We premiere her latest video, an ode to the city and the man she loves, and speak about her journey from ‘hood’ to riches in the 0161
IAMDDB is the lovechild of trap and jazz. Hailing from Manchester (“0161 that’s home and will be home forever”), the 21-year-old has an admirable grit which has seen her go from broke and unemployed to one of the most promising rising stars in the space of a year.
Soaking up influences from her Portuguese and Angolan roots, IAMDDB, real name Diana Debrito, has taken inspiration from samba, Bob Marley, Nat King Cole and her stint playing with bands in Africa while visiting her dad. Since that trip she’s attended uni and dropped out, worked at River Island and Selfridges, but she’s finally found her calling. “Each and every one of us has that little glimpse of hope and as long as you have that, you’re alright,” she explains. “You just have to keep pushing through the bullshit.”
She has recently garnered attention after the release of her bolshy track “Shade”, which is less about swerving public transport despite the now famous refrain (“Uber, Uber everywhere”) and more about announcing to the world: “Bitch I'm the wave, you can go home”.
Premiering exclusively on Dazed, the second visual for her new track “Trophy” has dropped today. It’s her way of telling the world she really is ride or die for those around her, who continue to inspire her musically. We caught up to talk about her journey so far, and her loves, and the labour it took to get her to where she is now:
Talk me through the evolution of your career so far, how did you develop your style?
IAMDDB: I literally just say what's on my mind, I’ve always loved wordplay so that's why I be saying a whole range of things. Music has always been in my blood, it just comes naturally. I’d describe my sound as eclectic, real and authentic. I’ve been working all my life towards this, sometimes you just have to block everything out and create what you know you can.
You’ve said each track on Hoodrich describes a phase of your life – which does Trophy cover?
IAMDDB: Trophy is just me showing the world I really ride and would die for me and mine. Sleazy, my boyfriend, he is my world. He’s the reason this journey even began, I remember when I was first putting out music not many people understood what I was doing. He supported me through the highs and lows so I just like to give back in the most meaningful way to both of us – music. He's the only thing that keeps me sane now because once you step into this industry everything gets so hectic like “ah what is going on?”. You need a person to say its fine, stay humble, you're OK this is home.
What’s the meaning behind Hoodrich?
IAMDDB: Hoodrich was a period of life where I had nothing but my mind and my words to help me survive, literally. The period of time when I was recording and producing was just a very dark time. Being broke, not knowing how we were gonna eat the next day and going through personal issues as well even in myself. We made something out of nothing. That is what Hoodrich represents. Being able to produce Hoodrich was the only thing that kept us (her and Sleazy) together, honestly. I always had a rich mentality, I’m just hood with it.
There’s a pretty strong visual identity through all your videos so far. How involved are you in the creative process and what do you try to do with each release?
IAMDDB: I’m involved in the concept, the shooting, the editing. I have to be in control there’s no space for me to let people not get the vision.
You’ve cited that a trip to Africa really inspired you. What were you doing out there? What did you learn?
IAMDDB: I was out in Africa 2015, touring with my dad, doing various jazz festivals, private performances (one for the Angolan president's daughter). It was dope. I learned a lot and it inspired me to produce/engineer etc. I just had the mental space to really figure out my direction music wise.
“The period of time when I was recording and producing was just a very dark time. Being broke, not knowing how we were gonna eat the next day – we made something out of nothing” – IAMDDB
You’re a fellow Manchester girl, tell me a bit about living up north and the scene up there right now.
IAMDDB: 0161. That's home and will be home forever. The people just show mad love. The video is a great representation of Manchester and that's truly important to me. There's a lot going on. There are hip-hop, trap, drum and bass acts – there are so many different artists, cool artists out here on the grind and on the rise.
Does Manchester get enough attention?
IAMDDB: Sometimes. Manchester needs to have a chance to be heard, sometimes I think it’s a bit unfair. It's up to people putting on events to try and represent Manchester a bit more. The city is so underrated.
What can people expect to see from you next?
IAMDDB: I’ve got hella music stacked up and I’m constantly creating. I’m hoping the world doesn’t get used to one specific sound because I just make vibes regardless of the genre.
Tell me something nobody knows about you yet.
IAMDDB: I’m a Pisces ooh.