Liz – aka LIZ Y2K – Abrams’ love for the glory days of 00s pop and RnB has saturated her songwriting with the perfect bubblegum melodies, that are transporting her into the future. It’s also brought to life the latest incarnation for this Tarzana native as a doe-eyed Cher Horowitz with a bratty, bossy streak, dressed in pink tracksuits and baby blue PVC.
Now aged 28, LIZ’s long trajectory to landing a home at Diplo’s Mad Decent, and major label backing in the form of Columbia, creates a fascinating narrative and also explains her chameleon musicality; in the space of three years, LIZ has been a featured vocalist for EDM’s big hitters (including Rusko, Zedd and Diplo), dived deep into pop-RnB and resurfaced as a kawaii-minded chanteuse.
Dressed like her tween backing dancers, lying on a pink bed strewn with stuffed toys and singing what could be described as S&M-lite lyrics, there’s every chance you’d see it as a well-trodden infantilism trope. Put this to LIZ and she’ll come right back at you.
“I love the videos of (Japan’s) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. There’s always something fucked up about them, it’s so pretty and innocent, but there’s also dark elements. I appreciate that. I’m a tongue in cheek person. I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take what I do seriously. Nothing I do is one-dimensional. Ever.”
“I was obsessed with Britney growing up but I couldn’t admit that because it wasn’t cool at the time,” she recalls. “I’m connecting with a part of myself I shunned. It feels good!” But in keeping with her affinity to juxtaposition, her reclamation is tinged with power and darkness. She’s aware making it tangible attracts the male gaze (“it comes with the territory of being a pop artist”) but, unlike teenage Britney in her school uniform, LIZ’s age and experience allows her to tantalise but hold herself firmly out of reach, as she learned from being in the show biz from an early age. “I’ve had weird situations,” LIZ recalls. “Like people in the music industry are hitting on me and I’m 16.”
To be clear, LIZ isn’t the new Britney, though it’s obvious how much of an influence she’s been. “My music does have that nostalgic vibe but I’m not trying to be a throwback, it has a futuristic twist. When I’ve done interviews, they ask who’s your favourite artist, and I say Bowie, and they say, ‘Really?’. In every album there was a different concept but people still tapped into David as the person. I’m influenced by different things all the time and I transform. With the new EP, people will understand the big picture because it ties everything together. I’m excited. But I also don’t really give a fuck,” Liz says, laughing. “I just do what I want to do.”
Earlier this week, LIZ dropped her mixtape ‘Cross Your Heart’ in collaboration with Nicopanda and released an editorial featuring LIZ styled in the Nicopanda Autumn Winter 16/17 collection on their website.
Words by Taylor Glasby