Billboard Cover: Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith and Other No. 1 Artists Reveal the Behind-the-Scenes Details Behind Their Hit Songs and Albums

The Rule Breaker
7 weeks on Billboard Hot 100

John, Paul, George, Ringo, and ... Iggy? The rump-shaking, hair-flipping, shade-throwing Australian rapper became The Beatles' unlikeliest successor as the second act ever to claim both the No. 1 and No. 2 positions at the same time with her first two U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hits. Her kiss-off contribution to Ariana Grande's "Problem" helped propel Azalea to stardom, but it was "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX, and its Clueless-indebted music video, that led the 24-year-old firecracker to duke it out with such pop titans as Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. The track spent seven weeks atop the Hot 100.

Billboard Cover Shoot: 2014’s No. 1 Artists -- Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea and More


Iggy Azalea: When I wrote it, "Fancy" was another song called

"Leave It." I always knew it wasn't a hit, but it was a good song. It had such a solid beat and verses, but it needed something melodic to make it catchier, so I called Charli.

Charli XCX: There was no hook and no middle eight when I first heard it, just her rap. I wanted to make an Eve or Gwen Stefanigirl-power-vibe song.


Azalea: What she did with it reminds me of a Spice Girls-era thing, where you don't even really know what you're saying -- it just feels good.



Sarah Stennett, manager: It appeals to kids but also to moms and dads who think they can rap along to it in the car.


Billboard 2014 Year in Music: See All of Our Coverage Here!

Steve Bartels, CEO, Def Jam: The reaction was immediate. The calls, the texts, the sales -- you could just see that something was smoldering.

Stennett: And when the video came out, we knew that "Fancy" was bigger than just a song on the radio.

Azalea: It's cool that a generation of people who didn't really know what Clueless was can see "Fancy" played on MTV over and over again, 700 times a week.

2014's No. 1's: J Balvin & Farruko  | Idina Menzel & 'Frozen' SoundtrackTove Lo, Kiesza, & Nick Jonas | Taylor Swift | Barbra Streisand | Weird Al Yankovic | Ed Sheeran & Charli XCX | Nicki Minaj | 'Guardians of the Galaxy' SoundtrackEnrique Iglesias | Kacey Musgraves | Santana | Sam SmithIggy Azalea | Jason Derulo | Meghan Trainor, Nico & Vinz