What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is rapper, DeJai. DeJai reps Houston by way of Bentoville. Her sound is melodic and soulful with a hint of Lauryn Hill flavor. Inspired by J.Cole, DeJai raps with meaning and intention. She's been making waves with her sound so we had to tap in with her. Checkout the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up, DeJai. Your sound is dope. When did you start making music?
DEJAI: I made my first official song at 15 called “callin”. My dad had a verse on it and everything but I was writing long before that.
Westleaf Staff: That's fire. I see music runs in the family. Much respect. What city do you represent?
DEJAI: HTX, and Bentonville. Arkansas raised me but Texas adopted me.
Westleaf Staff: Shoutout to your Cities! So how did you create your stage name?
DEJAI: I have always gone by “DJ” it’s my initials but I just changed the spelling to DeJai so people wouldn’t think I was disc jockey.
Westleaf Staff: Ha! That makes sense! So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
DEJAI: I have always been drawn to music since an early age. I was surrounded by music. My grandma would sing and listen to her gospel. And she had a very good ear for music and a very angelic voice and that influenced me to want to sing and develop my voice. I would listen to Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, TLC, and N*Sync just to name a FEW to try to develop my vocal range. My aunt got me and my brother a karaoke machine for Christmas and that’s when my love for performing blossomed. My love for rapping and rhyming developed after I listened to my dad rap. He used to rap when I was younger. After my family recognized my love for music they really enabled my development. My aunt got me my first MP3 player and my dad loaded it with so much music and that just allowed me to expand my library and help with versatility. I also took creative writing classes in school and I would turn my poetry into music. I had a tattered composition book of songs that I carried with me every where and when ever I felt inspired that’s where my ideas came to life. It was really like an escape for me because I always struggled with outwardly expressing myself to other people so I would just let it out on the page.
Westleaf Staff: That's cool! Love that family influence! So who is your biggest Musical influence?
DEJAI: J.Cole without a doubt.
Westleaf Staff: Nice. Cole is a legend! Next question! What's been the defining moment in your music career thus far?
DEJAI: I really don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything yet but the most defining moment thus far coming up has been people telling me I remind them of Lauryn Hill. That’s cool but I feel pressure because of that--definitely a defining moment the first time I heard it though.
Westleaf Staff: Wow! I can deff see the comparison. You have your own vibe too though!
What makes you a unique artist?
DEJAI: For starters my authenticity, I don’t strive to fall in line and fit a certain mold. I am the mold, to add to that, my versatility.
Westleaf Staff: That's real! So what does art mean to you?
DEJAI: Art to me means expression. I feel like art should evoke emotion and where words or emotion fail you in normal every day life art should bridge that gap and allow the emotions and words to come to the surface to allow you to express yourself.
Westleaf Staff: I love that. Facts! Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
DEJAI: I’m going to be a star no doubt about it. I believe in manifestation so i’m speaking it into existence. I'm going to be big.
Westleaf Staff: It's already done! Nothing to it but to do it! Before we go, describe music in one sentence.
DEJAI: Courageous , Nostalgic, Vibe.
Official Website: www.bangtheoryrecords.com
Youtube: Dejai B
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