Deto Black’s story almost matches the plot of Disney’s Princess Diaries. Girl with dreams, a royal lineage and quirky fashion friends to take on the journey with her. The story of this 26-year-old rockstar includes traditional Nigerian parents, enough wigs to last a lifetime all fuelled by a Black girls motivation to follow her dreams of stardom, despite her parents initial plan of a mundane accountant career. The seed that was planted when a young Deto (pronounced Day-to) downloaded lollipop on her ipod mini, while blushing in the back seat of her mothers car as 50 Cents Get Rich or Die Tryin album played, has grown to form Deto Black.
Bursting through the scene with the bold verse: “F*cuk a bodycount I let my body bounce” on Odunsi (The Engine’s) Body Count, in the world of Alte bad b’s, Deto’s name turns heads. Equally, her stand-out fashion is a beacon of new-age Lasgidi trends, wich dabbles in the noughties and dips its nose in our intergalactic neighbors for inspiration.
In taking the first steps to out-of-this world stardom, Deto needed to be equipped with some killer beats, a bold lip liner and the freedom to say exactly what she wants. Her latest EP Yung Everything is a 7-track journey into the world of Deto. Injecting a certain swagger of confidence into the most stearnest of listeners, PAUSE caught up with the rockstar to unpick everything behind the furs and 6-inch heels.
While you travel around the world, you still maintain a real Lagos babe aura..
I guess because it’s just in me. You know, I was raised [in Lagos] I wasn’t born in Lagos. But I moved back there. I don’t even remember too much of my life in America. My formative years, I can remember everything and absorb everything. All my memories are from Nigeria. I think I was like, basically formed there like my mind and made me a real Lagos babe. Although I used to travel a lot as well when I was a child. it’s just something you cant really just get rid of. It’s in here.
Let’s talk about your wardrobe are there any brands that are you current faves or go-to’s?
One thing about me, I can never pick a favourite. Alot of my friends stuff [sometimes highstreet, I dont mind]. So many different ones. it’s so hard to pick.
So would you say you’re more of a support a friends brand over highstreet and whats in trend?
Sure, my friends are always around me and it’s like, they’re just more current with what I like to do. I mean, because when you hang around your friends, you guys are kind of exchanging ideas and things are flowing. So you kind of end up having very similar tastes, just kind of developing your style together. So I would say Yeah, that would be my go-to. for my EP launch party was Mowalola Couture. So we designed it together and she made that amazing fit for me.
For your debut EP you’ve chosen no features
Yes, strictly all Deto.
I like that, talk me through the themes you really wanted to explore when writing and creating Yung Everything
So it just happened very organically. It wasn’t something that I put too much thought into. I didn’t know that I wanted to make something that I liked and I enjoyed. It was only only after I recorded I was like, “oh this is a little summary of like my past relationship”, basically, the transition period. This is what was happening in my life when I had just started doing music, so I guess that’s why it makes sense. I just wanted to empower myself with the music and just kind of release.
Was there any songs in particular that you really enjoyed making?
I enjoyed making all of them because they all had a different experience. But I do remember making three5zero That was me just really like pushing myself to do something different. I’m just thinking outside the box. I like all the beats, but this one was very different. When I first started, I was like, I need to be on rap, like hip hop type stuff. And then I was like, You know what?, that’s not the only music I like, let me try other things. And F.U.N. – OMG.
It was produced by Adegboyega Ogunlesi, who is a phonomenal producer. And it seems to be like, everyone’s favorite so far. So I’m quite proud of that. That was during quarantine as well. So like, I was kind of isolated a lot. I just went to the house, it was on the other side of town in Lagos, compared to where I live. Just went over that for two days. And yeah, we made our song so it just feels special to me that one because I didn’t like I felt like I did it alone.
Are there any songs you’ve heard recently that made you think “I wish i’d have wrote that!”?
YES! There is this one song written by an artist called Drikka. She has one called Damn Law an Order and Thickums. And I feel like those three songs are just, they just my vibe, right?
What would you like people to takeaway when they listen to Deto Black?
I think there’s so many different things that I want to put out there. If I had to summarize, I probably just say, like, believe in yourself. I feel like, I’ve always had like a very strong sense of self from when I was younger, but I always used to doubt my inner voice. And I feel like if I had listened to my inner voice a lot earlier, I would have been out of a lot of bad situations. I feel like with you, no one knows more about you than yourself. Because you literally live in your body and you wake up, see everything with yourself. So just trust yourself, you know?
What was your inner voice telling you at the time?
Just like it was telling me babe, you know what you can do? You don’t want to be an accountant, you. You want to be a diva. You can do this. You want to design you want to make music. Do it, do it, do it. Do it, do it. And I’d be like, maybe not. It just kept me in like place I really didn’t want to be and I felt like I was being I was becoming such an unhappy person so unfulfilled. So unmotivated, you know, so I couldn’t even be the best accountant ever.
I definitely feel like having African parents and particularly being the first child, female child in an African family there is a certain level of expectation
bro from like the age of six. Yeah, it’s so crazy. I don’t know if they realize how damaging it is
And the expectations of “modest dressing”
Honestly, that was also like something I really struggled with. My dad’s side of the family, they’re quite traditional. My dad is from a royal family that’s outside of Lagos, right? So his dad is essentially a king. And it’s very traditional to the most to the maximum extent. They’ll say: as a princess, you know, you shouldn’t really, this is not how you should carry yourself, blah, blah, blah. And I’m just like, Okay, first of all, yeah, I’m a princess. Right? Well, where the hell is my palace?
feel like it’s my, my job to create my own destiny and just, like, have my own thing going. And I’m like, this is what makes me happy. But I also don’t want to make like my family unhappy or whatever. But I also have to be nice to myself. at the end of the day, I’m an adult. Also, I have like three degrees. So there’s nothing they asked me to do that I didn’t do.
I feel like a lot of girls also have the confidence because Nigerian girls? We’re so fab. We have just been held back by religion and tradition and all these things that don’t really serve us because when it’s time to uphold the other end of it as a man in Nigeria like; be faithful to your wife, do this do that they don’t do that. The guys do whatever they want, and they’re telling us You can’t even dress how you want and I’m just like, no, that’s why I’m not doing that. I’m gonna make myself happy. I don’t think me dressing provocatively or sexy or feeling myself hurts anyone.