How would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Desiire and I am a singer songwriter. I like to think of myself as somebody who creates, whether it be creating music, creating images, I just like to create stuff.
Tell me about your EP release “As I Go Along” , why the separate releases of songs rather than just one release?
I find that now a days people consume music in a very small quantity, so instead of doing a full album release or four or five songs, I’m releasing the EP over three or four months – just releasing songs every two or three weeks to a month. I think it gives the listener a bit of a break and allows them to vibe out with the songs a little bit more, instead of hearing all five songs. At least for me I have a kind of short attention span. If someone says ‘hey listen to this’ I can sit back and appreciate all the little nuances, really take the song for what it is as one song.
You are catering to millenniums with short attention spans!
Yeah, back in the day I grew up in an era with CD’s and Walkman’s, I would leave the house and depending on what you had in your bag you could literally only take two, three or four CD’s or if you had a full binder… I grew up with that and the iPod generation came along – I wanted to make sure it was easier for people to digest stuff.
In a recent interview you said that when you do renditions of songs you learn new things about your voice. I’m curious as to what exactly you’ve learned from doing covers.
I think that when you are singing someone else’s song, in order to do it right you have to do it the way you would do it. I think for me, because I transfer all the stuff – all the songs that I hear from other people to acoustics songs there is really no way for me to do the song [originally]. A cover works when you take a song and flip it. What I have found out about my voice is that I am not as good as a singer as I thought I was. In order for me to present something to people I have to get my shit together. Music is fun and it’s exciting, but I am really excited by what I can become.
Does your music inspire your aesthetic or does your aesthetic inspire your music?
I think the music inspires the aesthetic. For me a song isn’t finished until I can form some kind of photo shoot around it. I feel like a song isn’t completely done, until I’m like “here are the visuals to put to it”. I loved watching TV when I was little, the songs I would learn and intake was stuff that had a visual or video [to it]. Subconsciously I’ve gotten into the habit of wanting to create some kind of visual to [the music].
Do you feel any pressure from the music industry?
No, it’s funny I use to but the I think the older you get in life, the more you realize that it’s about the journey. It sounds a little ‘rah rah’ but I find I get the most joy out of making something, as opposed to actually seeing everything done.
“In terms of the pressure I use to feel it a lot, not necessarily pressures from other people but from myself.”
You start to sort of see the path you have taken in your life [and say] ‘wow I was really hard on myself’ – to be somebody you make up in your head. I’m sort of trying to freestyle everything as much as possible.
Does being born in Kinshasa and growing up there play a part in the sound of your music?
It does. Growing up for me I kind of got the best of both worlds. I got music from the States, Europe and North America. I got the pop, the R&B and the jazz and all that good stuff, but local music was all sort of really warm, earthy African music and for me…I’ve kind of taken influences without realizing until I hear my stuff and then I say ‘wow I was really influenced by that.’ In terms of my live shows, they are really inspired by earthy, jazz African vibes.
I just started playing with a band which I am really excited about. Last March I played at The Drake, that was an interesting time, because I got the gig and I thought I can’t just show up and sing to tracks, I have to bring the keys. So I got a full band and it was so interesting playing. It really made me realize that I love free styling.
“I think my music on wax is very structured and very calming in a way, but it is so much louder on stage and I love that.”
What does that feel like when you are on stage connecting with your fans, all your SoundCloud followers being in front of you?
“It is weird because I think it’s still hard for me to think of myself as a working musician. I used to sing in my room all the time, I was kind of a shy singer and so it’s always so weird in a show there are people…it is weird. It has been interesting.”
Tell me a little bit about your growing up.
I was born in Congo but I left when I was two. We moved to a country in West Africa called Togo which not a lot of people know of – it’s right next to Ghana. The culture is very similar to back home, not exactly the same. So, I left Kinshasa when I was two, I kind of grew up in the capital cities – I was there for 10 or 11 years. From there I went to New York [for a year]. My mom wanted a little bit of change and I think she realized that moving kids from Africa to a huge city – it was me and my little brother and my two older sisters – everyone was like ‘whoa what is happening’. She said lets switch things around a little bit and we moved here and lived in Scarborough for a while.
You use to be a stylist prior to music making, were you nervous when switching careers?
Oh yeah, it took me two years to actually put it aside and drop everything and it took me about another two years to adjust. I was busy and I didn’t realize leaving the styling world how busy I was. I was literally up from 6:30AM in the morning and in bed by 12AM or 1AM. When I decided to not style anymore it felt like the world stopped. It was “I don’t have to wake up at 6:30AM in the morning and I don’t have to go to bed at 1AM”. It took me a couple of years to really kind of figure out what life was like. Some history – I graduated and went through University for a year-and-a-half and then at the end of my third semester I thought “oh my gosh this is kind of boring”. A friend of mine who was a photographer was doing a photo shoot and needed some clothes. Literally one shoot turned into two and it became six years of just working.
I find the one thing that has been said by musicians is that the term ‘genre’ is dying out, no one is classified as just one kind of genre, what do you think?
On yeah. I grew up watching Much Music and what I loved about Much Music is you would get a bit of everything in there, you didn’t get to choose. You are sitting in front of the TV and every song that passes by you have to listen to that song. YouTube is great, but with YouTube you can choose your content and back in the day you couldn’t choose your content. So I realize that I have always loved R&B and I think that would be my roots forever but I always loved listening to a whole different kind of music.
“I think especially now there is no genre, it’s impossible to have a sound that sounds just like a jazz song, or just an R&B song or just a pop song. There’s so many vibes out there, it’s music.”
Who would you consider to be an underrated artist right now?
There is a singer named Kyara. Her voice is incredible, I think I have her on SoundCloud and realized she’s from Toronto. Her voice is incredible, her song writing is incredible she’s an incredibly sweet person and you will have to look her up – you’re going to fall in love with her. Another on is Ambaml Larrieux.
*Feature image by Deidra Hunter