DEJA Talks About “Gagged (Look Good),” Breaking Barriers, and More

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With the iridescent allure of the dancefloor coursing through her music, DEJA emerges as a force of fierce individuality in the realm of contemporary pop. Her compelling fusion of genres isn’t just a testament to her audacious creativity but serves as a beacon of innovation, challenging the predictability often associated with the music industry.

Her latest offering, “Gagged (Look Good),” is a vibrant testament to this spirit of innovation. A unique blend of infectious beats, resounding pop undercurrents, and dance elements paints a sonic landscape as dynamic as DEJA herself. As each beat lands, her voice comes alive, lacing every lyric with an empowering playfulness. It’s not just a song but an anthem of self-confidence, a dance number that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener.

“My music is a manifestation. As confident as I am, sometimes I need a lift. And if I need it somebody else will too,” she says of her latest track. And true to her words, “Gagged (Look Good)” feels like a bold declaration of self-assuredness, a buoyant rally cry for all those needing a confidence boost.

As DEJA carves her path through the music industry, she doesn’t just establish her space; she creates a vibrant canvas on which her unique blend of music comes to life. Challenging conventions and experimenting fearlessly, she stands as an emerging powerhouse, unapologetically crafting a new era for diverse pop music from the UK.

Congratulations on the release of your new single! Can you explain your process of creating “Gagged (Look Good)” from its inception to its final release? 

Thank you so much! Ok, so I’m driving to my session with GG and Simone, my babes! Aitch’s “Strike Me a Pose” comes on. There was something about the production that just sat right with me at that moment. I’d been wanting to write a new record that nodded to “Boom Boom Bah”, my flat-butt

anthem! So we did the damn thing. Artwork-wise, I wanted to work with Johann, my good friend from uni and incredible creative mind. We had a play with textures, lighting, and outfits, and when we were happy, threw some graphics on top to call it an artwork. 

Your latest song arrives on the heels of “One,” which was actually your first release of 2023. In terms of creative direction, the two tracks go in a completely different direction of what we’re used to—where do they fit into the fold of where you want to go musically this year?

Short answer is I don’t fit into the fold. Never have and never will. Musically I have one goal: to make music that feels good. Feels good to sing and dance to, feels good for the soul, feels good for stage. But if you really wanna put a genre on it, and the industry does!, I’d say I’m headed down an African-inspired Pop route. 

Oftentimes when it comes to black women, they’ll dismiss artists as alt-pop or R&B, and it can be frustrating getting boxed in or labeled a specific genre. Can you talk a bit about your experience as a black pop artist? 

Imma start by saying being Black is a blessing. But like you say, a lot of people see black and assume R&B. We haven’t had a dark-skinned, singing, dancing and rapping, UK pop star in years. I think it’s time. 

Your aesthetic is beautiful, and it ties in so well with your music videos, especially for songs like “One” How important is the visual side to your music, from videos to album arts considering how thematic they can be? 

Visuals are so important to me. I love coupling a full-length video with my records. I can appreciate the 15-second or 1-minute social snippets but if you ask me, nothing beats a proper video production. I work really closely with my team on creating a visual that supports the record in terms of message, energy, and aesthetic.

One of fave things to do is actually send the record to my creative and allow them the space to bring visual ideas back to me with no input from me at all. Of course, we’d then work together to pull both sides into a perfectly balanced mid-ground. I do a similar thing with artwork too. I think, as artists, it’s important to get out of your work and see how others respond, see, hear, and want to work with it. 

Fashion-wise, how would you describe your style? What are some of your favorite pieces to wear? 

I’m living for sexy grunge right now. It’s the perfect representation of how I’m feeling in my music. I think I’m done with people’s opinions on my art. I just wanna make good music and be me and I love me some domme shit! 

Also, over the past few months, you’ve been experimenting with mesh tops, cut-outs, and bodysuits which are all generally seen as sexy and powerful. Whether it be during live-performances or your day-to-day, how does style empower you? 

I’ve actually had a few voices tell me I should wear more, that it’s a bad influence. But I couldn’t disagree more. I have no desire to hide my body. It’s beautiful, and it should be seen. It’s empowering when it is seen. We all have the same bits. It weirds me out that people get so funny about seeing them! If they don’t like it, they should cover their eyes because—my skin, my rules. 

Stepping outside in an outfit that looks hawt will lift your whole day. When you look good, you feel good, when you feel good, you put good energy out, and we all know – you get what you give! 

Pivoting back into music, what’s been inspiring you as of late?

Me. I decided to have a social media detox and concentrate on myself, and it was so needed. My story, my work ethic, my performance; I don’t know who’s doing it like me right now. 

Lastly, if someone were discovering your music for the first time, which three tracks would you suggest they listen to as a starting point, and what makes these tracks special? 

“Boom Boom Bah,” this was my first single doing everything my way, and it was by far the best received by my listeners! “Losing Game,” it’s an oldie, but I love it. It’s my fave track from my first EP! “Gagged,” it’s the latest and my first release, completely p**sy-powered (all-female team).