interview: iyadede shares music to teach and learn + free download

September 26, 2011

Iyadede and her free drawn sound are an eclectic illustration of Afro-punk. On her projects “Talking to God” and “The Demo” the beats and melodies are heavily spiced with electro-dancey African flavors, mixed with old-school digital pop influence. Sometimes it slows down a bit so you can really hear her. With two self written albums complete, and more music in progress Iyadede shares some of her journey with, revealing more on her many creations, travels, personal progressions and survival.

Interview by Alicia Maria Golden

Ask yourself this: “What the hell have I been through lately?” How many of us, American born, can document perseverance through a full blown war? Very few, and the reality of such an experience is heavy shit at any degree of separation. (Iyadede is from Rwanda) Despite her ‘fed up with fuckery’ Twitter rants and passionate posts on politics; through her messages Iyadede’s points both lyrically and literally are love, discovering purpose, and creation. She shares: “Somehow the spiritual theme is omnipresent on all of my work because I’m just interested in that and I am definitely striving to see things from a higher perspective”. All of these subjects were molded by what she’s been through, leaving her that much more eager to live. The mediums she uses to accomplish this freedom led existence are many. Music is the main focus and the passion she cradles in the chambers of her heart. She first encountered it as she incubated within her record spinning mother’s womb. “My mom was and still is a true music lover and I think she is the one who sparked my interest. I guess from then on I just loved music and wherever I lived I was always around music and looking forward to discovering new stuff.” In addition to music Dede (as her friends call her) designs and hand crafts jewelry & clothing via her line Bowbi Ladawa, illustrates and flirts with a bit of modeling n’ acting. Africa Mod is another project she curates via her website where she “wanted to make it an ongoing research on modern African aesthetics in different categories”; these categories include: culture, fashion and music and their incorporation into western lifestyle. Most tracks on her albums are laced with triumph. Which is particularly fitting since Iyadede means “nobody but Dede can walk in Dede’s shoes”. These sounds were crafted to ignite the fighter in us all, press play and march on.


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What is the shift in theme and sound from “Talking To God” to “The Demo”?
‘Talking to God’ was definitely more angry. Sounds were harder, themes more metallic, industrial, political. With songs like Aquarius, The Love Robot, Brimstone and Fire and In My Darkest Hours the dominant themes of ‘Talking to God’ are fire and a bit of darkness.
On ‘The Demo’, I’m starting to show that I can be a bit more laid back 🙂 and even open on more personal love subject like on Not The Same, and really calm and contemplative like on The Love Mantra. The sound of ‘The Demo’ is rounder and softer.

How long have you been in NYC and how have you and your art evolved in the time spent here?
I have been here since 2008. And so far, its been a very grounding and liberating experience.
Grounding because believe it or not, despite being born and raised in Africa, New York is one tough city and I had harder daily life experiences here than ever before, when I was in Rwanda or even in Belgium. So you learn fast, you grow, learn to express yourself, learn to use your energy on the right things, learn to make money, it’s just a really fast pace and once you jump in the incessant flow you gotta keep going and maintain. Life in Africa when there is no war can be more, bio, relaxing and laid back.
It was liberating because I feel very little judgement here. New Yorkers are open-minded, enthusiasts, outgoing, and very helpful too, people are amazing here, so it’s a nurturing environment for any artist to bloom and progress, if you are serious about it.

Where did the name Iyadede come from?
My full name is Sabrina Iyadede. Sabrina reminds me of high school or when people are angry with me they switch to Sabrina. Friends call me Dede, and I go by Iyadede as my official artist name because it was given to me by my granny and it is my way of keeping my origins close to me now that I live so far from home.

You speak a lot of finding ones purpose on earth. Do you know yours or expect it to shift? Is it just one or a fusion of many?
Ha!! I see you read my website :). I do talk a lot on there don’t I? I definitely don’t have the answer to that but so far I know at least that there is something called purpose and we all have one, that’s what I found so far.

I stumbled upon a jewelry line, how is it going with Bowbi Ladawa?
It’s going great! I prepared a lot of models and samples of different items. It’s still burgeoning and because I’m the only one involved in making them, I produce very little quantity which is great because there are friends of mine out there walking with unique pieces and calling me a lot to get more. Fashion and music go hand in hand and I love that I can design and create my own jewelry and outfits with my own hands and you should expect to see more of it very soon.

Love is the loudest theme on most of your songs. Is the love that’s influenced you been based on any particular relationships? Are they primarily romantic, platonic or is it an all encompassing?
Everything is love, even hate is the other extreme of it, so I guess in that thought process we can say that love is the main theme in all of my songs. I don’t touch on romantic love theme as much, but then again the beauty of music and lyrics is that the meaning changes depending on who is listening. My songs can be interpreted in a thousand different ways, when people tell me what they took from a particular song and I’m like “how interesting, your interpretation of my song is totally different than mine”, and that’s crazy. I love it!

What type of imprint has the universe left on your path? What was the vessel of this imprint?
Definitely a desire to search for answers and understand WTF is going on. When I look at my life and my journey I can’t help but be amazed by the forces that govern us and believe that there are no coincidences. I’m on a path to find nirvana 🙂 lol. I really am. I want to test the theory of gravity myself instead of just learning it in books. I want to test gravity.
Going through the war in my country was actually amazing. It sent me diving in the lowest and highest emotions one can possibly feel, and if I wanted to understand it and find balance I had to do a lot of thinking and healing, that’s actually beautiful. As sad as the story is, I love the opportunity I was given to feel all that and maybe see existence in a light I could never even fathom if it never happened.

Describe the taste of your music.
Sweet n sour gummy bears :p

What are your thoughts on the business of music?
I learned to listen to my feelings and really work from an organic place. I take the business of music seriously but I hold on tight to the fact that it is first and foremost a form of expression that I was allowed to have. I’m thankful that there are people out there checking out for Iyadede and following. For the stone cold business I haven’t stepped in that area that deeply yet. Music is my joy, my weapon and I try to keep it that way. And I pray to God I never loose the passion for it.

Find more of Alicia Maria Golden’s work on Tumblr + Twitter @trippyluna.