Dounia’s EP proves she really is better than your rapper boyfriend
As Dounia‘s Instagram bio clearly states, she is better than your rapper boyfriend. And yes, she does live up to this statement.
You may know her from her hilarious Twitter feed where she takes on angry broke boys. Or from her killer fits on Instagram. But what you really need to know is her music.
Her new EP “Intro To” just dropped today, so do yourself a favor and let it rock while you read all about her upcoming tour and how you can get your social media game on point too.
“I DO NOT SUGAR COAT I DO NOT GLOSS! I DO NOT DO BROKE BOYS NOW THAT IM A BOSS!!” pic.twitter.com/b7pULKFQas
— salena_salena (@Salena__Salena) September 27, 2017
Let’s talk about those broke boys on Twitter, who were losing it over your song of the same name.
I honestly wasn’t even that bothered, I was just amused. So wow, when another man calls y’all broke boys, all of you are just content with it but when a woman comments on your financial status — when you guys thrive off of misogynistic language for all your uncreative music — it’s suddenly a huge problem. That’s why I was just amused. I was like… anyway, y’all still broke boys, I could out-bar you. I just wrote another track in my head but I never released it cause they don’t deserve it. They can’t handle more things. But whatever, I love misandry and I enjoy indulging in it for content as they do on the other side of the spectrum.
With so many messages coming your way online, do you feel like you have to respond to everything or only if something’s really asking for it?
If it’s just funny and I have something funny to say I will, cause it’s honestly all comical. It’s never, “Oh, I’m so hurt, I feel the need to respond to you.” It’s just like, this is embarrassing that you went out of your way to say this.
Facts!! Also my love for other women makes me love myself. Like I love yol so much I wanna love me and be a good example. I love yol so much I never wanna betray you for validation of any man. I love yol so much I wanna rebel against every code of desirability for you. Women keep me empowered and happy and full of light ☀️ good morning 2 u
How do you build a network of support online that translates IRL?
Online makes it easier to connect to women that I want to support in real life, so that’s how I find them. Or I’ll become mutuals with artists that I like and in turn, we then build a connection that we wouldn’t really have gotten the opportunity to in real life unless we bumped into each other at a party or something. But then I just meet them in real life and I’m like hey, I follow you on Twitter, and it’s cool. It’s fun if we’re both cool in real life, which is most likely the case because girls are great.
Who inspires you with your music and also with having a platform like that?
I don’t know who inspires me with my music, I feel like my music is inspired by like a huge plethora of sporadic songs. It’s not really a specific artist. But right now who I really like is Rico Nasty, she’s a really cool girl and she’s very original and does her own thing. She’s like the Tay-K female equivalent, which is cool because I feel like we need female artists in every avenue and every vibe, because males have that. So we need that kind of diversity for female artistry.
What are you most excited for about going on tour and having these interactions in real life? People were so excited, they were like mad if you weren’t coming to their city.
I was like wow, I did not think people would care, I’m being deadass. I was about to post the dates and I was like I hope I get some comments. I hope I don’t look like a flop. And then people cared and I was like, oh my god. It made me so excited because I wanna see these people in real life and I wanna connect to them. I am genuinely so grateful for every person that takes their time to comment on my music or support me so it’ll be cool to see them in real life.
I think it’ll also be interesting because people interact with you on such a personal level, but now this is interacting on an artistic level.
Yes, they get to witness my music in real life and it’s going to be so special, especially because I’m going to have my EP out and I’m going to just sing songs that I’ve been wanting to sing for so long and I’m going to have my fans there. It’s just going to be joyous, it’s going to be magical.
Do you feel like it’s a whole different side of you, for people who have just been following you online?
Yeah, for sure. My music is very — I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like a weirdly honest representation of me. Very vulnerable, like the deepest part of me where I’m not afraid to be pretentious and be my genuine self in a sense. It’s going to be interesting for people to experience that as well because I feel like my persona online is funny or stupid, but I’m a lot more emotional and vulnerable with my music. I never tweet about stuff like that, I don’t really get in my bag on Twitter like that. I’m usually very positive. But music is the outlet for that.
Do people slide into your DMs asking for advice about music and social media?
