Let’s hop right into this upcoming single, “Let Go“ — Tell me about this particular track; how did it...
Let’s hop right into this upcoming single, “Let Go“ — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
Hey, so “Let Go” was birthed out of being forced to look within myself, the artist, coming out of the pandemic. I started recording songs for myself again after a few years of working behind the scenes mostly writing, featuring or engineering for other artists. Javie Lopez, who produced the track, reached out and said he had a couple of particular tracks he thought would suit me sonically. This particular vibe he was on was a throwback sound he thought that would be the right direction for me. Turned out they super inspired me, and “Let Go” came out of those two tracks he sent me.
Of course “Let Go” comes courtesy of your still forthcoming – not to mention long overdue – next – dare I say official debut – solo collection — What all can you reveal and / or divulge about upcoming said body of work?
I can say as far as my upcoming works, I am in a more confident space with my songwriting. Working with and recording other artists behind the scenes has definitely polished my pen and ear. You can expect anything I do to be authentic, period. No major label putting pressure on the creative process. This can range from a catchy RnB / Pop record, or if I got some shit to get off my chest I may feel like sing / rapping some shit. It’s what the track brings out of me.
How then does this new material(s) either differ and / or compare to previous Dina Rae entries?
I have definitely evolved as far as having a more objective ear on my choices in what I’m releasing. I am braver today, I am more experienced and this will all hopefully be felt in my upcoming releases. I think I’ve always been raw, however I think I’m just better now.
As a songwriter, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw your inspiration from?
As a songwriter, my inspiration mostly comes from personal experiences. I am definitely a track-driven writer, and once I’m feeling a beat I draw from whatever is going on with me at that particular time or moment that it brings up for me.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Dina Rae?
My introduction to being a recording artist came from my dance studio in the ‘90’s, Reginas. All the hottest acts used to come rehearse there and we were little kids at the time, in awe, and watching them rehearse their songs with choreography. Peeking around the corner watching BBD rehearse “Poison,” thinking “damn, they’re so fuckin’ cool, this is what I wanna do!” The Pharcyde used to teach up there as well, and actually Fat Lip is the first one to ever record me, when I really caught the bug to make records!
Now you’re a native of Los Angeles, CA, correct? So growing up in the ‘City of Angels,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Yes, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My biggest influences early on I think were the same as many others; the Madonnas, Michaels, Janets, Prince era, of real performers, and, of course, Whitney and Mariah vocally.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
It’s hard to judge myself, but I’ve been told I am soulful with Pop appeal, and I kind of like that description…whatever the hell that means, haha! I can spit a verse, but I’m not a rapper, so its kinda hard to put me in a box. But I’m definitely melodic. First thing I hear when you throw a beat on is melody.
What particular string of events actually led to your initial linking up with Mr. Marshall Mathers and ultimately becoming (his) The Track 13 Girl?
Well after catching the “Bug” of recording, I started singing hooks for a lot of the L.A. locals; I did a hook on a Pharcyde album, South Central Cartel, Black Eyed Peas and several others. My intro to Em came down to a random meeting in L.A., before he dropped his (The) Slim Shady LP. No one had any idea how huge Em was about to be. I think part of us working together was the fact that I was coming through for him like that before he was a star. Then as he once told me, that his fans respected and expected me to be on track #13. He said he thought there was something special about my voice.
Why do you feel that the chemistry between the two of you works – even till this day – so well?
I think Em just knowing exactly what he wanted vocally from me, and me being able to deliver and follow direction in trying to achieve what he heard in his head, made for a cohesive working relationship in the studio. Then, him giving me the space to do my own melodies and ad-libs in there to put my stamp on the work was also great for chemistry.
Favorite and / or most memorable song(s), session(s), collabo(s)? Any funny stories and / or anecdotes?
