Try her out
By now theres a good chance that you’ve heard Dej Loaf‘s record “Try Me”. If you haven’t, theres a great chance that you soon will. Not since Bobby Shmurda‘s “Hot Ni**a” took the world (internet) by storm has an artist gone from 0-100 real quick, the way Dej has. In fact it’s pretty clear that Dej’s record may even be moving faster than the song that got Bobby singed to Epic Records.
The lineage of how “Try Me” became the internet’s newest love isn’t exactly clear, but in the last few weeks things have been highly excelerated via the impressive co-signs she’s received from Big Sean, Ty Dolla $ign, Drake, and Wiz Khalifa, who just yesterday released his remix to the song which you can listen to here.
The rise of her record intrigued us, but it was her overall sound, and the fact that she had other good records already on deck (via her soundcloud & youtube) that made us decided that she was someone we, and the rest of the world needed to hear about. Here for you is our exclusive interview with Detroit’s own Dej Loaf.
The Source: How old are you?
Dej Loaf: I am 23
The Source: How long would you say you have been seriously doing music?
A: Since about 2012, I put together my first mixtape called “Just Do It”.
The Source: Are you a big Nike head?
A: Yeah I was. At the time, I was. Around 2011-12.
The Source: I know people don’t really like the term sneakerhead, but would you say you’re really into sneakers?
A: Yeah I am. I love Jordan’s. That’s actually how I got my name. I’m just shoes. Like loafers.
The Source: So the Loaf has to do with loafers?
A: Yeah. I used to wear a lot of Jordan’s in high school and coming into middle school. So when I went into high school I was like, “I’m going to change it up a bit.” I am going to start wearing Jordan’s a lot and Nike’s and I am going to start wearing loafers and I’m going to start calling them “Dej Loaf.”
The Source: So Deja is your real name?
The Source: Where are you from?
A: Detroit, Michigan. The east side.
The Source: Have you lived there your whole life?
The Source: So what do you think is the most Detroit thing about you that shows up in your music?
A: Just my rawness. I don’t hold back. I just tell stories. If you give it a listen to you will be able to picture everything that is going on. There are a lot people that do music, but just do the fun side of everything, and I just kind of tell the struggle, and I am not afraid to tell the struggle and things like that.
The Source: I think, if I had to put a finger on why people are gravitating towards you, specifically the “Try Me” record, you are saying real, eye opening stuff, but you are saying it in a way that is like a sing-songy kind of melody. You got the almost, indie, rock, R&B sort of sound going on. The soundscape, the kind of sound that you have, where does that all come from?
A: I always love melodies. That’s my thing. The bulk of my melody, I just always play around with the melodies. So that’s my thing. A lot of times when I was writing my raps, I just like singing them in a way, instead of just going hard, just like rapping them, I was like, “Let me see if I could write the rap and then come behind it and sing it.” I am big on melodies. A lot of people don’t know what it is, the words, its like rapping and singing, it is kind of like a mixture of both of them.
The Source: How long ago did you record “Try Me”?
A: I recorded “Try Me” in like April.
The Source: When would you say you actually put it out?
A: I think about two months ago it was July. Yeah, probably July I put it out.
The Source: I am curious to know, because you are in it, it is your record, but do you realize what is kind of going on? It’s happening quicker with this record than I have probably ever seen it as far as the co-signs and the random twitter, people talking about it. Are you aware of it?
A: I’m aware. It’s crazy because I didn’t think that this record would get me known. I didn’t think that this was the one. I knew it was a special song but I didn’t think it would get this far. I have better music than this and this is like, “Wow!” This is the one that is really attracting everybody and it is amazing and I am just humble about everything and taking it easy everyday like, “Wow.”
The Source: It is like one thing after the next, every time I tell someone about it, there is a new thing to tell them. Like, “Oh, Kevin Durant tweeted about her, now this, now that.” What would you say is the one craziest thing that you have had so far as far as the support you have gotten?
A: I think the Drake follow and quoting lyrics on Instagram that was probably the most special moment. Because it is like, there have been so many people who have reached out but I think that’s the main one because it is Drake.
The Source: Are you a fan of his music in general? I feel like everybody is a fan of Drake to some degree. Are you like a huge fan?
A: I’m a big fan of Drake.
The Source: Do you like rapping Drake or singing Drake better?
A: I like both equally. You can’t really compare them. I like them both.
The Source: You said something about ‘you didn’t think that that wouldn’t be the one’ so are you nervous because people put that big, like Bobby Shmurda recently with his song, a lot of people put that on like ‘are you going to make it out past that first song?’ Are you at all worried about that?
