Few artists are able to replicate the raw, unashamed candour of Berkshire-based rapper, Deyah. A gripping open book, her confessional lyrics are articulate and unapologetically frank. An opposing blend of rousing narration behind lethargic, lo-fi beats, she excavates her deepest insecurities, probing and scrutinising the essence of her innermost vulnerabilities. Unconstrained by self-interest and armed with purposeful integrity, Deyah is free to pursue her own unique vision.
Following up 2019’s Lover Loner EP, Deyah’s latest project, Care City which released in April, is an extensive blueprint for a tumultuous few months, the darkest period of her life so far. Passionate and wholeheartedly to the point, it embodies a journey to the murky depths and back again, her mental state meticulously documented and relayed with brute and asserting honesty. A conceptual masterpiece, Care City searches for light in the eternal gloom.
We catch up with Deyah to find out more.
First things first, congratulations on your third EP Care City!
Aw thanks! If I’m honest, Care City had 0 planning — I’d say it was put together organically and was created from the most free headspace I have ever had. I didn’t take into consideration what the listeners wanted to hear or the expectations they had but more so what i felt to create instead. The other projects felt more orchestrated and restricted in terms of creativity and not as open as Care City.
The big elephant in the room is the difficulty of dropping a project during the coronavirus pandemic. Did the lockdown make you second guess releasing your album in April?
Not at all. If anything, the lockdown has benefited the release.. ALL listeners are at home with time to listen and take it in, that’s rare. Plus it gave me time to do the whole marketing thing and actually sit, communicate and have dialogue with those who took an interest in the project. I also felt the vibe of Care City was very relevant during this season of lockdown, touching upon isolation and reflection.
Care City is an incredibly raw album that tackles really personal struggles like substance abuse, heartbreak, rehab and depression. During the creative process was there ever a fear of being too personal or too open with your art? For instance, was there ever a moment where you thought, ‘I don’t want to put that in there, it’s too sensitive,’ or did you find it cathartic?
I never for a second had any fear of being too personal. I wanted to be as authentic and as transparent as possible. I feel like when you go through certain experiences, the fear of mankind no longer exists within you. This is why creating Care City was so different compared to my other projects, I never thought once to rephrase a sentence or to try dumb it down a little. I went with my soul on this one. The only thing of course I didn’t mention, is the names of people, I would never do that, I’m not that type of person.
What is/were the healing process like when dealing with those issues? Did focusing on writing music help you heal during this time?
I didn’t initially give time to the healing process, so it was a slow starter for me but once I allowed it, it was the most challenging but rewarding process I’ve ever gone through. I wouldn’t say focusing on music helped me heal but it did allow me to creatively deal with my issues at the time. Funnily enough, I’m finding the healing more so now… when I find myself at a low point, I listen to Care City and helps me a great deal to reflect but also to feel.
Was there any particular sounds or musical influences that influenced you during the making of this EP?
Not particularly but maybe subconsciously. At the time, I was only listening to garage and house music and there’s definitely no influence of that in the project. I will say though, Jaden Smith and Diggy Simmons creative versatility has always inspired me regarding sound. In general though, the openness of J Cole, Wretch 32 and Saba’s music has for sure pushed me more so to be even more transparent than before and Little Simz lack of fear in production and delivery also encouraged me to be more versatile and go with the soul.
Now that you’ve released three projects, what vision do you have for your music in the future?
I just intend on continuing to create material that i like. I don’t really think much of those other two projects, as I feel they were trial and error/experiments. Care City is the first project i’d actually call an adequate body of work. I’m currently working on my next project which is unlike anything I’ve ever created before. I want to continue moving in this fearless space that I’m in and create whatever it is on the inside that I feel I need to
You’ve received a lot of positive support and cosigns from superstars like Rick Ross, Wiley, JME, Little Simz, Lily Allen and Jessie J. Is there any one artist you are keen to work with?
J Cole for sure!
Sort of a follow up from the second question, but with all this madness surrounding lockdown and pandemics, what can we expect from you this year?
More music, more visuals definitely a batch of collaborations!
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