I don’t typically like having the full conversation in interviews. Sometimes I’ll take the most important parts and let you take that in. This time was different and may have changed how I work in the future. Full conversations reveal the artist in the best way I feel. 

With all of that in mind, I’m sharing with you a full conversation that took place over some messages with the wonderful DALI. Based out of Phoenix, AZ, DALI is an artist unlike many other. She’s very well kept to herself and stands firmly on her vision. If she’s ready to record, you be ready to. Don’t wait around pushing it off because she’ll push you off and keep working on her vision without you. Very adamant on achieving what she wants for her work so don’t sleep on this girl.

 Peep the conversation below to get to know DALI. 

Photo via Bodi Elias.

OP. Who are you?
D. My name is Dali and I’m an alternative R&B artist from Phoenix, AZ.

OP. Dali as in Salvador – the famous and well known surrealist artist?

D. No actually, my dad’s last name is Dalisay, and I just took the “say” off the end. It’s not super deep, but the Salvador Dali comparison is actually pretty fitting though because most of the time I try to make my music more of surrealistic approach.

OP. That’s really interesting though, I straight thought it was from ‘Salvador. Either way that’s really interesting. How do you go about the surreal approach? From what I’ve heard before I hear a bit of ambiance that adds to the effect. Is there any other things you do to help?

D. I really try to bring other people into my own world, if that makes sense. Music for me isn’t only about writing a melody over a beat, it’s about creating an entire listening experience for the audience. I’m definitely a sucker for ambient ass shit, I don’t know, it just sounds good to me, and I like the idea creating a place for people to escape.

OP. I follow that, it’s a wonderful thing that you’re that way on music. A lot of people take it as,

“Hey let’s do this and just make money, fuck actual time and dedication into this *thumbs up*” 

It’s aggravating at times so to see that you’re that way puts some hope into music for me and many others. My next question though, I as well love ambiance, it’s so smooth – anyway, are there any artists who have the whole ambiance sound that you gain inspiration form?

D. Dude seriously, I was just talking to some people about this the other day, you can tell the difference between people who really believe this is their calling and people who do it because it’s a trend. Like I know musicians, including myself, who have been involved in music for their entire lives and it’s almost insulting to see people try to pursue it when they’re only in it for the money and the clout. I’m gonna chill before I go into full on rant mode though hahaha 
But to answer your question, I grew up with a very limited selection of music to listen to because i was raised in a very religious household, so I kind of had to create my own music taste as I started getting older. I started out listening to a shit ton of Phantom of the Opera type stuff, motown, and christian music, but then my taste started developing and I just kind of started listening to everything. I know a lot of people say everything and don’t mean everything, but my music taste now ranges from EDM to delta blues to pop punk since I didn’t have anything really influencing what I listened to. My inspiration doesn’t come from one specific person, because it wasn’t a person that inspired to start doing music in general, it was just me.

OP. I get that completely. To me there’s people who create for the love and fun. Look at someone like Lil Yachty for example. He’s respected because he is solely doing this for fun and to make sure his family and friends are taken care of. It’s cases like that where I respect the work put out. Now artists who bite that only because of the trend that follows, they annoy me. Respect the culture always. Shoutout to you for respecting it.  Anyway, I understand that. Do you feel as if being in that limited selection spot impacts your creativity today? You were held back from discovering so once you were able to find out more it all just went uphill from there? Also that’s cool that you really are inspired by a little bit of everything. Will we ever get a country track? – Although I’m joking I feel like you could pull off a mean cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton.  My real next question though, given that you did come up in a religious household, was your family supportive at first of your music career or was it something they were skeptical on?

D.  Yeah no don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the new wave of rappers as much as a lot of people do because I really think it’s important to show that you can have fun with your music. It doesn’t always have to be super lyrical, meaningful shit either, all that matters to me is authenticity to ones self. Some people just aren’t meant to be musicians and you can tell who those people are. 
And when it comes to my limited music options when I was younger, I actually think it boosted my creativity because the possibilities were endless. I remember spending hours on youtube just going deeper and deeper into suggested videos and finding genres I didn’t even know existed. I still remember when I found chillwave when I was 15 or 16, I was so excited about it because it wasn’t like anything I’d ever heard before. Now I don’t worry about trying to sound like any specific person, I just make whatever I feel like making. I’d totally be down to do a country cover though, Jolene is classic, and Dolly is a legend. Growing up a Christian didn’t affect the support of my family since I’d been singing for as long as I can remember. I think everyone already knew I was going to pursue this; my mom and brother are my biggest fans and it’s really nice to know that I have that support system.

