Platinum-selling hip-hop artist Illy only recently wrapped up his national tour in support of his Aria #1 album, ‘Two Degrees’ and is already talking about the next record.
Since his 2016 ‘Swear Jar’ tour, Illy admits he has learned a lot and is heading into his next album with a lot more confidence.
“A lot of good things have happened since then. It’s kind of been a blur. I guess going into the new album ... I definitely have a lot more confidence with the sort of direction that I’m taking now because it’s kind of been proven that people are going to go with me on that,” Illy explains.
“I definitely think I’m going to be more comfortable in stepping outside my comfort zone and do some shit that other people aren’t really doing.”
The most recent drop from Illy is the official video for his newest single ‘Oh My’. Making a surprising appearance on the track is Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall who also stars in the video.
“She’s an incredible vocalist,” Illy says.
“I’d had the demo for ‘Oh My’ for a while and had pitched it to a few people and what they sent back was really cool but it wasn’t the voice that I had in mind.
“I wasn’t that familiar with Tonight Alive beforehand but a mutual friend suggested her. We sent the track to Jenna, she liked it, she sent something back and as soon as I heard that vocal the first time I opened that email it was like, ‘fu*k yes’.
“We’d been holding off for four or five months for this one vocal and it was like that track was made for her; I just didn’t know it until I got that email.”
If you managed to get along to one of Illy’s recent live shows around the country as part of his ‘Two Degrees Tour’, you would have been lucky enough to hear a bunch of new tracks off the album live for the first time.
“All the tracks off the new album were really well received. The whole show was a bit of a highlight from start to finish,” Illy says.
“It was mad. It was the best tour I’ve ever done. They were the biggest venues I’ve ever played. It was awesome to be able to play the new songs on the new album to such big crowds and have them knowing pretty much every track word for word; it was pretty special.”
Anyone who is familiar with Illy would know he’s known for his headwear collection and is rarely seen without a hat. He admitted his favourite headwear brand of all time is New Era.
“I own a stupid amount of New Era caps. I think I’ve probably got 40, maybe 50 caps in my house. ... Every time I go to Culture Kings I'll probably cop a pair of shoes and a couple of hats.”
Usually a fan of the fitted flat brim, Illy admits he’s current favourite is the New Era 3930.
“I generally prefer Yankees, Dodgers or Braves and I like the 3930; I’ve started to cop some more of them lately.”
Amid talks of working on the next record, there won’t be much down time for Illy as he is set to announce another string of shows this year.
“We’re about to announce a big regional tour in a couple of weeks so that’ll be a big massive thing in the second half of the year.”
So keep an eye out for more Illy live shows across the country and shop his New Era collection online at Culture Kings.