While she may have started as an journalist and media personality herself, the tables are turning for the dynamic Diva as she sits down for an interview of her own with DXnext.† Diva openly shares about all the jobs sheís held down, her difficult time replacing one of the group members of Floetry, and recording with industry friend Q-Tip.
Pathway Of Success: ďI started as a poet on Def Poetry Jam and then had my own radio show for five years on Sirius Satellite Radio, at the same time I had the Hip Hop shows on MTV2. I moved on to Vh1, [where] started doing a lot of commentary on Vh1 and at the same time writing for XXL. Then I moved into the music realm and since Iíve been doiní my own music and produced 2 web shows - DivaSpeak Tv and Diva, Diva Yíall.Ē †
People Along The Path: ďIf youíre on a path youíre gunna run into people. Itís not because Iíve met people that Iíve gotten an address book; itís because Iíve been able to get them to understand my vision. When people ask me for advice in the industry Iíll tell them, 'Donít be an asshole,' thatís number one! Along that path, if I had been full of myself, unreliable, or just any of the things that constitute an asshole I know that thereís no way Iíd be able to do music now because those folks believed in me not just musically but in me as a person. To me, itís not just creating a Rolodex of people that you know along the way, but creating relationships with people based on you as a person and not just you in the industry.Ē
Is It Hard To Prioritize?: ďUmm, not what when it comes to music. Iím also a visual artist and I sell hand painted bags, and the hardest thing to do is to find the time to paint the bags and mail them. Itís something that I really enjoy doing, itís just that itís time consuming. Itís hard to find that six hours that it takes me to do a bag. In terms of music, I think that I will always find time or make time to do music. Iím lucky enough to have a set-up in my crib where I record, so that what allows me to be able to be so prolific.Ē
A Different Sound Classification: ďWhen I was putting it in my iTunes I came up with 'Hiptronic Soul' which is like Hip Hop, Electronica, and Soul. I mean itís just feel good music; itís just music thatís supposed to make you feel good about music again, which is something that I think is lacking a lot these days. I know for me, personally, thereís not much drawing me to it; there isnít any artist drawing me so I say, 'I wanna hear more of what you got,' So, I wanna be one of those artists for other people and I wanna make music that inspires them. Really, you know this is gunna sound really idealistic and hippyish but itís just good music; it ainít rock or...itís, of course, Hip Hop-infused and R&B infused, and Soul and Rock-infused but at the end of the day itís just some good shit.Ē
Growing One Release At A Time: ďIf thereís any artist and you can track the growth, I think Iím up there. You go from Never A Dull Moment, which is a spoken word CD, to Bigger Than Hip-Hop, which is basically spoken word over beats, to Still Sucker Free which is 'Hmm, let me just try doiní straight Rap' to Life Experience, which is my first EP thatís a little bit more seasoned, to Foreplay, which is a mixtape I did last summer just to keep the music out there, and then now to Spandex, Rhymes, Soul, which is like the number one example of 'Oh, I figured it out!' I think that up until this point Iíve been tryiní to jus figure it out and make educated guesses, you know, just do things as natural as possible but I was still kinda groping in the dark. I believe this project (Spandex, Rhymes, Soul) to be finding a light switch, turning it on and itís like 'Ohhh!'Ē
The One, The Only...Feature: ďThe only feature on this project is my boy Johnny Polygon; he was also on Nasí record 'Black President' [click to listen]. I had set-up a number of other features but people were flaky some people were just busy. I mean, I would like to use features but itís just that Iím the type of artist where itís like Iím only gonna chase you for so long. Iím an independent artist, and I canít lure you with money. When youíre an independent artist youíre expelling so much energy in so many ways youíve gotta really conserve your energy; so, you gotta decide what youíre gonna chase and what youíre gonna fight for. In this case the production was most the most important. The features I did my best in setting them up and following up and you know some folks said, 'I canít right now, Iím running around,'† some folks just fell off the map, and other folks just plain stood me up!Ē
Going Major?:† ďNah, Iím not lookiní to go major; itís not an issue for me. I would like an indie with great marketing and I would be completely overjoyed. At this point itís like I have a number of sources where Iím being seen; I mean Iím on Vh1, Iím on two web series that get a lot of coverage...I never thought that this would happen but I get recognized in the streets from my web show which is just wow! When it comes to the marketing of my brand Iím doiní pretty well with nothiní so itís not that I need a machine to make people aware of me; I just need a company that wants to expand whatís already been here.Ē
Working With Q-Tip: ďDonít get it twisted, Q-Tip [click to read] is one of my best friends on the planet, but heís still Q-Tip. You know heís Kamal to me, but then every so often I have a Q-Tip moment. When I was in the studio, I had a Q-Tip moment like, 'Ahhhaha [screaming],' and then it comes back to its Kamal. Iíve been tight with Tip since '04, we just see things on the same plain. He actually did a record with me on my first EP, '40 Emcees.' He was like 'Oh, can you come and sing a hook for me?' I did not expect it to be on the [Renaissance] album [click to read] and I was amazed it even made the album.† I was not even expecting to be promoting the album; I mean to have my name alongside ...'featuring Nora Jones, D'Angelo,† [Raphael] Saddiq [click to read], and Amanda Diva' that blew me away. I didnít know we were gonna do a video and all these things were news to me, great news!"
A Chapter Of Floetry: ďMe and my boy we always say 'for the book' when we go through trials and tribulations. Itís like one day, Iím gonna write a book and this oneís gonna be for the book; this is going to be a chapter! Iím not saying that things come easy to me but when itís time for things to happen they happen; but, with the Floetry thing it was like, 'Okay, itís time for this to happen,' but then it was like 'Ah ha, gotcha!' It was really a learning experience on many, many, many levels; one of them was a learning experience on humility and also perseverance. Every night was like starting over for like the first eight shows. At the time Marsha [Ambrosious] [click to read] was still a little shakey in her support of the situation and everything was just up in the air. I was alone and every night I felt like I was on stage alone even though I had a band and a group member standing next to me. I felt like it was just me against the world, like 'Pac! It was people shutting me down and not giving me a chance but Iím there so Iím gonna do the show and Iím gonna do it to the best of my ability."
From This Point Forward: ďWeíre really trying to take Spandex, Rhymes, Soul to a broader audience.† Itís definitely not just Hip Hop, so we would love for other audiences to take it in as well; like Iím singing a lot on there and musically thereís other factors to it. The music is free but people pay for shows; thatís how artists live so Iím definitely wanting to get out and get on a tour, rock these other cities and take the music to the people. The name of the game is just taking ownership of your product and bringing it to a supportive audience and continuing to heighten demand. Itís a wild time right now money wise but I think at the crux of it all people want quality and Iíve got that.Ē