The Other Side Of The Game: An Interview With Diya Drake

 

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Naadiya Drake

Age: 21

From: Willingboro, NJ

Singer, Writer, Rapper/Lyricist

Interviewed by Steven Ikegwu

How did you get the opportunity to become a radio host? How nerve wrecking was your first broadcast?

I was pretty anxious to get on the radio. I did some research on radio stations on the campus of Rutgers to see what their operating hours were, who I should call/email. When I found what I was looking for, I put on my shoes and headed to the Core’s location. From there, I got to speak to a couple of DJs who actually let me sit in on my show. After that, I made it my mission to complete all the necessary training for my own slot. I was pretty nervous for my own show, but it didn’t trump my excitement. I tried to make sure I was well prepared by familiarizing myself with the equipment/rules and putting my first playlist together the night before.

What factors do you consider when choosing to work with someone, both in music and in radio?

Pertaining to music, who I work and collab with has a lot to do with style. It’s all about the vibe and the sound. I believe music isn’t just something you hear, but something you feel. I want myself to feel it, the person/people I’m creating with to feel it, and the audience to feel it as well. In short, I like working with people who can use their art to create different atmospheres. As far as radio is concerned, I signed up in hopes of developing a platform that gives a voice to the unheard. While I like to play “what’s hot”, I also like to put the spotlight on artists who aren’t necessarily top 40. Whether they be local, independent or just working with a smaller audience, everybody deserves a platform to share their talent. A lot of my fellow DJs share a similar mindset and its nice to be apart of it. For both music and radio, there’s, of course, a certain level of professionalism and respect. I need to trust that you’ll respect what I’m doing (and I’ll do the same) in addition to respecting the physical, mental and emotional space.

Who are your musical influences?

TOO MANY to name but here’s a few off the top of my head: Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Lalah Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Sade, Solange, Kelela, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Chance the Rapper, Noname, Rapsody, The Roots, Kendrick Lamar (and many more but we’ll stop there)

 

You work in OSG and Divine Write. How do you express your individuality in collaborative projects?

I believe everyone plays a role in collaborative projects. You have to know that everyone is bringing something different. Whether it be my tone, choice of words or overall style, I just try to make sure that whatever I’m bringing meshes, but stands out at the same time.

What does OSG stand for and how did you and Naomi come together to form it

OSG stands for Other Side of the Game (like the song by Erykah Badu). Naomi and I were at TGI Friday’s after a performance with our friends and we were talking about how we always introduce ourselves as “Diya Drake and Naomi Jay” before we start. We still go by those names but if we were gonna continue to perform as a unit, it would be best to have a name that can be associated with both of us. We discussed possible names in the past but none of them really made us wanna jump on it. The idea of naming our group after a song by a huge musical influence seemed pretty cool. “Other Side of the Game” just fit. We hope that when people heard it, they would know off bat that we were trying to bring something different to the table.

What is your creative process like?

The creative process varies. I could be inspired by good conversation, an argument, or a crisis. I go for walks a lot and I often get ideas while doing so. I have a journal where I dump a lot of my thoughts. In some cases, I take what i’ve written and reflect on what I was feeling in that moment. From there I try to build off of those emotions. Other times, it’s not so structured. I like to free write as well. There are times where I just put on music and say whatever comes to my mind. It honestly depends.

Do you ever feel limited when it comes to performance venues because you and Naomi carry instruments along?

Yes! If it was possible, we’d have an entire ensemble everywhere we go, lol. Having our own equipment definitely makes travel a LOT harder but it’s an important part of what we do. I’ll always appreciate Naomi for bringing her keyboard along because it is definitely heavy. Hopefully as we expand, transportation of instruments and equipment will be easier, but right now we just make it happen the best way we know how. We always take location of the venue and spacing into account when it comes to our set.  

Did you ever receive any vocal training?

I’ve been apart of different choirs, but I’ve never had any private or one-on-one lessons. I am definitely looking into a vocal coach or taking lessons!

Interested to learn more? Check out OSG’s music on SoundCloud!

 

An Enigma in Entertainment: Interview With WeSingCin

Interviewed by SlayDaKing

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Photo taken by Marques Ruiz

Mr.y (mist(ə)rē), better known as WeSingCin, is a 22 year-old artist without a definite home. He was last seen drifting into the shadows after hearing the whispers of the Bad Magician.

To live one’s life as honest and true to one’s self is the mission behind WeSingCin’s music. It’s a direct line into the thinking process undergone throughout his day-to-day life. Growing up in a more than religious household, the foundation that was intended to be set forth was the distinction between a righteous or a sinful lifestyle. However, those two things are subjective. In choosing to speak on his own truths and being transparent within his work, WeSingCin hopes to challenge the belief of what, precisely, “living right” entails.

If any of you still have any concerns about Mr.y and where he disappeared off to, speak softly and listen closely.

soundcloud.com/wesingcin


What is your identity as an artist and how do you maintain it on social media platforms? Describe your creative process.

