Culted Sounds: DEJA on lifting up her listeners & the changes needed in the industry

Culted Sounds: DEJA on lifting up her listeners & the changes needed in the industry

by Juliette Eleuterio
5 min

DEJA is that girl. She’s outspoken, exudes confidence, and will you feel the same. After only a few seconds of listening to tracks like Gagged (Look Good) or Boom Boom Bah, you get the idea of the kind of empowered woman DEJA is. Her music is as much liberating as it is empowering. Today, we caught up with the artist to discuss everything from her recent accomplishment making the Mobo Awards UnSung Finalist cut to her powerful confidence and green flags.

Hey DEJA! How’s it going? Can you quickly describe your music to our readers who might be unfamiliar with it?

The best way to understand my music is to listen to it. It’s hard for me to define my own sound but I’ve been labelled a Black Pop Powerhouse and I agree. 

Congrats on becoming an UnSung Finalist at the MOBO Awards this year! How did you react when finding out the news?

Honestly? On the day I found out, I’d had a rehearsal in the morning, a session in the afternoon, a show in the evening and a night-photoshoot. I finally got home, showered, did skincare, got into bed, checked my emails and found out I’d made the final. I was obviously so happy to read it but I was soooo tired so I went straight to sleep and forgot about the news! My man reminded me that I hadn’t been told anything yet and I had to correct him! Whoops. We celebrated with pedicures and massages. So yeah, a delayed gratitude. 

DEJA©

How does it feel like to be chosen to be a part of such an incredibly talented roster of artists? 

Deserved.

The validity and worth of awards within creative industries has been criticised in the past but this one is definitely meaningful, with MOBO helping emerging artists with opportunities like live performances and mentoring. How do you see MOBO helping you?

MOBO Unsung has already put me in front of radio, live agents, labels. As per, now they see me, they believe in me. It’s this kind of exposure that will continue to elevate DEJA. That’s the obvious stuff. Unsung are also just there. I have an idea for a single release strategy, they are there trying their best to help me make it a reality etc. It’s everything I need right now and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

DEJA©

Your latest single releases Fine Fine Girl and Gagged (Look Good) are such bad b*tch anthems. Do you wish for your listeners to feel confident and empowered when listening to your music or does your energy just happen to be super contagious?

I always go into the studio with the intention of leaving with a record for stage. For me, the live or performance side of things is where my soul is. I can’t lie to you – my whole artistry is centred around it. And yes – I with every intention of lifting up my listeners and for me, feeling that bad b energy is where that lift is.

What are some of your favourite tracks or artists to put on when you want to feel like that girl?

Ten Toes by ShaSimone and Boj has been on repeat recently. The self assuredness she exudes is everything. Even Boj’s hook is fire. 

You are so unapologetic when it comes to lyrics, including in Beggin’ which is a kinky anthem praising the power of the p*ssy. Are you just as outspoken in person or does music give you a sort of confidence to say f*ck it and express yourself however you want?

I’m MORE outspoken in person. I’m comfortable in myself. My thing is – we (women especially) don’t need to lessen our experiences to make someone else comfortable. It’s taken a minute but I totally understand the power and strength I hold and I WON’T shut up about it for anyone.

DEJA©

On your TikTok, you often post videos of yourself dancing and vibing to your own music but you’ve also got some random other ones like trying out that green flags filter. What would you say your top 3 green flags are?

Everyday skin care. Zero bullsh*t tolerance. Will not give up. Period. 

Now, let’s talk about the music industry’s red flags. You’ve been quite vocal about the industry lacking a female presence while also making an effort to surround yourself with strong and talented women where possible. How would you like the industry to change to be more inclusive?

Put Black female artists on. It’s really that simple. The talent and work ethic exist. Reward it. 

With yourself leading the change in the industry, what are some of your own goals you’d like to achieve, whether that’s in music or outside of it?

Release an album. Round off back sumi with no support. Work with at least one of my ideals. Start a boot line.

DEJA©

More on Culted

See: Culted Sounds: Feux talks new music, new styles, and new directions

See: Culted Sounds: Bou on his introduction to drum n bass & his Glastonbury set

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