Buy a Record, Make a Difference is a new series we have created to help local musicians generate income during COVID-19. It is based on the principle that we should support and reward the hard work local artists have already put into recordings, as it is an immensely difficult undertaking to be creating new material under current circumstances. There is currently a lot of emphasis on livestreaming and innovation in our industry, and while those things absolutely have their place, we think it’s also important to boost projects that have already been completed.
In each post, we’ll ask a local artist a series of the same questions, give them the opportunity to talk about recordings they’re proud of, and ask them to talk about other local musicians whose work they admire. It’s our hope that you’ll take the time to listen to & purchase the work of local artists, or at the very least share their work with others.
1. Who are you?
My name is Missy D and I am a hip hop, rap & soul artist and a music lover. I love melodies, rhythm & flow and I translate that love into both rapping and singing.
I was raised in the Motherland so Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe hold a piece of my heart at all times. I am now based in Vancouver, BC and humbled by the learnings that the Coast Salish Territory constantly teaches and reminds me to honor. I started rapping in French at the age of 11 and years later, Hip Hop helped me bridged that language barrier. I am now a bilingual rapper who loves 90’s R&B, jazz, soul, reggae, rock, rap and all music.
2. Describe your music as best you can.
I call it Rap & Soul. I grew up listening to sounds from around the world whether it was in French or English or local languages. My love for melodies is infused into my music and mixed with poetry and storytelling. As I created my sound, I could see the inspirations from my childhood from Nina Simone, India.Arie, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott, MC Solaar, Diams, and Tupac Shakur. Those voices raised me and allowed me to discover myself and my sound.
My music holds a lot of FEELINGS #toomanyfeelings. From joy to pain or the unexplained, rapping allows me to unpack those thoughts and arrange them with wordplay or hooks. I hope listeners can relate, resonate or empathize with our emotions. In these melodies, you might hear some neo-soul, some jazz, some rock, some reggae mixed in the Hip Hop and Rap sounds of my voice. I speak about my experience as a human, as a Black woman, as an emerging artist, as a member of this community.
3. What’s your latest recording (or a recording you’d like to promote)? Where can people get it?
On March 20, 2020, I released an EP entitled YES MAMA recorded at The Beatcave with David Tallarico. It had been 4 years since my last full release and though it was scheduled in advance, it got released as the pandemic lockdown started. We unfortunately had to cancel the release party and adjust our music video plans. Similarly, the YES MAMA EP is an emotional release following moments of grief, self doubt, imposter syndrome, and identity development. YES MAMA emcompasses all the feelings that I had been cultivating for the past six months. Each song represents a mood, a challenge and a chapter in my life. It is dedicated to all the matriarchs, all the community mamas, to my blackness, to my late father, my family, to Mama D, and to you listeners! Thanks to Creative BC and Wallop Film, we were able to release a music video in May to celebrate the main single of the EP, a song called Yes Mama. The music video, which is available on YouTube, was directed by Alexander Farah and Lawrence Le Lam. Thanks to all our features and creatives, we illustrated the virtual channels of this social distancing we’re all experiencing.
4. Is there another local musician whose work you’d like to give a shout out to?
I am truly inspired by the friends and artists around me. From my duo group with Sejal Lal named Laydy Jams to my 333 Collective with JB The First Lady and Kimmortal. I can’t help but name the sounds of Tonye Aganaba, Desiree Dawson, and Francis Arevalo that constantly bless my stereo. The Vancouver music scene is growing and I would want to name a lot more people if we had the time (you know who you are!). But I’m hoping that as we create our post-COVID spaces, folks reading this will tune in and listen to that unknown artist, create some playlists or purchase that album on Bandcamp and other platforms. We all need it!