New Zealand's PollyHill Is Taking Back Space For Female Rappers [Q&A]

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After her high-energy performance at Rhythm & Vines, Haylee Clark sat down with rising Auckland MC and producer PollyHill. It's hard to not be drawn into a PollyHill set, she's going to give you her energy with lyrics that pack a punch and experimental production that always hits a new spot.

After hearing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill for the first time, PollyHill felt inspired. "It was the first time I really felt powerful listening to something," going against the grain when her peers at the time were listening to the Spice Girls, this mantra has stuck throughout her creative journey.  

While music has always been a big part of PollyHill's life, she's also an award-nominated filmmaker, with work shown in the New Zealand's film festival amongst others. "Marrying music and visuals is the best of both worlds" she recounts, having recently co-directed her debut music video for "Spooky." On top of this she's also worked on music videos with fellow Auckland creative and DJ Half Queen under the moniker Connie Ca$h. Still to this day she bounces between the two, "I want to have my fingers in all the pies" says Polly as a truly multi-faced creative.

It's only been about a year or so since PollyHill has really taken her shot at music and boy has she hit the bullseye. Going from jamming with friends, she first started to build confidence after performing at a few house parties. "I've always been rapping in my head but I never thought it would see the light of day" says PollyHill as she reminisces on her early days, "I'm never going to be happy if I don't at least give it a shot."

Starting off her 2020 opening for one of her favourite rappers Wiki was a huge deal, a similar style she cites rappers like him, MF DOOM, and Earl Sweatshirt as her inspirations. "They don't give a ****, they just do it for themselves and I love that" says a passionate PollyHill on the rappers that have gone against the grain, just like herself.

If you haven't listened to PollyHill's music, expect weird and wonderful beats packed with hyper lyricism. Get ready to hear something cinematic merged with deep and dark secrets. While it seems as if her lyrical style of rap is taking a backseat nowadays, PollyHill stands out from the rest as she's quickly gained a strong following nationwide. As a crowd favourite, she's connected with those who don't conform to the rules. Taking back space as a female rapper is something that's important to her and playing Laneway with FILTH alongside JessB and Half Queen was a big deal.

On the horizon for 2021, PollyHill plans to release the follow up to her debut project Greatest Hits, her first project that will be predominantly produced by herself.

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