Dubem is Learning to Let Go

Gabrielle Solange: Hey, Dubem! Your new song, Let Go, is a bop. I’ve seen you around Columbus doing awesome things in the community with music. You’ve definitely got greater things coming. I’m thrilled to invite the Tuned Up audience to join you on your journey. Tell me about yourself. Where are you from and what started you on this path creating and sharing your music? 

Dubem: Hey! I appreciate you reaching out to me for this interview. So my name is Dubem, and I’m a rapper, producer, and DJ based in Columbus OH. When I first started my music journey back in 2011, I mainly focused on music production, independently releasing beat tapes every 1-2 years. As much as I loved music production, I always felt like it held me back in terms of creative expression. There’s only so much you can communicate to your audience through beats. So during the height of the pandemic (October 2020), I made the transition to rap, and ever since then, doors have been opening left and right!

Gabrielle Solange: You just released a new single, Let Go. What’s the story behind it?

Dubem: The story behind the creation of Let Go is pretty interesting. I’ve been in a season where I’m learning what it means to let go, whether that be letting go of old mindsets, habits, methods, expectations, etc. – pretty much anything that’s been robbing me of peace and preventing me from experiencing abundant life. Sometimes as you go through day to day life, you don’t realize how much weight you’re carrying internally, so I made a commitment to surrender it all to God, which of course is a daily process! Even when it came to the creation of this song, I found myself going back and forth, constantly changing details of the song here and there (verses, mixing decisions, implementing new ideas, etc). I literally had to learn how to let go while working on a song titled Let Go, haha. Even after releasing it to the public, I had to let go of any expectations attached to the performance of the song (streams, shares, etc.), letting God do what he wants with it since the idea came from him.

Gabrielle Solange: I love that. It’s so true. I feel like so many people can relate to that. I personally feel like I’m letting go of perfectionism – this illusion that if I don’t somehow make all the right moves with my life, my destiny will be ruined. The pressure and fear feels maddening… paralyzing my creativity. I’m living like it all rides on me rather than God’s ability to work in my life and fulfill His promises. I’m learning to let go of this.  It feels so vulnerable! Have you ever experienced that or am I just dramatic?! 

Dubem: Man, I resonate with that very deeply. That’s actually something that I’ve struggled with in the past. I feel like I’m just coming out of that. One thing that’s helped me is understanding that God is outside of time. So when we’re relating to Him, He already sees the end from the beginning. And the beautiful thing about Him is that He can even use our mistakes to really rearrange us and get us back on the right path. I like how Romans says that “all things work together,” and ya know, God is so committed to us that He already knew that we wouldn’t make all the right decisions, but He’s faithful. Even our mistakes are opportunities for redemption. So yea, I resonate with that deeply, but part of letting go is just understanding God has ordered our footsteps. The works he ordained for us before the foundation of the world are unfolding before our eyes.

“And the beautiful thing about Him is that He can even use our mistakes to really rearrange us and get us back on the right path.”

Gabrielle Solange: Ugh! That ministers to me so much! *Tears* Ok… What’s your favorite line from Let Go and why?

Dubem: I have an interesting line in the song that goes “I’m on a quest for the Land of Milk and Honey so I’m cleansing my palate”. It’s basically a clever way of me saying that I’m preparing myself for the promises of God. I’m cleansing my palate (adjusting my perspective, attitude, desires, etc) in preparation for the promises that God has for me (Land of Milk and Honey). I’ve always heard people say that you have to prepare for what you pray for, and I find that this is so true. Faith isn’t a passive thing, it requires for you to take action, not knowing where you’re going, but trusting that God is faithful to guide you to the right path.

Gabrielle Solange: What’s your creative process like?

Dubem: So in terms of my process, I actually handle everything, from the production, to the recording, mixing, mastering, single cover design, etc. I usually start with a beat, then I write lyrics to it. The inspiration either comes from the production itself, or it comes from a theme that I’ve been dwelling on/experiencing in real life. From that point on, I record, then mix, then master the song. As far as the cover art, I handle the design/sketching, then I outsource it to freelancers for them to color it. Eventually I would like to outsource the other parts of my creative process (mixing and mastering), but it’s just a matter of finding the right people!

