Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “Rise Up”?
I am extremely excited about releasing “Rise Up” because this song came to me from the depths of my soul. It is a song inspired by my need to let go of the past once and for all, to shed my old skin and step into a new, confident self that is done paying dues and ready to take on the world with renewed drive and energy. “Rise Up” is about rising up from the ashes and overcoming hardship to stand strong in the end. It is an anthem for those who are ready to have a new beginning, for those who are done licking old wounds and are ready to Rise Up to new heights and conquer ones demons to move forward with strength, confidence and belief.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
This song was inspired by my entire life’s journey up to date. I have always been a foreigner everywhere I lived, so I always felt a bit like an outsider trying to fit in. Today I feel like a citizen of the world. I identify with every race and every social class, because I have seen it all, I have experienced the bottom I have experienced the top and ultimately it is all fleeting until you decide to love yourself for who you are no matter where you are in your journey and what life throws at you. “Rise Up” is about finding back to yourself, about finding back to your strength and overcoming the toughest moments and stand tall and stronger than ever in the end. In my early music career I experienced numerous traumatizing circumstances to the point where I became so bitter and disillusioned that I never wanted to sing again. After many years of grieving and healing from that time I started to pick up the broken pieces. I had to battle my demons, insecurities and self-sabotage, but in the end I found my way back to music and performing and I remembered what really matters to me. “Rise Up” is about shaking off the last remnants of past trauma, about shedding the old skin to be reborn into a new stronger, lighter, more confident and positive self. “Rise Up” is inspired by my own desperate need for healing resurrection and I do not take for granted for one single moment, that there are people out there who have gone through much tougher life experiences than I have and I want “Rise Up” to be their song, I want it to give strength and inspiration to those who need it the most.
How was the filming experience for the music video?
The filming of the Music Video was one of the best experiences of my life. From thinking about the concept to the execution my team and I had so much fun creating this vision. I wanted this video to represent the ascent from a dark place to a place of strength and fierce energy. Together with Film Director and Editor Gaudens Zulu (@gaudenszulu – editor for the incredible Music Videos of Nicki Minaj), one of the best and most humble people I have ever worked with, we came up with the concept of being woken up by the snake when lying on the floor as a symbol that it’s time to shed the old skin and leave the past behind. Historically, snakes represent the creative life force. As snakes shed their skin, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. In the “Rise Up” Music video the snake is acting as a savior and reminder to wake up, and realize your own strength, which is primal and something that we can all access when we are ready.
With the beach scene we wanted to continue to show the transition from dark to light which ultimately leads to the fierce dance scene to represent new found confidence and power, represented by a group of unstoppable warriors moving as one.
After following each other in Instagram for over a year, I had the amazing pleasure of finally working with Snyder Derival, who is one of the best cinematographers in the industry (Justine Skye, Teyena Teylor, Rotimi ft 50 Cent, Jada Kiss featuring Neyo) and with his help we were really able to capture the magic moments we were going for. Sometimes things are just meant to happen.
This was also the first time I worked with a drone, operated by @Visualstarmedia, and I have to say the footage we were able to capture was insane. “Rise Up” is about the phoenix rising and that nothing can stop it. To help us create the fierce characters I was going for we enlisted the help of the incredibly talented makeup artist Ryan B Butler (@byryanbanthony_) (Vogue published), and the amazing stylist Giovonni (@giosoglobal), who was able to pull some amazing fashion pieces, to make my vision come to life.
The dance scene was the hardest and at the same time the most fun to film, Ana Kisin (@anakisin), our choreographer is a force to be reckoned with and she did not accept any slack from me, or the amazing dancers (@thegreatdiaz @onxlaught @careeseg @love_midarkskin), who came on board to represent the “Rise Up” warriors. And I am very proud to report that two of my dancers were featured in Season 17 of So You Think You can Dance!
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process of “Rise Up” was a collaboration with the amazing team of Ali Dee’s (@alidee) The Practice Worldwide (@thepracticeww @bellamusic @a.k.a.sarai @veneno_v21). The Practice World Wide has worked with world premiere artists, such as Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Mary J. Blige, Natalie Imbruglia, Shakira, Busta Rhymes, Natasha Bedingfield, and Mýa, among others. Initially I was very nervous to start working on this song, because the theme and what I wanted to say on this particular track is very meaningful to me and I wanted to express this feeling in the right way. I was lucky to be working on it with some of the most talented producers and songwriters in the industry, who understood my sentiment behind this track immediately and helped me lift “Rise Up” off the ground. I am very hands on when it comes to my song writing so I was part of the process every step of the way which was very important to me. I would play the chords on the piano at home and send my thoughts and ideas to the team and step-by-step together we assembled the perfect song. It was so amazing and fun meeting and brainstorming together and seeing this track grow into what it is now.
What role does NYC play in your writing?
I friggin love NYC! I came here to pursue the American dream and very much believe in it. Creative collaborations can happen on almost every corner of this beautiful town, that is so full of inspiration and positive energy. I have met and continue to meet so many amazing people that are inspiring me and pushing me to become the best I can be, which is by default reflected in my writing.
Does your new single mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along?
Absolutely. I am currently working on the production of my next track. It’s a ballad called “Darkest Blue” that I wrote for someone very special in my life. I can’t wait for this song to be born because it comes from a very pure and sacred place. I have been getting incredible feedback on it in my live performances so I am very excited for more people to be able to hear it. And there is definitely more work on the way.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Tentative release date would be fall of 2018 so stay tuned! Regarding title I think “Notes from the Underground” would be a very fitting name, but let’s see!
Known for speaking more than 5 different languages – would you be writing other songs in any of this other idioms?
I am currently focused on writing in English but I also love singing in Spanish and Russian. I have written and released a song in Russian before, that I created based on the poetry of a very talented friend of mine, but I would love to create some good work singing in Spanish also! There might in fact be a very interesting collaboration under way so stay tuned.
Any plans to hit the road?
Always! But first things first. As soon as the road has been paved I will be on my way.
What else is happening next in Darja’s world?
Darja’s world is a beautiful place of artistic creation…things are always happening here. I am very much focused on my music and creating beautiful content for my supporters. In addition to music I am also a trained actress and together with the Director of my “True Paradise” Music Video, Evgeniya Radolova (Actors Studio) we have launched our own film production company called iDare Productions and have already produced three more projects since the Music Video release, which won two Awards in Film Festivals. Being creative is something that I love be it in front or behind the camera, so stay tuned for our upcoming short film releases…