Artist Spotlight: Dee Riginal Interview

Dee Riginal talks about the rise of the Grime culture and being an independent young artist in the lead up to re-release of his track ‘Sometimes’

This artist spotlight comes with a little tip on the scales. Having been a participant on, and then worked for BlastBeat Education UK (an international charity that encourages young people to practice social enterprise in music and sport events), I saw Dee fly through the local, regional and national stages of the competition to push through a few hundred band/artist participants to be crowned with the winners title. Saying that, the bias doesn’t come from my youth work background and seeing a young person flourish through such a program, but as a music performance enthusiast – with the energy that Dee brings to a stage. Although his performances, and ability to take his audience on a journey of his music with him is a feat that speaks for itself, I had to get more of an insight on what drives him. A lot of his story is told through his music and its visuals, a ‘Pimliconian’ with a passion for the art of music as a means of social and political expression and inspiration, with a vision that stretches to deliver a lot more than a take-out.

Photography by silent vi. 

What do you think your biggest achievement has been so far on this journey?

So much has happened in the past 7 years, I’ve won competitions, received awards, shut down festivals etc. There’s been a lot of success on a small scale I’d say but I think the most important one is the people I’ve met along the way. Simply being around certain people has helped me become the person I am, it’s mad. I’d name everyone but it would take forever but they know who they are anyway. [My G’s]

Being an independent music artist isn’t easy, but more and more artists are getting into the scene this way now. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt as you’ve grown?

People are always gonna have their opinions but only YOU know the true extent of your vision so if you got an idea execute it. Even if it fails that’s calm it’s not the end of the world fam. Trial and error.

Besides being independent doesn’t mean you need to know everything right away, it’s okay to get help just make sure when someone’s doing something for you that you’re asking questions and taking notes so you can take initiative yourself in the future. I’m always trying to remember that to succeed as independently you don’t need to be selfish. What I mean by that is there’s enough room for others to win as well so if you rate someone’s work show support even if it’s just a share. Also, spamming people is NOT an effective way of promotion. Took me TIME to realise this, I know it’s hard when you’re on low budget and can’t afford to pay big platforms to push your stuff but TRUST ME don’t force it, the real ones will pay attention regardless.

Fam I could go on forever about this.. but lemme move on.

Grime, as a culture, is far from something new, but it’s not underground anymore – as of only less than 6 months ago, did iTunes add ‘Grime’ as an official category to its library. What do you think it is that is making people buy into this culture now?

You know what I’d say it’s a lot of things but the main thing I’d say is social media – Things trend and when you have pioneers of the genre reaching people globally through a mobile app it can no longer be downplayed as a niche sound. That’s why these major corporations who have shunned the genre for years are finally acknowledging it. They can’t ignore it anymore and that’s all thanks to the internet.

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Tell me about the producers you’ve worked with, and the inspiration behind the sounds on ‘Sometimes’?

If I’m honest for the longest all I knew was ripping beats of YouTube so to work organically with a producer like Analogue was fresh air for me. One thing I noticed straight away is his ability to make quality out of the simplest of things. That’s what resonated with me the most because that’s an attribute I strongly see in myself as well. He’d sent me a snippet of the beat and i knew exactly where we could go with it. It was a moment capturing atmosphere, like a film.

There’s something really poetic about the lyrics too – was there something in particular that drove you to write for this track?

I’ve always been a very insightful person and it’s mad because underneath all the animated energy I possess when amongst people there’s a very deep thought process going on almost non-stop. After a while you can only do so much thinking inside your head that at some point it’s gotta come out one way or another and that’s what happened. It went from thoughts in my head to lyrics in a song. I didn’t know if people would get it but I knew that’s how I was feeling at the time.

‘Sometimes’ is out on ALL major digital platforms from TODAY. Find his other material on soundcloud.com/deeriginal or youtube.com/deeriginal— subscribe to the mailing list on his website at www.deeriginal.com

By Payal Joshi – @payyyj

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