Seventeen-year-old fan_3 is an up-and-coming hip-hop artist -- without an attitude. Last year, she cut her debut album ďLet Me Clear My ThroatĒ and went on tour, but even though she seems like an overnight success, fan_3 says sheís been writing songs ďforever.Ē She had a lot to say to IML about overcoming difficulties and getting what you want in life.
IML: First of all, tell us how you got your ďbig break!Ē
fan_3: When I was 13, I recorded a bunch of my songs on my lo-fi home studio setup and got one of them, ďWhat They Gonna Think,Ē on the ďLizzie MaguireĒ soundtrack album. My parents werenít sure if I was ready for the big time, but I went through a directory of managers and agents, contacted every one of them, sent them some demos and got one response. This manager brought me to Geffen Records and now I have a record deal.
IML: What do you have to say to people who say youíre white, youíre not black, and you donít have the ďrightĒ to do hip hop?
fan_3: Kids like me who grow up in the San Fernando Valley, all we really hear is rap music, so I donít think itís anything big for a white girl from the suburbs to be doing it. I mean, thatís all I ever heard on the radio.
IML: Do you have a primary group you identify with?
fan_3: I love TLC and Destinyís Child. I love groups that have three main people. Thatís why my name is fan_3. But probably one of my favorite artists in the world is Alanis Morrisette. I just bought her Starbucks CD. Itís ridiculous. Iíve been playing it over and over.
IML: Do you have any advice for young songwriters out there?
fan_3: Donít second guess yourself. If youíre really talented, in the end, thatís what shines through. Youíve just got to be persistent. I may not be one of the most talented people in the world, but Iím definitely one of the most persistent. People have a lot of things to do and thereís a lot on everyoneís mind. If you donít get in their face, itís easy for them to turn you away.
IML: What do you think it means for a girl to be strong?
fan_3: I think being a strong female means not taking the easy way out, just being a strong person, and itís totally fine to not be so strong sometimes too. Not taking no for an answer and not second guessing yourself just because youíre a female. And not always having a chip on your shoulder and saying theyíre not going to let me do this just because Iím a girl. You still try and you still fight.
IML: How do you think your music has helped you gain this confidence?
fan_3: I think a lot of it is rap music. One of the things I identify with most is the attitude of rap. Itís very sort of, check me out, Iím cool. And thatís kind of how I think. I think having people listen to my ideas and thoughts has really made me see I have to say exactly what I want to say because nowís the time people are listening.
IML: In your song ďBroken Home,Ē you write about a girl going through her parentsí divorce. Is it pretty autobiographical?
fan_3: The dynamics of each family are different. That was kind of my story, but a little different. The song was about a girl going through the initial divorce, whereas I had more trouble going through the aftermath, the child support battles and stuff like that. I mean, I grew up pretty nice and that was the bad step along the record. I didnít mean for the song to be this big emotional thing. But yeah, sometimes youíre in not such a great mood and your parents are fighting and you get dragged in the middle of it. Itís hard. I donít know if thatís the truth for everyone, but I know itís the truth for a lot of people.
IML: How about your brother?
fan_3: My brother helped me a lot. Heís older, so he could understand what was going on. Iím seventeen and heís twenty. I tend to be the fireball and I tend to say whatever I want, whenever I want to, and itís not a good thing. He helped me see both sides. You know, kind of like, donít freak out, chill.
IML: Do you think itís important to go through tough times to be an artist or musician?
fan_3: I think whatever doesnít kill you makes you stronger. Itís a clichť, but hey, what are you going to do? Iím glad for everything thatís happened.
IML: What do you think someone would be most surprised to hear about you?
fan_3: That I want to get really politically involved, especially when Iím older. Like Young Democrats. I think itís important for kids to know whatís going on so they can make their own opinions. I donít want to tell anybody what to think or who to vote for. I want them to get informed on their own. I mean, itís our Social Security thatís going to get affected and itís our way of living thatís going to be affected so we have to pay attention now so that it can be better later.
IML: Do you have a boyfriend?
fan_3: No, I donít. I just havenít found the right guy I want to settle down for yet.
IML: What qualities in a guy do you find most attractive?
fan_3: A sense of humor. I donít like to be smothered and I donít like guys to come on too strong. And intelligence. I want to be able to go out for dinner and talk through dinner.
IML: How about geeks? Thereís that hilarious song on your album called ďGeek Love.Ē
fan_3: Yeah, sure, geeks can be quite attractive! I have a pin that says, ďI heart geeks.Ē I used to wear it all the time.
IML: Good luck and thanks for talking to us!
fan_3: Youíre welcome!
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