Thanks to the magic of the Internet, Mogul connects via a transcontinental call with rising urban pop star Dici. Hailing from Miami, Dici is still in full work mode as the evening progresses, using up the last few hours of this year’s Valentine’s Day.
Dici, as a 17-year-old newcomer, opens up about studying the industry, understanding the varying tiers of stardom, and hoping to reach a level of being able to fill out the one and only Wembley Stadium. Not leaving anything up to chance, Dici discloses what his ‘day in the life’ looks like, and let us be clear, he is strapped into tunnel vision.
The young star-in-the-making demonstrates significant self-awareness by dissecting his catalog, reflecting on last year’s releases, as he dropped six impressive singles. As a self-taught producer, Dici is proud to be all hands on deck with his work and musical progression.
He finds himself somewhere between hip-hop and pop, coining a unique sound and detaching himself from established structures. His professional relationship with music began with a simple intrigue with the craft, wanting to become ‘a SoundCloud rapper’ as a joke that quickly escalated into him setting up his own record label and actively analysing the best markets to break into.
Last Friday, Dici shared his first release of the year titled ‘Champagne Showers’ that kicks starts a new chapter of what Dici reckons is going to be his year. In our conversation, Dici explains his stage name and elaborates on making music in Columbia and making more happy music. Read until the end for an exclusive Dici-curated playlist of his Top 5 songs.
How does your day in the life usually look like?
Usually working. I’ll either write lyrics for a couple hours, then I’ll edit, because I do a lot of my own editing for music videos. I’ll edit, I’ll write music and then I’ll watch interviews, learn about the industry, do a lot of research on that side. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I can do in terms of moves to help my career. In terms of trying to see who I know and then how that can benefit me in terms of my career.
What did you take away from your research?
I’ve been putting out music for two years now and I’ve been doing it mainly in the US and after doing a lot of research, it made me realize that the US is such a big market with so many people, which is great, but there’s also so many artists because the bigger the population, the more artists there are. So then I realized that there’s no point in trying to become huge in the US or there is a point, but it’s better if I go somewhere like England or somewhere abroad where it’s not easier, but I can build a core fan base. I feel like it would be better for me to go to England or go to Japan or other places abroad that I go to.
Are you going to come over tot he UK anytime soon?
I plan to go in somewhere between May, June, July, depending on how much work there is. Because I feel like there’s no point in going all the way over to the UK, just sitting around and not doing anything. If there’s a lot of work to do, then I hundred percent go. I’d love to go.
How would you describe you as an artist and your sound?
I feel my sound to be in between hip hop and pop. When I first started it was more rap and hip hop and as I’ve gotten older and done more music, I’m slowly moving towards pop. So right now I’d say I’m the middle ground between hip hop and pop.
Why did you choose as Dici as your stage name?
I’m part American, and also part Italian. Quindici means fifteen in Italian. So when I was 15 years old, my nickname was Quindici, cause my name’s Quinn and I was 15 at the time. So like, my family would just call me Quindici. When I started doing music, my nickname was already Quindici. So then I just took out the Quinn and then did Dici.
Could you tell us more about your background?
I’m half Japanese. And my dad is half American, half Italian. I’m like half Japanese, quarter American, quarter Italian.
Did you spend any time in Japan?
I spent like 2, 3, 4 months out of the year over there.
How was it?
It’s my favorite place to be in terms of I really like the culture, the food. It’s cheap to live over there. It’s a full package.
Did you live in Italy as well?
I was born in Italy and I lived there for five years and then I moved to the US and then I would go back and forth between Miami and Tokyo.
How are you enjoying living in Miami?
I’ve been based in Miami for 14 years. It’s tough because Miami’s a city where you can’t walk around. So if you don’t have a car, it’s very hard. Also I feel people in Miami are all focused on themselves. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I find it hard to network, especially if I don’t have a car. Cause then I have no way to get anywhere. And that’s why I like Tokyo. Because Tokyo or even London, it’s more of a walking city from what I’ve heard with London. But I know Tokyo’s very walking city and it’s just easier to get around. It’s easier to meet people. As I spend more time here, and as I get older, I want to get out of Miami and move to a more walking city.
How do you feel about moving over to LA, as the epicentre of entertainment?
I don’t think so to be honest. I don’t see myself moving to LA or New York. I like Miami in terms of cities in the US and that’s about it. I would live in the countryside, like Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas let’s say. It would be hard for me to Live in New York or LA, just because it’s so expensive. From what I’ve heard, the environment in terms of being an artist or creative in those places it could be good, but it could also be very bad. Hopefully I can go to the UK, that’s the main thing I’m excited for.
How did you, how did you get started with making music?
I first started in high school. I never really saw myself doing music, but then I had a friend that would produce, and then eventually I would say as a joke, “oh I’m gonna be a SoundCloud rapper”. Because it was a school where everyone’s very much focused on going to college. So I was more like I’m just gonna drop out of high school, become a SoundCloud rapper. But at first, I wouldn’t rap or do anything. I would just say it as a joke. People that I didn’t know started asking me if I rap and eventually I was at this house and a producer lived there. We sat down at his house and then we did a five song EP in the first day in the studio. And then it got to the point where it was like this is cool. I could see myself doing this, but I wasn’t good. I listened to the songs a few days ago and they sucked, in my opinion. It got me interested and I wouldn’t stop hitting him up, wanting to make music all the time. Eventually he probably got annoyed because he wanted to work on his own stuff and it’s not like I was paying him to produce. He just started canceling on me. And then eventually I got on my computer. I got Logic for 200 dollars and then started learning how to produce and then started there.
