ESSENCE: How did you connect with a megastar like Beyoncé so early in your career?
INGRID BURLEY: Beyoncé and I have a history that dates back to my childhood. Our mothers were best friends, and her sister, Solange, and I grew up together and are still close. After performing as a rap artist in Houston, I moved to New York to pursue my dream. Beyoncé saw the work I was putting in and gave me the opportunity to do some songwriting for her. A couple of years later, she offered me a deal.
ESSENCE: You're from Houston. How does being southern inform your look?
I.B.: The laid-back feel of the South influences how I dress and carry myself. My goal is to be comfortable, but always fresh and stylish.
ESSENCE: Who are your fashion icons?
I.B.: My grandmothers Ola Mae and Ruth. Ola Mae wore trench coats a lot. I've inherited several of her trenches and love to dress up the way she did.
ESSENCE: You seem to enjoy wearing hats. Where do you score your headgear?
I.B.: I do love hats. I call them my "thinking caps." My favorite milliner is Gladys Tamez. All her pieces are handmade and one of a kind. I like the feeling of rocking something you know no one else has.
ESSENCE: What would people be surprised to find in your closet?
I.B.: Prada pumps! But every girl needs a great pair of black pumps, so….
The article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of ESSENCE Magazine.