Very early on Ivan Ooze decided to commit wholeheartedly to his passion for rapping. He decided that if, by the age of 25, he had not successfully progressed, that would essentially dictate the end of his artistry.
‘I know I’ve got like four years to get an apprenticeship before I’m 30 and then I can do my own business… and make money after that and still be alright,’ he recalled saying to a friend.
Despite that concern, the past year has seen the release of his EP, Ringwood Rich, and his widely acclaimed mixtape, The Social Alien. At only 23 years of age, Ivan Ooze will tour nationally this October in support of his newly released single, ‘Fire’ (See details here).
‘I’ve just been really, really lucky… and it’s all come in the right time.’
Ivan Ooze envisioned a goal. He had ambition and a sense of expectation, but most of all, he had complete and utter belief in his talent.
‘I want to be a rapper, I want to do this and make money out of it, and I know I can do it.’
For a long time, Ivan Ooze wandered aimlessly, with very little to strive towards. He was in and out of trouble with police. He appeared in court at 17 and nearly cemented an inevitable fear of continuing along a path of troubled behavior. But at 18 he had a revelation. ‘I realized that if I get into trouble now, I go to big boy jail, and that’s not fun…. I realized that that’s not what life’s about, and you shouldn’t just wake up and rip a bong,’ he says.
Ivan Ooze began to substitute going out with staying home and working intensely on developing his craft, while also taking acting and drama classes at school. ‘I wanted to rap, and I wanted to get dope bars down. That’s what more influenced me to stop being a little shit.’
Rapping has very much become a means of expression for Ivan. ‘I’ve just seen heaps of stuff during my childhood that I can rap about.’ It’s also become an outlet through which he can convey his truth and ‘tell people that probably wasn’t the way to go or that might have been the way to go… because you’re on that platform to do so…. It’s just all true in what I’ve seen, and yeah, I guess the truth is the best thing… everyone can relate to the truth.’
As well as rapping for himself, Ivan Ooze began to use his music as a mechanism to ‘make other people’s lives better.’ The gratitude from his fans has well and truly elevated his sense of purpose and his tenacity for greatness. Their appreciation ‘just makes [me] feel a hell of a lot better as an artist,’ he adds.
His initial experience in front of a live audience, performing rather hardcore, violent rap at The Laundry Bar in Fitzroy, Melbourne, was, admittedly, lacking in stage presence. ‘I just spoke in a monotone voice pretty much. I just tried to be someone that I really wasn’t.’ But it’s those kinds of experiences that enabled him to grow and develop as a performer and as an artist.
Ivan Ooze draws on the musicality of Bob Marley, Busta Rhymes, Apathy, and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few, as well as the sounds of old school heavy metal. ‘I started studying rappers and listening to what makes them so unique and how people know their voice,’ he says of entering the rap game.
Ivan Ooze began to turn a rather positive light onto the things that he’d seen and events that he’d experienced. Together with more ‘up-beat beats,’ his highly energetic, lively performances are a testament to the power and command he brings to each venue, each rap, and each song.
Come Together on June 6 at Luna Park in Sydney saw him perform to a ‘massive crowd’ for the first time. Ivan describes this as his most memorable performance to date. Although members of the crowd were initially ‘a bit scared’ and hesitant to accept him, once the performance began, ‘everyone just started getting down.’
Among an impressive line up of acts – including Seth Sentry, Thundamentals, Remi, and Horrorshow –, Ivan Ooze was second to perform, following Triple J Unearthed. ‘I remember I was going nuts on stage,’ he recalls. ‘It was crazy just to see how many kids got down to it and were just really completely happy… it just makes your performance better when you see that they’re having fun.’
Receiving the opportunity to tour Australia with Seth Sentry and perform in festivals such as Beyond the Valley has strengthened his conviction and instilled a sense of hopefulness for future endeavors. ‘It just puts you in an aspect that you can do things if you put your mind to it, and you just have to believe in yourself, pretty much.’
His confidence in his ability to perform and make music has enabled him to excel in his pursuit of success and overcome any hate or negativity that may have plagued him. ‘The proudest moment was when I realized to not give a damn about anybody else and what they have to say about you, just do your own thing and everything will come together.’
Ivan aspires to travel to America and collaborate with his most desired line up of American artists and producers. He sees this as the ultimate dream. ‘To essentially make music with the people that have influenced you, and now they’re on a track with you… like, that’s insane.’
By Christiane Barro
Christiane Barro is currently a journalism student at Monash University, where she is also majoring in International Relations. She is a passionate writer and has freelanced for Mojo News and The Dot Point. Twitter: @BarroChristiane.