Miss Blanks has only been making music for a little under two years. Considering the high profile acts she’s collaborated with, the sold out tours, and the festivals she’s headlined, it’s all too easy to forget this. And while she’s killing the game sonically, this isn’t her only focus. The Brisbane rapper has worked hard to open a dialogue about issues—racism, transphobia, misogyny—both within the hip-hop industry and society at large. She uses her commanding stage presence as a way to educate and enlighten her audience, and this potent energy permeates her music. In 2019, she’s expanding her empire one bop at a time, and the newest addition is ‘Tommy’, an Alice Ivy produced track that sticks it to fuckboys everywhere. It’s an anthem for anyone who’s ignored a red-flag or two in the early stages of a relationship, and most importantly, it bangs. We caught up with her to chat pre-show traditions, her song-writing process, and the local artists on her radar.
Hey Miss Blanks, nice to chat. You’ve released a new track, ‘Tommy’, this week. What’s the story behind it?
‘Tommy’ is referring to all the failed guys that have attempted to cuff me! It’s about when you’re in the early stages of seeing someone and you’re going through a bit of puppy love to the point where you’re blinded and can’t see them for how they really be. It’s cute while it lasts, but don’t expect him to be saving you in his phone as ‘Bae <3.’
What do you do to get yourself ready to perform? Any pre-show traditions?
I have a tradition of doing my makeup and hair on my own, or getting it done if the budget’s looking cute. And listening to 90s RnB and soul at the crib or hotel—think Zhane, Sade, Deborah Cox, and Tony! Toni! Toné!—then zooming over to the venue blasting Lil Kim and doing a pre-show shot with the crew!
Are Miss Blanks the artist and Miss Blanks the person different entities, or one and the same?
I mean, my legal name isn’t ‘Miss Blanks’, but it’s all one and the same. I wanted to have a stage name to protect my personal life, so that people didn’t conflate what they thought they have access to and what I give them access to. Also, ‘Sian Vandermuelen’ doesn’t have the same ring to it!
You’ve spoken in the past about your aim to create a presence that’s ‘un-fuck-with-able’. On a day-to-day basis, how is this achieved?
It’s not a focus to ‘create a presence.’ You’re either ‘THAT’ kinda girl or not, and I really just be THAT. BITCH. A big part of it is self-confidence and standards, and some people just don’t have either. That’s fine. Sometimes it comes with time, un/learning, age, support, etc. You can’t force it and it also doesn’t mean that by being THAT. BITCH. you have to hold immense strong energy and have to perform for/to people. Sometimes protecting your energy or being vulnerable or leaving the party early can also mean being THAT. BITCH.
Who or what is informing your song-writing process lately?
Well, for ‘Tommy’, Alice Ivy, the producer, and I have been working on the track for nearly a year now. So it’s exciting to finally have it out! I remember she sent me the skeleton of the beat and I knew it was going to be a bop because I grabbed my phone and started making notes, writing little bars, and just fleshing out ideas. Nothing other than my own experiences in life and with people, [these] really form my writing process. Sometimes I write music based on fictional characters and stories that I come up with which is really interesting, but I’m yet to release that music. Maybe soon! ;)
Who are some other local artists doing you proud?
To be honest, the fam here in Aus be doing it STRONG! You have Alice Ivy, Nina Las Vegas, Jesswar, Kaiit, Aywin, Val Flynn, Emily Wurramara, Kira Puru, Mallrat, Dugong Jr, Oh Boy, Jaydean, Remi, Strictface, jamesjamesjames, Kota Banks, Sampa, Basenji, Moonbase, liiiiike, shall I just make a playlist for y’all?
What changes would you like to see in the Australian hip-hop community in 2019?
Less changes to do with the community but more to do with the industry. I’d love to see the industry invest the much needed time, energy, money, and resources into our sector like it does with many other genres. We need infrastructure so artists and practitioners within our genre can build sustainable business models and careers that have commerciality and longevity, both for local independence and export potential.
What’s up next for Miss Blanks?
Right now, just focusing on the new single ‘Tommy’, which is out now, and gearing up for the upcoming tour with Alice Ivy across May/June! I’m doing all dates across Australia and taking some friends on the road with me including Val Flynn (who I mentioned earlier). This year you’ll see new collabs, more exciting shows, overseas travel, more new music, and ya girl all-round expanding the empire and ‘House Of Blanks’ brand and name!
Photography: Mitch Noakes