Having introduce you to New Jersey artist Dzh back in September of last year, we find our way back to the Garden State to catch up with him and see what he’s been up to. In our newest Q&A with the budding artist, we talk song creation process, his new mixtape YAYA, what’s next for him, and much more. Check it out down below.
So I guess we should begin with introductions, how old are you and where are you from?
So, first off, a lot has changed since I’d last spoken with you guys, so I appreciate you guys interviewing me once again. Recently, in January, I’d turned 21 on the 14th. I’m from upper north Jersey in Morris County
What got you started making music?
What had gotten me started with making music was the love for Hip-Hop. I wasn’t doing it for fame or to be noticed, I was doing it because from a very early age, writing became my escapsim for the neighborhood around me. I’d gotten started with rapping and writing lyrics at a very young age around eight or nine. After my family and I moved a couple of times around New Jersey, I started to really work on my craft and took it seriously shortly after we moved when I was 11 and I’ve been applying pressure ever since.
When you’re not making music what are you up to?
Honestly, not much. I attend college and work 2 jobs. There’s never really been a time when I wasn’t working on music. Outside of music, if I’m at writer’s block or can’t think of what snare should use, I’ll take a step back and just listen to other music for inspiration. Talking to my homies, playing video games, and sometimes cooking will help me get out of that mindset as well.
Do you have a process for song creation or is it more of a spur of the moment thing?
It varies. Like I’m sitting on one record and I’m taking my time on that one because it’s special to me and I wanna make sure it’s perfect, but with other records, they just flow and I have the record right then and there. Features have always been my speciality… I’m not sure why, but it’s much more easier to write for someone else more than it’s easier to write for myself.
Did you have any early music influences? Who were your favorite artists growing up?
My influences included the usual legends: Kanye West, Jay-Z, and so on. It ventured off to different artists when I started picking out samples and listening to R&B. From Mary J. Blige, Yolanda Adams, Lenny Kravitz, Miles Davis, to Kendrick Lamar, especially Kendrick Lamar… my influences really go all over and I’m proud of that. Growing up, my favorite artists were Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, J. Cole, and my personal favorite The Game. Today it’s much more of R&B that I find myself listening to more than anything and my favorite artists include H.E.R., Xavier Omar, ELHAE, 6LACK, Jhene Aiko, H.I.M., Mundu, and plenty more.
In what ways have your music changed since you began making music?
Were these changes consciously made, or did they naturally happen? My music has changed drastically: it started from me wanting to be the best rapper ever to wanting to be rapper that I can be for listeners and others around me because I wanted to be that voice for others as much as I could. Being the best is wonderful and all, but there are certain standards that I don’t agree with and I’m comfortable with being myself rather than trying to be something I’m not. These changes really just naturally happened and I just adjusted my mindset to what I was feeling for so long.
What has been your proudest moment in this process? What was a moment in which you could see the results of your hard work?
It doesn’t seem like much, but back in late August, I’d released my 7th mixtape Under This Hoodie and lots of people were explaining to me how they loved the project, how it touched them mentally, and how they really enjoyed my growth as an artist. I was really trash, so to see great process, seeing who I was to what I’ve become was truly an incredible journey and pushes me even further to become a better artist. One moment in particular that showed me the results of my results of my work was my performances. I’d be performing unreleased records and the crowd would love my energy and to this day, it’d really bless my heart because to perform records that have a special place in your heart really does something. I can’t wait to have more moments like those too.
You’ve been releasing music steadily for a while. How has the industry changed over the years, and how have you had to adapt to it?
The industry has definitely changed and I think more artists are most silent with the work they put in rather than be loud and in-your-face about it. As far as how I was able to adapt, I was always a quiet artist and I never really spoke much as a person, so naturally, not speaking or revealing too much about myself, except in my music when it’s necessary, it was easy for me.
If you were to describe your sound, how would you describe it?
Still trying to find it. Sometimes I’m told I sound like Mick Jenkins, then I sound too much like another artist, then most of the time other artists tell me I sound like me. It makes me happy a little when I’m told that I sound like myself rather than someone else.
What’s your recording process like?
My recording process is really odd, but simple. I usually throw on a hoodie, a durag, or both. It adds a “feel” to it, if that makes sense. I make sure I have a gallon of water close by too. Now, what I’ve noticed that lots of other artists do, that I don’t, is to turn the monitor off. I can’t stand to hear my voice while recording and I think it throws me off. I might do a verse, hook, or both perfectly, or run through a take 25-75 times before actually getting it right. I’m really energetic and different about the recording process, it’s how my best work comes out.
What is next for you? What do you want your supporters to know about you?
At the moment, lots of things are on the way. I recently dropped YAYA, my 8th mixtape, in late January, but I’ve got many things I’ve got underway and I can’t wait to put them into action as far as videos, merchandise, new music, and hopefully lots of performances too. I want my supporters to realize that where there’s a will, there’s a way and to never quit. Hard work leads to profit, but mere talk leads to poverty and it’s something to know well in this industry as well as life in general. I hope my listeners, friends, supporters, and everyone in between realizes that quitting for me isn’t an option, it never will be, and it’s something that I hope others can live by as well.
Well, there you have it folks. Thank you for your time Dzh and glad we could give the people a clear overview of the man behind the work. Are there any last thoughts you wanted to share?
Nothing more to say. Know that much more music and overall content is on the way. Move the unfree and unfree the movement.