Bulgarian-born and Berlin-raised, newest kid on the block Dena is causing a stir throughout the blogosphere with her undeniably catchy first single release ‘Cash, Diamonds, Swimming Pools’, which gives a twisted insight into European bling culture. With her textbook East London image and brat-pack hip-hop vibe, Wonderland caught up with the unorthodox creative to find out what else the year has in store.
What was your route into music?
I was born and grew up in Bulgaria, in a really small town. After finishing school I moved to Berlin where I studied visual and media studies, and experimented with working with audiovisual techniques. I’ve been writing lyrics, singing, playing beats and chords since forever.
Has music always been your first passion?
Yes! I wrote my first song when I was 8. I recorded it with my little portable cassette player and I was obsessed with it. When I moved to Berlin in 2005 everyone around me was in bands or producing and working on music. I decided to get an MPC 1000 and learned how to sample and program it on my own. Then step by step started adding my chords and lyrics to the beats.
You’re from one of the most buzzing cities in the world right now, Berlin. What makes the city so special?
I’ve been in Berlin for a couple of years now, and it’s amazing how the city’s energy and creative spirit are increasing with every single day. I guess it’s due to the fact that a lot of people from all over the world are moving here.
What are your favourite things to do in the city?
I have been working hard on my music for the past 2 years, so most of the things that I personally love to do in Berlin are related to that. Besides that, I love to hang with inspirational people and talk about life.
You have a very 90’s style. Would you say you were inspired by that era?
I definitely am. I’m completely feeling a lot of the hip hop and RnB production of the 90s. Musically I think it was the best era for hip-hop and RnB, regarding sounds and compositions.
You’ve been described as early M.I.A meets Jentina. Who has been your biggest inspiration when creating your sound?
The thing is, what I am and always will be inspired by is MUSIC, to be honest I am a very big fan of jazz. Personally my biggest idols are Sun Ra and J Dilla. I care about beats, I care about snare drums, deep chords, and lyrics.
The video for your new single ‘Cash, Diamonds, Swimming pools’ was filmed in a flea market. Who came up with the odd concept?
I thought that a video would be a good opportunity to explain myself and the hook in a deeper level. Since the song is ironically playing with
the most cliché status symbols of success, I wanted to narrow it all down to the actual way we roll here. We came up with the concept while brainstorming with my friends Plamen Bontchev and Sofia Burchardi, who also shot the video.
What else can we expect from you in 2012? Do you have any UK appearances or gigs?
There is a lot of stuff happening in the moment. I am already planning the next single and in meetings with labels.I hope to play live and tour as much as possible throughout the summer as well as finishing my record.
Words: Shane Hawkins