A: I’m not at all. That’s what my managers are, they are worried about it because they don’t want me to be this “Try Me” girl. They don’t want me to be that. We have a plan for that to make sure people understand that that’s not just who I am. My music is out of this world, like it’s crazy. I just didn’t know that this would be the one.
The Source: When I first heard the record and form what Royce was telling me, it was interesting, but if the rest of the stuff wasn’t good, we wouldn’t have reached out. I like the other records you have and I think it is important that you realize that it is not about that ‘one’. Instagram fame goes away really quick. It’s about the quality. One of your old records from a few years ago was “College.” Are you in school; were you in school at the time? Tell me a little bit about your education.
A: I went to Saginaw Valley, that’s like two hours away from Detroit. I was there for like two semesters. It was an interesting experience. I didn’t finish, I dropped out to do music. School was for the moment, I was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And that’s when I left and that’s where I drew my inspiration from that, from my college experience.
The Source: The part I like the most was how you were talking about being in two different worlds. Being in college but meanwhile with your friends, there are things going on back home, real stuff, and I think that kind of realness people will and do connect with. Is there a specific move as far as the next record that you are putting out? Have you decided on that or is the remix coming? What’s coming next for Dej Loaf?
A: Yeah, we have a crazy remix that is in motion right now. It’s going to be crazy, the remix. I’m excited for other people to hear it. I’m just like wow.
The Source: Everyone’s saying Drake is going to be on it. Can you confirm any guests on the remix?
A: I can. I met Wiz, he is definitely part of my story. I met him in LA last week and we vibed out, he didnt mind doing it, he was already like “I’m a big fan of the song” So yeah, but that’s just one though.
The Source: So for now it is definitely Wiz, but you are keeping it tight lipped on the next one?
A: I got to keep it secret, but it’s crazy though.
The Source: Do you have an idea on when you’re going to drop that?
A: You know, today is Wiz’s birthday. I’m not sure if he is going to drop it today. I’m not sure. (editors note, he did drop it later that day)
The Source: What do you want people to really know about you? Obviously you’re not just this record, but what else do you think is important for people to know about you?
A: Im in it to win it. I love it. I love music. I hate the business side of everything; I just want to create music. It’s been so long and I have been writing since I was a little girl and it’s like, I’m finally being heard so I want to you know take advantage of it. I have a passion for it and I love it and that’s what I want people to understand and that’s all. And when I put out the music, I just want everybody to understand it and it’s coming from a good place; it’s coming from the heart.
The Source: You’re in a period as far as being an artist where the goal was to be getting signed and now there are so many successful independent artists. Do you see yourself staying independent in the near future?
A: I mean, there’s a lot of stuff at stake and labels [talking]. I don’t know just yet, it’s all new to me, so I’m just trying to learn and weigh out my options. Make sure I make the right decisions. Honestly, I want to be with whoever I decide to be with. I just want to be around people who genuinely care about me and my music and my vision. I don’t want to be around people who don’t believe I’m the next thing, that I’m number one. I want everybody to feel the exact same way as me. I don’t want any doubters or none of that.
The Source: You got people talking, you got a picture, I don’t know if it was your picture but it was your manager or someone had a picture with the ROCNATION offices.
A: Yeah my boy SayItAintTone he has people up there so we just sat and talked about everything.
The Source: But you know how it is. You take a picture somewhere, people saying you’re signing there; I heard L.A Reid is calling program directors about you, so there’s a lot circulating. What are some of your affiliations? Are you apart of a bigger collective or are you specifically with any producers?
A: SayItAintTone he’s with Finally Famous with Big Sean, IGBGM thats our brand, our thing, Iroc, Fez, DDS he is from Detroit and he produced “Try Me”. That’s pretty much it. SayItAintTone, you know he’s with Sean.
The Source: How long have you known Big Sean?
A: I’ve just actually met him. We were kicking it out in L.A at his house. Like I just met him face to face like that last week. Well actually a couple of weeks ago because I’ve seen him back home in Detroit.
The Source: Who are some other of your influences or artists that you were really in to or maybe still are that made an impact on the sound you have?
A: I don’t listen to too many rappers. I’m a big Jay Z fan, I met him last week too at the ROCNATION Made in America party.
The Source: Who else are you a fan of? It doesn’t need to be rap, I’m just curious who you listen to or have listened to growing up.
A: Anit Baker, Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, E-40, hes one of my biggest influences.
The Source: Anybody that would be surprised that you are a big fan of like even outside of rap and r&b? Anything stick out?
A: I like a new guy, Makonnen, I like his sound alot of people think it’s weird, I like him. Dom Kennedy I like a lot.
Stay tuned as we’ll keep you updated on all things Dej Loaf
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