100% Demae: the NW Londoner blending J Dilla-esque bop with the capital’s grit

The soul singer’s debut project Life Works Out...Usually is a soothing remedy to these turbulent times.

Demae Chioma Wodu has captured the sound of the summer. The London born singer, songwriter and producer cut her teeth as one-third of hip-hop trio Hawk House back in 2010. Labelled one of the UK’s most exciting emerging sounds, the group’s pared back and smooth style earned them fans including Mac Miller, Ghostpoet and Jill Scott.

Fast forward ten years and Demae is focusing on her own solo efforts. Teaming up with Joe Armon-Jones, Ego Ella May, Fatima and Nala Sinephro, debut project Life Works Out…Usually is a soulful tribute to black joy and self-empowerment. Expect jazz-infused sounds and Dilla-esque beats, guaranteed to make your head bop.

The true labour of love” is being released via digital and vinyl courtesy of south London-based record label Touching Bass this September.

For now, get your ears around Demae’s debut single Stuck in a Daze featuring Ego Ella May, out today.

10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you based?

Born in north west London, raised in Harlesden and still based in endz.

20%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?

Life lessons that evoke strong feelings. Could be as simple as my car breaking down. If I’m pissed off and can’t shake the feeling off then I’ll most likely be making some sort of song about it.

30%: When did you find your confidence as an artist?

I think when I understood that I’m unique and that there is only one Demae as long as I stay true to myself.

40%: Break down your typical day at work…

My days are never really planned, although I’ve realised over the years that I like structure. (laughs)

Anyway, I try to start my mornings with my work out by Ciara London on IG Live. It’s been a godsend since lockdown. I usually feel so much better after exercise. I chill, maybe eat and dance to some music. I usually get started on music in the evenings once the sun goes down. There’s something magical about working in the night when the world is silent.

50%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?

To love the sun we must know rain.

60%: Name something you love, something you like, and something you hate.

Laughing. Oversized glasses. Congestion Charge.

70%: What can you tell us about your next project?

It’s kind of like a documented story of parts of my life from the past three years. I was going through a really challenging time and I really felt like these songs became personal mantras for me. I literally wrote these songs to remind and encourage myself that I’ll be okay. It’s got self-empowerment sprinkled in there with love and honesty all up in this project. I believe it’s a true reflection of me.

80%: What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?

Being too hard on myself.

90%: What was the last book which really inspired you?

I read The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma and OMG. I couldn’t put it down. I felt like I knew the characters personally. Chigozie is so beautifully descriptive. So descriptive that I even had a few nightmares. I don’t want to give too much away, but that book inspired me. It always amazes me how reading can unlock your imagination. Like, two people can read the same book but have two different pictures in their mind. Each experience is unique to the individual.

100%: What can artists do to help save the world?

Create. Music honestly does heal. I also feel like the people are ready to receive the vibrations during this strange time.

Life Works Out…Usually is out for release on digital and 12” vinyl from September 4 2020

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