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August 25, 2023 5 min read

“i STRUGGLE TO BE TOLD WHAT i can and can't do with something as subjective as music"


The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist talks latest single "Numb", the magic of performing live and London's everlasting influence on his creative process.




“I think it’s my most versatile track to date, and it was literally created within the last couple of weeks. So, the excitement still feels fresh,” London-based singer-songwriter Deyaz tells Man About Town of his latest single “Numb”.

The musician gives us the low-down while on holiday in Turkey, taking some much-deserved time off since wrapping up his upcoming second EP, “Transparency”. The project follows his critically acclaimed 2022 debut “WHY NOT”, which landed him as one of The Guardian's Ones To Watch at only 22 years old. With his penchant for hauntingly emotive lyrics backed by genre-bending melodies, it isn't difficult to understand the praise.

Something of a sonic prodigy, Deyaz's foray into music sprouted solitarily. At just twelve years old, he discovered his passion when he picked up his brother's guitar for the first time, which led to him then teaching himself a multitude of instruments, including piano, bass and violin. It wouldn't be long until the virtuoso-in-the-making would land a scholarship from London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music — an opportunity Deyaz would ultimately walk away from in favour of a more organic approach to making music.

A self-proclaimed "non-confined" artist, the one-man act found freedom in pursuing a different kind of musical education by busking throughout London, drumming for various Camden punk acts and developing his multi-genre approach as a sound engineer. Allowing himself the space to create on his own terms has given him the freedom to develop his sound without restrictions. The result? Raw narratives that delve into his experiences of homelessness, addiction and mental health.

Ahead of the release of “Transparency”, Deyaz talks us through the magic of performing live, London's everlasting influence on his creative process and why it's important to stay unrestricted. 


Congratulations on the release of “I’ll Scream”! That sounded like an intense track to write personally! Can you tell us more about the days you penned it?  
Thank you! I’ve been so grateful for all the love people have shown towards the track. It’s funny you say that because when I initially started to write it, it was only a few lines of the first verse that was written before I posted it on TikTok and it started to gain traction. I was in a place where I was feeling a little unheard in some of my relationships and it was sort of a release to write a few lines with a melody to post on TikTok with no expectation. Once it gained more traction, I thought it was only right to finish it and put it out into the world. I dived deeper into how it felt feeling unheard and misunderstood and now we've got a full song that I think is an accurate representation of how I was feeling at the time and how so many other people feel sometimes.
We loved the linkup with Jessie Reyez also on there! Talk us through how you guys first connected.
First of all, shout out to Jessie for making a song so close to me even more special! We first started talking on social media a few years ago and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to start the new year off when I joined as a support on tour for her in January. This was around the time I was releasing the original “I’ll Scream” and playing it live every night was always a magical moment, the crowd always had their torches in the air and it always finished my set off in the most wholesome way. I don't think we could’ve chosen a song that made more sense for Jessie to be a part of. It was her tour and her fans that made the song feel so alive before it was even released.
You grew up in East Ham, London and remained there even when your parents moved away. How do you think your relationship with the city has influenced the artist you are today?
I think growing up and remaining in London has definitely influenced me as not just an artist but also as a person to stay true to my own individuality and not stick to any form of confinement, because London is such an accepting place where you can truly be who you are without judgment on the most part. With so many other creatives being in London, it’s reminded me to always be myself and to never hesitate to break boundaries or the ‘norm’, especially with my appearance or music.
You described yourself as a ‘non-confined’ artist. How do you manage to remain unrestricted in the spaces you inhabit musically, despite the industry’s tendency to box artists in?
I believe as long as people see me through the music and not my image, I will always stay unrestricted. I grew up with such varied musical influences that I can never choose just one, I love to take what is needed from certain genres and build my own. Music is a language and as long as you can speak or understand it, there aren’t any boundaries that can't be broken.

We know you also opted not to study at Guildhall Music School despite gaining a prestigious scholarship. Where do you think that yearning for an organic approach to creativity comes from for you?
Music is and always has been my passion. For me personally, I struggle to be told what I can and can’t do with something so subjective like music, so when I felt like I was being put into a box or burdened with trying to make music more complicated than just a feeling, I knew I needed to strive for my own independent journey or I never would have grown to find my own path and individuality.
A man of many talents, we know you used to perform in the Camden Punk Scene as a drummer! What’s your earliest memory of dabbling with making music?
The start of my journey was when I was 12 or 13 and my older brother left his guitar on the wall when he left for uni. I taught myself over that summer by following YouTube tutorials and within a few years I’d picked up a few more instruments and started to play in some punk bands. Then onto busking which is when the Camden scene became part of my story. It’s so surreal now because seven or eight years later I’m on the famous Dr Martens mural across from where I busked. It’s crazy how life really is full circle.
Finally, the end of the year would appear to have lots in store for you! What do you think might surprise fans about what you’ve got coming up?
My next EP is being released very soon! It’s my proudest work to date so I’m eager to share it with you all. I’m also heading over to the States in October to play my first US festival, ACL and hopefully connect with some fans as well as other collaborators that I’ve been eager to work with.


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