1. Where are we talking from today?
A. I am from Chicago originally but Florida currently has my heart.
2. Where did you get your artist name from?
A. Well, I went through maybe 3-4 name ideas but I ultimately went with the name I was born with, Dahshanae. It felt the most right and really further pushed the motive of truly showing my audience who I am.
3. Music wise what are you working on right now? Are you currently promoting a single or album?
A. I just finished working on my first mixtape, “Relapse” and it is truly my most personal project yet. “Relapse” will be available on all platforms June 17th and the first single and visual from the project, “R.I.A” will be out April 19th followed by a few more really amazing releases so I’m very excited about it. I found my sound while writing this project. I learned so much about myself and what is and isn’t love through this project. More importantly, I learned how to accept my flaws and to take everything that I’ve learned to make better decisions in life and hopefully be a beacon for others that hear this project and relate to it in some way to help them understand that repeated behavior will have the repeated results.
4. Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career?
A. I would say who inspired me most was definitely Janet Jackson and Beyoncé. I was literally 4 years old staring at my TV studying Janet Jackson’s music video choreography until I had it completely down packed. Same with Beyoncé as I got older. I’ve just always been obsessed with their confidence, their creativity, their drive. Everything they did was completely genius and legendary and I think myself as well as many girls growing up saw that as an example of true brilliance. When I got more so into my teens, I got into Erykah Badu and fell in love with her voice and her vision. I would say I definitely look up to so many strong women that inspire me to be the artist that I am today.
5. Who are your favorite musicians?
A. I love so many artists and I’m always finding new ones to add to the already long list of my favs but off the top of my head, I’d say Jessie Reyez, Mickey Shiloh, Chloe X Halle, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande.
6. What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?
A. My greatest challenges have definitely been feeling unsure of myself and allowing others to make me feel unsure of myself when I am confident in something. I’m a Libra so I’m already very indecisive by nature so getting to a point where I’m completely happy with something can be a long process and can become an even longer process when I have other people in my ear telling me they don’t like something I do and that I should do this instead than someone coming behind them and saying they don’t like that. I kind of had to come to the realization that not everyone is going to like everything I do and no matter how hard I try, you simply can not please everyone. I had to give myself a mini pep one day and tell myself that I got this and to just go with my gut and that has definitely helped me overcome some of my self-doubts.
7. As a musician, what is your definition of success?
A. Being a musician, many people would say success is selling out shows, getting a #1 on Billboard, and having millions of dollars. Don’t get more wrong, I think those things can play a factor in the look of success but I’m more worried about the feel of success. Being able to connect with your audience through your music is huge to me because there are so many people around the world going through things and always have that feeling that it’s just them feeling crappy or low key weird or whatever is it. With my music I want my audience to see that they are not alone so people messaging me or coming to my shows saying that one of my songs made them feel better about their situation or made them feel empowered then that means true success to me.
8. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. My idea of perfect happiness is being able to create art. Rather it’s music, visuals, performances, paintings, etc. As long as I’m creating freely and being able to fully express myself through my art, that is the definition of a happy Dahshanae. Well…that and food.
9. What is your present state of mind?
A. My present state of mind is solely on making my mark. I remember seeing something Left Eye from TLC said in an interview and it really stuck with me. She said that if you can see something you want in your head clear as day, then it is possible. When you believe in it, It starts manifesting into reality. For me, always believing in myself and keeping the doubters far away from my creative thought process and execution is key.
10. What is your most treasured possession?
A. My most treasured possession is hands down my laptop. I feel like my entire life is on it so I’m super protective over it. You can take away my entire studio but as long as I got my laptop, I’m good.
11. What do you enjoy doing most?
A. I enjoy being in my studio from sun up to sun down just writing. For my “Relapse” project, in particular, I really freestyle many of the songs and now it is probably one of my favorite ways to create. You never really know what you’re going say so sometimes the melody is everything but I have to go in a switch a few words around and sometimes the melody and the lyrics just fit so perfectly that I leave it alone so it’s a pretty interesting process for me.
12. Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
A. In 10 years, my only real goal is to be happy and to continue to make music that makes people feel human and inspire them to be unapologetic.
13. Where you @ online?
A. You can find me on all social media platforms @IamDahshanae