DEECEE IN LONDON, MAY 2016. PHOTOS: MATT HOLYOAK/KAYTE ELLIS AGENCY. STYLING: NIC JOTTKANDT. GROOMING: BEN JONES USING BUMBLE AND BUMBLE AND MAC COSMETICS. PHOTO ASSISTANT: LUKE WELLER. RETOUCHING: THE SHOEMAKER’S ELVES.
DeeCee is young, just 17 years old. Raised in Lewisham in southeast London, DeeCee says he was always into grime music. He began writing tracks when he was still in the single digits. By his early teens, he was working with rising grime star Novelist and the Lewisham-based collective The Square. “I was the youngest,” he says over the phone. Recently, he’s been independent of The Square, focusing on his own music. Earlier this year, he released his first EP, I Am DeeCee, featuring three songs and two instrumental tracks. There’s his thumping single “More Money,” and a take down of posers—his spin on a rap standard—called “Word on the Street.” “People might think they’re hard or whatever, but they don’t really know the word on the street,” he explains. “It’s not directed at anyone, but if the shoe fits.”
DeeCee isn’t too concerned with his own image, however. When asked what he wants the world to know about him, his answer is straightforward: “I want people to know that this is my story. I’ll make tracks to play at a rave or whatever, but at the same time, as you go through the music, you’ll hear where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. Everyone’s got a different story.”
HOMETOWN: Lewisham, London. It’s not the greatest place in London, but it’s shaping me.
FAMILY BUSINESS: One of my uncles is a DJ. I got a couple of my cousins who play piano. I came through with that. I was always into grime music. I have one brother; he’s 19. He didn’t really get me into music, but we’re both heavily into music. He’s a producer as well—a hip-hop producer.
EARLY INFLUENCES: Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle were probably the main guys. Wiley as well. He’s one of the greatest.
JOINING THE SQUARE: I was probably nine years old when I started writing. When I was maybe 14 years old, I started taking music more seriously. I started releasing a couple of freestyles. Novelist came around—I knew of [The Square] and I knew of Novelist from back in the day—and said, “You’re sick. Let’s get in the studio.” I was like, “For real?” Because he was blowing up these times with “Take Time.” I met him round the studio, we got on well, and he just put me into The Square. I knew a lot of them through my brother, [but] no one went to my school or was in my year.
FIRST GIG: It was with The Square. I think it was somewhere in East London. There was a couple of other people on the lineup, but The Square was the main highlight. It was sick. I think when you’re with a big crowd, you don’t really get stage fright.
CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS: When I was about 15, I met Skepta in the studio that I was in with The Square. He was in the downstairs studio and I couldn’t believe that I met him. This was before everything kicked off, so I wasn’t used to meeting a lot of people. He was one of the first. I met him, Jammer, Frisco, and Shorty.
THE SECRETS OF SONGWRITING: [I start with] the beat. That’s the core. An idea will just come into my head and I start off with that and build it up.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS TO DATE: One of them would probably be playing at Glastonbury, which was last year. The other one would be releasing this EP.
FUTURE PLANS: Just keeping putting out songs, really. Letting people understand my music. This is the first time I’ve shown people my productions, so I just want to show people more of me on the emcee side and the producing side.
FOR MORE ON DEECEE, VISIT HIS TWITTER PAGE.
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