OP. You worded that perfectly. Authenticity is major key. Would you ever work with any of the new wave rappers if given the chance? 
As far as the limited music options, I understand that completely. I can relate to the spending hours on Youtube. Discovering new genres is always a pure feeling, allows new sounds into your music influence. 
That’s a nice support system. If everyone ever fails you, you’ll have them and that’s a comfort to anyone. Second part here though. Assuming by you saying you’d been singing for as long as you can remember it’s probably safe to say this was always your calling? Do you have any other interests at all?

D.1. Hell yeah I would. Like I said, it’s important to have fun with your music sometimes and it would be cool to collaborate with someone who makes that kind of music. I think collaboration is really important in general because you’re getting fellow artist’s perspectives on the creation process, you can learn a lot of things from other musicians, regardless of what style of music they make. 

D.2. Exactly, when I find new genres that I like, I think of it as finding another piece of my soul. That sounds so cliche but I don’t know any other way to describe it, I literally fall in love with music. You know that burning feeling you get in your chest when someone you have a crush on texts you? I get that same feeling when I listen to certain songs. 

D.3. Yeah my family is pretty dope. Like between them and the group of friends I have, I have as much support a young local artist could ever need. 

D.4 Remember when I mentioned listening to Phantom of the Opera? I never saw it until I was a lot older, but we had the soundtrack on tape, I listened to it almost every day when I was around 5 or 6 and would just sing the shit out of the whole thing. There’s this crazy note the main character sings in the Phantom of the Opera song itself, and I was always able to hit it perfectly every time, and it’s hard to describe but it just made me feel good. I’ve always naturally been able to harmonize, I had perfect pitch, like growing up it’s been harder to keep my voice under control, but yeah it’s pretty safe to say that I was meant to do this. I did go through other phases though, I was really involved in dance at one point, I wanted to be a chef, a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a fashion designer, a politician, an olympic diver; I was all over the place. I always came back to music though. It was the only thing that made me feel like myself.

OP. I mean, if we can get a Jolene cover I nor anyone else would complain, at all. It’s great you have that type of support however. It’s vital that one has it. I feel as if every musician has bounced around before finally settling back to just it, thankfully you did too. But anyway, you hit those notes though? That’s highly impressive. I must ask though, did you ever take vocal lessons or was it something that was self taught and came natural?
D. I took a couple vocal lessons here and there. I was in the phoenix girls choir for a bit when I was 7 which was cool because I learned a little music theory. Most of it has always just been a natural thing though, I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I always saw voice lessons as a way to make me become a “regular singer” if that makes sense. I didn’t like that idea, I just wanted to do whatever I wanted. I kind of wish I would’ve just stuck with some classes though, I’d be clutching grammies right now. 
OP. I feel like you’ll get a few of those Grammys soon, I don’t know when “soon” is but nonetheless. Regarding the “regular singer” comment, I actually understand that and feel like that’s an interesting way to view it. Do you feel like the knowledge of music theory has helped you progress a lot throughout the years or is it something that has had slight impacts along the way?
D. I mean I don’t really feel the same way, that’s just how I saw it when I was younger. Luckily I had some people teach me vocal techniques along the way, or else I wouldn’t be at the level I’m at now. And honestly when it comes to music theory, it definitely helps, because I have a basic understanding of how music works, but I wasn’t consistently learning about it. I was moving around a lot and choir/music lessons were really expensive, so I didn’t have any way to receive more in depth education about music. I wouldn’t say it was a slight impact though, even a little bit of music theory knowledge helps a lot.
OP. Shoutout to those who helped a long the way. It’s vital for young people to have someone to pass them knowledge. I understand, like I mentioned before, very interesting. Given that you said even a little bit of music theory knowledge helps a lot is it something that you would always suggest other musicians looking into more seriously?
D. Oh yeah definitely. I think everyone who starts making music should at least get that basic knowledge because it’s 10x harder to create listenable music if you don’t understand what you’re making to a certain extent. It also makes it a lot easier when working with other musicians as well.
OP. Insightful, I’ll keep it in mind for when I encounter new artists – or I’ll just refer them to this interview. Has that been a challenge or easy thing for you, working with other musicians? I know you recently dropped a collaboration with an artist. Any details on that?
D. It’s challenging only because I’m a perfectionist on top of being really bad at explaining how I want my music to sound, so if I was to work with someone, we’d have to be on the same wavelength for it to work. The collab I just did with Josh, for instance, was really cool because he has a specific vibe he was going for and I just happened to fit it. The creation of the song itself went really smoothly because we both were on the same page.
OP. I get that, I know a few people who are like that. It’s good to be picky though. Keep your sound completely your sound. Your vision is important as an artist. Refreshing that you two worked so well together. You have that show with him soon, how’d that come to be? Do you enjoy being on stage?
D. Originally I wasn’t going to be performing but one of the artists who was supposed to open for Josh wasn’t able to do it so he asked if I could perform instead. And I love being on stage, I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be when I perform. I turn into a completely different person.
OP. Oh shit, that’s dope how it worked out then. How did you and Josh come into contact? I feel like given what I’ve heard from you musically, you belong on one. I can safely assume you have a vibe that captures the crowd. What’s the most important thing to you while performing?

