Hailing from Augusta, GA (Home of The Godfather of Soul, James Brown), Dee Hemingway is the quintessential entertainer. And we have recently interviewed her for our magazine.
Twist Online : First of all tell us about the start of your professional career?
Dee : I was singing to background music tracks. That started in the late 1980s. Cassette tapes. I recorded all my music from home onto cassette tapes. I had about 50-60 cassettes that I carried around. Different environments call for different types of music. I did that for a few years. Did rather well with it. Private parties, a few outdoor events. I had fun with it. When I kept getting booked, that’s when I knew it was no longer a hobby.
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to get into music industry?
Dee : I was 17 years old. I was dating a guy who was in a band on the weekends. Of course, I was there. Every weekend. I loved the atmosphere so much, that I dropped out of high school to travel with him. We did the chitlin-circuit gigs in The South for a few years. I would not recommend dropping out of school. I received my GED several years later, and went on to getting my Undergrad and Grad degrees in Communications and Business.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent release?
Dee : I call “Lies” the song that traveled 1500 miles, because it really did.
It was written by myself and a musician from Seattle, Scotty X. Christopher. I met him through a mutual friend of ours. I was visiting Seattle July of last year. We were hanging out. Scotty X. had a musical structure recorded with the bass and drums. He wanted me to take a listen. He told me that it was crafted with me in mind. When I heard the music, I started humming the melodic line and he grabbed the guitar and followed along. It was being recorded. When I went back to Sacramento, he sent the music file. Well, as life throws curve balls–I could not move forward with the song for at least three months. It was an epiphany that got me to moving the song along. I had a close call with my life that told me I better get moving or I was NOT going to have a second chance.
I wrote the lyrics to “Lies” in three hours, while I was on my way to record a raw vocal of the song with Don’s Neighbors Studio in Eureka. That was Christmas weekend of last year.
I recorded the radio-ready version of the song in Placentia/Los Angeles at Orange Blossoms Studios. On the way there (December 30) , my car broke down 175 miles South of L. A.. I called AAA to get my car towed. The driver asked me if I wanted to have my car towed back to Sacramento. I told him. Hell NO. I’m going to L. A.! So me and the disabled car went to L.A.. I called Geoff Davis, who is the owner and engineer of Orange Blossoms Recording Studio to tell him what happened. He worked with my studio time, for you know how expensive that can be. Once I got settled in at the hotel, I went straight to the studio and recorded “Lies” in ONE TAKE. I was so hyped-up with anxiety from what happened on the road. I released “Lies” on December 31. I spent three days in the L. A. area because it was the New Year holiday and the weekend to boot. I eventually went back to Sacramento, but my car stayed in L.A for about a week for repairs. It’s fixed now.
Twist Online : What kind of response you have received from the release?
Dee : Very positive response. When I tell the story of how the song got recorded, it brings even more interest. (Laughs) People can relate to the song because everywhere they turn, there’s someone who has a hidden agenda, they want something from you. They aren’t being honest in their dealings with you. That’s what “Lies” is all about. And Scotty X’s guitar work complements my lyrics. His guitar work represents the sinister nature of how people can be. He did a great job and I’m very proud to have collaborated with him.
Twist Online : What attracts you more, performing on stage or working in studios?
Dee : I’m anal-retentive about being in the studio. Know your part(s), get in the studio and lay it down within 5 takes and get out. I would be insane if I had to comp my vocals. (laughs) I am most attracted to performing on stage. There is absolutely nothing like being on stage with a band. You get to jam out on a song if the mood hits you. And if the audience is digging it, that just makes it even better.
Twist Online : What’s your favorite music genre?
Dee : I like it all, really. I was raised on blues, soul and R&B. My uncle got me into classic rock. I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, Free. I now lean more towards Classic Rock, but we all know it originated from The Blues.
Twist Online : Have you set some target to achieve as a music artist?
Dee : I do. I want to record as many songs as I can. First and foremost. I want to perform on-stage as a rhythm guitarist. I want to tour all over the world. These things can be achieved, in that order.
Twist Online : Are you currently working on any other project?
Dee : I am a backing/featured vocalist with Brad Wilson and The Rollin’ Blues Thunder Band. Blues band, of course. We are opening for the legendary Buddy Guy in Parker AZ, March of this year. Oh, I am ready for that. I am so excited to have that opportunity. Brad is a great guitarist and I’m very honored that he asked me to join him for this show.
I’m also on an upcoming release by Hunter and The Dirty Jacks called “Chase the Moonlight.” They are a blues/rock band and are on Spectra Music Group. To be released this Spring. It’s a major release, so I’m very excited about that. 2018 is going to be an exciting year for me in music, and I can’t wait.
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