IAMDDB On Urban Jazz And Her Latest Mixtape Swervvvvv.5

No doubt, you would have heard of IAMDDB, née, Diana DeBrito. After all, she was named as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 list this year, ranked third in the BBC’s Sound of 2018 list, was personally sought out by music royalty Lauryn Hill to support her ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ 2018 tour and sold out her first tour across Europe within minutes.

The Mancunian introduced a genre to the world that she coins “urban jazz” – a genre inspired from having spent six months in Angola, playing jazz festivals with her father on stage. “I push urban jazz so hard because I saw how much it helped people to connect and heal,” she told Miss Vogue. “I thought, imagine the impact if I brought this music from Africa to the rest of the world.”

At 19, she released her first mixtape Waeveybby 1, featuring her most beloved track “Childsplay” that she refers to as “my baby”. “It’s the song that hits home because I completely stripped myself back from pride and ego and really let myself go. I was going back and forth with relationships – with my ex, friends and family – it was a time of turmoil and pressure trying to figure out who I was and whether the people around me were the right kind of people. I grew to understand myself – in the midst of my own drama, I was my own calm,” she revealed.

“Childsplay” sets the tone for the rest of the mixtape – a mixture of sultry R&B, jazz, hip-hop met with calm and vulnerability – marking the genesis of IAMDDB’s sound and the world of music that she explores with her later projects.

“When I first started to make music under the name ‘IAMDDB’, I decided from the beginning I was going to do 5 projects before making an album. With the volumes, I wanted to take people through a musical journey and through all sides of life – through vulnerability, to being a bad bitch, to feeling good, to understanding yourself and unlocking feelings. Volumes 1 and 2 were both calm, Volume 3 – an introduction to trap and Volume 4 is more experimental with eclectic sounds. I hope that anybody listening can connect to it in their own unique way, whether it be helping them feel, heal or realise their own potential,” she explained.

All artists fear of being pigeonholed into a sound or genre and being accused of predictability. While releasing a series of volumes – amalgamations of booming trap as heard in “Shade” from Hoodrich Vol.3 sultry bass lines and velvety vocals as heard in “Pause” from Vibe, Volume 2. and bouncy, vibey trap in “Drippy” from Flightmode Vol.4, IAMDDB is anything but predictable. But her opting out of releasing a debut album is however, unconventional, but if anything, impressive.

“For me, independence is being able to do what I want, without relying on anybody else or being influenced by outward energy – having full creative control. I make my own beat, I make my own rules and I make my own lane. It took a lot of trial and error, I can’t lie. It’s bittersweet that I didn’t go with a label because I did a lot on my own. I personally found the producers, wrote my own music, pieced everything together. I didn’t realise that most artists don’t do that or write for themselves! But I think, if I were to be signed with a label, there’d be boundaries, rules and levels that I wouldn’t be able to go to,” she explained.

Indeed, making her own rules is her USP and as she says, “I am my own USP.” She is fearless in projecting her ‘idgaf’ attitude into her music and lyrics that ooze confidence where you hear her literally Beyoncé– feeling herself, whilst catching you off guard as its sung amongst ethereal harmonies and soulful licks.

Now at 23, she returns with Swervvvvv.5, the fifth and last of the volume instalments. Inspired by Playboi Carti and Solange, her fifth project is her most refined with a definite focus on sounds and on instrumentals – a calming finale to her ever-evolving world of urban jazz that she has introduced us to, taking listeners by surprise in her hypnotic interludes in between tracks.

“I’ve matured since I started the volumes. I really wanted to make a project that you haven’t heard before. I wanted to give my supporters a listening experience and I think Volume 5 is a perfect example of flowing – flowing through good energy, through empowerment and vulnerability. It represents the two sides of IAMDDB – the turn up and the vulnerable. It’s all about vibrations, and I want listeners to feel something when they listen to it, rather just think it’s cool. I want it to move something with you, raise your vibrations – just feel good.”

Following from the opening “Introlude” – a shoutout to her supporters and listeners is “Urban Jazz” – an ode to her time spent in Angola and the genre she cultivated, as she sings about its healing affects, taking us back to its organic sounds that she introduced back in her first mixtape. Then she lights up the album with “Wokeuptoflexxx (WUTF)“– a song, brimming with attitude “about setting your intentions and mood, so you go about your day feeling like the badass bitch that you are!” and Miss Vogue‘s favourite “I’m Home” pays homage to her Angolan roots with African beats with sensual, bewitching harmonies and vocal licks.

“I wanted to remind people that vulnerability is the key to unlocking everything you want in life. So, the songs in this album are like my diary entries – a lot about looking inwards, facing myself, my demons, and making myself vulnerable in order to be the best version of myself and not being afraid of that, in order to empower others,” she explains.

Abruptly and assertively, she ends with “Brb Introlude”, stating, “next step? Album mode”. “I’m already working on the first album – I’m really excited, it’s going to be dope! In terms of genre, it’s going to be world sounds – afro, urban jazz, trap. People always question who IAMDDB sounds like, or who would gravitate towards my sound, so I think the features and the people who I’m collaborating with will become clear. But imma keep that on the hush hush so it’s a surprise. I’m just excited to get this out next year!” she squeals.

Catch IAMDDB at The Ends Festival, 31st May – 2nd June. Tickets still available


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