At YouthMundus & Inner Voice Artists, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them.
Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process.
In this week’s edition, we’re extremely excited to feature Dezi, a bold, NYC-based singer-songwriter with a lifelong passion for music.
Inspired to write music at the early age of 11, Dezi has always been driven by her passion to perform. She grew up in Michigan, honing her skills as a musician throughout her childhood and adolescence: “I definitely wasn’t your average teenager,” Dezi says, “My entire middle and high
school career was devoted to performing, recording, and writing music. My junior and senior years were literally spent at a boarding arts academy studying songwriting in the middle of the woods.”
Already gaining recognition for her talent, at only 17, Dezi went on tour for the first time. And, to add to her growing success, shortly after the tour, got accepted (and would eventually go on to attend) NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.
Though it was new to her, Dezi’s passion and talent allowed her to ascend the ranks of the NYC performance scene: “The first shows I did were in small cafes and for local charity events, but I quickly moved up to doing festivals across the state. So meeting like-minded young people who were also committed to the arts was really refreshing and inspiring for me.”
In 2016, Dezi dropped the soulful, pop-R&B single, ‘Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday’. The song catchily reminds us to embrace the beauty of the now, because “there ain’t no time like the present.” Using her strong belt and expert use of riff, her vocal style pleasantly echoes that of Ari Lennox and Ella Mai while simultaneously remaining daring and original.
YouthMundus was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Dezi to pick her brain about her origins as a musician, her own inspirations, and any advice she has for upcoming artists.
What inspires you and your creative process?
My creative process is mostly inspired by other artists. I’m veryyyy competitive, but it’s a good thing. I get super inspired when I see something groundbreaking that another artist does and I’m like “well hey, I want to do that too.” Take Beyoncé, for example. Every time she releases something, it’s game changing. She’s a trailblazer. That’s what I want to do, too. I want to be a badass woman making badass music and pushing boundaries the whole time.
What is the connection between your music and social justice? Why?
Social justice has always been one of the main themes in my music and is also what inspires me to create. I like to create because art provokes change and I’ve never been happy with the state of the world. Things need to be changed, and I’m hoping I can do that with my music. I’ve focused a lot on marrying pop music with storytelling - stories that you don’t often see in mainstream media. The music video that I’m crowdfunding for right now, called “Boba,” is a great example. It’s a super fun song sonically, but the lyrics deal with microaggressions, or just full on aggressions, that women hear regularly from men and from other women. It uses the terms used against women and reclaims them, and although I can’t give the premise of the video away, it plays with these themes in a super ironic and almost comical way. I try to do a little more with all my songs to push boundaries, especially when pairing the music with visuals and individualized storytelling.
What inspired you to pursue music? What were the challenges you overcame in this?
There was never any one thing that inspired me to pursue music, but I will say the most important thing that drove me to pursue music was my nana. She was a truly incredible woman who played seven instruments and sang and wrote poetry and painted. Extremely talented and just so full of life and creativity. The week she passed away was the week of my first singing competition. I tried to quit using her passing and my grief as an excuse, but in truth I was just terrified. Then my sister told me to do it for her because she would be so proud and that just struck a chord with me. I got up there, wearing the ring she left me, sang my tiny heart out, and ended up winning. I’ve brought that mentality with me throughout my career, it helps keep me focused and humbled.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future musicians?
The most rewarding part of being a musician is getting up on stage and performing my music live. There’s no feeling in the world like it - getting up there and telling my story and sharing my art, person to person, is the most fulfilling feeling for me. Performing is what I fell in love with when I was 11 - it’s where I feel the most comfortable and confident.
My advice for future musicians is to never forget the reason you started making music in the first place. I’ve gone through many periods of time where I lose touch with the 11 year old who fell in love with performing and writing songs and start to resent having the life of a musician, because it can be really damn hard. But the moment I get back up on stage, all of those feelings melt away and I remember that there’s nothing else in the world I would rather be doing.
Catch Dezi's Birthday Show at The Bitter End on April 5th at 9 PM!
Thank you for your continuous support and love,
Lots of love,