Welcome To Dende's World

Representin' Houston

This is Dende's BEEN iLL SESSION

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If there was one thing that you want people to know about your music, what would it be?

I have no clue what I’m doing. Like honestly, I just want people to hear what I make and be able to relate to it on some level but ultimately, I don’t have the answers in music or in life. I hope I have a positive impact on people's lives, but I think I'm far from a role model so I don’t want that to be something taken from my music.

If there was one thing that you’d want people to know about yourself, what would it be?

I’m a regular person. I’m a nerd, a music geek, and a child at heart. I refuse to put up a façade of what I want people to view me as so what you see is what you get.

Where are you from and how has your environment affected your music?

I was born in Austin, TX and grew up in Katy, Texas. Katy definitely made me who I am. It was a weird experience because to quote Earl Sweatshirt, I was “too black for the white kids, too white for the black.” I think the constant grasping at acceptance that I felt like I wasn’t getting in that environment made me strive to be really good at what I do. I think a part of me felt/ still feels like if I can make something that people love, they can love me too and in turn accept me for who I am.

If someone has never heard of you before, what is one track that you’d want someone to listen to first and why did you make that choice?

Low. I feel that isn’t my most popular song, but it’s a song that most perfectly describes my life as an artist and just life in general. Life is full of ups and downs and I feel like hearing that there are downs and it's OK from someone that you might possibly look up to or spend time consuming their content, is a powerful message.

What keeps you going and doesn’t allow you to quit?

I’ve struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts/actions in the past to the point I got the words “Music Is Life” tattooed on my chest because listening to OTHER people’s music saved my life. If I can make that song that saves ONE person from themselves or their situation, who am I to quit.

What is your favorite project or track that you’ve worked on?

Definitely would have to be my last album ME? Just the instruments I got put into that project and the time I put into it made it a great experience. It's also the project that made people OUTSIDE of Texas pay attention to me.

Who inspires you in this music game?

Jay-z, Kanye, Tobe Nwigwe

What made you fall in love with hip-hop?

When I was younger, I wasn’t really allowed to listen to rap. Like at all. When I was at my parent's house in Katy, I'd only listen to r&b and soul, alternative, and pop music. When I would go to hang out with my cousins on the Northside of Houston, that was my only time being able to listen to rap music, and specifically HOUSTON rap music. I fell in love with it because it was something that was special to my time over there. That’s why in my song road I say, “Katy raised with the Houston culture so I mixed the rap with some neo-soul.” Katy isn’t specifically known for neo-soul music, but in MY life Katy is that r&b and soul, Houston is the rap.

Has there been any obstacles that you’ve had to face that have helped shape your music to what it is today?

Honestly just people not caring about my music has made it better. At first, I took it as, they don’t know anything until I was like MAYBE I’m just not good enough yet.

Are there any future projects that we should look forward to?

Wait on it…
Listen To Dende's latest album here


Interview by: Margaritë Camaj