Artistic expression varies from artist to artist but all in all it comes down to preference. The advice is usually get a niche and carve it for yourself. However, the artist we have in our interview segment today is a cut above the rest. She is a jack of most trades and a master of them all. Her name is Deeee, she is a painter, cook, poet, singer….the list goes on and on. So, instead of wasting your time with meaningless sweet nothings aka journalistic jargo; BD254 presents Deeee.
Ps: Don’t forget the 4 Es.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
My name is Diana Wangari better known as Deeee. I was born in Kiambu and this happens to be my first home. When I was 5 we moved and settled in Nairobi.
Technically I am an only child.
I went to Loreto High School in Limuru (Kotet) where my mum also happens to be an alumni.
I attended Msongari Primary till class 5 then I moved to Mt. Kenya Academy.
Currently I am doing fine art at Kenyatta University.
I am also involved in music i.e I am a singer and lyricist…for hire. (Laughs)
How did your artistic journey begin?
I started drawing as a kid and I always loved creating stuff. I remember I used to draw very long people with fat fingers. (laughs)
There was this time I made a colouring book by cutting out pictures from another book and sold it to my dad for 20 shillings. I was so excited.
What inspires your artworks?
Emotions inspire my work.
It’s more like what I feel versus what I think other people feel.
I chose to focus on abstract paintings as they tend to bring out people’s emotions. I think some people tend to view emotions as vulnerability or rather a show of weakness. However, we should learn to embrace them, as that is the beauty of humanity.
Apart from being a painter, you are a musician. How did this come about?
I always knew I could sing but I wasn’t interested in it as much.
However, I believe my first song ever i.e. my own original composition
was when I was 11 years old.
It happened during a visit to my aunt in the States where I ended up getting lost at Maceys. The only thing I knew was that my aunts car was red. In that moment of terror I wrote a song and a verse but I ended up forgetting the lyrics since I was scared and lost.
Since then I guess I always write what I feel.
I once read some advice online from one of my favourite musicians; Patrick Stump. He said that as you learn whatever craft it is you’re learning, start by studying the greats. The people that came before you. From there, learn to be yourself in that craft, and make it your own. Learn to colour inside the lines before going outside of them.
I happened to join the high school choir in form one. However, it wasn’t really for music, it was mostly because I was told by joining choir, I could miss form one housework.
However, the experience ended up surpassing my expectations.
Around 2012 I started writing songs more frequently and vigorously than before. I grew from writing songs because I felt like it, to writing because I wanted people to hear my words, understand me and hopefully relate. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about recording; my focus was lyricism. I wrote everything my heart desired to. I vented in the verses. My first album, if I may call it so, was named Lost. By the end of high school I had about three albums ready for the world.
So tell us more about Lost.
There was this annual event in school called Miss Kotet. It was a sort of fashion show organised by and for the students, and I decided to sign up as a performer under the name Lost. My friends had seen me with my booklet of lyrics, with candles intricately painted on the cover, and the word “LOST” on the top, but I hadn’t told them that I had registered. Some of them came up to me asking if I knew who this person named “Lost” was on the entertainment list for that day, but I just acted oblivious and clueless, suggesting that whoever it was must have liked my cover page.
It was my first ever solo performance, and I was terrified since in high school it’s basically acapella on stage. No back up, no track, no instruments, just your voice and the crowd. However, when I got on stage and did my thing it was pretty awesome and I felt exhilarated!
How did the name Lost come about?
In high school I felt lost. I had all these existential questions. I was very curious and confused at the same time since I felt like no one was giving me any real answers to my questions.
Furthermore, I felt like high school was basically a free fall. There were no real life guidelines, just academics. I kept asking: Who am I?
I was quite a troubled teenager and writing was my venting point. I believe my journey with music started because I needed to vent.
You also happen to be in a band/ group called Black Rice. Do tell us more on that?
I met Keith back in high school. That was form 3 in 2012. It was at a swimming gala.
I was by the pool and I think he hadn’t swam his best, so when he got out of the pool he said something like: I should have just stuck to music instead. My head spun around when I heard that, because I hadn’t met anyone who was actually involved in music. Afterwards we got to talking and he told me he had a band called Erase with a friend of his called Tim. We exchanged contacts but we fell off for a while.