Haha! I have one I don’t think I’ve shared…I’m sitting in the movies with my ex, and my dude’s pager starts blowing up. Apparently Em was in town doing an APB looking for me on the radio at Power 106 in L.A.. He was on-air “looking for Dina Rae and needed me at the studio asap!” Well, that night I cut “Pimp Like Me ” from D12’s Devil’s Night album. He was like, “why the fuck are you so hard to get in touch with?” and I said, “talk to your manager, I called in my new number last week!” Anyway, that was the third #13 track I did, just before “Superman.”
That said, why do you feel it is that your career hasn’t reached its projected potential?
I feel as though everything needed was securely in place, yet solo stardom has yet to occur, is that even a fair assumption?
Trust me you’re not the first to ask this, including myself. It was supposed to be the perfect set up after that (The) Anger Management Tour, so we all thought, including my label Motown / Universal Records. But things go awry, I can’t really blame one thing. I mean, my business could have been better, I had no management at the time, which was kinda crazy. I mean, the stars have to be aligned just right and they weren’t. I think Motown was expecting at least a feature from Em, and his team wasn’t allowing it. I was kind of isolated…it felt like…and I think it was also the time iTunes and digital started moving in, and the label had no idea how to adjust. I mean, I had Scott Storch singles, and a great album I delivered that never saw the light of day. So honestly, I don’t know! What I DO know though is that it was all these events that lead me to learn Pro Tools, learn to develop other artists, vocal produce etcetera. I was forced to, in order to eat. So maybe it was all meant to become a better artist today, who knows, it’s just all part of my crazy journey. With that all said, I’m comfortable in my skin and really excited about my future as an artist.
What do you feel has been and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
Growth, period! You can’t be complacent or comfortable. I never thought in a million years I would be a Pro Tools geek, but I love it! I love cutting and editing vocals. Sharpening my skills and being around other artists that inspire me to be better.
What do you want people to get from your music?
To feel me, to invoke a feeling, authenticity.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B?
Am I happy with it? Not as happy as ‘90’s and 2000’s RnB made me, haha! But I will say there are some amazing artists out here, you just have to sift through all the bullshit because there’s so much of it now.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
I think right now I’m just focused on being the best writer / recording artist I can be…I definitely haven’t reached my full potential and I’ve given a lot of my time and energy to helping other artists and companies to get rich. It’s my turn now!
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
I’d be lying if I said anything other than rocking arenas with Marshall, and making history on those songs with him.
What’s an average day like for you?
Average day for me is definitely coffee, walk my pit-bull, Frida, workout, hike, etcetera…and then get to whatever music or project I’m working on. I stay low key unless there’s some event or something I need to go to.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I interact. I consider myself super down to earth, but I do get busy as we all do. You still need boundaries and to protect your privacy, but I have no problem interacting with people or sharing any kind of info I can that could possibly help someone.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
I feel blessed to be able to express myself in this way, and at times it feels like a curse. I think a lot of artists can relate. There are times you can feel so high and good about a project or a song, and then there’s times when you don’t fucking feel like it, but you gotta pull it out of you anyway and find a way to show up. If you’re a professional you don’t always get to choose to, but you gotta show up. Does that make sense? ‘Cause there’s people relying on you,
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t, haha! Seriously though, don’t do music as your first choice unless you feel you will die without it. It’s not for the faint of heart and nowadays it’s more of a popularity contest anyway more than the music. Hone your craft, whatever you do, do your vocal lessons, practice your instrument; you can never work at your art enough.
Lastly, what’s next for you, Dina?
Good question! Travel, make money, take care of my loved ones, live good, settle down one day get married and make music at my leisure, period! I just wanna be happy and healthy. In the short term, I’ll be promoting this “LET GO” single.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
I just want to bring up my Purple Diva Brand. The color Purple signifies everything I’ve gone through in this business and in life. I’m a little beat up “black and blue,” but I’m resilient in coming out on top – hence the Diva part. Anyone that’s been through some shit can relate. It’s not just about the color, it’s significant to the trials and tribulations for all of us Purple Divas and Purple Daddies, xoxox
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Thank you for this interview, and the thoughtful questions…it’s been a ride, and I hope everyone enjoys the new video “LET GO!” #PurpleDiva out!!
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