Music has always been a way to release emotional and creative juices. We use music to escape reality, tell a story, encourage others or just to have fun. Atlanta has become the mecca for music and artists. Earhustle411 was introduced to an outstanding Atlanta artist that goes by the name DiiJai (pronounced Dee-Jay).
DiiJai is a great singer that uses his life experiences as the background for his music. His music and videos tells stories to touch on topics that in which anyone can related. EarHustle411 talks to this up and coming artist about his music, influences and new project.
We see that you live in Atlanta, GA which is the Mecca for down south music; can you share with our readers about growing up in Georgia and what part of the city that you are from?
I’m originally from Athens, GA, which is a town about an hour away from Atlanta. It’s a very small, college town where everyone knows everyone, but has a decent music scene and good soul food.
Your name DiiJai is very interesting, what is the meaning behind it?
I did radio for six years and my radio name was DJ Mel. The spelling came to me in a dream. I saw my face on a billboard with the name “DIIJAI” next to it and from there I adopted it as my stage name.
We here at Earhustle411 loved your music and videos; can you tell our readers about your musical background and projects that you have released?
Thank you so much. I grew up listening to literally everything from Erykah Badu to Nat King Cole to different orchestras. Both of my parents are music majors. My mother plays piano, flute, violin, and she sings. My father plays trumpet, saxophone, piano, and sings as well, so I kinda of ended up in the middle. I played in the orchestra and in the band, but ultimately wanted to sing and write songs for a living. As far as my projects that I’ve released, they’ve all been chapters of my life. With everything I sing about, I’ve lived, so I make music that’s relevant to everyday people.
The video for your song “By Myself” touched on many important topics that affects people today. What was the main message that you were trying to convey with the video and song?
When the song was written, I was fed up with love. I was like “I never want to do this again, I’m good by myself” and it became a song. When it came to the video, I thought “lets focus on different walks of life” and that’s what ended up being the final product. People go through situations such as the two in the “By Myself” video and I wanted them to know that the storm doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you have to be by yourself in order to be a success story.
We can be inspired by anyone, who are the person or people who inspired you to become a singer?
I’ve been inspired by so many people, but my top 3 would be my father, Whitney Houston, and Mary J. Blige. My father was the vocal coach. He was the one to teach me about pitch, tone, and told me not to do so many runs. Mary simply pours her everything into each song she sings and as for the late, great Whitney Houston, she simply stood at a microphone. No gimmick. No extra. She just opened her mouth and breathed and I wanted to be just like her.
What is the best and the worst advice that you have received about the music industry?
The best advice has been “no one is going to have your back like you are” and it’s been proven time and time again. After being signed to 3 jacked up independent contracts, I have made it my business to live by that advice. The worst advice that I’ve ever received has been “do what everyone else is doing”. I was raised to be an individual. I was always taught not to follow trends, but set my own, and that is what I’m striving to do.
When a person is blessed with a gift such as yours, some people will give back to the community. What are some of the things that you have done to give back to those in need?
Some of the things that I’ve done include community service, food/clothing drives, free performances, and different speaking engagements. Everyone has a story to tell and when God gives you a platform, you need to use it the right way. Anyone can learn from your story.
Atlanta is a beautiful city that is known for partying and music, are there any social or political issues that has a major impact on you?
Honestly, I feel like there’s always room for improvement. That’s all I have to say. 🙂
If you woke up tomorrow and could not sing another note, what would be your next career move? Why?
Interesting that you should ask because I remember waking up some days wishing I couldn’t and I’ll tell you why. When you’re torn between pursuing a college education and a music career full-time, it’s very difficult. You’re concerned with what everyone is going to say, their perception of you, etc. If I couldn’t sing another note, my next career move would be to focus on school full-time. Probably travel and learn about another culture.
The music industry is full of indie artists, producers, musicians and more. What are some of the things that you are doing differently to stand out amongst the crowd?
The main things that I’m doing to stand out is to sing about things and say things that other male artists won’t say. People are afraid of what they aren’t used to and I enjoy making some people feel uncomfortable. The truth isn’t always sweet, so some people need that rude awakening. Other than that, just experimenting with my image and sound. I never wanted to be put in a box.
Who would be your dream team (dead or alive) to make an album with and why?
My dream team would be Quincy Jones, Timbaland, Linda Perry, Elton John, and Brian Michael Cox. These individuals know music and are veterans in the music industry. Everything from songwriting to playing a multitude of instruments, I feel like these artists would give me a great album in the end.
What do the future holds for DiiJai?
The future holds a new music video for my new single “My Ex Has My Heart“, shows, and a few other things that everyone will find out very soon.
How can our readers stay up to date about any of your upcoming shows, music or videos?
They can keep in touch with me on my social media:
Listen and download DiiJai EP “C.O.L.O.R.S“for FREE here: https://soundcloud.com/thisisdiijai/sets/c-o-l-o-r-s