The streets of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn are known for their tough and unforgiving nature. Every so often someone conquers these hurdles to share their stories with the world. In 1994, the Notorious B.I.G.’s incredible lyrics painted vivid portraits of life in Bed Stuy’s streets that changed hip-hop forever. In 2004, a new star has emerged from those same streets but this time it’s a female singing heartfelt songs of pain, sorrow and survival over knockin’ hip-hop beats to once again change the game. The artist?s name is Deemi and soon the world will hear the soundtrack of her life. Singersroom got the opportunity to sit down with Deemi to discuss being a single mother, marijuana, her decease baby father and the everyday struggles.
How did you get signed to Atlantic Records?
Deemi: I got signed at Atlantic Records through an imprint that Midi Mafia has called ?Family Ties?. A year later after Midi Mafia got their imprint called Family Ties I was signed.
How did you hook up with Midi Mafia? Do they do most of your production?
Deemi: Them and my other production company Dangerous LLC. I am actually signed through Dangerous LLC to Family Ties/Atlantic. I used to be in a group called ?DNA?. I was chilling with my girls plus my group and we were all chillin; Back then Chris Styles, who is Dangerous LLC., was in a group called ?Us? along with Waynne (Bruce Waynne of Midi Mafia). I just started singing and he like my voice. Then Styles introduced me to Bruce, who had just bought a house on my block and we started recording out of the basement. We just kept recording, kept recording and like 400 songs and five years later; I got my deal.
Working in the basement always creates the best music.
Deemi: Yea because it?s like you chillin and there is more of a vibe. Everybody vibing, having a good time without any pressure.
In your songs you speak vividly about your life and what you have been through, how important is it for people to understand your life and your stuggle?
Deemi: I always say that I want whoever listens to my music and the people that will one day be my fans to connect with me on a personal level. If you haven?t been through some of the stuff I have been through you know somebody who has or it happens around you everyday. I want just people to realize that I?m somebody who went through the struggle, who is still struggling but coming up. I am not staying I?m in the same place. It don?t matter what your situation is you can overcome it. Turn your negative into positive and it can happen. I have been instilling hope in people that feel hopeless.
You are a single mom and there are other young ladies in the same position as you, do you feel like you?re a role model for them?
Deemi: I wouldn?t say a role model because I?m not perfect, but I?m striving to be. The whole thing I want people to take from me is like I don?t want you to rock what I?m rockin or wear your hair how I am rockin; I want you to take on my attitude. I want motivation to be my trend.
Your musical style blends rapping and singing together, how did you craft your style?
Deemi: Well we started doing that recording in the basement. It was more or less like a vibe. I want you to feel like I?m talking to you. I?m singing it and making it feel good but I want it to be like I?m talking to you. You got your big songs where your doing all the singing and I like doing that because I feel more comfortable. I feel like I can do me.
A lot of the music to your songs have been Hip Hop driven as far as the music, is that your main musical influence?
Deemi: No. It is a mixture?I?m into everything. Whatever feels good to my heart I?m gonna listen to. It just feels more comfortable for me because it is how I talk.
What is the vibe on your album? Is it complete?
Deemi: It is just about complete, probably like two more joints got to be done. It is just about life experiences and getting up when your down. We trying to do the happy stuff now (laughter). It is just life driven, music with substance. It is music people can relate to on a everyday basis.
So your not just sitting back trying to make love songs?
Deemi: No, because I?m not in love all the time. I?m struggling. It is impossible to focus on being in love when you struggling. Love don?t pay the bills. You ain?t got nothing if you ain?t got love (laughter).
Your song ?Hood Princess? was on the Wendy Williams album, how did that opportunity present itself?
Deemi: We had just finished recording ?Hood Princess?. My manager went over and took it to her husband. He listened to it and let her hear. It just so happen she liked it because it felt like an anthem to her and she put it on the album. It was just a blessing that doesn?t come by a lot. Then she invited me to the show and that was even extra. She showed me madd love so big up to Wendy.
You have a song called Ms. Marijuana, you don?t usually hear a R&B female talking about marijuana?
Deemi: I am what I am baby, I am what I am (laughter). I be checking out the Myspace page and I be listening to what a lot of ladies have to say. They ?like I?m glad you finally made a song that relates to me? I?m like that?s what?s up because that?s the way I be feeling. I think about weed?it?s not nothing to praise but it?s what you do, if it is for you.
Do you think your songs touch on feminine topics that haven?t been talked about before?
Deemi: I feel like a lot of the topics have been touched on but they don?t say it the way they want to say it. Because you always curve this or curve that. I tell you exactly what I went through, each song is an actual life experience. You ask me I will tell you, I can go back to the day and let you have the whole story behind the song. I feel like I just get more into detail or you can picture everything I?m saying in your head.
I see that you are doing things in the community like the Christmas for Katrina Toy Drive, do you plan on remaining active in giving back to your community?
Deemi: Yea, I?m trying to get a coalition of artist going. Hopeful I will become big enough to do that because I feel like it?s especially important to let the people where you come from know that your not forgetting about them at all. Because it is hard for me, I see my kids and know I want to get them out. But when I get them out, there are a whole lot of kids that need to be out of here or at least need their minds to be opened up to something bigger than this. I feel it is important and our responsibility to do that. You have to let them know about the negatives in life but you got to big them up and give them inspiration and hope. You have to give them a mix of the two.
When is the album coming out
Deemi: 2006?we shooting for the top of the year.
Shoutouts. Deemi: To my kids, Midi Mafia, Dangersous LLC., everybody that like me. I like yall. —— By: Interview by: Adeniyi Omisore