Story Time with IAMDDB

By
Photography Till Janz

Published November 26, 2018

As she prepares to hit the road with Lauryn Hill this month, the Mancunian musician IAMDDB tells us how she went from being Diana De Brito to Betty Rizzo to R&B’s next big thing.

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I was born in Portugal, in Lisbon to be exact, and I lived there until I was 5 or 6. My mother had a café, and I had a little white girlfriend who was the same age as me. It was dope. I grew up around musicians. My father was a musician who played in an Afro-jazz band. Lisbon was a constant flow of creativity. Bob Marley was a huge influence on me as a child—still is. When we moved to Manchester, I didn’t speak a word of English. But I think it was harder for my older sister and my mom, because they had lives in Portugal. Whereas, for me, I came over and everything was Manchester. I moved around a lot, but I adapted quickly, found some friends, and became a real Mancunian. We Mancunians have a different energy. We give zero fucks and only say what we think. In school, me and my friends were terrible. We’d wear short skirts with bandanas and flowers in our hair, and the teachers would yell at us. I always took vocal lessons in school, but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I made my mind up that I wanted to be a musician. We had a play in school. I forget what it was called—not Dirty Dancing, but the other one. Grease! I played Betty Rizzo in the play, and she was this careless, fiery character that matches me in every kind of way. It took me a while to understand what I could do with music. I started recording songs on the side when I was in college, working on projects with sound engineers, doing background vocals with a couple of artists at the college. Then, in 2015, I spent six months in Angola with my dad, going around playing gigs and making jazz music. Performing for huge crowds for the first time, I was like, “I need to do the same thing, but in the U.K.” When I got back, I went to university for an hour, and I was like, “Fuck this, I quit.” That same day, I dropped a video called “Leaned Out,” and from that moment on I was IAMDDB. I used to make music under my actual name, Diana De Brito, but I didn’t want my surname to connect me to my dad and have people presume that my situation was because of him. I made Hoodrich Vol. 1 and Hoodrich Vol. 2, but when I released Hoodrich Vol. 3 and went straight on tour with Bryson Tiller, that’s when things started becoming legit. I learned so much playing those shows, and I’m so humbled that they even requested me. And now I’ll join Lauryn Hill’s tour in December—I still can’t believe it. That’s all I can say.

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Makeup: Marielle Mata
Set Design: Andrew Lim Clarkson at Bryant Artists
Digital Technician: Christopher Bromley
Photography Assistant: Kristina Weinhold
Post-Production:Ink Retouch