After high-school Keith hit me up on twitter. Apparently the band was fizzling out and they needed a vocalist and I casually reminded him that I sing. He said he’d talk to Tim about it and a few weeks later we met up and had a jam session which happened to be the best ever. It was the first time in a long while I wrote any music. I found that writing with Black Rice is like the easiest feeling. It was like we just sit, Tim whips out his guitar and the lyrics flow.
So how did you transition from LOST to Deeee?
I hadn’t written in a while as my parents hadn’t been very supportive of my music interest back in my teen years. However, I was still interested and it was around this time I met my first producer ever; Cedo Kadenyi. I tagged along when a friend was paying him a visit to work on some music of his own. During our interaction, I happened to mention I sang. Cedo was like: show me something. I sang a verse from one of my high school compositions and he just put on his headphones and got lost in his keyboard and laptop. A few minutes later he looks up and says: I am not so sure but tell me what you think. Honestly, I was amazed. I couldn’t think of anything else that could gave me that feeling. That feeling that has your soul clapping in glee like a little girl. However, I didn’t have any monetary support as I didn’t know how to ask my parents for help.
How did you settle on the name D.e.e.e.e?
It’s actually a very cheesy story.
I was making an Instagram account and all the Dee handles happened to be taken. However, I wanted my handle to be as close to my name as possible.
My lucky number also happens to be four. This comes from my birthday date which happens to be an equation that results in my birth year. It sort or makes me feel destined for something. So I definitely had to get this in there too.
So the name Deeee describes me perfectly coz when people see me they say the name with zeal and psyche and it’s not just another name. The 4 E’s show how eccentric I am and the excitement I bring to people and myself.
So what do you do in your free time?
I write a lot. However, I have 2 blogs which are relatively dead.
I also talk to myself on YouTube. I have a channel where I share my personal opinions on certain matters and I also try not to judge people.
I also LOVE Twitter.
Tell us a little bit more about your YouTube channel.
I was inspired by a famous YouTuber called Lily Singh. I used to watch quite a lot of her videos and I thought she was the incrediblest person ever. She was so cool and her content was quite relatable.
I also did watch some Connor Franta and some Pewdie Pie.
However, the channel also came about due to my upbringing in that I was raised alone so I was not very outgoing but I like to talk a lot but I have no one to talk to so I talk to the internet. You can say I am an ambivert ish. So the channel is just a platform to share my crazy opinions.
You also happen to be a poet right, do indulge us on this aspect of your life.
I feel that poetry captures emotions. I tend to avoid metaphors and paraphrasing and there’s a purity in that. So in this case my poetry is my tears.
However, I am not doing it as a professional interest neither do I do it daily. It’s quite personal but it’s not a secret. I feel like people feel things but they can’t express themselves as it tends to make them feel/ look weak. However, in my opinion I think that’s life and it’s okay to be expressive.
So you also happen to have a cooking segment on BD254, do tell us about that.
I cook coz of my mum however, that is not a complaint.
I am entirely grateful for the experience.
I believe that cooking is an art and baking is a science. I am terrible at baking. However, on BD254 I get to share in my art and hope people enjoy my creations.
You also participated in a shoot with them too. How was that like?
I always wanted to paint on peoples faces so when the opportunity presented itself I took it.
Btw in my opinion Max’s work was better *cough cough*.
It was an opportunity to fuse my art with photography and I loved it. It was my first attempt at doing body art and it worked out great.
You featured in a project called Gold Mind on the EP by Thumbs called Reflection. What do you have to say about the creative process behind the insane track?
To listen to this track, click here.
\The track actually belongs to the artsist who’s a friend of mine called Muthumbi. He hit me up and told me he had a project he was working on and he needed my vocals. So he sent me the audio for the beats and the lyrics. I liked it and after several practice sessions we hit the studio and recorded it.
5 unique facts about Deeee go?
- I am quite emotional.
- I am a swimmer.
- I like avocadoes.
- I love cooking.
- I drop my phone at least twice a day.
What should your fans and subscribers expect?
More music is definitely on the way.
As for my subscribers more content will be coming up soon.
What do you make of our arts and entertainment industry?
There’s definitely lots of authenticity which is very beautiful.
However, there’s also a lot of judgement going on. There’s quite a number of people who don’t embrace expressive forms of art. I believe that programmed minds tend to reject art. Therefore, overthinking definitely ruins the intended purpose of the craft.
To connect with Deeee and see more of her work click on the links below: