Djazel (pronounced Giselle) is a Hip-Hop Recording Artist, Singer/Songwriter who was born and raised in Toronto and the surrounding GTA. We linked with Djazel to find out about her upcoming EP "The Checklist", how she stands out as an artist in Toronto, and much more.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP The Checklist? And when is it dropping?
You can expect me to get in your face, take certain stances on issues, and call a lot of people out, including myself. The Checklist EP drops March 25, 2016.
Toronto seems like the place to be for Rap and RnB right now. Is it really competitive between emerging artists and are there a lot of outlets (venues, radio stations etc.) that are supporting the movement?
Toronto is so hot right now that artists from different countries are literally flocking here to work, it’s really competitive out here! Every day I find or meet a new artist. It’s getting pretty saturated, especially when a lot of these artists are going for that “Toronto” sound. As for supportive outlets, there are a lot in and around Toronto. Venues love having artists come out to perform and try to push or promote the show or event in any way they can. There are also a lot of university and college campus radio stations that support local talent by inviting artists to their studio for interviews or live performances, and adding their music to the stations’ rotation.
To follow-up that question, with so many new artists making noise in Toronto, how do you stand out?
I feel like I stand out by doing my own thing and avoiding that “Toronto” sound that I mentioned before. A lot of artists from here try to sound like Drake, The Weeknd, or Trey Songz. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all talented artists and have found a lot of success in their sound but people automatically try to recreate it thinking it’ll work for them and I don’t believe in that. I don’t see how that’s considered art or being an artist. I’ve worked hard on moulding my own sound and I did that by meshing my musical influences, my personality and my intelligence. I feel like a lot of Hip-Hop nowadays has been dumbed down too, and yea, sure, it’s catchy, but the song has no meaning, message, concept, or structure. It drives me nuts as an artist and as a songwriter because I try to be as conscious as possible with all of that when I’m writing or creating anything. That’s another way I stand out. I don’t want to create something just because it’s catchy; I want my music to get my message or point across to listeners and make them really think, analyze, and question things. Hip-Hop used to be known for its’ social messages, and I just want to revive that.
When did you start writing lyrics and when did you decide to take it to the next level and record music?
I started songwriting around mid-2011 when I was still in University. In 2013, I slowly began developing myself as a recording artist, singer, songwriter and performer with various other artists in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and 2015 is when I really began seriously pursuing music as a career.
What do you enjoy most about creating music and performing for an audience?
The fact that they’re my creative and emotional outlets is what I enjoy most. For creating music, I love being able to think of a concept or a vision and work hard to bring it to life. Creating music also allows me to get through certain emotions I may be experiencing, either good or bad, and gives me the opportunity to share it with the world. Performing is my favourite way of sharing my music because it’s not just a creative and emotional outlet for me, it’s also a way to engage with audiences and listeners. It's really rewarding.