If music was a person I think I would chase them for the rest of my life

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A creator with many titles, musician, singer, performer, and so much more, Dushime, has a lifelong intimate connection with music. We sat down with her to discuss the spaces in which she exists and draws inspiration from, how she incorporates her past into her current and future work, and the many ways she connects with her audience and herself.

When did you start making music, and what have been your greatest influences?

I think I have always been ‘doing’ music, and then by the age of 11, I kind of realised I had a voice, and that I love singing. And from there I just started practising more, creating more for myself and just listening more. I always say that if music was a person I think I would chase them for the rest of my life.

I grew up with a lot of jazz, a lot of soul music and hip hop too, and then when I was 14 or 15 I got more into rock and indie. For me, I was attracted to what music, specifically what the love of music does to somebody, the ways it affects somebody, the power it carries with itself, and how it is this universal language. I know that's super cheesy but it's true. 

Nina Simone was a huge inspiration, she is somebody I really look up to and am a huge fan of. With jazz, the first time I heard  Blue Monk by Thelonious Monk, that was it for me, and I fell deeper into the genre.



What are you working on now?

I'm planning to finish my EP, which has been really nice because these are songs that I wrote a while ago, or even years ago. Some are new, but most are old songs that I have carried with myself, and they grew more, and are going to continue growing. It is a package that I want to give and liberate myself from so I can start something new.

I think my main goal in everything I do is just to understand myself more, which is very therapeutic as well. I want my music to be a healing force. Do I have an end goal? No, I think it is more about becoming content with who I am, understanding myself more as a human being and understanding this life we’re in.



Where does your songwriting inspiration come from?

These are stories that I’ve lived through, processed and feel ready to let them be expressed for the eyes and ears for whom they are destined to be. My process of writing starts with a melody in my mind, and out of that, come words. Because sometimes, I don't even have the words for it. There is also a lot of repetition, that's a big thing for me. I enjoy repetition and layers because I think the more you repeat something, it begins to make more sense and become clearer.

What I would like to do is to create a whole dictionary with new words. I want to create this dictionary because sometimes there are no words to describe how I experience certain feelings or events.



How do you connect with an audience through your music?

I think you have to be honest with yourself. It doesn't matter what kind of art you make, if there is this honesty, people really resonate with that, and I try to provide that. Sometimes of course I have days when I am not in the mood, but I try to channel that. I also meditate before I perform. I have my own little rituals that I do.



I also take a breath for the audience

Can you tell me about those rituals?

I do a prayer. Sometimes I do some meditation. Sometimes I listen to a song, it depends, I have a couple of songs I like to hear before I go on stage. Most of the time I just do a prayer. And breathing exercises. It's just about being focused. I also breathe for the audience. For example, I take a breath for everyone who's playing with me, and one for the crowd, it makes me feel like at this moment we are together.



What are your go-to pre-show songs?

‘I am Light’ by India.Arie. Throughout the song, she says ‘I am light, I am light.’ That helps. Sometimes I just put on ambient music like William Basinski.

I just like to walk and see where I end up

What is your happy place?

I go for runs and walks sometimes at parks near my place. I just like to walk and see where I end up. I write down street names that I like, I have a whole book filled with street names. I constantly travel with music, even when I am sleeping, I do everything with music. There is always music on. Sometimes I try not to and just listen to the silence between the sounds. But even that is more trying to find the rest in the silence. That sentence always stays with me.‘The silence between the sounds’ 



Is the stage also a happy place for you?

It really is my safe space. I feel like when you are on stage there is so much that you can say or do and it’s all okay in a way? It’s like there are no boundaries. Even my nerves are good nerves most of the time.

The beauty of seeing people perform, and performing myself is that you just create this new world in which both the audience and performer live, and there is a sense of giving and receiving, somewhat healing the audience and healing oneself at the same time, I view the art of performing as a healing process where one can truly come to their purest form. My purpose is to create a space through sound, movement, textures and shapes that generate light to connect one another.



Now I am trying to learn to cherish my energy

How do you balance how much you give as a performer?  

Now I am trying to learn to cherish my energy as a human first and foremost. It is precious, sometimes you just have to stand still. You can give so much, and not receive anything back, so I am trying to find the balance. Right now I am figuring out how much I can give. I think when I was younger I gave too much, and sometimes I felt kind of empty afterwards.


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