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Upfront: Dai Burger

Living the dream

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Dai Burger is a force to be reckoned with. Her career, like her music, has already gone through many different chapters, and you’d be pretty naive to try and categorise her in any simple terms. But if you had to, maybe her own description is accurate enough: “I am a by any means necessary, grab the bull by the horns, BOSS ASS BITCH!” She’s currently in Melbourne as part of a whirlwind Australian tour and we thought it would be the perfect time to ask her a few questions about how she stays so damn fierce.

It’s great to have you down under, how have your first few days in Australia been?

Lovin’, lovin’, lovin’ Australia! Sydney was awesome and I’ve just touched down in Melbourne. I hear it’s really cool out here and I have a fun photoshoot planned while out here tonight, so yeah! I’m just out here living the Australian dream!

In all of the live performances of yours I’ve watched, it’s a very personal affair. You get super involved with the crowd and the result is a fire turn up, which I love. Where does that stage energy come from, and are you as comfortable performing as you look?

There’s no place I love more than being on stage, so I’m glad that I’m able to connect with audiences this way. I guess I can attribute this to years of dance school and recitals and talent shows. I’m able to just be free when I perform so yeah, I guess there is some sort of comfortably there!

You were listed by a huge range of publications, including The Fader and Rolling Stone, as an artist to watch. Does this feel like pressure to you? And in general, how do you manage all the pressures placed on you as an artist?

I actually don’t find pressure in this, it’s encouraging really! I can only be myself, so with this in mind I just keep working with my best foot forward. Hasn’t steered me wrong yet! The love has been unbelievable.

What was the most valuable thing you learned as a back-up dancer for Lil Mama that you use in your current career?

Just dedication and persistence. Bringing your A-game to every show, every rehearsal. And most of all having fun through it all, that really shines through while performing.

Was there a pivotal moment that made you realise that this was your calling? Or was it a gradual rise for you?

I’d say it was a gradual rise. I’ve always been into music and dancing and fashion. So I guess after touring as a back-up dancer all these things just finally melded themselves into something great! Here I am living all my passions, it really is a dream come true.

In your videoclip for My Lil Dance’, you are your own back-up dancers. Is this the case in your career as well, in terms of doing things on your own?

Yes! I am a By Any Means Necessary, Grab the bull by the horns, BOSS ASS BITCH! As an only child, I’ve always had to hold myself down, and even starting my career, it was always just me, my BFF, and a dream. So once things start going my way, I’m the type to work hard for the bigger goals. Now I have a great team by my side, but it doesn’t stop the drive in me to keep aiming for the stars.

What inspires your fashion and style?

I love colours! They always speak to me. I love themed looks (I mean like Hello?!) I love absurdity but also a classic vibe. It’s all about contrast. It’s about feeling great in everything you wear. That’s my inspiration.

And in terms of music, where do you draw inspiration from?

I enjoy speaking on topics other people don’t speak on. I like elaborating on things people aren’t really thinking to elaborate on. So I draw inspirations from random ‘out the box’ things really. But I’m also just weird like that…I can draw inspiration from something as simple as chewing gum for crying out loud!

How did the process of making In Ya’ Mouf differ to the production of your first mixtape MyMixxxytape? What has stayed the same about your creative process and what has changed?

MyMixxxyTape really truly is before I knew who I was, or who I wanted to be or what I was even doing. So I was still exploring the idea of just trying new things and just exploring what could possibly happen. But by the next few tapes I was more in tune with who I was as an artist, and the producers I wanted to work with, ideas to portray etc. And really, I’m still growing as an artist. This is all still a journey for me….

Can you explain what it means to you to ‘remain as beautiful as possible, inside and out’?

Simple. It’s awesome to look great, but it’s even better being a great person. No amount of makeup can hide an ugly character.

There are few who are as out and loud and proud as you are, and the visibility you give to the LGBTQIA fam is invaluable. What piece of advice would you give to other queer artists, who may not be at your level of confidence in their sexuality?

There’s only one you. Stay true to who that is, no matter who that is, and that’s what makes a winner in my book.

How would you summarise 2016 for you in three words…

Rollercoaster. Inspirational. Prosperous. 

…and what is your three word prediction for 2017?

Unbelievable. Deserved. Monumental.

You can catch Dai Burger at the Curtin in Melbourne tonight, February 2, before heading to Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide. See full tour details here.

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