IAMDDB: the artist reimagining jazz and soul
(TURN SOUND ON ︎)
WRITTEN BY ELOISE STADLER
(ALT HIPHOP, TRAP, URBAN JAZZ) - 15.03.21
Diana De Brito’s story begins in Lisbon where she grew up with the influences of her father; an afro-jazz musician. With a studio at home and musicians always in motion through their house, De Brito was surrounded by music ingenuity from a young age and it has clearly made its mark. Jump forward by a couple of years and De Brito, better known as IAMDDB, establishes herself solidly as a Mancunian alongside the prestige as one of the UK’s most talented, up-and-coming artists. During a lively 2018, IAMDDB confirmed her talent reaching third place on BBC’s Sound of 2018 list, playing at Berghain and supporting the likes of Bryson Tiller, Lauryn Hill and Jhene Aiko. She is a trailblazing woman firing through the global music scene.
The difficulty trying to pin down the exact way to describe her music goes to reflect her creativity and genuine approach to bringing a revolutionary update to jazz. Every track brings up different emotions and sets a distinctive mood that I think reflects the rollercoaster of being a woman, particularly in the music industry. Exploding into the UK music scene in 2016, her acclaimed single “Selfless” paved the way for IAMBBD’s statement of individuality that was shortly followed by a blessing of EPs and mixtapes. Rather than rushing into the hype of an album release, she has been occupied with exploring the multiple facets in her personality and how she manifests these in her music conception.
Her work is defined by hugely texturized mixtapes which move seamlessly through a range of genres that take the audience on a journey making the listening experience almost addictive. With most tracks incorporating jazz, trap and R&B layered on top of one another, IAMDDB constructs intricate works that are experimental and refreshing. Her music strikes this unique balance between rendering striking individuality and echoing the wider music currents of contemporary culture. Take her album Hoodrich Vol. 3 for instance. Here the trap influence is unmistakable, reflecting the growth of trap music that was progressively simmering in the UK upon its inception. De Brito is iconic for the way in which she renders the complexity of our current cultural atmosphere through projecting the impulsive movements in the music scene. On top of this, the influence of her upbringing punctuated with afro-jazz seeps its way unapologetically into the syncopated rhythmic style of IAMDDB’s tracks. Before going to university, IAMDDB spent time in Angola playing jazz with her father and his band. In an interview with Wonderland Magazine, she describes how it was this trip that “unlocked a fire inside” the artist and unleashed the passion in her for the hard work and discipline to make music.
Her determination doesn’t stop there. Setting up her own production company, Union IV, has given the artist the artistic control that she wants and, in a drive to manifest authenticity in a way that best suits her, all of IAMDDB’s works have been self-produced. It is possibly this artistic autonomy that has established IAMDDB as the catalyst of urban jazz. With songs paying homage to a vast range of artists who have influenced her works, such as Nat King Cole and Erykah Badu, the multi-dimensionality of her tracks and her organic growth placed her firmly onto Forbes’ 30-under-30 list in 2019. Released last year, the aptly named single ‘Quarantine’ asks us to let go of fear and embrace the adventure of love, rather than going into flight mode. As a savvy songwriter, IAMDBB wears her heart on her sleeve. Whilst many artists focus on establishing a particular persona and definitive style to their music and aesthetic, IAMDDB reminds us of our humanness and the beauty of our constant evolution throughout life. What we like and what we are attracted to is fluid; in the same way that the culture we are surrounded by is and she represents this effortlessly.
We can all learn something from her latest release “WA’HUM”. Oozing with notes of empowerment of the female soul and body, her latest single acts a sort of personal meditation that contemplates the need to give negativity and bitterness the cold-shoulder and protect oneself from the chaotic animosity that we can find ourselves in. With all that said, candles, incense and IAMDDB is the recipe you need for dipping into moments of relaxation that leave you feeling blissful alongside hits of the need to groove a little.
Listen to Swervvvvv.5 below :