She knew it was me! So that’s really cool. I’ve also had a few fans DM me about problems that they have been having in bully situations and things like that where I was able to lend an ear and help a little bit. I’ve had a few fans make videos of them singing “Oath” and videos of them singing my new single, “Nothing Compares” and they’ll hashtag and they’ll tweet at me so that’s really, really cool. But, I love getting fans who really get what I am doing, and who respond to it. Like when I post that I am going to release something, and I call it a “Séance Party”; I have fans tweet at me with little gifs of witches putting on their hats and other really cute things. I just love it so much, and I love the fans.
So, Iambaddluck isn’t something that you put on at 9:00AM and take off at 9:00PM? This is your authentic, real self?
BL: Yeah, it doesn’t get any more real that this! At the end of the day being an artist is twofold. It’s creating a product and selling a product, obviously everybody has to do that, but it works when you are the product, you live the product, and when you are 100% authentic to that. You look at people like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and all those people and yes that might be a version of their personality that might be exaggerated, but it’s them, it’s real. Katy Perry doesn’t have to worry about, “Oh, I don’t want to wear bright colors anymore.” It’s just her, and that’s why people believe it; because it’s real, it’s true, and it’s authentic. People don’t like to be sold something that’s not authentic, so why bother. It’s not something I put on at 9:00AM and take off at 9:00PM, you can ask my roommate he jokes about it all the time!
For those who want to see that real, authentic Iambaddluck in person, in a live show, what can someone expect when they come to see an Iambaddluck performance?
BL: My live show is definitely an experience. I want you to experience what it’s like to be part of my coven, and what it’s like to be part of this whole thing. The happiest I am, ever at any point in my life, is when I am onstage singing these songs. I have a blast up there, and I want the people who are watching me to have a blast too. This is my real life seance party. I don’t want people to feel like they are just going to see a concert, checking it out, and then heading home. I want people to really feel like, “I get it, I feel it, I’m part of something. I understand what you’re trying to do here and I want to be a part of it.”.
Right now you have two singles and an acoustic version of one of your singles out on Spotify. What can fans expect in the near future from Iambaddluck?
BL: We have another single ready to come out, we have an EP ready to go, and I have enough songs together at this point where I can have an album. It’s just a matter of playing everything by ear, and seeing what people like and what they don’t like. Then hopefully tying it all in a bow and putting out an EP in the Fall.
That’s exciting! With a name like Iambaddluck, what do you think of things that people traditionally think of as bad luck? Black Cats – good luck or bad luck?
BL: Good Luck! I am a huge animal lover. I use to work at a zoo. I worked with cats, the big cats! We had a baby lion cub, three lions, two snow leopards, two servals, and two ocelots. So, definitely cats would be good luck – even if they are black cats. Honestly, even better luck if they’re black cats!
Broken mirrors, good luck or bad luck?
BL: Bad luck. Because there is somebody around the corner who probably broke that mirror and who will probably have to pay for it!
Stepping on cracks, good luck or bad luck?
BL: Okay, so this is really weird. Here comes a Baddluck OCD fun fact. I have a system when I walk–omg this sounds so crazy when I say it out loud–where my right foot has to step not on the crack and then my left foot has to step on the crack, and THEN I have to switch it and I always have to be balanced. Isn’t that weird? (She proceeds to demonstrate the walk and, much like Iambaddluck herself and everything she does, it is decidedly not weird but totally unique and a little kooky. So basically cool as shit.)
Friday the 13th, good luck or bad luck?
BL: Love it! I released my video on Friday the 13th. Good luck!
In your video, you have backup dancers that you call The Coven. How many dancers are in The Coven?
BL: Five. They’re really cool. They all have star bodysuits, leather boots, leather jackets, and cool chains that they wear. They all have very cool style and very cool coven swag.
Superstitions, good luck or bad luck. Is there anything that you, Iambaddluck, are superstitious about?
BL: No, I don’t believe in luck to be honest. That’s kind of a piece of the name, is that I am not afraid of a curse. I don’t believe in it. I think you make your own luck, and I think whatever you channel your mind to and focus on is what happens. Whatever you put out there you get back, I believe in that. I believe in a very focused, driven, targeting of things that you want, and seeing those things through. Making those things happen and then going on to the next thing, and going on to the next thing, and so on.
Last question: Do you like running, and, if so, what music do you listen to when you run?
BL: I work out a lot actually, I stay very healthy. I run almost every day. In the morning I do a hard sprint of around a mile and then I do other things, but for the most part I run almost every day. I run outside, I hate the treadmill, and I totally listen to music. I listen to Tove Lo, Charlie XCX, very upbeat stuff. You know, songs that don’t suck!