“When I write I don’t think about whether I want to disclose something or not, I just write honestly about how I feel”
Vulnerability and authenticity are vital tools an artist has the power to share with their audience. And 21-year-old musician/producer (and recently, singer), Deyaz, grapples with the reality of life in everything he does. The East-London-based artist rose from the underground with the release of his first EP, WHY NOT earlier this year — and with his new track, BITTER out today, we expect big moves on the horizon. We spoke to the emerging artist about his sound, the foundations he has built for himself and his biggest mission in music: “to help young people, while I help myself by making music”.
How’s your day been so far?
Yeah pretty good, literally just got back from walking my dogs. It’s been pretty hectic but apart from that all good.
What kind of dogs do you have?
4 French Bulldogs.
LOVE. So, jumping right into it, you’ve been pretty busy lately.
Yeah, at the start of the year the first EP was rolling out and I went on my first tour! That was a totally new experience for me as I’d never performed live before. It was really great, and I also got to meet a bunch of new people. This year I have just tried to create as much as possible. I feel like on my first EP I was still finding myself as an artist, which I’m still doing now, but I definitely have more confidence. I hope my fans will find some of my upcoming sounds a bit more sonically out there. Another tour is about to start very soon as well, so I’m excited about that…
It’s kind of scary, but definitely exciting! The next project is always going to be better than the last as you gain experience.
I definitely agree.
So you’ve described yourself as a non-confined musician and are also self-taught. Why is freedom so important to your process?
Creating-wise, I’m really based on feeling. I always feel way more fulfilment making something that feels right rather than something that just looks right on paper. I did quite a bit of musical education when I was younger but it was only during my teenage years I started taking music seriously (but still doing it on my own terms). At the end of the day, I think education doesn’t necessarily matter in the long run. It’s nice to have but I think music should be personalised to yourself and how it best suits you.
For sure. There is always a typical path to something but actually, there are also so many alternative routes you can take.
Yeah, definitely. I feel like you only discover new routes once you actually take them.
As long as you’re 100% committed you’re always going to get there at the end. I’ve also read that you see music as your therapy. Could you talk through this a little and how music has helped you?
When I was younger, I really struggled with my mental health and anxiety. When music came into the equation, it really brought on comfort and took me out of bad places. It always keeps me going when I’m creating or performing live. I just have a feeling that this is my life, I can’t see myself doing anything else.
From this, are you inspired to help others through your music and create an emotional connection with your listeners?
Yeah, I’m definitely really invested in trying to connect to my fans and just people around the world also. It might sound like a cliché, but if my music can help others the same way it helps me, then it’s definitely a win-win.
And it’s only a cliché because it’s true.
Earlier this year you released your debut EP. Could you tell me a bit more about the inspiration and the sound you cultivated? Because it was a foundational introduction to you as an artist…
It still felt like the early days at the time. I’d been making music for years but I only had about a year of actually singing under my belt. In creating music, there wasn’t too much overthinking, It was just me making music that I thought sounded good …and I had an opportunity to put it out. I guess it also goes well with the name ‘WHY NOT’ – it was always going to be a light-hearted project. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence and built a good foundation for me to grow onwards.
What inspired you to start singing? You’ve created a solid base in music, but as you said you only started singing about a year before the EP?! This shocks me.
It was very, very random. To this day I don’t really know how it happened. Growing up, I’d always dreamt of being the best guitarist in the world or being in the best rock band, so it was never planned at all. It feels right though because I went into so many different parts of music apart from singing, so now I feel like all pieces of the puzzle are falling into places. So yeah, I couldn’t even tell you how it all came about. I originally put it on Soundcloud and it didn’t get crazy views but people who did engage with it had very positive reactions. I was really thriving on the fact that people could resonate with it and that’s what really drives me to keep going.
I guess singing also gives you more autonomy as an artist because then you can be part of the full circle.
I could never see myself as a performer because my anxiety has been pretty difficult throughout my life. I could have never imagined myself at the front of the stage, but I guess I proved myself wrong. I’m definitely really enjoying it now.
And probably helping yourself overcome these anxieties and self-doubts in the process…
Definitely, and as much as it is a musical journey, it has also been a personal one for me. I’ve just improved so much as a person, anxiety-wise and confidence-wise especially. I’m just excited to see what the future holds.
For sure, and I believe you have a new single coming out this Friday.
Yeah and I’m really excited about that. The song was actually made pretty recently, just around a month ago. I love all my music but when you make something fresh and it connects to you there and then, there is something very special in being able to share it with the audience straight away.
And what do you want your audience to take away from this new song? What do you hope their reaction will be?
My fans know that I’m open to revealing myself through my music. When I write I don’t think about whether I want to disclose something or not, I just write honestly about how I feel. It hasn’t been all perfect or happy, and music is a good outlet for real emotions. I hope my fans can feel that and connect to it through their own experience.
Talking about mental health this openly is so raw and so vulnerable, but is also so important.
Yeah, especially in certain communities in music people don’t want to talk about it. There is a lot of stigma and expectations, you kind of feel like you have to be ‘a man’s man’ and are not allowed to be vulnerable or sensitive. That’s just unrealistic. Especially with creatives, because you’re tapping into that part of the brain so frequently, you wouldn’t experience emotions the same way others would. I think it’s important people hear that my situation isn’t perfect at the face value of it. I think it will be more appreciated in the long run. I hope my fans can take away something from me as a person, as well as my music. I believe the two are intertwined.
For sure. When it comes to feelings and emotions in music, we allow women to be multi-dimensional characters but rarely allow men to have that freedom. So I think it’s very powerful to see that within your music and yourself.
Thank you, appreciate it.
My final question: what are you manifesting for the rest of the year?
I just want to be the best artist I can possibly be. I think to me it just means getting the mission across to help young people while I help myself by making music. As long as I’m doing that I’m on the right path.