Please introduce yourself. What do you do? Why? What do you want people to know about you?
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 musical gift and invested in 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, but 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.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
What makes me different is my fearless mentality, along with my ability to genre bend and push musical boundaries to provide a real-life experience that brings healing to others. My creative mind is very different from others in the industry as I think outside of the norm to create an ultra-creative euphoria.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you’re doing what you were born to do. Paint a vivid picture of the experience so readers can take the journey with you.
The moment that I realized I was doing what I was born to do was the very first time I got one of my instrumental canvases played on a radio station in my local city. It has not been an easy journey for me being a minority and an instrumental artist, but the moment that happened, I knew that I was on the right path and what I was doing was not in vain.
There are people out there that support my unorthodox and unique sounds, as well as staying true to who I am.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to go through and how did you grow through it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had was getting my music played on the radio in my own country. I stepped outside of my comfort zone (my country in this case) and my music got the recognition that I felt it deserved.
Who are the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could elevate your career or business? Why these specific individuals?
Robert Glasper – I’ve studied his music for years and even just to pick his brain about his process and to create a song with him. I believe having collaboration with him would definitely elevate my presence.
Alicia Keys – She was the one who made me believe that it was possible to make it in the industry as a minority and someone who plays the piano. She was kind of my idol in high school (I played all of her music). Being able to talk to her about what my journey has been like and how she has gotten where she is in the industry.
Ryan Leslie – I’m a fan of his production and as someone who is a producer (and still learning), I’d love to sit with him and get tips and tricks and just learn from him.