She discovered her passion for music when she was just 8 years old. Authenticity drives her creative soul and often comes out through beautiful songs which she scribble down for herself.
DEMAR is an alternative pop artist from Miami, but now based in New York City, who garnered attention with the cover of “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar. Her cover got over one million streams on Spotify and quite a good response on platforms like YouTube.
The singer recently completed her EP “Rebels” which will be released this month. We got a chance to catch up with DEMAR who told us about her musical journey and her new single “Fire”. Check out the full interview below:
We would like to know about your musical journey. How did your journey as a singer begin and how has it been so far?
My journey began at about 6 years old, dancing and singing for my family and making them watch me, even when they didn’t want to. But I would say it really began when I won an original song radio contest which led to getting positive feedback from Ellie Goulding, because that gave me confidence that I had talent. It’s funny because my journey started so long ago but feels like it’s just begun. There are a lot of ups and downs but I’m enjoying every minute.
What does music mean to you? Also, if you had to define music in a quote, what would your quote be?
Music means everything to me. It’s self-expression, it’s connection, it’s understanding, it’s what can get you through a bad day and inspire you. Music brings people together. It can impact change and coincide with social and cultural issues, but can also help us forget about our struggles or stresses for a few minutes if we get lost in it.
This is a tough one, NO PRESSURE, but if I had to define music in a quote, it would be something like “Music is the all-encompassing connector between people and healer of those people.” How’s that?
Who is your musical inspiration and why?
This may sound odd but one of my inspirations was the movie Selena. It was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. Seeing her love of music portrayed and what she was able to do in the industry made me want to do that too. I’m inspired by artists like Steely Dan (I grew up listening to them with my dad), Missy Elliott, Joy Williams from The Civil Wars – artists who are not only expert songwriters but can convey so much feeling. I’m also inspired by people in my life who challenge me mentally or emotionally.
Congratulations on your upcoming EP. Please tell us a bit about Rebels? What is the concept behind it?
Thank you! Rebels is the culmination of a few years of work in writing songs alone on my guitar and figuring out how to translate that into full production in the studio. The EP tells the story of a relationship I went through. As you listen through each track, you hear the story unfold from start to finish. It’s filled with a lot of ups and downs, that hopeless feeling of wanting someone and something so badly, but finally realising it will never be. The last song on the EP and title track, “Rebels”, concludes the situation with finding inner strength.
“Fire” is a powerful song both in terms of music and vocals. Like your other songs, it showcases your vocal prowess. Please tell us about the single.
Fire is one of the darker, sexier songs on the EP. It’s about how knowing something is wrong makes you want it even more. When you’re so intoxicated by someone, it feels like a drug and even just a little “hit” of them is enough to keep you going, until the withdrawal sets in again. I wrote this song after seeing the person it’s inspired by out with his new girlfriend. It was also my way of saying “You may be with her, but I know who you’re thinking about.”
You’re not just a singer but also a songwriter. When did you write your first song? Also, please tell us about your songwriting process.
I wrote my first song with one of my good friends when I was 8 years old. We called ourselves Dynamic Duo and our first single was “Fantasy Land.” I took a couple years off after that but picked it back up again as a teenager. Before I learned guitar, I would write songs by strumming a note on one string of the guitar. Once I taught myself chords and how to play at 15, I started to really focus on songwriting and what I wanted to say as an artist.
Your cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” became quite popular among Spotify listeners. The sound of the original song and the cover is completely different which kind of makes it “your song”. How did the idea of the cover come about?
I wish it had some incredible backstory but the truth is I worked on my version of Swimming Pools because I wanted to learn a song that I knew my friends would like. They can be tough critics and I just wanted them to hear it and think it was cool. I’m such a huge fan of Kendrick (my Instagram name used to be @kendrick_demar before I changed it to @demarmusic), and I thought it would be a fun song to put my spin on.
How do you feel about the positive reaction to the song?
I really couldn’t believe it. When I released the song, I did it with no press, no playlist placement, nothing like that. To see it grow organically and see the feedback on Twitter and YouTube was really exciting. It’s something I just did for fun so the reaction was completely unexpected.
Can we expect another cover soon? If so, would you like to give us a hint as to which song it would be?
After Swimming Pools did so well, I don’t know that I’d want to follow that up with another cover. But I do like to play a cover or two at my shows. SO if you want to hear that song and something else like it, you should come to one of my upcoming shows.
What else can fans expect from DEMAR in 2017?
I’ve just released the two singles from the EP and the EP is out on Oct. 20th. So right now I’m really focused on that. I’m also playing shows in NYC, Miami, and New Jersey and working on booking dates in a couple other cities. If you’re a fan of the music and live in one of those areas, come on out so we can hang! The dates are being announced on my socials. I also have a music video coming out in the near future, so stay tuned for that.
Along with “Fire”, the singer has released one more track from her EP. Here is DEMAR’s new single “Wild Ride”: