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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Mark Mukasa

Mark is a South Lon­don based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He’s also an MMA and his­tory enthu­si­ast who tries to keep his love of animé under wraps.

About Mark Mukasa

Mark is a South London based writer and avid fan of all things hip hop. He's also an MMA and history enthusiast who tries to keep his love of anime under wraps.