Gabrielle Solange: What is your greatest accomplishment in your music artist journey so far? 

Dubem: There are actually two that come to mind. One is having two of my beats featured on a movie that was executively produced by Queen Latifah (Gloves Off, 2020). The movie premiered on BET and the Oprah Winfrey Network. What’s crazy is that I literally made these beats on some cheap headphones in my bedroom two years prior haha. I liked how they sounded, but I didn’t know what to do with them, but when the opportunity presented itself, I was ready. Goes to show that anything is possible.

The next accomplishment was getting the opportunity to perform at the Legendary SOB’s in NYC last year. B.A.K is a record label based in New York, that’s worked with prominent platforms such as Pigeons and Planes, as well as notable industry acts such as Mike Dean (engineer for Kanye West and Travis Scott), Smino, Smokepurpp, and Teezo Touchdown. They hosted an Early Registration Contest, where artists from all over the country could submit their music to. They had over 4,000 entries for this contest, and it got narrowed down to 12 acts, me being one of them! The winners were flown out to NYC to perform at SOB’s for a concert.

Gabrielle Solange: Slow down… you did what now? You said your music made it into a movie that premiered on actual TV? Ummm… that’s kinda a big deal! And with beats you made two years prior? I gotta ask… how did that happen?

Dubem: So for the movie placements, it’s kinda crazy how it all came into play. There was a composer who was producing songs for a couple of scenes in the movie, but at the last minute the directors decided that his songs weren’t really much of a good fit, so when I was contacted to provide some music for the movie, I had about 12 hours until the deadline, talk about pressure! The good news is that I had two beats that I felt went along with the scenes that they specified, these have been laying around for a couple years because I didn’t really know what to do with them, and I wasn’t rapping at the time yet, so this was a good example of opportunity meeting preparation. I had to tweak them a little bit to go along with the timing of the scene, as well as some sound design and adding effects, but it all worked out! 

Gabrielle Solange: That is so wild and very inspiring! So Dubem, where do you want to be in the next couple of years?

Dubem: The goal is to do music full time. This will require some leaps of faith and risks, but I fully believe that God is orchestrating things together for this to come to fruition. Also, I would like to perform more consistently. There’s something about interacting with a live crowd that makes me come alive.

Gabrielle Solange: I feel you. I love performing live so much! I honestly feel like I’m my truest self on stage and that it’s regular everyday life I’m performing my way through. Who is your dream collaboration?

Dubem: Def would love to work with Andy Mineo. I feel like our sounds are very similar, and if we got together, we could make some magic, it’s definitely within reach!

Gabrielle Solange: Yoooo Andy Mindeo is one of mine too! His last album got me through some tough times. That’s dope. What do your fans and supporters mean to you? 

Dubem: Fans/supporters mean a lot to me for sure. I always want people to feel inspired, hopeful, encouraged, etc. when listening to my music. I always say that music isn’t just here for our entertainment, but it can literally save and change lives, so I always keep that in mind when releasing songs to the world.

Gabrielle Solange: Awesome. Do you have anything exciting coming up that fans should look out for?

Dubem: Yep! I’ll be performing at Counter Culture’s New Years Eve Party next month. It’s a nice alternative for those who feel dissatisfied with the club scene, young adults can come and have a genuinely good time without feeling like they have to compromise on their values. Also, there’s some more potential sync placements for my music (TV and Movies), so def be on the lookout for that!

Gabrielle Solange: Where’s the event?

Dubem: It’ll be taking place at Long Street Studio, on December 31st from 9pm – 1am! We’ll be watching the ball drop during the event as well to welcome in the new year.

Gabrielle Solange: Dope! I was looking for something to do for New Years! You might see me there! Where else can people find you?

Dubem: So you can find me on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, pretty much anywhere where music can be streamed! 

Gabrielle Solange: Any closing remarks?

Dubem: Just want to thank you again for this opportunity! Also I would like to encourage any creatives out there who might be reading this, whatever makes you come alive is the very thing that you’ve been placed on Earth to do, be encouraged, pursue purpose with everything that you’ve got, and believe that God will open doors that no man can shut.

Follow Dubem’s socials :Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linktree

Author: Gabrielle Solange

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