“I wanna push everyone around me to have the confidence I’ve got and not care about people’s bad opinions, and just keep pushing no matter what”
After a busy 2021, with releases such as rap track Fendi and popular SBK collab On Sight, Queen Millz has solidified herself as an artist to watch in the UK scene. This year she has seen increasing success off the back of singles like the energetic TikTok-ready Body + Shape and the sonically smooth Real One. So far her discography showcases her versatility, confidence and spirit. As the 23 year old artist from Leicester continues to grow a loyal fan base online, she comes closer to venturing into the mainstream scene.
We caught up with Queen Millz for a chat about her journey in music so far, her ambitions for the future, as well as advise she would give to young artists like herself.
How long have you been making music/performing?
I’m 23 now, nearly 24, and I’ve been writing lyrics since I was about 9 years old. My Dad made it a punishment for me. I was quite a naughty kid in school, so he made me write lyrics to talk about how I was gonna improve in the future. It was a good punishment!
And then my mum enrolled me in a poetry workshop when I was about 10 because I was grounded for the holidays. There was a poetry competition and I took part and won - against grown, adult men actually, so from then I knew lyrics were the one for me.
So you’ve been holding your own in these male dominated spaces since you were a child?
When did you realise you could make a career out of your talents, and take music seriously as a future ‘job’?
I’ve always aspired to be successful in music, but I never got round to really making it and putting my mind to it until I went to dance college. We did performing arts there - I danced full time and we did musical theatre (singing and performing onstage), that’s where I found my love to perform. Then I went to a music university and learnt to start recording things and using my voice properly.
If you were to introduce a new listener to your music, what bar would you want them to hear?
“He said he like my body and shape, small n slim but it still shake!”
I feel like you could get a good dance going on TikTok for that one…
Yeah, I need to get it poppin’ on TikTok - it's that cheeky bar that everyone spits back to me!
What’s your process in the studio, or a typical day if you’re writing or performing?
I’ll have as much time booked there as possible, during that time we get quite a few songs done because I’m quite quick at writing. I work with new producers all the time, so I’ll get them to go through their beats, see which ones I’m vibin’ with, and when I hear the one - it's like a eureka moment and I just get into my phone as the lyrics start flowing out. I kind of hear the melody first in my head and then I write to that melody. Then I have to record it because if not I forget everything, it's such a quick process.
Is there something you feel sets you apart from your peers?
No, I feel like I’m very confident, and that’s hard to come by, but I feel like it wouldn’t be fair for me to set myself apart from my peers because I wanna push them too. I wanna push everyone around me to have the confidence I’ve got and not care about people’s bad opinions and just keep pushing no matter what, so I feel like maybe my confidence sets me apart. I’m gonna keep going no matter what people say, it can never be a thing to troll me!
You have a great attitude when it comes to working with other artists, and looking at your collaborations with SBK or Trillary Banks and Crystalle (on the Hot Gyal Cypher), it seems like you really enjoy working with other artists. Do you, and is there anyone you want to work with in particular?
I’m dropping my mixtape in May and I’ve got basically no features, I have one on there that’s out already - it's Pretty with Lavida Loca. I’m open to features and I want to feature with people, I’m a consumer as well as an artist, I’m kind of a music connoisseur. I’m definitely down to work with other people, I haven’t had much attention for collabs. The Hot Gyal Cypher was amazing, Trillary is a veteran from Leicester so the fact that she brought me in meant a lot to me. Crystale is so cool, down to Earth, a really nice girl. That was sick!
And SBK is cool, he’s got a lit fanbase too. His music style is quite cool, it's quite edgy. I’ve got a few different sides to me, so it was nice to work with someone who understands that edgy side to me.
I think we can see that “edgy side” a lot in your fashion choices, especially in the MiLL$ video, there were a lot of looks in that one! Is fashion somewhere we’re going to see more of you as your journey progresses?
I definitely hope so, but the thing is I’m quite small, so I don’t know that I can actually be a model, but I would definitely love to showcase top designer pieces. Modelling, fashion, and even creating items myself is definitely something I wanna delve into.
Where or with who do you feel most inspired?
I think in the Midlands, they’re inspiring, anywhere in the Midlands. I spent a lot of time in Nottingham as well as Leicester, it's always inspiring there. Then when I come to London, I like to show off, it gives me a buzz - like when I’m in the studio with people I listen to, it will just inspire me to make an absolute banger, because I’m under pressure. Gotta show them my best! I feel like I live life to the fullest, so every experience that happens to me inspires me. I try to think about it deeply and get it out in my music.
