SoCal-based artist IV4 has been singing for her entire life. In fact, she says, she practically came out of the womb singing and performing. She’s laughing, but super-serious when she describes her passion for her music.
“I’ve always found ways to stay dedicated,” she says. “My mother definitely supported that, working three jobs, making sure I could take pianist lessons and dance lessons every now and then. I moved myself out to New York, with a few hundred dollars in my pocket, and I started recording myself. Then I found a team in L.A. I guess the moment I realized it was all really happening is when I moved myself to New York and then L.A., and then I’m out here talking to the Weeknd, who reached out to me first to say that he loves my music and wants to sign me.”
Yep, a lot happened there. Ultimately though, she bounced between the nation’s two entertainment hubs before the Weeknd discovered her.
“I’m broke as broke can be, living on a couch, making music that I’m thinking only I enjoy, and I’ve got people that are in this game for 10 years-plus telling me that they appreciate the music that I’m bringing,” she says. “So that was a wake-up call. Labels reaching out to me, and they’ve got artists on their roster that are 10-plus years in. I guess I see myself as an equal there. That settled it for me.”
IV4 describes her sound as “alternative contemporary” – a sweet contradiction that makes sense to her. Very “of the times,” but unafraid to throw a curveball. That makes sense when listening to the latest “Stroke” single and the forthcoming Get Rich and Cry Trying project.
“I feel like the title is pretty much where my head’s at – get rich and cry trying,” IV says. “It’s just about the music that I was making, and the music I’ve been making that I feel like relates to the moods that I’ve been in. The different ways that I’ve had to hustle and explore different versions of myself to find who is IV. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster – it’s been a long three-year ride since I got out here to L.A. I’m still kicking ass and taking names. We’re slowly elevating up, it’s just a journey but it’s a whole lot of fun and we’re doing it.”
IV4 has also done some modeling, but now she’s focused on her music and her two businesses. For starters, she has a company called Naked Voodoo.
“I believe I started Naked Voodoo back in 2020, but it wasn’t really a cultivated idea,” she says. “I was making voodoo dolls for myself, and I posted one. I was making them for friends and people started wanting them more and more. COVID hit, and I sunk into that business. I have to make money somewhere else – I can’t be out touring. And it kind of took off.”
While the products are undeniably fun, it’s not a kitschy thing – voodoo is a part of IV’s culture.
“My family is West African and Haitian,” she says. “It’s something that is passed down, and then my mother is pagan and wiccan. She practices those as well. They’re very earthy people. I always thought it was something I’d never get to share with anyone. There are a lot of people who are eager to learn, and I’m happy to share with them.”
Her other business is a clothing line provocatively called IEatBoys.
“That is my passion project right now,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to start a clothing line for a while. I’ve had so many samples of different things in my closet, waiting in the plastic. I still have so many things I want to drop, and I’m excited with the project. That started 6-8 months ago. It was time. When I was younger, I didn’t have money to buy a bunch of new clothes, so my mom would take me to Goodwill or I would get hand-me-downs from my family, or maybe go to a yard sale, and I would hand sew them together. My first drop was just bikinis, t-shirts, lighter cases and that was it. Just to see if there was going to be a fan base for this, if people would react to it. And they did, so I’m excited to start dropping sets and actual jackets, pants and all kinds of things. Making it unisex, and inclusive with all sizes.”
IV says that there are challenges for a woman in business in 2021, but perks too. Notably, she says that she’s underestimated in this male-dominated world and, while she shouldn’t have to, she says that she makes it work for her.
“A lot of people see someone young, a woman, and being a person of color too it’s difficult sometimes because it’s a male-dominated industry in fashion and music,” she says. “Sales in general. I’ve walked in places with my friends who don’t do any of the things that I do, and people are eager to shake their hand thinking ‘this is the reason you’re here,’ and I’ve been completely ignored. But the underestimation is also key. It makes you work harder, push harder – all the women and people of color I know work twice, three times as hard to get to the same position as someone not in that predicament would be. It makes me go harder, and it makes me a stronger person because I’m learning how to overcome these obstacles.”
Looking ahead, there’s plenty to look forward to from all of IV4’s endeavors.
“For IEatBoys we’re going to do a massive drop,” she says. “I’m going to try to partner with some people. I don’t want to say anything until it’s final. For Naked Voodoo, I’m expanding the business. We’re getting the website up. We’re getting features and publicity on that. I’m excited to keep promoting and pushing that. With the music, I’m dropping my project at the top of the year. I’ve got some cool features, amazing visuals coming out, and some really cool collaborations.”
We don’t doubt it.