How was your relationship with songwriting?
Actually, that’s my favorite part. When I first started, the part I hated the most was producing and because I feel like once I had a beat that I liked, I could write to it and I would have no issue at all. The main thing was getting that, but then also I was so new to it. I feel like songwriting came easier than producing. I feel like you have to put in a lot of time to get better at producing and I was getting better and better and better, but then I just enjoyed the aspects of songwriting a lot more. I always focused more on that side, ever since when I started.
How do you write songs? Do you, are you use pen and paper or voice memos?
It depends, if I’m writing lyrics on my own. Because what I do a lot of the times is I’ll just sit in my room and I’ll just listen to the beats and then I’ll just write lyrics. Not even like to become a song, but just to practice writing lyrics. If I’m in the studio, I’ll just do it on my phone. But then also I do, like, if I have a melody in my head, I do everything, I do voice memos, paper, and then notes on my phone.
It sounds like you have a strong work ethic, who do you look up to in the industry in terms of working hard and making everything themselves?
I think Russ. Honestly, I feel like Russ is a good example of that. He’s the goal of every independent artist. I don’t think I’m going to go the same road as him, because I’m open to doing a record deal, not a bad record deal, a record deal on my terms, which obviously everyone would love, but I’m not at the point to get that yet. My ideal goal is to go similar to that road, but not copy it. I don’t do exactly the same music as Russ, and it’s more on the pop side and Russ is more on the hip hop side. I keep Russ’ success and how he succeeded in the back of my mind.
You have your own record label, how did you set that up?
I got the copyrights for Dici Records and then registered as an LLC and then opened an account. It helps especially also as an artist because I can tax deduct all my stuff. It is definitely the way to go. I have my label and then me, Quinn Murgo signed off all the rights to Dici Records. So I actually don’t own any percentage of the money that I make off the music. Because the label gets everything, but then I own the label, so I get it.
Last year you released six singles, what were the main themes you touched upon?
I was just looking back at the music I released last year, and I can say it’s not as good as the music that’s coming out this year. I just got back from Columbia a couple weeks ago and we finished up seven songs. Listening to those now, I fell like this is really gonna be my year, which who knows? I pray. But last year, it was a lot of more darker music. Whether it was hip hop or I did one ballad, I did some pop, but it wasn’t uplifting. But I feel like the music that’s coming out this year is more happy music, more exciting, more ups, more downs, because all the music that I’ve been working on now, it’s been happier overall.
Does your music reflect how you’re feeling in life at all?
I’d say last year was more fun than this year. A lot of the times I didn’t want to write happy music was because I thought that’s corny, I had this mental block of I don’t want to sound corny. But now I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like I can do that and not sound corny. I would do happy music before but I’d never release it. I never felt good about it. I think honestly just getting better at songwriting has been the main reason. It’s easy to write something sad, in my opinion. It’s way easier to write something sad than to write something inspirational or write something happy or motivational.
You mentioned you came back from Columbia, could you tell us more about that trip?
The producer I work with lives in Columbia. I met him in Miami a week before he moved to Columbia, we started working together, making music. I don’t see myself working with any other producer. Also studios in Columbia are cheaper. I could just sit in my room and do music in my room, or I could go to Columbia and do music there for the same price, basically. Everything’s so cheap in Columbia. At that point, I’m like what am I doing in Miami? So now I just do all my music in Columbia and Bogota Studio’s. There’s awesome food, awesome people.
Your new single ‘Champagne Showers’ just came out, how would you describe it?
It’s a happy song. There’s also a bunch of remixes. The easiest way to summarize it’s a happy song that’s very pop. I really like the club mixes, honestly, I would recommend to listen to the Wide Boys remix.
What else are you planning for this year? What are your goals personally and professionally?
This year, I want to get performing more. That’s a big goal, I wanna start doing more in terms of performing because it’s hard to get booked. Before when I was doing more hip hop, it was easier to get booked in clubs when you’re doing hip hop music, but as you start moving more towards pop, it’s hard to get booked for clubs because a lot of clubs are either playing EDM or playing hip hop, and there’s not a lot of clubs that are playing pop, unless it’s a remix of a pop song. My goal for 2023 is to start performing, get a booking agent eventually.
What will be the dream stage for you to perform at?
The craziest thing to do would be to fill up a stadium like Wembley one day. In terms of a goal, I think it’s good to dream big.
How would you describe your fashion style?
I used to do more streetwear style and I would wear a lot of hoodies, a lot of jackets. Then as I’m getting older, I think Japan is a big influence. I’ve been spending a lot more time in Japan lately. Now I’m slowly moving into more suits, more blazers. I wear a lot of Chrome Hearts. I’m a Chrome Hearts Fanatic. I’ll just have like a blazer on a t-shirt. I like varsity jackets. I’m starting to refine my taste in terms of fashion lately.
What other brands do you like?
I’m trying to think. I like Yohji Yamamoto, Y-3, every brand under it.
What songs would make it into your ‘best songs of all time’ playlist?
‘Baby Blue’ by Action Bronson
‘Sacrifices’ by Dreamville and J. Cole
‘Paper Trails’ by Joey Badass
‘Candy Paint’ by Kodak Black.
‘All Falls Down’ by Kanye West
It’s mainly rap. I don’t really listen to much pop. I’ll listen to EDM sometimes. Or just random music. Russian, Japanese rappers, I’m friend with bunch of them. I listen to a lot of Billy Eilish as well.
Stream ‘Champagne Showers’ out now.
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Facebook: Dici Music