Winner of BET's "Next Rap Star" Dae Jones discusses her new music and experience as an entrepreneur
Q: First of all, congratulations on winning BET’s “Next Rap Star”. That’s an amazing accomplishment. How’d that come about?
A: So actually I was online looking for tickets to go to the show and I’m like I’m gonna go to the Awards show cause I have a hat with hairline business and I was ready to push my hairline. So I’m like I need to go to the BET awards and I need to hit the red carpet to push my hats, but then I saw online they had a competition for the next rap star. So I’m like hmmm… I can do both. It wasn’t any submission forms or anything like that. What happened though when I got there to L.A., the audition was at the same time as the red carpet and I’m like ahhh shit what am I gonna do. So I put up a tweet and I said who wants a quick gig, I’m paying $25 an hour, all you have to do is just stand you don’t have to do anything. So somebody hit me, and was like hey I live in L.A., I can do it for you. And she lived across the street from the Staples Center. I’m like man perfect, so she stood in line for me while I did the red carpet. Well it was blue that year for Nipsey. So I did the blue carpet. She stood in line, she got my wristband and all of that good stuff. I finished up, I changed my outfit, changed into Dae Jones quick. And then I went in and auditioned and I was the very last person to audition. So it was cool, it was crazy.
Q: So how’d you get started making music?
A: Well for me, music has just been my outlet. You know I’m from the projects. It was really tough there, my mom wasn’t in my life. All that was around was violence, drugs, all those type of things. And music was really my outlet, and of course my mom not being in my life, I was missing my mom. Music was that thing that kept me going, that thing that kept me sane. So yeah music was my sanity. That’s what drove me to music.
Q: You’ve got a lot going on that separates you from other female artists, and even male artists. Tell us about how you manage running a successful consulting firm while still pursuing your dreams?
A: You know what, it’s actually difficult. So I have a consulting firm and we help companies start their own tax business from the ground up and I have my own staff so you know even during the pandemic this was tough. Because all my clients are calling me about their stimulus check and I’m busy trying to push my EP and put my EP together and it’s like I can’t make these calls. But at the end of the day you have a duty. You know you have employees, you have clients that you have to tend to. So you just have to learn how to balance it. It is tough as heck and I need an assistant so if ya’ll are out there, I need an assistant. You know it is very very tough but the consultant business is what helps fund the music so they go hand in hand. So I need them both, so that’s why I keep both of them at a steady balance.
Q: How would you describe your brand and your music to people that might not have heard about you yet or heard your music yet?
A: I would describe it I’m like “pop hood”. I have this pop side of me that likes to sing and make this real colorful music, you know have my real colorful hair. But there’s this hood side of me that won’t go away. She still just pops on out so it’s like this hood pop.
Q: So you just dropped a badass music video for “Hit Her Up” less than a week ago and you’re dropping another single tonight so you’ve definitely been making major strides in the music industry. What’s next for you and what do your next 5 years look like for you?
A: Tonight, again like you said the single Cash App is dropping. We have a contest running for that, we’ve got billboards up all around Chicagoland. If you post it up we’ll drop a cash app in your cash app. So we’ve got that going on. The EP is dropping in October, we plan to drop a single every month moving out up until October. We planned a performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards in October so you guys can look forward to that. So we have some great things lined up before the EP drop. We’re tryna warm them up, you know we can’t just give it all to them at once. So the EP is coming in October, and in the next 5 years I plan on having my own label in the next 2 years. I plan to have my own label and start signing artists. So you know I’m a business woman at the end of the day, so I’m here learning the business. Everything that I’m doing in music, just taking notes like hey okay good don’t do this don’t do that. I just want to give artists the opportunity that I didn’t have. I’ve worked for over 6 years to get here. I don’t want artists to take that much time of their life. And don’t get me wrong, work hard for what you want, but it doesn’t have to take that long to get there. A lot of people didn’t open doors for me. A lot of people didn’t help me when I needed help. I want to be that to people. Like when I first got the deal (with Island Records), nobody called me and said hey Dae congrats, hey don’t do this don’t do that, look do this. I want to be that voice for people because you can get a deal and you can go broke quick. You can do some of the wrong things and burn some bridges quick. And I just want to be that voice for people so that they don’t get themselves into those types of situations.