Artwork for the single “Me & You”

D. We actually met through an old mutual friend that I ran into recently and she suggested that Josh and i collaborate. And I don’t know I don’t really have any intentions going into a show, I guess I just want to create an experience for people; I want to connect with them on an emotional/spiritual level. I want them to each feel like I’ve given them a part of myself. Bro i’m high as fuck so ima be all kinds of existential. 

OP. We can wrap it up tomorrow if you want? 
D. ‘Nah it’s good, I’m not like couch locked high. I’m like giddy high. 
OP. I hope you know I am including this into the interview. That’s dope though on how you two met, shoutout to friends. That’s still a good way to see it though, to me it’s about the people and your energy. Are you the type to want to meet all of your fans afterwards or are you ever just way too tired?
D. I’m weak, but yeah the girl who introduced us is like superwoman incarnate, she could probably make a mountain move if she wanted to. And I love seeing friends/fans after shows because performing usually gets me really pumped up, so hugging everyone and feeling all that love isn’t tiring at all. 
OP. That’s dope, keep yourself that way. A lot of people bounce because they’re too tired or they think their too good for it. This has been real though, very insightful too. Do you have anything you’d like to send this off with? When I say anything I mean literally anything. You could tell me to not stain my shirt, tell some random person from your past to go fuck themselves, or even spread some wisdom for others who may be in your place. The mic is yours – no pun intended. 
D. All I have to say is, fuck the people who caused me to write this music, but also thanks. This EP is about to be really good and it’s all thanks to the bullshit y’all pulled. Oh yeah and stay hydrated.

OP. Wait, I lied. I guess this is my last question then. Can you give any details on the EP? Water is also very important. 

D. Yeah it’s going to be a 5 song EP, I’m calling it Apathy: My Last Goodbye. All of these songs were written within a couple of months (january and february), 3 of them were actually written within the same week. I think it’s going to be different from what people are expecting, but I also think it’s going to appeal to a wide variety of people. There isn’t going to be any features because apart of the reason why my recent projects haven’t gotten finished is due to the fact that I had to wait so long for people to get their parts done. By the time we were starting to get more productive, I was in a completely different mindset and I didn’t connect to what I was creating anymore. Now it’s different because I’m just focusing on how I feel right now and how I want my music to sound. This is going to be purely me.

OP. I follow, 5 songs is always a good number for a small project. It’s like the best sampler one may say. It makes sense as far as the going solo on the project. One vital part of creating is making sure everyone continually is on the same page. Thank you again for the interview though, it’s been real. I’ll be hyped to hear more from you. 

That’s it in the entirety. I apolgtoize for the delay of this article. I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile now. Given our schedules it was a challenge to hold it all. Regardless though, it’s here now. I really feel that given her unique image and sound, DALI will be a name that none of us forgets. I see big things from her this year. 

If you’re in the area, stop by the venue and go support DALI and all of the other great artists. 

Lastly, you can listen to the track “Me & You” by Josh Caballes and DALI by clicking HERE

You can follow her on Instagram by clicking HERE.  

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