Id say my identity as an artist is that of a seeker who can’t let everyone in. This explains my social presence. I like to be unseen, at least, until I want you to see me. It’s very characteristic of myself, really. I don’t feel the need to document everything and upload daily updates because it takes away from the work. I know I should probably be trying to build more connections through social media but that’s just me again thinking my work will speak for itself when it all comes together in the end. But, we’re still in the process of working on this new project so I’m more focused on that at the moment.


Tell us how your style has grown over time.

I think my style has undergone a number of changes in the last 7-8 years. I remember when i first started rapping and recording I was sounding like some of my favorite artist at the time. J Cole had just released Friday Night Lights and I was really into Curren$y, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye, and Kid Cudi. So, of course, I wanted to make music that was on par with what they were doing. I was writing like real raps back then. And then, someone asked me “what’s the message you’re trying to convey”. At the time, I didn’t know. Being one of the best rappers wasn’t even on my mind either. I was just doing it cause I was having fun. From there you can kind of see that I went deep down that introspective rabbit hole trying to place as much meaning into my words.

As far as beat selection, I listen to a wide array of music from different genres so I think I pull sounds from that. I wanted to do something different and Kid Cudi is a huge influence in terms of being different. Seeing him collaborate with producers like Nosaj Thing and Ratatat put me on a different path where it wasn’t conventional Hip-Hop beats. Instead, TripHop, Chillwave, anything Downtempo and Lofi became what I found myself drawn too. So, overtime, the accumulation of these musical tastes helped blend together this sound.

How do you go about choosing who to collab with on a track?

In terms of choosing artists to collaborate with on my own content, I don’t often seek out features. I have this set idea in mind already, this image and moment I’m trying to recreate and it’s hard finding an artist to complement these ideas well. Not to sound as if I’m looking down on my contemporaries [Chuckles].  But, when I do get asked to feature on another’s work, I’m very open to that and connecting with other artist in that sense.

Your music has a heavy focus on lyricism. How important are the words you use in conveying complex imagery?

The words are the most important thing in my work. I’d want people to focus on that. Before writing, I had always been a visual person, seeing things in snapshots. I had to find a way to translate those images into something that might be understood differently. Each word is being used to describe the moment on a number of levels based off the senses. So, they are very important in properly capturing a moment.

Describe your aesthetic. How much does that factor into your artistic expression?

I’m unsure how I’d describe my aesthetic and it’s a factor into my music. I just try write what I feel. With visual representations of my music, I feel as though it’s bright on a surface level but the underlying feelings are darker when the music gets dissected.

As an artist, do you ever find yourself deciding whether a venue has the right vibe and platform for your art? How do you navigate this decision making?

In the past I think i just wanted to get my music heard. I’d be looking to perform anywhere any chance I got. But, gradually, I’ve sort of been taking a step back to be more calculated in terms of performances because the quality of music wasn’t at the level in which I wanted it. Being able to give the audience an experience rather than a show is what I’d want to be able to do. So understanding that aspect and how I can present myself as this artist within my performance is something that occupies my mind.

In a lot of your songs you are very emotionally vulnerable. How do you take care of yourself throughout the writing process and after?

I don’t think I do. I’ve got to learn to separate the writing process from actual life because I feel as though I’m never not in the writing process. I could be headed somewhere but in my mind are images and words swimming around, trying to piece themselves together. I have to always be open to these thoughts. I’m an over thinker so there’s no real way to turn it off. But being that I’m always in this state of thought, you become used to it -almost numb where these emotions don’t feel as real and you don’t seem as connected to them but can still recognize them.

What was the inspiration behind the single “Shadow Walker”? Tell us about the meaning behind the song.

When I first heard the beat, I instantly got this lurking feeling. But, the shadow’s a place of dissociation; where you can find peace. The shadow’s also where your darkest self gets revealed to you as a whisper. It’s that space of vulnerability.

Listen to Shadow Walker and more on WeSingCin’s Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/wesingcin/shadow-walker-prod-qase

 

Slaydaking “Bystander”

Woah holy shit
I should probably
Nah someone will do something
Hopefully…
There was a lot of people there
I can’t be the only one who saw that
Someone definitely said something
                                                                              Everything was happening so fast
                                                                               I was scared as hell
                                                                              They probably were too
                                                                              They would have said something
                                                                               But we made eye contact
                                                                               That may have been enough
I feel weird
I’m still thinking about yesterday
What if no one did anything
Fuck I should have done something
Actually wait
It was none of my business
I shouldn’t even be worried about it
  I can’t sleep
                                                                                  I keep replaying that in my head
                                                                                  They looked like
                                                                                   They really needed my help
                                                                                   I just kept walking
                                                                                 What the fuck is wrong with me?!
It’s all I can think about now
Their eyes
I could see the fear
But who am I!?
Honestly I couldn’t have handled that
Fuck it, I didn’t see anything at all
           What if that was me
                                                                                    I could have at least stuck around
                                                                                   To check up on them later
                                                                                   Or I could’ve asked someone else to step in
                                                                                    Or I don’t know…
                                                                                   I really don’t know
Isn’t that-?
They look fine
They’re smiling
Maybe someone stepped in that day
Hopefully…
If there’s ever a next time
I’ll do something

-Slaydaking (WordPress)