New Music To Know: Brooke Candy’s Bizarre Journey From Stripper To Pop Diva

By Courtney E. Smith

Brooke Candy‘s ascent into the pop world started as a stripper from Los Angeles, went to a role in Grimes‘ video for “Genesis” where she looked like an avatar from the World of Warcraft, to a full  transformation into a nightmare diva with her debut music video. But strangeness aside, Candy is as dedicated to authenticity as she is to the multiple pop diva characters she created for the clip behind her major label debut,”Opulence.” Adaptability is certainly a must in the world of divas, as is the ability to never take “no” for an answer.

“I have no fear of ‘no’,” Candy told “Someone can tell me no but it’s not going to stop me. I’ll still get it done somehow.”

Prior to the Steven Klein-directed clip for “Opulence,” off the recently released EP of the same name, Candy self-released several videos like “Everybody Does,” where her look was more akin to Nicki Minaj wearing a fashion line created by R2D2. In conversation with Candy, she is a person who will do whatever it takes to reach the broadest audience possible. In Candy’s mind, there is no such thing as “selling out.” And you can never be too authentic.

Candy’s lyrics are drawn from her real life: She really was homeless as a kid who spent time working as a stripper. Her current single, “Opulence,” is directly inspired by the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, which takes a closer look at New York City’s ball culture. Her looks are all taken from scenes and parties she is part of, or at least attends. She blasts other pop stars who send underlings out to photograph underground parties in order to steal the look, but never deign to attend themselves. But while Madonna and Lady Gaga play a part in her pop star pedigree, her ultimate mission is to be the next Michael Jackson.


“Michael Jackson was the number one selling artist in the world and every song he put out had a message…I’m obsessed with Michael Jackson,” she said. “I watch his interviews all day. I know everything about him at this point. I think he was a Jesus-type. I’m attempting to follow in his footsteps, but they’re impossible footsteps to follow in.”

Candy isn’t at King of Pop status quite yet, but she is reaching Mother Monster levels. She hooked up with Diesel’s artistic director and Gaga’s former stylist Nicola Formichetti, who in addition to designing the “Opulence” video, cast Candy as the face of Diesel’s accessories campaign. He named the collection OPULENCE.

In an email interview, Formichetti addressed the head-turning amount of clothes, largely from his debut collection with Diesel, in the “Opulence” video, explaining “11 changes made it [in] but throughout the shoot we did many more, all of which were crazy. Working with strong women as a creative is infectious and inspiring, as many will let you mold them into amazing characters.”

For Candy, becoming a slew of different characters is just a natural state of being. “In my head I can say that I have about 100 different personalities,” she said. “When I wake up in the morning my mood is stable, but…It’s weird…I feel like I’m different people.”


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