Yeah, all the time. All the time, but the thing is it’s kind of difficult to give advice because when it comes to worlds like music and social media, it’s such an individualized process that I don’t even know how to make it into an anecdote or condense my journey. The only advice I really be giving for social media followings or music is, it’s feasible. It’s feasible to figure it out. Everything is DIY, you just have to kind of go with your flow, go with your own timeline and just be really about your shit. Don’t slack cause it’s really easy to slack something when you feel like it’s unattainable, but it’s really not [unattainable]. Like, we’re here.
When working with different photographers and brands, how do you figure out who shares your ideals and who’s just trying to ride the wave?
Usually I just see through the bullshit, but if I’m getting a check I’m like all right, I’m going to use this to be productive in society and actually help the social good. I feel like it’s very rare for people to have 100% genuine intentions. Unless it’s like a black-owned collective for example, or something like that, where the creators are a cause I’m passionate about rather than just a white brand who’s just being progressive for the campaign.
But who knows, maybe they are genuine, maybe I’m just a cynic… hopefully they are. I genuinely am passionate about these topics they commodify so it be getting me a little tight. Everyone that I work with is lit and anybody who’s chosen to work with me at this point, that just goes to show they’re genuine because I am an unconventional person so it’s like they reached out to me they’re doing something right.
I feel like now with social media, things like publishers and agents aren’t always necessary, you don’t have to be signed to get your stuff out there.
Absolutely not, you don’t. In every avenue, media, modeling, you don’t need that shit anymore. Many of my super successful model friends are like fuck my agency I want to get out of my agency, I’m the one booking the jobs. Ya, with music too. It’s all about organic growth and all you need is people that fuck with your content or appreciate you as a person. You don’t need the mechanics and all that, a lot of times it ends up just diluting your shit. But of course there’s always a point if you want to propel yourself to reach a more macro scale then go ahead and sign to a label but it’s not a necessity you shouldn’t let that stunt you. A lot of people let that stunt them, they’re not signed to an agency they’re not signed to a label and it’s like no shorty. Just do your thing, get your bag, be yourself.
Early on how did you build that network for yourself and get those opportunities?
Honestly it was all just being a people person. I think that’s really the premise of it all, just being extroverted. I’m a very open person so everyone that crossed my path, when I was working retail for example, I would just make genuine connections and that have led me to more connections which has led me to opportunities. For example, I became best friends with an American Apparel model and the next week she was like, “Hey, do you want to shoot for Sephora and i-D?” And I was like, “Uhhh…yes, yeah, for sure.”
So after that, I kind of just lived life, kept building my opportunities and of course it was a conscious decision to focus on it and grow and be like okay this is a profitable market so I’m gonna post my Instagram pics every day. I’m gonna wear my fits and whatever. But with music too it was just apparent that I didn’t need this crazy machine behind me. I was like, I have a following, I’m genuine about what I do.What else do I need? I have the art and the people who are hopefully willing to listen to it.
What do your family and close friends say, who have watched this whole journey unfold?
My mom still doesn’t think I’m shit. She still be at my door like, “When are you gonna be rich? When are you gonna be famous?” And I’m like, “Mom, listen. I got some clout, you are just not aware of it.” But yeah, my family doesn’t take any of it seriously because they’re so foreign that in order for them to take things seriously, I’d have to like buy a house or something.
She’s stopped hassling me though. Before it was like, college, college, college, but now she sees I’m traveling and doing stuff so she’s eased up on it. My friends on the other hand are wildly supportive since I started making music years ago like on SoundCloud, bedroom recordings. They would play it in their free time and tell me from the get go, you’re gonna be huge! Just do this! My biggest hype men, which is amazing. I remember even in high school my friend forced me to shoot a music video. He was like, “Nope, you gotta do it.” They’re amazing. I love them.
Do you collaborate with friends on projects?
No, I just ask for their opinions a lot. I’ll ask, do you like this better or that, should I record this song or that one. Every creative decision I need validation, otherwise I’m very weird with collaboration because I’m so meticulous about everything I do. I’m so weird with it, I get so uncomfortable. I like input though. I’m the most open person to input, I’m so confident with my vision that if someone doesn’t like a song I’m like, okay, cool, I’m happy to know that too. But the EP is gonna be lit so listen to it. Whole album crack, you ain’t gotta skip a track.
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Photography: Lauren Lepore