You have the drive, passion & talent… so what are you waiting for? Introduce the world to your VOICE!” – Billy Branch, International Blues Legend
Hailing from Augusta, GA (Home of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown), Dee Hemingway is the quintessential entertainer.
Never one to slow down on a musical opportunity, Dee is a dramatic, soulful mezzo-soprano vocalist who can sing darn near any style of music.
In fact, she is the total package. She sews most of her stage outfits and actually gets into full character on stage.
Dee worked on her individual vocal style by studying her many music idols in Blues, Soul and Rock. Even going so far as to study formal musical training in order to further her goals. The voice you hear is HER voice… no imitations, no Auto-Tune.
As a matter of fact, if you ask Dee her PREFERRED musical genre, she would answer without pause:
Rock. Soulful Rock with a Blues edge.
Dee puts on a wonderful show, interacting with the audience at every given opportunity. She recently made the decision to become a National Touring Performer. Dee has shared many stages in the past, from the small & intimate…to the larger stages with MANY entertainers (Local to International) across the United States and abroad.
Dee is an outspoken advocate for Rock and Blues Music. She has been recognized for her Humanitarian efforts in bridging the cultural gap in music communities across the country. She helped with establishing the Rock and Classic Rock categories for The Northern California Entertainers Music Awards in Sacramento.
Dee has also worked across the United States as management/promotional representation of various musical entertainment (Southern Soul, Rock, Blues, Tribute Band) projects. She has gained many lifelong contacts, mentors and referrals. In addition, she has mentored other performers through the years in vocal and stage performance.
Dee performed at Sherry Gordy Presents: Take The Stage- Las Vegas in 2015.
She is currently touring as a backing/featured vocalist with National Blues Artist Brad Wilson and The Rollin’ Blues Thunder Band. The band is opening for Blues legend Buddy Guy in Arizona–March 2018.
Dee is featured as a backing vocalist in an upcoming song by Hunter & The Dirty Jacks (Blues/Rock), to be released via Spectra Music Group in Spring 2018.
She is also touring with her band across the country, performing Blues/Rock/Soul covers and Originals.
Dee is currently based in Sacramento, CA. She is a member of Musicians Union Local 6 in San Francisco, Sacramento Blues Society and Black Rock Coalition in New York.
1.) What made you want to get into the music business in the first place? Did anyone influence you to do music? If so, who? Influences? Role Models?
I was dating a guy (I was 16-17 years old back then) who played the Chitlin Circuit gigs in The South every weekend. I was so drawn in, I quit high school to be in the scene. Got a job at the local Red Lobster as a waitress, left my family home, got an apartment with him. We toured the circuit together for a couple years. And then I got pregnant with my first born. I started out early. I don’t regret any decision I made, but I would not recommend dropping out of school. I received my GED several years later and got the Undergrad and Grad degrees. I grew up with music by going to church every Sunday when I was a wee lass. As for role models/influences? Aretha, of course. Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. Paul Rodgers from Free. Betty Davis. GG Allin. Yeah him. Once I got over the initial shock of his video performances (Laughs). Because he just did not CARE what anyone thought of him. It takes a lot of nerve to do that. There are SO many influences.
2.) Unfortunately the music industry is full of talented individuals who just don’t get any recognition for their talent and/or work. What do you plan to do to make sure you stand out and get noticed?
Exactly what I am doing right now. By reaching out to reviewers like you in order to get the word out. And to keep making music. Reach one, teach one, right?
3.) Would you rather be on a major label or would you rather stay independent? Why or why not?
Remain an Indie. Because when you are on a major label, you have to do what the execs tell you. You are an investment, and they are going to make sure they always come out on top. Major labels are just not for me. I’m past my prime for being on a major label with the current crop of talent. And there’s way too many resources out there to NOT go in the major label direction. I like where I am. I’m good. I invest in myself. I control the aspect of my career. I love being in control of my own. That’s real talk.
4.) Do you think that the traditional music industry model as we know it is dead? Why or why not?
If you mean having A&R representatives to groom artists for longevity, yes. The era of churning out a plethora of mega superstars are gone, I think. There’s now only room for a rare few. It’s cost-effective and there’s more funding available for the ones chosen. Unless you’re willing to do something that will garner you lots of followers on social media, and you’ll be noticed. I don’t think that’s a terrible thing, just a different approach.
5.) How do you think the internet and social media affected the music industry and how musicians are able to market themselves?
I think it is a wonderful thing, provided the musicians/artists acquire secondary training in Business and Economics 101. This information is free, you have to look in the right places. Using social media to broadcast live performances and casual moments is great. Musicians/artists who would not get through the doors of a major record label have this massive resource of the Internet now. The possibilities are limitless.
6.) What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in life and has that had any effect on your path to becoming a musician?
Rejection. Rejection from the venues you’re trying to pursue. Rejection from some fellow artists simply because I’m different. And I know that I am. Rejection from former friends, some family members, associates because of growth. But rejection leads to self-examination. I’ll be the first to admit that it hurts like Hell at first. But over time, you develop a level of strength. And rejection becomes part of life. Because it is. And you keep going.
7.) Artists who try to make music for the general public and make more money are usually seen as “sell-outs.” Do you see it that way and if so, what do you plan to do to make sure you make music that is true to your brand and make a good living at the same time without having to “sell out”?
Listen, you have to do what you need to do to get the bills paid. I can’t get mad at an artist for taking care of his or her business. As for myself, all I want to do is to make a decent living with music. I don’t need the fancy cars, the high-end clothing and jewelry. I want a modest home that’s paid for, a decent, well-running vehicle that gets me from Point A to Point B. Bills are paid. Monetary situation taken care of. That’s all I need.
8.) When you do music, what would you like your listeners to get out of your music?
I want the listener to be able to relate. A good songwriter will do that. I want to tell stories about what I’ve seen, the things I wished I could have done and want to do. The loves I’ve lost. Disappointments. And the great times I’ve had in this life.
Reverb Nation: www.reverbnation.com/deehemingway