Dej The Ego:
Let Me Show You A Good Time
Words: Hannah Olarewaju
Photos: David Franco
What would you do if someone called you egotistical? How would you feel if someone referred to you as self-centred. Of course, you may take this as an insult. It may be offensive to those who fundamentally believe that they don't hold this characteristic. But to someone who actually refers to themselves as egotistical and has it in their name, you’re acknowledging something that they already know. So when I asked Dej The Ego if he was egotistical, this is what he said.
"I mean, no. Because the negative connotation of the word is tinged with selfishness and can make it seem that I think I'm better than everybody else. Which is not true. But yes, because the ego, your ego, can be a powerful motivator in one’s life if you actively follow it. And do I follow mine? Yes.”
We get into a conversation about how he came to this conclusion. The psychology of it all and what it means to refer to himself as Dej The Ego. I asked him if this was a character he plays, to which he replied no. Which means that all we see and hear about him, is all him, all the time. I say it like this because of how honest and expressive he is on social media, particularly twitter. Where he is no stranger to a controversial tweet, or a detailed thread on his thoughts and activities. But all of this has certainly helped to boost his profile and career. “My Twitter identity has definitely developed over time, but I can say I probably have a slight addiction to it now. For me it has worked out quite well, as it’s a good platform to showcase my music.” Like others, he uses the social media site to promote himself as an artist and has had great success. One instance is when he dropped a snippet of the Foxtrot visual. Twitter went crazy over it and were practically begging him to release the full version. But Dej The Ego had his business hat on and kept his fans waiting while he got advice from Universal Music and other industry experts.
Letting him know that there is power in suspense, so as to keep fans curious about what you will do next. He has learnt so far to utilise the platform wisely, acknowledging that because he is trying to establish himself as an artist, he has to portray himself right online. “I can't just tweet anything that I want anymore, I have to behave myself. There has been instances where I haven’t been so cautious and led to situations that I don't want. So I'm learning how to behave myself. There has been instances where I haven’t been so cautious and led to situations that I don't want. So I'm learning how to be more mindful.”
As well as using Twitter to promote his music he also talks openly about the fight for better mental health. “I currently work in Mental Health, in a role that is truly rewarding to me. I speak to people on a daily basis that have been through some truly traumatic experiences and my role is to help rehabilitate them.” He utilises lessons learnt at work and informs this to his followers so they can all benefit from professional insight.
So he has a full time job, along with a growing music career that he has been very consistent in. So I asked him how does he feel about his journey so far. “I have noticed that with time, I’ve began to rate myself highly. I do believe I am the best at what I do because I basically do everything myself.” Self-sufficiency is the key for Dej The Ego, as he produces, writes and records all his songs. From a young age he made sure to learn all the basics so that he didn't have to rely on others to help create his vision.“I’m very optimistic about my music and can genuinely see the trajectory I'm on. And I think that’s down to how hard I work and the amount of effort I put in. No one else can put in the amount of effort I put in for myself except for me.” From building his own personal studio in his room, to developing his mixing and mastering skills, he assures that every song you hear is authentically him. His smooth, deep voice glides over a fusion of hip-hop and afro-swing type beats.
However I wouldn’t box him in either genre, as I feel that he uses the best elements from both to create his unique sound. When you listen to his songs, it’s clear that he favours more upbeat sounds that encourage everybody to just vibe. One thing that really sets him apart is his storytelling and how he manages to draw listeners into his narrative. While most of his songs do revolve around women, his point of view is very interesting to listen to. So whether his asking his girl to foxtrot or curious about who’s stand of hair is laying around in his room. You will never listen to a Dej The Ego track and get bored.