Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Where were you born and raised?
My name is André DePriest. I am a singer/songwriter/performer currently based in Los Angeles, California. However, I was raised in (and around) the city of Chicago, Illinois.
What did you want to become when you were a child?
I’ve always possessed an intense passion for music and social justice. As a young child, I would often dream about blazing the stage just like my favorite artists.
What sparked your interest in music?
I cannot recall the spark that ignited my love for music. Looking back I feel as though it was always ingrained in the most complex parts of my soul. My earliest memories all include listening and connecting with various genres of music. If I had to choose a specific moment, I can remember playing this small Casio keyboard that I carried everywhere. One day, I stumbled upon this melody that got stuck in my head. I was about five years old at the time and I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me when I heard those sounds. It became my escape.
When/how did you discover your musical talent?
I didn’t really discover my musical talent until about sixth grade. I was a very shy child, so even though I loved to sing it was rarely loud enough to be heard. Over time, as I gained more confidence, friends and teachers would encourage me to sing more. The attention I garnered from singing helped me discover my gift.
Who are some musicians that you admired while learning about music? What made you captivated with them specifically?
Michael Jackson was the first musician that really inspired me as a youth. There was something electric about his aura. When I six years old, my mother took me to see him at the United Center and I was blown away. As I got older, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Buju Banton, D’Angelo, The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Common, Bilal, Musiq Soulchild, The Roots, Jimi Hendrix, Outkast and the Fugees all became huge influences of mine. I’ve always appreciated artists who express an extreme passion for their craft. The amazing thing about all of the aforementioned artists is their ability to find a unique and organic way to share their interpretations of life, love and music.
How long have you been performing?
I’ve been performing in some capacity my entire life. From early marching band and choir to college poetry slams and eventually my own music.
Are you also a song writer? If so, what kind of songs do you write?
I am also a songwriter. When crafting songs, I always start with a feeling, a desire and/or a mood. Love is the topic of most of my songs, because it is the source of everything on this planet. Once I’ve established the mood, I focus on telling a story. Sometimes, I write from personal experience and other times I borrow from the experiences of others.
Where do you find inspiration to create or perform?
I find inspiration all around me. The most important aspects of creation are listening and observing. Everyday, I encounter people and places that represent unique perspectives. The role of an artist is to provide a mirror for humanity.
Which genres of music do you sing?
I sing primarily, Electro-Soul, R&B and Funk.
Have you ever faced rejection? If so, what did you do to overcome it?
I’ve never really faced rejection, because I don’t believe in the idea of rejection. We are all placed on this Earth for a purpose. Our entire lives are devoted to the journey of realizing said purpose. Throughout the journey we encounter opportunities. Not every opportunity is meant for you. The universe provides you with the tools to achieve your destiny. If you are paying attention, rejection will never be a condition you face because the right situation will always find you.
How do you plan to grow in your craft?
Practice. Self-Reflection. Passion. Hustle.
What advice do you have for aspiring singers and musicians?
Why do you think it’s important for people to follow their dreams?
Your dream is your legacy. It is the gift you were meant to share with the world. A world without dreamers, is a world without love, creativity, soul and passion. Life is a blessing. You never know how long your trip is going to be down here on Earth; make the best of it.
Photo credit: Dreamer Loop