I guess that’s quite therapeutic in a sense?
Yeah exactly! Sometimes I have battles in my mind with myself, but as soon as I get it on a track I don't even think about it anymore.
I saw last night your Mixtape Madness Next Up premiered on YouTube. What was it like having your music released on such a big UK rap platform? Is that nerve-wracking or are you just excited for it to be out?
When they first announced it was coming out, pretty much every comment on there was negative, they all trolled me, but I know that it's sick and that no other rappers are coming like that on there. That’s why you have to love yourself!
That’s a shame, but the positive comments did roll through once people actually heard it!
Yeah, that’s my people. I’ve got quite a big group of - they’re not even my fans - they’re my people, they’re the team. They bombarded the joint post, and it was alright. Once I dropped it I think it spoke for itself!
I think it was great, especially to see a girl up there on a male-dominated platform!
It was a scary experience, there was loads of them waiting to film their’s so I had to do it in front of everyone. But I’m happy with it!
I noticed you’ve built much of this strong “team” of fans on social media, is there one piece of advice you could give upcoming artists to grow on social media and get their music out there?
Consistency is the thing that matters. You’ve just gotta keep bombarding people with your face and your sound, then they’ll have no choice but to watch you, like you, and enjoy you!So I think consistency is the thing to focus on, obviously you have to make sure what your uploading is quality. I’ve been writing since I was 10 and I’m only just getting my foot in the door. A lot of younger kids want to be rappers and artists these days, but they don't see that it takes years of perfecting your craft. It’s not about money, it’s about longevity.
I think that’s an important sentiment, because people often see the ‘overnight’ success and don't see the 10 years prior.
Yeah, people will probably think that about me!
Do you prefer performing or studio?
Definitely performing, onstage, and doing music videos performing to the camera. Studio is an enjoyable experience, but I know that I’m working when I’m in the studio I do put myself under a bit of pressure there. I suppose just to make something that’s lit! Sometimes things come about without me trying, they’re the spontaneous bangers! But a lot of the time I have to properly figure out a structure to make it work, but I feel like when I’m performing I’m just kind of showing off, getting to interact with the crowd and get a little reaction or some intimacy at certain points of the show.
I guess that’s your chance to enjoy the work you’ve put in in the studio?
Yeah, exactly. And I like being a character, I like to play Queen Millz. When I’m on stage I’m performing a character, when I’m in the studio I’m catching a vibe and chilling, getting my feelings out and on stage I’m in acting mode!
I guess you have that background to draw on, from the musical theatre and dance - you’re kind of a triple threat!
Yeah, and I’m gonna double that!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far?
First of all, I’m really critical of myself all the time anyway. I’ll always look at my performances and think what I can do better. My manager always tells me ‘don’t rush, I don’t need to rush greatness, everything is a process’. Time is everything and it's precious, so you don’t have to rush to success. Everything right now is in the moment, it doesn’t matter now, it's about what it's gonna amount to in the future.
That way you get to enjoy it yourself and take everything in I suppose?
Yeah, and I’m just in the beginning stages of my career. There’s gonna be years of hard work and no breaks. And yeah I’m working hard now, but I’ve also got a lot of break time that I sometimes take for granted. Basically, just take time!
What do you like to do on your breaks from working?
I’m from the countryside, so I like to go for a lot of evening walks. There’s also quite a lot of areas with reservoirs in my area, so I’ll go down there, enjoy the view and have a little sunbath. I like to eat, going to nice restaurants, eating food or getting drunk with my friends. I like playing Xbox as well, I’m a proper fortnight-head - It’s fun in your spare time!
What artists and genres of music did you grow up listening to?
I listened to whatever my parents were listening to. My Dad would play reggae, Hip Hop, and scar like madness. My Mum would play old school RnB, drum and bass, they’re both jungle ravers. They’ve got stacks of records on vinyl, they played every kind of music under the sun to be fair!
You can definitely hear the influences of these different sounds in your music.
I try to be versatile and, apply different things in my songs.
Can you tell us anymore about the new mixtape?
I think we’re gonna go for May 13th - it's the day before my birthday! Taurus season, it's lit!
It's clear from our chat with Queen Millz that she’s an artist who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go out and work for it. With high hopes for her budding discography, including a soon to be released mixtape, Millz has her sights set on mainstream stardom and introducing the world to her plethora of creative talents.