Denai Moore sits somewhere between Fiest and James Blake. Her poignant notes and reflective lyrics are a combination that will soon announce the 19 year old to a much wider stage than she is accustomed to. Q&A with the East Londoner.
Where do you draw influence from outside of music?
I draw inspiration from the things that affect me, I can’t write about anything that I haven’t been through personally. I always keep a notebook wherever I go to write down my daily truths and confessions.
Is there a particular theme that is constant through-out your songwriting, and if so where does that come from?
I think there is something I am continuously fascinated by that I do write about often. I think it’s amazing how people stay with you long after they are gone.
Whats your first memory of listening to music
My first memory of listening to music is probably from my dad, he’d always play loads of music in car journeys. I’d say the first album I really got into as a musician was probably Corinne Bailey Rae’s debut album, I used to do a cover of her song “Like a Star” all the time.
Whats you first memory of writing music and how did the act of creation change your perception of the music you had heard before?
I will always remember the first song I wrote. It just happened and I never planned it, I picked my guitar and something just came out of me. I played it to my parents the moment after I wrote it and I realised then that I wanted to continue doing that over and over again.
In London where are your favourite places to do the following things –
I’m a massive fan of pancakes, and I love going to The Diner in Shoreditch on sunday for brunch!
I don’t think I have a favourite place to go for lunch but in the summer I love going to this cafe called Towpath, the make the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches.
I love walking around Brick Lane. I love all the street art that you see wherever you, it has a real character to it.
Visit a museum or gallery?
The last museum I went to was the Natural History Museum. I don’t have a favourite but I think museum’s are really amazing, they really put your existence into perspective. They make you realise that your only one part of a much bigger thing.
What items are essential to your everyday routines?
I’d say my Macbook is an everyday essential for me. I use it for everything I do really, to listen to music or to make music/beats and at the moment I’ve been re-watching episodes of That’s so Raven on it.
How has your family and upbringing affected your musical taste?
I’d say my upbringing has a lot to do with my musical taste. Up until I had my own personal computer the only music I really listened was the music my Father had on his iTunes. Which included a wide range of different artists like Prince and Radiohead who are people that I now love.
You played your first festivals last year, how is your preparation this time around different?
Having only played two last year its really overwhelming playing so many this summer. I think festivals are also similar to supporting shows, where it gives you an opportunity to try and win people over that probably wouldn’t have heard any of your music. It’s definitely a completely different experience!
If you could have a festival moment and join any act for a collaboration, who would it be and what track would you play?
I think you learn a lot from supporting other people, it gives you the power to try and win over people that probably have no idea who you are. It was a very amazing experience supporting Tom Odell as I got to play much bigger venues than I was used to.
How did working with Ben Drew come about and what did you draw from the experience?
Ben is someone I really respect! He is such a character in the studio and is really bold. It’s amazing having him as mentor, I always trust his opinion on the my music.
I think there is a similarities in Hip-Hop music and folk music. Lauryn Hill is a story teller and often called herself a folk artist as opposed to Hip-Hop/RnB artist. I think there are a lot of great storytellers that I appreciate in Hip-Hop music like Kendrick Lamar who’s last album “Good Kid M.A.A.D City” which I would consider to be one of the best albums I’ve heard in recent years.
What do you think musicians should confront within their music in the 21st Century? Should they instigate debate with lyrical content or should music avoid politics?
I don’t think that music can avoid politics as it is a reflection of society and whatever is happening in that time.
If you can achieve one thing through a career in music what would it be?
I think I’d love to just be able to make music for as long as possible, and tour all over the world! That’s my dream.