South London-based, NN-raised Deanna Chase is an R&B star on the rise. Teaming up with rapper Hache for new single ‘Let Me Know’, she is on fire. New Boots knew it was time to talk.
New Boots: How did you get into the world of singing and songwriting?
Deanna Chase: I got into singing and songwriting when I discovered I could sing quite well. My family would always encourage me to sing or let me know when I sounded good, so it felt like it was something I should explore. I was always good at English and poetry at school, so that helped on the writing side of things. When I think back to those memories I know how sure I was that this was something I was supposed to do.
You’re an NNer, correct? And now you’re in south London.
I did grow up both in Wollaston and Wellingborough. South London is my home now, and I must say I love it. It’s a perfect balance for me, and I have a good few friends here so it feels like a home away from home.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I would describe my sound as R&B, pop-infused – with a little darkness, layered with juxtaposing sweet harmonies that is heavily influenced by the noughties era. My main influences are most artists from the noughties to be fair, that time was great for R&B. My main ones would be Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Britney.
What was the reaction like to your few previous singles so far? Is it all building nicely?
The reactions so far have been all positive! I get a lot of different people telling me which one is their favourite, and I love when they say it is fresh but gives them a sense of nostalgia too. I know in the future I could be met with the critics, but I don’t mind that. Comes with the job. My listeners [or Chaser’s, so they’ve been called] are growing organically and authentically and they’re such a mixed bunch, I love it. Some have been with me right from the very start when I released my first song on Soundcloud, which I must add is still a banger.
Tell us about this new one, ‘Let Me Know’.
‘Let Me Know’ is one of my favourites yet! From the process of making it to the end result it’s a stand-out memory for me. I met my collaborator Hache after he had heard my music, and we agreed we would work on something. We were back and forth for over a year talking about how we should get in the studio, and when we finally did I couldn’t quite believe that that was the first time we had physically met. It was like talking to a good friend for years. We were recording in South London in Jr James home studio and they played me some of the stuff they were working on, which I loved. Then we got to playing some of the beats Jr had made. One stuck out and I remember coupling it with this R&B-style of riff, Hache overheard it and suggested I stick with it. That was the melody for the hook and my verse came second. I remember thinking when I jumped on the mic “nahh this was too easy to write”, haha. I pondered over it and made the smallest adjustments, but I was happy with it. In true Hache form he later sent me a great verse and after the topline was basically finished.
I was so excited to release this one because I felt like I am representing the Trini in me, and in general the song is just sick. This one is definitely a crowd favourite and I come alive when I perform it. It’s playful too! Straight good vibes and I know that comes across in the music video.
What are your live shows like?
My live shows are energy. If I’m not having fun then I can’t be sure that anyone else is, haha. I love to dance and interact, sometimes I jump off stage and dance with the crowd too. Even more so recently I enjoy taking the audience on a journey. The songs all represent a different part of my life, and if it helps them to get to know me and what I’m about then even better. My best shows are when there is a band with me; drums especially make my body come alive.
What has lockdown been like for you? Has it helped or hindered your creativity?
Lockdown for me was a time of surrender because I had no choice but to. I remember thinking that I’ll just have to save my energy for the things I can change and accept the things I cannot. I used this time instead to focus on my health and mind mainly. Because of this when I was invited to put on a livestream performance I took it all into perspective, and decided to do it to raise money for MIND the mental health charity. I had wanted to fundraise or work with MIND in some way for a while so this was perfect. I wouldn’t say lockdown hindered my creativity. When I felt like being creative it made me think outside the box and do certain things in a way I had never thought to do before. So if anything it encouraged creativity. Although I rested a lot I did end up writing my next single that I love! I alsodanced a lot and picked up a few books.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Kehlani’s latest album It Was Good Until It Wasn’t. Boy, that’s a great album. I remember exactly where I was when I heard it first, and certain songs made me cry. Kehlani is an asset to the industry in my eyes. She came with a fresh approach to R&B and made it contemporary but timeless too. She’s also a great dancer, which is a bonus.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
One of my biggest desires for the future is to go on a world tour. My mind goes mad at the thought of the level of show and experience I could bring to people. Travelling and seeing the world is really important to me in general. I know that at some points in my career I’d like to take six months off completely, and travel to loads of new places. I’d also like to headline a major festival, start another business, and also start a family.
‘Let Me Know’ is out now via the usual digital platforms