Interview: Harmony De’Kya – Suited for Stage

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Looks like she might be more suited to a runway than being on stage providing tunes for other teens and twenty-somethings to groove to. But don’t be fooled by her looks – this dazzling blond has plenty of experience, having started gigging around London at the age of 14. Unlike most of today’s young, rising stars, though, De’Kya isn’t trying to sneak her way into your head with sugar-coated, manufactured pop songs. As De’Kya sings on “Mean Motherf*cker,” she “may look quite sweet, but don’t fall for that,” as she’s a “mean old pussycat.”

And though the 19-year old’s toughness may just seem like a shtick, she appears quite determined to stick around. De’Kya likes to get in on every aspect of the music she makes, including writing her own lyrics and producing tracks. Despite not being overly saccharine and poppy, De’Kya still puts out music with a sense of mainstream appeal. The Londoner manages to skillfully toe the fine line between complex and catchy, weaving together a sound that it is at once smart and accessible.

What really sets De’Kya apart from her peers, though, is her attitude. She has an irresistible brashness that doesn’t feel contrived – instead of playing an image, Harmony simply presents her personality and lets others deal with it. As her MYSPACE page defiantly announces, “If you don’t like my music don’t listen get lost!” That last part is definitely easier said than done, as De’Kya’s sound is cunningly infectious. Songs such as “Mean Motherf*cker” and “Broken Fingers” have a polished, electronic sound that is as tough as De’Kya, while “Waste of Life” finds the emerging artist pouring her heart out through her beautiful, soaring vocals. Just one listen is enough to know that De’Kya herself isn’t likely to be getting lost any time soon.

Daniel: Has 2009 been a good year for Harmony?

Harmony: It has been an immense year for me, I have had a demo album called ‘The Superficial Released onto ITunes which is doing very well at the moment for just a demo album! Also I have had a string of successful gigs across London which have drawn in lost of media attention and definitely got tongues wagging… I have met some great people who I am ready to work with..and 2009 has definitely given me an amazing build up to make this year (2010) my year!!!

Daniel: What was it like growing up in London?

Harmony: I have luckily had a very good up bringing getting involved in music at only 3 years old meant that I have really strong focus on throughout my childhood. Living in London has meant that I have been able to experience all types of music from musicals to opera’s and it has meant my musical knowledge is very well rounded.

Then again London has also opened my eyes to violence and poverty, I remember when I was about 6 years old my mother taking me to a place called ‘cardboard city’ an underground place in London where the homeless people literally lived in cardboard boxes (it is now shut down)..She explains to me how lucky I was and how I can use my talent not only to benefit myself but to help others. On a few occasions I have used my musical talent to make money for charity too…doing fundraisers etc

Also from a young age I was singing in clubs and bars doing my first solo set in a well known London bar at the age of 14..so I am used to the vibe and environment so not much shocks me!!!

Daniel: When did all of this begin for you?

Harmony: To be honest with you lots of it is really hard work, I remember at some point during my early time at secondary school I would run to get the first train home to do my music, whilst the other kids kinda hung out and had fun…I used to be like why can’t I stay out late and what not.. At the time I used to really feel it but now I am glad I put so much work into as its really paying off.

There are lots of perks to the Job…making people smile, putting on an event that people talk about weeks after! And of course a little V.I.P. treatment and after parties.. Haha The fun is starting to begin however I am still remaining focused as I have a long way to go until I reach my ultimate goal!

Daniel: I see you play the Saxophone.. Quite an instrument.. Is it your favorite to play? What other instruments do you play?

Harmony: Ahhh the Saxophone I love as its so versatile, I can play soulful blues on it or use it to create tunes for house tracks…its great and a really different instrument too. I started playing when I was 11 so by now have my own style on it, a very mellow smooth tone. I would say the piano is my favorite though as it was my first instrument…I love to just sit down and work out a song with beautiful harmonies. A nice romantic tune or a little rock anthem I can do most things on the piano really.

Daniel: What inspires you to write? Who are your musical inspiration?

Harmony: Mmmm… meaningful situations in my life, there are many but some just trigger a song! For instance the song ‘Waste Of Life’ was written for a friend of mine who died in the London knife crimes, I wanted to preserve my wonderful memories of seeing him walking around smiling in a song, and also show to others how selfish if was to ‘waste his life’. My musical inspirations could be people in my like…eg relationships with people like my various lover *laughs* or just friends. Also inspiration from other artists..I really find Damien Rice quite inspirational the moments…..his acoustic slow melodies and deep lyrics…ahh bliss…not to forget his good looks..oops!

Daniel: What has been the most difficult part of breaking through into this industry?

Harmony: Persistently practicing and staying focused on my goal, not getting caught up in all that goes with it. I find that if I stay on the straight and narrow and better myself not only musically but by getting the right people around me…I move closer and closer to my musical ambition. I listen to people who MATTER and who are here to help me not just get in on the act or scam me of money..I have had lots of interest of various record labels but listened to my advisers and not signed until I get the suitable deal for me!

Daniel: What has been the most rewarding?

Harmony: Just seeing people dance sing along and just have fun to my tracks…watching the music bring people together. I love working with other people artist/producers so that together we can create original music…fresh for your ears. I have had lots of my music played and clubs which is fab people going crazy to a track and really getting into it means I am doing my job well… Hmmm even if they are a little tipsy…!

Daniel: What keeps you motivated to make more music?

Harmony: Simply because I have a massive passion for music…to express myself through lyrics and sound!

Daniel: You’ve been in this industry for quite some time. Tell us one story about your adventures in this industry, the ones that stick out in your mind the most.

Harmony: Most probably when I was only 14 and I did a solo set at the famous Drury Lane Theatre it was a charity event full of famous actors and actresses and hosted by Sir Richard Attenborough.

It was a wonderful feeling to see all these influential powerful people supporting me and allowing me to perform at this amazing event. From this event it just gave me confidence to perform and where and every where to all kinds of different people….as everyone enjoys music not matter who they are

Daniel: The accolades are starting to pour in, how does it feel to be positively embraced by this industry?

Harmony: I have had some great press reviews and lovely fan mail/support and it feels incredible and I am only just starting off!!! I would like to say thank you to everyone that has supported me so far and hopefully you will all continue to follow my musical journey… Thank you all!

Daniel: What are your hopes for the new year 2010?

Harmony: “Well…I have some very very big surprises for my fans out there…this year I am writing and gigging with some very well known artist and all I can say is…Watch Out 2010 is going to be the year!!