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INTERVIEW: Winnipeg’s singer/songwriter/hip hop artist Dele O

Hi Dele, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello. Thank you for having me. I’ve been well. I’ve been extremely busy with the release but that’s a good problem to have.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Mashed Potatoes”?

Mashed Potatoes was produced by Maskerade Beats. A colleague of mine referred me to the producer and I automatically loved his beats. I like a contemporary R&B sound, so Mashed Potatoes jumped out to me right away. When I write songs, I think of the videos first. I like to visualize them, it helps me write. With this song, the words were coming faster than I could write them. That’s when I know I have a great song.

did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

This song was inspired by the amazing women in my life. I have been blessed to be around a lot of great women so I can always draw from different personalities when writing songs like this.

Any plans to release a music video for the single?

Yes, I’ll be shooting the music video for the single once I come back home from tour. It will be available mid-September.

The single comes off your new album 20/20 – why naming the album after this track in particular?

20/20 has its own meaning. After being signed to a couple different labels and going through a lot of troubles, I decided to start my own label Eagle Eye Empire. My style of hip hop is not what is dominating the airwaves right now, but I have to be true to myself and true to my sound so 20/20 is me having clear vision of my sound and trusting myself to make the best decisions for myself and my career

how was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was a great. Trey is a true professional. It was just him and I in the studio most days. We really didn’t have many obstacles. We were able to. record the entire ep in 2 days. My family members and artists, Phareke, L.I Freeze and Banknotes were also in the studio, giving me tips to help me make a more well-rounded sounding project.

What was it like to work with Trey Mills and how did that relationship develop?

 Working with Trey was a career highlight. Trey is incredibly down to earth and an amazing musician and songwriter. I first met Trey in 2010 while I was on a western Canadian tour. My friend and artist Jay Thaddeus brought us to Trey’s studio to record a song while we were in town. I was blown away by his ability to improvise on both the piano and the guitar. He took a song that was regular and turned it into something great, I was awestruck, and that’s when I told myself if I ever have the opportunity to work with Trey on a complete project, I would jump at the chance.

How much did he influence the album?

The writing of the record was completely influenced by my own personal experiences, but the production was very much inspired by Trey. He’s worked with world class artists, so I let him take the direction when it came to the production, I wanted a really fresh and crisp sound, and I know that’s something he could deliver, so I thought it was best to get out of my own way and let him do his thing.

How has your upbringing influence your writing?

It’s funny that you ask that because don’t I think about writing music. I think “Your mom’s gonna hear this!” from my parents are very conservative, almost bordering on strict, so I’ve always been told that when I’m out there, I am a reflection of my family. You can put this ep and play it around family and friends, fully enjoy it without having to skip because of vulgarity, that was a big part of the direction. I was going in with this and future albums.

After the success of your previous material, were you any nervous or worried while working on this material?

Music is my calm place, so anytime I’m creating or putting out a new record. I never feel nervous. I have some great professionals that I’m working with on this new record, my publicist Beth Cavanagh and everybody at Unbound by Sound has really been behind me in helping me push this record and getting it out to the world so any nerves I might have had were calmed as a result of having such a great team.

What aspect of love and passion did you get to explore on this record?

When I think of love and passion, the word that comes to mind is raw. When you listen to Unconditional and Animal, you’ll realize that they’re both a raw, very real, not a lot of fluff, really straight to the point. There is something very refreshing about somebody telling you exactly how they feel. It’s something everybody appreciates, so I took that approach when writing.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes, starting early September I have shows in Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver. Originally, I was supposed to be going on tour to California butdo to unforeseen circumstances. I had to cancel that leg of the tour.

What else is happening next in Dele O’s world?

I can never be idle so I’m currently working on a tour in Nigeria for this Christmas. My father is from Nigeria and this would give me a great opportunity to go there and learn about my Nigerian side of the family. The African music market is booming right now, and there’s a huge opportunity for those who are willing to go over there and collaborate.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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