'Empire' Rapper Discovered While Giving Haircuts in Atlanta

Freda Gatz was discovered by doing haircuts in Atlanta for the show Empire.

The latest character added to the Empire franchise, Freda Gatz, has become one of the most talked about rappers in the last few weeks. She's Lucious Lyon's latest obsession because of her raw talented rough-around-the-edges persona. The rhymes come pretty easy for rapper-turned-actress Bre-Z, Calesha Murray. But the hit Fox show is a long way from her first career, working as a barber. Cutting her is a family tradition. Her father and grandfather both made their living as barbers, and the 28-year-old says, “I picked up the clippers and knew what I was doing when I was 10 years old. It was just something that was in me. Nobody had to teach me anything.” Fredie Gatz FOX She typically cut men's hair, preferring the ease with which you can get them in and out of the barber's chair, and quickly built a reputation in Atlanta, where she worked at Pro Cuts for several years. “I loved the atmosphere,” she says. “I loved the conversations.” While working as a barber, she went to teh recording studio used by Ludacris, who also had a role this season on Empire, to cut the hair of the guys working there. “Whatever they asked for, I gave them,” says Bre-Z, who also cut rapper Akon’s hair. “There was the time when the Mohawk was big. There was a time when the blowout cut was the favorite. The guys might get the same haircut three weeks straight, then the fourth week they want something completely different. As soon as you get in the swing, they want to change it up. But the customer is always right.” Freda Gatz Empire While she was cutting hair, she also became more talented as a rapper, and that's how she gained the attention of Empire co-creator Lee Daniels, who reached out to Bre-Z after someone recommended her for the show. “Being an actress was not on my radar,” she says. “I spend my time making my music.” Since the show air, the exposure has boosted her career. “It’s a great moment that’s made people pay more attention to what I’m doing,” she says. “I’m never just sitting on my butt, eating sunflower seeds. Music, I’m always doing that. It’s a stress reliever. It’s a form of therapy.”

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