TBMP Meets: DiDi

UK rising star, DiDi has released her new track entitled ‘Back Off’. We caught up with her on how things are going…

Big Music Meets: Producer of the Year, DiDi

From receiving her first play on radio for the production on an album at the tender age of 18 to being awarded producer of the year this year,  DiDi is a massive rising star within the UK’s music scene.

She has produced 9 albums (6 of which have been done on her own) and 25 EP’s, in addition to writing and producing over 200 commercially released tracks! We had the pleasure of sitting down to have a chat with the producer of the year, DiDi.

Thanks for joining us Didi.

Appreciate you having me.

We’ve seen this new wave of independent artists successfully releasing material. Is this something you do?

I’m a massive advocate of artists working independently. Many people think they cannot progress without somebody else in their corner when in actual fact, working with others can put you and your music in a direction you don’t want it to go in. The music industry is a place where you should be encouraged to express yourself.

That is very true. Everything you’re currently creating is quite unique and cool within the pop scene, isn’t it?

Thank you, I think it is a bit different. I’ve been a touring session guitarist and session writer professionally since the age of 16. My mum also runs an independent record label where I’ve been able to see how she markets things. This has helped me gain a better understanding of the music industry.

When would you say your passion for music began?

I received a guitar at the age of 9 or 10 but I didn’t like learning other people’s music, so I started a band with students in my class when I was 10 through to the age of 13, which is when I realised this is what I wanted to do. I then joined an all-female band which gained more interest from larger labels.

Cool, so would you say your passion lies more in production or performing as an artist?

Up until the beginning of this year, I loved being behind the scenes, but then I wrote a song on a breakup at the time which I sang on. I showed my mum and she advised me to promote it and things basically snowballed from there.

When did you decide to make that transition from producer to the artist?

It was purely from that one song about my breakup. In that same week, I had written 4 more songs and 2 weeks later, I released it. I contacted the organisers of an open mic session to offer my support as a sound and music tech engineer, but they asked me if I was also a performer. I performed and I was given an encore 3 times for my music which has never happened before. I was asked to play again and ended up headlining a festival as a result of that.

That’s so cool. We are going to ask you some quick fire questions now, are you ready!?

Haha, sure!

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Check my phone for emails.

Where is your favourite place to eat?

I love Leon. I love the halloumi wraps. It’s probably one of my go-to places.

Favourite stores to go clothes shopping?

I’d say Primark because they design plain clothes which I can alter. I like to design my own clothes.

Where do you go to feel inspired?

Studios.

Where do you get the ideas to write your music?

It’s very cliché, but I feel I’m taken over by a song. I have to be in the moment when writing my own music. I want to feel inspired by something.

Interesting. How many songs do you think you write per month?

It honestly depends on my schedule. If I’m at my studio, I’ll write quite a lot.

Are there any names you’re allowed to say you’ve worked with?

A lot of the work I’ve done is for folk artists. One artist I’ve worked with is Laura Marling – she is so cool.

Where is the best place you’d think to spend a tenner?

I’d go to HMV and buy a CD of an artist I like.

That actually leads nicely on to who you look up to?

My biggest role models are Two Door Cinema Club, The Big Moon and Marika Hackman, but I’ve met and work with Marika personally now which is a bit weird. I’m also a massive fan of Ellie Goulding.

Cool, I see a bit of Ellie Goulding’s influence on you and your music. How often do you tour?

Since March of this year, I’ve done 2 small tours but because I’m a touring session guitarist, I also tour with other bands. For my music, I’ve got 4 shows at the end of this year and then next year I’ll be releasing my EP and hopefully, we’ll be on a support tour with another act where we’ll play at bigger venues.

Okay, what gigs have you played recently?

I’ve just supported an awesome band called Skies on the 7th of November in London, then I played another show 3 days later on the 10th, in which I did a 30-minute set with my full band – I was so excited!

Wow, that’s good! You’ve had a lot of press interest too. Is that because of the business influence from your mum?

I think it’s partly to do with my mum’s influence, but also the story. There are hardly any female record producers and independent artists out there. I feel I’ve got a lot to say which interests the press.

Now, going back to people you’ve been inspired by, if you had to have a dinner party with four guests dead or alive, who would you choose?

This is a hard question, but I’d say, Ellie Goulding, Hayley Williams from Paramore, Marika Hackman and Linda Perry from the 4 Non-Blondes.

That’s a nice guest list! When you came into the building today, what song was playing on your headset?

It’s really cringe, but it was one of my own songs. I just got two mixes sent through last night and I’ve had them on repeat since then.

Haha! What advice would you give young people who feel unable to break into the music industry?

It can be really hard and demoralising, but I’d say learn your craft and know who to speak to. Join organisation like PRS and FAC because they’re free resources.

Recently, I’ve become aware of the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities, blindness, hearing problems or anything of that nature. This is something I’m trying to resolve, so I’d also say care about other people’s music. The amount of things I’ve achieved as a result of supporting other artists’ gigs and downloading their music is huge.

I’d also say view yourself as the centre of what you’re doing. Remember, the ball is always in your court. Think about what you want and find yourself, which you can do through gigging, meeting people and writing music.

That’s really cool! Other than that, have you got any singles coming out that we should be aware of?

I’ve got a bundle of jazz, string and ambient remixes of my current single, ‘Back Off’ coming out. I’ll also be announcing my EP at the end of December to be released next year and then I’ll be on tour.

I was reading you’re a champion of the LGBT community in one of your songs. Why is this dear to you?

Well I’m gay myself, but I also feel like growing up, I didn’t see role models or pop stars being open about it, so part of it is people being more open and having role models to look up to. I think it’s really important to be vocal about this topic – but only when it is relevant. If it’s spoken about all the time, sometimes that is all people see you as, and that get’s annoying.

I’m really happy to have met you today and we’ve got to know a lot more about you. We look forward to hearing your EP next year!

Thanks, it was lovely to meet you too!

For more information on DiDi, check out her website. Also, follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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