Desarae Dee Inspiring lives, one music note at a time.
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and
how did you get started in music?
My name is Desarae Dee and I am an instrumental artist,
pianist/keyboardist, producer, content creator and educator from
Toronto, Canada. As you can tell from what I do, I wear A LOT of hats. I
started my musical journey at the age of 6 and was classically trained
for 12 years. I also grew up in church and started playing at 13 years
old. My parents recognized that I had a music gift and invested into me
in order for that gift to come to fruition. In the beginning stages, I had
zero interest in music (as I was forced by my parents to do so), but as I
got older, I started to appreciate it a lot more, especially in high school
when I really believed that I could be successful in music. I went on to
study music in university, with an emphasis on jazz piano, I also
learned a lot of different styles of music, as well as a lot of instruments
to now having 15 instruments under my belt. In 2014, I made my artist
debut and released the gospel single, “I’ll Worship You.” After releasing
that song, I realized that instrumental music was a passion of mine, due
to my love for creating instrumentation and also not seeing myself
represented in the music industry and even in the church. I understood
that REPRESENTATION matters and my desire was to see a better
representation of Black Women Musicians and to bring something
different to the music scene through instrumental fusion music.
Prior to your success what did you see as a major drawback by being a
One of my biggest drawbacks being a new artist (well, there were quite
a bit of drawbacks) was getting my music played on radio stations in
Canada. It was definitely a challenge to push my music here – especially
music that is unorthodox, spontaneous and “outside the box” coming
from a woman and a minority. A lot of people misclassified my music
and didn’t want to give me a chance because I was a black woman.
From there, I recognized that sometimes you have to step outside of where you live to receive recognition.
What have people who had heard your music say about your
style that sets you apart from another instrumentalist?
People who have heard my music have told me that I have the ability to
communicate meaning and emotions in a way that draws them in. I’ve
also been told that my music has the ability to bring healing – I’ve
actually done some piano production for a few artists to the point
where it’s brought them to tears – this is definitely something I take
very seriously. I have also been told that my music is very different from
music they’ve heard and in some instances; I’ve been compared to Jazz
musician Robert Glasper.
They also tell me that I’m able to effortlessly fuse multiple genres in a way that creates something new and interesting to the ear.
As an independent artist, what are some of the challenges you face?
Asides from the challenge of getting my music played in my country,
I’ve also had to face judgment from other men because I am a black
woman who is going against what’s normal and being herself, while
working hard on a lane that is brand new and achieving success. People
tend not to support you, especially if you’re doing “better than them”
in any aspect. I also continue to face challenges even in the church
when it comes to backing up other artists – because the industry is so
male dominated (including the gospel music community), you can
automatically assume that a lot of the musicians receiving the
opportunities are male. Another challenge I face is being able to play at
certain events such as events catered to R&B artists. Because my music
is so unique, I find that I don’t get as many opportunities to be part of
genre specific events.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it
My music is a fusion – a combination of one or more genres to create
something brand new altogether. I combine my jazz chords and piano
melodies with Gospel, R&B, Neo-Soul and other genres to create a
sound that is “outside the box.”
Who are your musical influences?
My musical influences are Alicia Keys, Robert Glasper, Oscar Peterson
and Frédéric Chopin.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either
positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release?
I release my music with no expectations. I understand that not
everyone will understand or be accepting of the type of music that I
produce, and I also understand that there will be people that really
resonate with my music and take the time to understand my musical
story based on the song that I am releasing.
What advice would you give to new artist entering the changing
My biggest piece of advice that I would give any new artist is to be
CONSISTENT – with releasing music and your social media presence.
Find something that you’re really good at it and find creative ways to
share that with your audience and consistently releasing quality music
is so important. Talent alone cannot bring you to the table – you have
to be well rounded and have a strong presence.
What other talent do you have that your fans may not know about
Not a lot of people know that I play multiple instruments (15 to be
exact), so from time to time I make a post of an instrument that I can
play (that’s not the piano).
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your
favorite album/song to date?
To date, I currently have 20 singles, 2 EPs and 1 album in my catalogue
so far in my career.
Tell me about you latest album/ song and what was your inspiration
behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it?
My latest single is called “Day 2 Day” and it features Toronto-based
singer-songwriter Markus Aurelyus. “Day 2 Day” serves as a perfect end
of the year song: a musical canvas that is relatable to the everyday
person, exploring the various ups and downs of making it through life,
pushing towards success, and taking things as they come. Through this song, I want to encourage people to take life one step and one day at a
time. We don’t always have all the answers, but all we can do is trust
the timing of our lives and trust the path God has us on.”