“Leaned Out”, released a year ago, was when people everywhere were backhanded by an energy they didn’t know was coming. 7.3 million views. Quickly followed by “Shade” (12 million views) and “More” (3.4 million). A fiercely independent artist in every sense. (After the recent social media beef with S.Don, I guess the numbers don’t lie! Bloooop!) Ps. Naaaahhhh! Don’t act like you lot forgot I’m cheeky! I’ve been pree’in dem tweets and a rather impressive and funny t’raas titty pic, woooiiii! PAUSE! I digress… our WCW this week is 22yr old (deep it) Henny sippin, doobie smokin’ Pisces and self described “Mermaid” from Manchester. She is Diana DeBrito. She is IAMDDB.
She came third in the BBC’s Sound of 2018 list. Tastemakers are abuzz with hype for the Manchester rapper-singer IAMDDB. With her fierce blend of soulful hip-hop, pounding trap and swirling urban jazz, it’s not hard to see why. Soaking up influences from her Portuguese and Angolan roots, she has taken inspiration from samba, Bob Marley, Nat King Cole and her stint playing with bands in Africa while visiting her dad. Since that trip she’s attended uni and dropped out, worked at River Island and Selfridges, but she’s finally found her calling. “Each and every one of us has that little glimpse of hope and as long as you have that, you’re alright,” she explains. “You just have to keep pushing through the bullshit.”
She has recently garnered attention after the release of her bolshy track “Shade”, which is less about swerving public transport despite the now famous refrain (“Uber, Uber everywhere”) and more about announcing to the world: “Bitch I’m the wave, you can go home”. Her last mixtape, 2017’s Hoodrich Vol 3, conveyed an artist at ease with a deeply expressive theatricality. “We all go through intense feelings and experiences and shit,” she said in a recent interview with Crack magazine, “and if my music can help somebody get through something, then my job’s done. I’m just a vessel to make people feel better.”
Can you tell us a little about your experiences making your music videos – the videography is outstanding and the locations are really iconic. Who have you worked with, and do you have a style of visual representation you aim to uphold or do things just roll out so bladdy splendidly?
“I literally take full control of all my videos, so I would be the one who has done the planning, locations, brands used, props etc. Everything you see is DDB. I’ve worked with some wavey videographers such as : StylezConteh, Apeninja and Ellisdawg. I would say I like my visuals to be real, as in I always make sure we capture BTS shots, because I feel it makes the art itself more real and relatable. Although we do need the high quality, I want my listeners and viewers to understand we are the same, we are one I just happen to be on the screen LMAO.”
How important is being an independent artist?
“One thousand million per cent. So important. Top of the list. I made sure I signed myself to myself to ensure no BS was going to be involved. I made a promise to myself that if I was to do it, it would have to be 100% my way. We all know if you sign to labels, etc, you’re going to have to compromise somewhere down the line, and DDB don’t do compromising, I promise you!”
Why do you want to remain unsigned?
“I believe in myself enough to not let anybody take control of what I do with my art. I’m always up for taking criticism that can improve it, but with regards to creative control, I feel like that’s so essential for any artist to have. For me, music is my therapy. That’s where I express myself. That’s why I’m so honest with it. I speak about personal issues. I speak about other people’s experiences. Anything I make, I own. It’s so much fun because no matter what decision I make, whether it’s right or wrong, it’s made by me, and it’s my career, so why not? It’s my way or no way.”
So boom! What to expect going forward? Obviously more dope ass performances right? Festival season is here and her name is EVERYWHERE! Many more highly creative videos to accompany the Waevey lyrics, of course… oh and a clothing line. Yes, Hoodrich.DDB. Now it’s clear DDB is sickeningly photogenic, apologetically herself and an influential trendsetter. Having modelled over the years it comes as no surprise that she has landed stints with Tommy Hilfiger and Adidas (for the 18/19 Manchester United jersey). So, it makes perfect sense that she would venture out and launch her own brand… and it is already proving to be highly anticipated and popular much like her music. Hoodies, hats and tees are likely to fly off the shelves as soon as the website is officially launched (which DDB announced via Twitter on Sunday would be “soon”).
I’m here for the garms, the music, the industry beef and the controversy… she’s a Trophy. Our WCW!
Follow IAMDDB here:
Insta / Twitter: @iamddb
[Sources from BBC Unsigned, Dazed Digital, The Guardian and Diss Ltd in italic]
Standard print written by Chellz