Interview: Dema Raye
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music, what would you be doing today?
I've always been a lover of music for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the best Walt Disney movies, my first introduction to what music can do and how magical it can sound.
The earliest memory I have was hearing Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid for the first time when I was only three years old and feeling something I've never felt before.
I knew that I never wanted that feeling to go away, so I started playing it repeatedly every single day and singing along with her. And I guess the rest, as they say, is history.
I honestly don't know what I would do without music. I have many other passions, such as acting and writing, but nothing compares to the surge of elation and peace I feel when I'm singing and writing songs.
I'm a massive lover of literature, so I would've loved to be a writer. I write plenty of poetry already, so who knows, maybe I'll publish some of them one day.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity?
When I'm not playing or writing music, I'm usually reading. I'm a huge reader, so I always prioritise time for reading. I believe that plays a massive role in my creativity because I draw a lot of inspiration from the books I read, such as the concepts introduced or simply by putting myself in a character's shoes to explore a whole new range of emotions. I find writing from somebody else's perspective very exciting and liberating because then all inhibitions and limitations are broken, and all bets are off.
How long has music been your career?
Legitimately? I would say for about 4 years now.
Where are you based, and how did that influence your music?
I'm currently based in London, UK, but I grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Growing up in a city without even a semblance of a music community was very hard to be completely candid with you. But I think it just helped my passion grow and persevere despite being in an environment that didn't have many opportunities for musical growth.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
I still haven't played any of my songs live, but I'm excited to do so!
Tell me about your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
As mentioned before, I still haven’t played any live gigs yet, but I would love to play at Wembley one day or the O2 arena.
I always had a great time attending some shows there, so it would be a dream to play there one day!
Who would be on the ticket if you could play any show with any lineup?
Oh my god. What a great question.
I would love to play alongside the National or Phoebe Bridgers. They're two of my favourite artists of all time, and they've influenced my music tremendously.
What advice would you give to someone who is just getting into music?
Pave your own way.
It's okay if your path doesn't look like everyone else's. There's no rulebook on how to do this, but as long as you stay true to your artistry and trust your intuition as much as you can, it'll work out just fine.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Slow down and relax.
I'm still learning that lesson.
I always put so much pressure on myself to work and be as productive as possible. It's almost as if I feel every moment spent not working on my music or creating something is a moment wasted, but that's not true.
Sometimes taking time for yourself and allowing yourself to slow down and be mindful of your thoughts and actions can yield the best results.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All of my songs are very personal, but poison ivy and train tracks have always held such a special place in my heart.
They both tell the story of what it means to find yourself and the consequences that follow, such as losing people who no longer align with your vision and feeling misunderstood most of the time.
Plus, there's an audio in the background of the second verse in train tracks of my friends and me laughing that was taken from a video of us up in the Swiss alps, which is precisely the moment I was writing about in that verse. Our time spent there is so special to me, and it means a great deal to know that I've immortalised those memories on a larger scale.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
I love playing red light; It's such an intense song!
It's the one that gets requested the most too.
What creative process is for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is very spontaneous. Sometimes the lyrics come first or the melody, but I can never sit down and write a song; it just comes to me when I'm not looking for it. I always find that the best songs I've ever written always felt like they were being channeled through me in a way like I was only a vessel for these words and melodies to come into this world. I guess that's a very spiritual way of looking at it, but there's just something so divine about writing a song out of nowhere.
I find myself inspired by so many things like the people around me, the stories I read and, of course, the music I listen to.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Oh, that's such a brilliant question.
I mean, all a songwriter ever wants is for their music to resonate with their listeners. To make them feel something they've never felt before or express an emotion that they couldn't express before.
That's what music does for me. It evokes a feeling I really can't explain, but it's always there to comfort me and serve as a soundtrack to my day. As corny as it is, it's like music is a friend that never leaves you and always gives you exactly what you need.
So, I hope my songs can serve as a soundtrack to my fans' lives where they can cry to my music when they feel sad or dance along when they're happy.
I don't have many happy songs, though, so I might have to work on that!
When collaborating, do you ever have disagreements, and how do you get past them?
I haven't had any significant disagreements so far, thankfully.
I was lucky enough to work remotely with an incredibly supportive team of collaborators from Nashville, and they were very patient and kind to me.
We really prioritised working as a team to produce a project that we're all proud of, and I'm happy to say that's precisely what we accomplished.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything you want to spotlight coming up?
I'm currently working on some new music that I've already fallen in love with and can't wait for the world to hear.
You can expect a stream of singles very soon!
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